How do I research a marketplace with no email list?
I want to know what kinds of personal development programs would be of interest to people that are 50 and over. I don't have an email list to survey. How should I go about the research? Is a survey the only way? Facebook is not my target audience. Neither is Twitter.
Partner with CARP ( http://www.carp.ca/about-carp/ , serves Canadians aged 50+ to promote and protect the interests, rights and quality of life ..), 300K+ members there.
Excuse me for being old school, but telephone and mail interviews still work and especially for older people. Email is a popular way to go these days, but understand the dangers in relying on research that achieves abysmal response rates. Done right I can still get a 50% response with mail.
It depends on who your target audience is for the survey. If it's educators in a collegial environment or businesses, if you don't subscribe to research resources, honestly, the best way to get HR contacts or university staff is to go to your public library. They will have online and hard copy directories of organizations with contacts and most often email address if they subscribe to full suites products. Avention and Hoovers are good resources; among others like Pratt's guide. In many instances, if you have a library card, you can access the resources from your own computer and produce your list. If that doesn't work, contact your local chamber of commerce or economic development organizations in your area. Talk to their research or admin staff. Explain your project. They should be able and willing to help. If not they will refer you to some good resources. Hope this helps.
Currently, it is best to partner with a known organization that works with your targeted audience (i.e. AARP). Through them an email is sent out. In it, I would ask if they would like to participate in the survey. The organization will not reveal the email addresses, however, survey responses will go to you and will include email addresses. Buying emailing addresses is costly and often out of date. Also, once you send a high number of the same email, you are usually considered spam. From a known organization, you can avoid that as well.
I would use appropriate groups in LinkedIn with a survey. This seems to be a valid option. Given the age you stated, Facebook would be a targeted audience for this age group indeed, especially females within this age group. Facebook promotes these number readily. Google can target this age groups as well.
Also, the local public library could contain have research resources that can assist in your data collection. Yes, they still have lots of business related databases and information. hope this helps.
I agree with Scott and Bart - if budget allows, go for a panel - that way you can specify exactly how many you need, choose them according to parameters (including age) and know exactly how much it will cost you. You won't need to worry about incentives either.
You could run your survey through Survey Mechanics, possibly free, depending on what functionality and timings you need, just paying for your responses, which you can order through the site's partnership with SSI, one of the best panel companies.
Hope that helps - get in touch if you'd like to talk it through.,
Obvious issues that arise for me (I'm a custom design marketing research guy - so be forewarned) are:
- Have you any budget (lists, or panels, of 50+ individuals can be "purchased")? And how much time available for this step?
- Surveys, and interviews of various kinds, do one thing no other method does: obtain feedback directly from targeted individuals in the "market" - the only ones whose opinions ("Needs & Wants, Whims & Wishes") really matter, in the end
- Do you have raw or rough ideas at hand for the "personal development programs" you mention, or are they farther along in development, i.e., they are thought through and reasonably developed as viable concepts from your point of view, and MAYBE viable to consumers? (But that, of course, is what's TBD.) As concepts, are they comparable to each other in terms of their level or degree of development, or is one or more quite raw or rough while others are more developed?
-- In other words, are these programs specific or are you just asking about "development programs" in a broader, more open and unguided way that lets you hear from consumers, i.e., lets them explain to you what they want in a less prompted way (if they can). Or are you ready for a more structured, stimulus-response questioning method?
So, anyway, this is the kind of conversation I'd prompt you to have...with yourself and whoever else you care to bring in. Best wishes on coming up with a good process. that works for you.
By creating a business page in facebook and creating a following, you have people interested in what you are talking about and therefore can use these groups for their feedback. You should nevertheless use secondary market research results to understand who you should be surveying. Understand your target market psychographics.
sbbcinsights on twitter, mark eversfield on linkedin and facebook, and "Market Research Around BC" for my blog.
Rachel, if you had budget, you could use an online research panel or omnibus that has access to households - any decent provider should be able to tell you in advance how many 50+ they have on their panel etc
I agree with the guys though - Facebook would be a low / no cost option, but so might LinkedIn ...would really depend who your personal development programs are aimed at. With either social media platform, you could create a simple Survey Monkey survey to seek feedback to your questions
As a qualitative market researcher there are many ways in which to research this, far too lengthly to discuss via this method. You can hire a professional to conduct qualitative focus groups or individual interviews or conduct online research using various digital platforms. What are the basic products/services you are offering or have the skill set and the desire to offer? You will need to have an idea of who your target it (beyond age) and who your chief competitors are likely to be.
If you would like to discuss, please send me an email and we can talk later this week or next about various ways in which you might achieve useful answers to guide your business development efforts.