Market research is essential to the growth of any business. Knowing who you will market your product to and how you will market your product increases advertising dollar efficiency. The acronym SMART -- which stands for specificity, measurement, acheivability, realistic and time frame -- is often used by marketing professionals to refer to the types of objectives businesses should use for market research.
In order to be focused in your marketing efforts, your marketing research should be as specific as possible. SMART marketing research involves establishing specific objectives that are clear and concise enough that investors and all business professionals involved can work towards that goal. For instance, you can emphasize increasing sales volume by 25 percent by targeting a specific segment of the market, such as seniors. Your research can then be geared towards finding which of your products appeal most to senior consumers.
Measuring the results of your marketing research is also essential to your success. If you are planning on increasing your sales by 25 percent, you need to know what your beginning sales figure is and exactly how much in sales you will need to increase it by one-fourth. For instance, if your sales volume was $1 million the previous year, you would then know that your new target goal is $1.25 million for the upcoming year. Knowing your target goal as a measurable figure will allow you to track your results.
When you set out on your market research, you also need to know whether the goals you establish for yourself are achievable. Feasibility studies should be conducted to determine whether you have set realistic goals that you can actually achieve. For instance, you may find it far more difficult to quadruple your sales volume; instead, you might want to stick with a more realistic increase, such as 25 percent.
Not only do your objectives need to be achievable, they need to be realistic. Whether they are realistic is determined by the available resources you have at your disposal. A realistic assessment can be made based on conducting an investigation of your available resources. Increasing your sales by a specific percentage becomes more realistic if you know that you have the necessary resources at your disposal.
The time frame of your goals and objectives is also essential in determining the reality of your goals and whether or not they are achievable based on the resources you have at your disposal. If your time frame itself is not realistic, it may need to be adjusted to help you meet your goals. For instance, increasing annual sales in a 10-month span is more realistic than contracting your time frame to 5 months.
Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.