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Polaris Marketing Research

September 2012

Do It Yourself Webinar

DIY Webinar

One of our great Research LifeLine ™ resources is our DIY Online Research Webinar. From sampling, to question design, it's full of great information for anyone who wants to DIY marketing research!


Upcoming Events

November 12-16, 2012
Atlanta, GA


Advanced School of Marketing Research 2012


In today’s competitive environment, businesses need to make every marketing dollar count. As researchers, we play a critical
role. Successfully employing advanced marketing research
techniques can strengthen customer loyalty and drive sales,
maximize return on marketing investments, and price products
for increased profit.


How are leading firms achieving these goals? Find out at the AMA Advanced School of Marketing Research in November. This essential five-day course takes an in-depth look at advanced marketing research methods and their application to real-world challenges.

November 13-14, 2012

Philadelphia, PA


Branding Boot Camp


Effectively leveraging your brand strengths can help you establish competitive differentiation and customer loyalty, regardless of your industry, product or service.


The AMA Branding Boot Camp™ is a new professional development opportunity that will give you the understanding and tools to enhance your brand’s strength.




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Marketing Research for StartUp Companies

By Debra Semans, Senior Vice President, Polaris Marketing Research

“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”

Oh, if only launching a new product were so easy! And when new products are launched by startup companies, the challenges are even greater. Lack of brand name, lack of resources – all conspire against new product success for startup companies.

We are contacted by many individuals who have a great idea they would like to bring to market. They ask, “Do I need marketing research?” After all, you have checked with all of your friends and they think it’s a great idea.

The answer is, yes, of course you need marketing research. You and your friends may not represent the market. Or your friends may be kindly sparing your feelings about their true evaluation of your product. Marketing research can help you understand:

  • Is there actually a market for your product (beyond friends and family)? How big is it?
  • Who is the ideal prospect for your new product?
  • What is the value proposition for these prospects? (Why would anyone want to buy this?)
  • What are they willing to pay? (Can I make money?)
  • How or where do they want to buy it?
  • Who is my competition and why is my offering better than theirs?
  • How are they going to learn about it? (Where and how am I going to find them?)

Many startups are underfunded and do not believe that they can afford marketing research. But without this information, making your new product a success is an uphill battle. Can you afford not to know the answers to these questions?

Additionally, extensive market information may be available through secondary sources at very reasonable cost. The government, industry sources, trade associations, universities and other resources can all be tapped for information to help you successfully launch your product. By minimizing the amount of information you need to get through survey research by carefully focusing the questions, you reduce the cost of the research and increase its efficiency.

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine if you have the resources to bring the product to market, and if not, will help you convince others (e.g., banks, venture capitalist) to let you use their money by helping them assess the risk of your idea. (Indeed, the fact that you have done solid marketing research will let them know that you are a savvy manager and solid business professional.)

Some startups that contact us are concerned that doing marketing research will allow someone to “steal their idea.” I can’t say that this has never happened in the history of the world, but it is not as much of a risk as you might think. Marketing research firms are very familiar with working under conditions of confidentiality and those that don’t respect confidentiality are probably not around for very long. Respondents typically are not given enough information to copy an idea, and if they are, the vast, vast majority are not entrepreneurial and have no interest in or resources for starting a business. And of course, a security screener can also help in reducing this risk. The risk of losing your great idea through marketing research is far smaller than the risk you will mitigate through market information!

Marketing research is not a luxury for any business introducing a new product. Investing in marketing research will help you ensure your product delivers the desired benefits and is marketed most effectively and will save you time, effort and wasted resources.


Debra Semans is the Senior Vice President for Polaris Marketing Research, with responsibility for Account Management, Marketing and Business Development. With more than 25 years of marketing experience, Debra brings rich and varied experience to her clients.

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