When people are putting together their initial business plan or marketing plan they often get hung up on the research portion of the plan. How do I know:

  1. How many people are in my target market?
  2. How many of the target market I can expect to buy my goods or services?
  3. More about the demographics I am selling to?
  4. How to price my product and/or service?
  5. What my competitors are doing?
  6. Average conversion rates for email marketing?
  7. Average clickthroughs from online advertising?
  8. What my budget for marketing should be?

The answer to all of these and any other questions that you may think about is in research. I often tell people that because of the Internet, they can find out ANYTHING that they need, usually free, by searching online. They don’t need to spend money buying fancy reports, or paying a research consultant.  All of this is true – the information is out there for the getting, and fairly easy to get. BUT, I was reminded after reading this great post on Marketing Profs about Online Research Traps, that with the wealth of information available online, you must also be very careful about finding the right sources, and questioning research before you take it for truth. You need to watch out for:

  • Misleading definitions
  • Bad math
  • Unclear percentages
  • No check on reality

I very much urge anyone doing online research to read this post on the pitfalls of lots and lots of free information online. You can find everything you need online – just make sure that when you find information you check the source, question the information, and validate it any way you need to — before you take it for truth.

-Sabrina Parsons aka MommyCEO 


AvatarSabrina Parsons

Sabrina has served as CEO of Palo Alto Software since 2007.