Marketing research plays an important role in your business’ success. I talked about primary research (perception surveys) in a previous blog here. This is the most helpful, but it is more time consuming than secondary research. Secondary research has already been conducted, so it’s just a matter of acquiring the information from the source. Secondary research also helps you determine your business strategy, because you don’t want to be targeting an industry that is declining.
Secondary research is information that you gather from a credible source. This includes statistics issued by your city, county, state, and country, and can be found on each respective area’s website. Many metropolitan areas have universities and colleges with economic and/or real estate colleges that conduct research which can be acquired. This information gives you great historical data on certain industries, wages, and employment. By evaluating this data, you can see if the geographic market or industries are growing or declining, therefore helping you focus and target the right prospects.
Regional and state economic development associations host an annual or quarterly lunch or seminar to give businesses updates on economic conditions. At the end of the seminar, a detailed report is available with all the statistics.
Some real estate companies conduct research on the local and state market, which can be helpful to find out about what industries are going and what projects are planned. Typically, these companies host an annual economic development lunch or seminar along with distributing a detailed report. They also do a monthly or quarterly report. Not only are these luncheons and seminars a great place to acquire economic information, but they’re also a great place to network and build relationships.
Accountants, attorneys, and commercial insurance companies occasionally disclose benchmark reports on certain industries. If you have relationships with these companies, ask them if they do any type of research and if you can obtain their reports.
For the design and build industry, there are several national, state, city, and county reports that provide information about future projects. Some of these include but aren’t limited to:
Reed Construction Data
Federal Bid Opps (www.fbo.gov)
These can be expensive but worthwhile. Every firm is different, so you must determine if any of these are the right fit for your firm. Secondary research is a pretty quick way to get insights into your marketplace (or one you want to expand into). Taking just 3-4 hours quarterly to gather this information will help you align your target audience with your firm’s niche. Just remember that finding and acquiring projects is still ultimately about the relationship.