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market research query


I'm starting a small business soon but want to do some market research before I begin.
I have planned some initial research and want to do a mail- shot on 500 local homes to test the market. They are not a specific segment of my potentail market, just a general sample of the population.
What sort of percentage return can I expect on that number? I don't know what to expect.
Suni Waterstone

3 Responses

  1. Market Research
    Dear Suni,

    Statistically you might think that you will get a 50% return on such a mailshot (either they will reply or they won’t). But in practice (and I speak from the experience of having done a similar thing twice for my own businesses) you can expect at best a 2% return from a cold mailshot.

    If you are going to mailshot, then you need to qualify your target population first by finding out (by telephone) the names of people who will receive the mail. Then send the mail to them marked ‘Personal’. Even so, the success rate isn’t high.

    In view of the costs of mailshotting, I would advise you to do some more research on alternative methods of marketing, by consulting some of the excellent sales and marketing advice sites on the Web.

    Save your money, and good luck with the business.


    Robin T Cox

  2. In Singapore, it’s also about 2% return from direct mail shots
    Robin Cox’s indication of 2% return from direct mail shots is also the same here in Singapore! Looks like it’s quite a universal figure as I have heard similar data from elsewhere. Robin is quite right to add that direct mail shots can be a waste of time unless they are demographically targetted. If you want to explore other ideas, I would recommend you to read any of Jeff Slutsky’s books. My recommendations are: StreetFighting, StreetSmart Teleselling, StreetFighter Marketing, and Smart Marketing. I used many of his innovative ideas when I started my own small consulting business 9 years ago. If you could care to be more specific in what you plan to do, I am willing to share and throw up some interesting ideas to you. Best wishes and good luck!

  3. Could not agree more with the comments
    The comments already given are very much in line with the work I have read and if you really want to do some market research then there might be more effective and less costly ways of approaching the matter. Some door to door canvassing might be worthwhile but be ready to find people less than helpful at times. Otherwise street interviewing can work too, if you are really willing to put in the time and effort. Sending out mail shots is just not effective and is definitely expensive.

    I wish you all the best.

    kris Bush
    [email protected]


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