Some level of marketing research is vital to the survival of the small business. While a Ford Motor Company can outlive a mistake like the Edsel, a smaller company can be destroyed by even a much smaller error. Fortunately, there are a number of marketing research techniques which are practical in even the smallest company. Secondary research, such as internal sales or quotation analyses and literature searches, can detect subtle changes in the market and identify new markets or new product opportunities. Primary research, on the buying habits and attitudes prevalent in the marketplace, can be accomplished with a number of inexpensive techniques. These include warranty cards, literature qualification forms and rather simple mail surveys. With a little organization, salesmen and trade shows can also be used to gather this kind of information.
Robert T. Pitlak,
"Marketing Research In The Small Company", Proc. SPIE 0111, The Business Side of the Optical Industry III, (14 November 1977); doi: 10.1117/12.955532; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.955532