How to use desk research to improve your marketing

Marketers need to know how to use desk research. It is a valuable part of being informed but are you doing your research properly? If not, how can you form a coherent long-term strategy?”

Jean Sutton, Course Director (CIM)

You need to remember that all small business owners are their own marketers.

Whenever disruption keeps you  indoors.  Knowing how to use desk research will enable you to dig deep, thrive and survive.

What is desk research?

Desk research means that you will find research that already exists for your market, not commissioning original primary research. So, the big bonus for you is that you can do desk research free of charge. That’s why it is a pillar of my proprietary approach – thrifty marketing.

5 tips on how to conduct reliable desk research:

  1. Most importantly be clear about the question for which you seek an answer before you begin to search.
  2. Be specific for your sector, time-frame and geographic area.
  3. Draw material from different sources. Use a range of search engines, not just Google but also Bing, Yahoo etc. For overseas markets use the version of the search engine that’s local to the country you’re researching.
  4. Consider reliability always check your sources and date of publication with care. Use industry trade body sources whenever that is possible. I can rely on the Chartered Institute of Marketing at with confidence.
  5. Finally, Look for respected trade journals in your field. A practical tip is for you to keep records. When you read articles or newsletters in your field, you might find that they contain links to useful material that you can revisit when creating your content. It’s helpful to keep a store of useful reference material.

Once you know how to use desk research You can use it to anticipate changes in your marketplace and identify customers’ unmet needs thereby feeding it into your marketing processes.