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According to Federal Acquisition Regulation, Market research is the collection and analysis of information on capabilities within markets to satisfy the needs of the agency. Moreover, the continuous process involves the collection of data on business and industry trends, characteristics of products and services, capabilities of suppliers, and other business practices.  Once the contracting officer gathers the data, it’s analyzed and used to make informed decisions on whether the agency needs can be met using commercial products and services.

The following is how contracting officers perform market research:

Identification of the market

The first thing in conducting market research is to identify the market and to scope out the task. Contracting officers have to answer some questions when determing the scope.  Below are sample questions used to help them get started.

Do you have an interest in the product or service? : Tailoring of the research is required. Contracting officers have to investigate factors such as technologies, the process of production and logistics. For services, they have to look at the approaches involved when delivering the service.
Are there any requirements? : Requirements may not be fully defined during the early stages of the acquisition program. Therefore contractors have to look at alternatives in the market.
Who is participating in the market? : Contractors have to identify who the buyers, sellers, dealers, and other trade associations are.

Identify sources of market information

With the information on the research market, you will have to look for references to help you answer the questions. Information from internet sources can help in much of the market research. If the contracting officers don’t know how to go about it, they can search about the product or service, and it might help by providing other useful links.  However, some of them are familiar with the product or service which makes it easier for them to go on with the market research. If not, you can hire a professional research service to help you out.

Collect relevant information

After collecting the data that supports strategic market research, Contracting officers then have to decide on the crucial information to obtain from the sources. It depends on the research market, the nature of the product or service and the role in the agency.

Document the results

It’s not enough to have an organized structure for collection and keeping of data. The contracting officer has to document the final results of the data.  It’s also necessary to discuss the results with other officers.

Important Tips

Now that you understand market research process you can modify your business strategy to incorporate a few essential elements.  One of the first things you should do is have a website that lists your products or services.  Second, the products and or services will need to have a description to assist contracting officers with their market research.  Don’t forget to have this website listed on your Capability Statement, business cards and stationery.

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