You shouldn't leave all your marketing research to the professionals. But neither should you try to do it all yourself. Trouble surfaces when the balance between professional know-how and personal common sense is lost. Instead, look for areas where the pros can truly be of help to you. This might come in the form of doing some survey work that requires formal design and follow-up. You simply may not have the time or personnel to do a thorough job of surveying your customer base. Instead, you might be more suited to conducting informal focus groups or customer roundtables, especially if you know your customers personally. It's likely they would appreciate being able to tell you something face to face. Only you know exactly what you want your research to tell you, so you definitely need to be involved.

Excerpted from 303 Marketing Tips: Guaranteed To Boost Your Business