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Top 10 Reasons Why You Need Market Research

by Sarah Schmidt , on November 1, 2022

Portrait of a serious businesswoman using laptop in office

Because market research is often a significant investment, it’s important to understand why it’s so valuable and the reasons it deserve ongoing attention.

To explore this topic in more depth, I talked to a variety of professionals in a broad range of industries who were eager to explain how market research can help a business accomplish its goals as well as the disadvantages of not doing market research. Read on to learn their top reasons for why you need market research.

1. Pursue Promising Business Opportunities

Market research is an important component of any business plan. Understanding the market demand and the overall competitive landscape can help you avoid the gut-punch of business failure.

“If you get swept up in the excitement of starting a new business, your overoptimism could lead to its early downfall,” explained Max Wesman, COO at GoodHire, a background check company. “Instead of exposing yourself to risks you haven’t prepared for, it’s important to be objective. Your conviction alone cannot carry a business idea to success.”

Wesman advises businesses to conduct market research thoroughly and at regular intervals. Doing so can help you target the right group of consumers, price your products and services appropriately, create the right messaging strategy, stay ahead of market changes, and pivot when needed.

2. Make Informed Business Decisions

Market research grounds your decision-making in data and facts, which can help eliminate blind spots and allow you to set realistic targets for your company. “Business decisions are not made in a vacuum or based on assumptions,” said David Bitton, Co-Founder and CMO at DoorLoop, a rental property management software.

Because market research is data-driven, it can help organizations create strategic plans and allocate their resources and budgets effectively. Venture capitalists, investment banks, and management consultants all routinely rely on market research, because high-stakes decisions require much more than guesswork or hunches. Before taking a leap, people want to see the data.   

3. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Market research is also an important tool for benchmarking and competitive analysis in a market defined by constant change.

“New innovations and companies enter the market every day, so performing market research is an essential part of staying competitive,” said Laurel Mintz, Founder and CEO of Elevate My Brand, a marketing agency based in Los Angeles. “It’s important to use direct, indirect, and aspirational competitors as a comparison to where you are, not only to see how you can improve, but also to use for marketing.”

For example, if a company does market research and they discover that their prices are significantly lower than the competition, it could be a sign to raise prices or use their low prices in their marketing strategy, according to Mintz.

4. Stay Current and Relevant to Consumers

In addition, when you truly understand your competition, and how industry trends are shifting, you give your company the opportunity to adapt.

Market research can even give brands the chance to adopt new concepts from other companies within their market. “Inspiration is a powerful tool,” explained David Batchelor, President of DialMyCalls.com, a texting and calling solution. “Industries are constantly evolving due to new technology and changing consumer behaviors. So if you’re not a ‘first-mover,’ you need to be a ‘fast-follower’ as a result of thorough market research.”

5. Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy

Market research should also help inform all your marketing efforts so you create content that resonates with your target audience and produces real results. You should know who you are creating marketing content for, who you are attracting into your sales funnel, and what their pain points are.

Understanding and marketing to the right audiences is key. “Companies that skip this essential step may lose insights, additional sales, and brand strength that all add up overtime,” said Jason Panzer, President of HexClad, a company that produces hybrid stainless steel nonstick pans.

6. Refine Your Messaging During Pivotal Moments

Market research can not only improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, but it can also help you avoid PR disasters that can tank your brand’s reputation and push loyal customers away.

“Unexpected events like the pandemic and inflation have changed consumer shopping trends in drastic ways, so how you address these issues can either help or hurt your brand,” explained Greg Gillman, Chief Revenue Officer at MuteSix, a performance marketing agency accelerating growth for disruptor brands. “By understanding the impact of world events on customers, you will avoid coming off as tone deaf to those issues.”

7. Take Your Sales to the Next Level

Market research can also improve the bottom line by helping you cross-sell, upsell, and create highly personalized and targeted pitches, according to Manish Mishra, Associate Director of Sales at LeadSquared, a marketing automation and CRM software for businesses.

What’s more, the insights you glean for your sales team can build on each other over time. As Mishra explained it, “Strategies for when, what, and how much to sell can be sketched out from the available information. Similar to how it takes multiple meetings to build a relationship, market research gives much better information about leads when it is repeated regularly.”

8. Identify Avenues for Growth

In addition to boosting sales and marketing efforts, companies also use market research to enhance product development and to plan how to expand into new markets.

“Regular market research initiatives within your company can help you discover new opportunities for growth and improvement,” said Laurice Constantine, Digital Managing Editor at Forbes Middle East and Founder of Casadar.com, an online marketplace that connects buyers with sellers and consultancy service providers in the field of decoration, architecture, and interior remodeling. “You might discover that there are untapped customer bases that would benefit greatly from your products or services. You may also discover that your products or services could be improved.”

Market research can also give you ideas for ways to combine offerings, create add-ons, or upsell items to boost your profits.

9. Reduce Risk and Gain Support from Stakeholders

Although risks are inevitable when running a business, market research can help you decrease them during the start-up phase and beyond. “An effective way to make informed decisions and reduce pitfalls is through market research,” according to Igal Rubinshtein, Founder at Home Essentials Direct, an online marketplace for home goods and DIY projects. “Through past information and by predicting future trends, you are undeniably in a better place to make a decision in the direction of growth.”

Having data to back up your ideas can also help bring other stakeholders on board, whether you need the approval of the executive suite, to win over investors for your business, or to impress clients. By providing a solid foundation for your idea, market research can help you make a persuasive case and tip the balance in your favor.

10. Save Time and Money

Lastly, market research can help you streamline your business operations and avoid waste.

“Targeted efforts are always more effective than broad ones,” explained Geoff Cudd, Founder of Don’t Do It Yourself, a website that provides advice and reviews to help people choose the best freelancers and tools to grow their business. “By conducting market research, you can avoid wasting time and money on marketing and advertising efforts that don’t reach your target market. Instead, you can focus your resources on strategies that are proven to be effective with your specific audience. This will help you get the most bang for your buck and use your resources more efficiently.”

Market research can also help you understand where the market is going, so you can plan what business lines to scale up or scale down, and ensure your investments are proportional to market demand. 

When you have tough business questions, market research can help you move forward with confidence. Will it pay off to acquire a new company, build another factory, or expand your business into another country? Market research can help answer these types of critical questions and position you for success.

Where to Start

When you need market research, MarketResearch.com is here to help. With more than 20 years of experience in the market research industry, hundreds of market research report publishers, and thousands of clients, no one is better suited to help you zero in on research you can trust. Contact us anytime for help finding what you need at the best price available.

In addition, please download our free white paper for more information on the value of market research for validation and decision making.

The Importance of Market Research for Validation and Decision Making

About the Author : Sarah Schmidt is a Managing Editor at MarketResearch.com, a leading provider of global market intelligence products and services.

Additional Resources

  • 7 Key Advantages of Outsourcing Market Research Services
  • How to Use Market Research for Onboarding and Training Employees
  • Primary Data vs. Secondary Data: Market Research Methods

Download "The 5 Keys to Estimating Market Sizing for Strategic Decision Making"

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Why Market Research Is Important

2022-06-02 Market Research

benefits of market research study

A consumer sees an ad for a product that seems perfect for them and rejoices over their luck, but this scenario likely didn’t (and shouldn’t) come down to luck. Companies make these scenarios possible through strategic market research. Equipped with valuable information about its target market, a company can develop products and create marketing campaigns that appeal directly to consumers. And the benefits don’t stop there. You can leverage the data procured through market research to propel your company to success in a variety of ways.

We’ll break down the basics of market research below to show how companies use it and explore some of the key benefits. If you’re not taking full advantage of market research to make data-driven decisions, you should start considering the ways it could help your company grow.

What Is Market Research in Business?

Market research involves gathering data to learn more about target demographics and consumers so a business can market itself more effectively and, ultimately, succeed in the market. Market research is a vital part of any business strategy, whether that business is B2B or B2C, big or small, new or old. It provides the answers companies need to make decisions that will move them forward instead of back by empowering them to base decisions on data.

Most companies know what market research is and acknowledge its importance in a general sense, but they may not realize just how crucial market research is to the success of their business. When you need to identify market trends, understand your core customer better, or achieve a long list of other important goals, market research is the answer.

benefits of market research study

Types of Market Research

Market research is a broad category. In fact, there are many varieties of market research that you can use to meet the specific goals of your business. Below, we’ll explore the different benefits of each type of market research.

  • Brand research:  Brand research is focused on creating or refining your company brand to make a bold and favorable impression on your target market. You could look into the level of brand awareness among your target audience, how loyal customers are to your brand, what sorts of qualities people associate with your brand, and other aspects of customers’ relationship with your brand.
  • Marketing campaign evaluation:  Some market research focuses specifically on  marketing campaign effectiveness . You can evaluate how many people have seen your online ads and what the click-through rate has been, for example. This type of information can help you make adjustments if needed and inform future campaigns so you reach consumers effectively and keep customer-acquisition costs down.
  • Competitor research:  Competitor research focuses on the competition to help you gain insights into how your company can pull ahead. Looking into a competitor’s marketing campaigns, brand reputation, revenue or sales volume, and other important data points can help you learn from their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Customer segmentation research:  An important type of market research, especially for new businesses, is customer segmentation. These studies divide your larger consumer base into different groups or personas. Understanding the different types of consumers you want to connect with can help you create individualized campaigns tailored for each group.
  • Consumer research:  Nearly all market research involves the consumer in some fashion, but some research is focused specifically on understanding consumers within a certain segment better. You may want to learn about their purchasing habits, interests, motivations, and more. The better you understand your consumers, the more effectively you can appeal to them.
  • Product development:  Developing products calls for market research first to ensure the concept has value and then to refine the product over time. For example, you may see sales dipping on a flagship product and discover that customers’ needs have shifted and this product should offer a new feature to be more useful or convenient.
  • Usability testing:  Similar to product development research, usability testing is focused on products. However, the focus here is on how consumers use your product. You may release a beta version of your mobile app, for example, and get feedback from users to find out if there are any bugs or other problems you need to work out.

benefits of market research study

The Benefits of Market Research

Market research can deliver valuable benefits to companies like yours. Let’s look at some of the most impactful ways market research can empower your company to succeed.

1. Maintain a Customer-Centric Approach

Market research is all about understanding your consumer base better, and that is an essential step to creating a customer-centric business. Customer-centric companies keep the customer experience at the forefront of all they do. Research has shown that customer-centric  businesses are 60% more profitable . It’s easy to see why prioritizing the customer’s needs and desires is a recipe for success.

Market research is how you come to understand those needs and desires in the first place, along with other important aspects of your target customers. You can’t effectively build a customer-centric business unless you understand your customers. Conducting market research allows you to appeal more specifically to your customers’ pain points and preferences. It’s a win-win for your customers and your business.

One of the most effective ways to be customer-centric in your market research is by using a segmentation-targeting-positioning (STP) model. This marketing model involves:

  • Segmentation:  Brainstorm the possible segments your product or service may appeal to. These segments can be defined geographically, demographically, or otherwise.
  • Targeting:  Determine which segment or segments offer the most profitable opportunities for your company so you can focus on marketing to these segments.
  • Positioning:  Develop a strategy for addressing your target segment’s needs and do it better than your competitors. You can also consider the best way to promote your solution to the target segment.

benefits of market research study

2. Connect With Your Audience More Effectively

When you understand your target customers better, that means you’ll be able to more effectively reach them. When it comes to your marketing campaign, you don’t want to waste time and money on trial and error — you want to have an informed marketing strategy. There are two main elements of effectively connecting with your audience: the marketing channels you use and the content you share.

Using a one-size-fits-all approach, regardless of your audience, can be a costly mistake when it comes to marketing channels. The print publications your audience reads, the television shows they watch, and the websites they spend time on can dramatically differ from those of the target audience for your last product.

For instance, you can reach  close to half of the urban population  by advertising or marketing on Instagram, but you’ll only reach approximately a fifth of the rural population this way. So advertising your farm equipment on Instagram is likely a poor choice.

Choosing the right marketing channels is an important first step to reach your audience, but to truly connect with them, you also need to tailor the content of your marketing materials. Everything from the features of your product you advertise to the tone and visuals you use should be crafted to speak to your target audience. When customers feel you’re “speaking their language,” they’re more likely to pay attention to what you have to say.

3. Identify Opportunities for Growth

Market research isn’t just an important step for new companies or companies launching new products. Conducting market research periodically can help you discover new opportunities to improve and grow. For example, you may discover:

  • Unreached segments:  You may come across unreached segments that, like your current customers, could benefit from your products or services. Perhaps they just don’t know about your brand yet, or they think your products are intended for someone else. This segment could be consumers of a different age, gender, income level, or geographical region, for example. A simple modification in your product or marketing strategy may be all it takes to unlock a whole new customer base.
  • Business partnerships:  Through market research, you may also discover opportunities to partner with other businesses that already have an established connection with your target audience. Joint promotions can be mutually beneficial for you and the partner company. Essentially, you can combine the power of both your brands to expand and strengthen your reach.
  • Product improvements:  Market research can reveal possible shortcomings in your product or services that, if remedied, would allow you to appeal to more customers and improve customer satisfaction. You may also discover opportunities for add-ons, product bundles, or other upsells that appeal to customers’ preferences and help you increase profits.

benefits of market research study

4. Reduce Risks by Testing Concepts

Risk is a necessary part of any business venture. If businesses didn’t take on risks, they would also limit the potential for reward. However, successful businesses tend to mitigate their risks in strategic ways. The way to avoid risk is not to avoid doing anything. Instead, businesses should use market research to minimize risks and maximize rewards.

A major way you can minimize risks is by ensuring there’s demand for a product. The reality is that many products fail. Some experts place the  failure rate as high as 95% . While that estimate is likely too high, it remains true that many new products fail to connect with consumers and end up in clearance bins. One study found that, of the 9,000 new products that were broadly distributed at a national retailer,  60% were no longer sold  within three years.

Because of the high risk involved, you should never create a product based on a mere hunch. Use thorough market research to predict whether a product concept has real potential for success. Will your product meet a need or desire your customers have, and will it do so more effectively than your competitors are doing? When you have proof of concept, you can be more confident in your efforts and more effectively attract investors.

After you’ve created your product, whether it’s a prototype or a limited run, you can employ market research again to help you refine your strategy before an official product launch. For example, you could give samples of a new food product to passersby in exchange for their feedback. You can also use market research to test reactions to a new logo, new packaging, or any number of other business decisions.

benefits of market research study

5. Make More Informed Decisions

Market research empowers companies to make more informed decisions that are backed by data. Gut feelings are not reliable means of making decisions. For instance, you may think releasing a luxury version of your product at a higher price point is a great business idea, but consumers willing to pay that price may associate your brand with budget-friendly products and opt for luxury products from luxury brands instead. The only way to know for sure is to conduct market research.

Market research data can serve as a compass, steering each choice a company makes to take them one step closer to their goal of successfully converting and retaining their target customers.

Here are some examples of decisions you can make more accurately with the help of market research:

  • Choosing a different consumer base to target through a new marketing campaign
  • Determining which channels to include in your advertising campaign
  • Selecting design and personality elements to form a brand persona that will connect with your audience
  • Choosing whether to open a new retail location
  • Deciding whether a product should be discontinued or modified
  • Pricing products in a way that maintains margins and appeals to customers

Through market research, you can make these and other decisions based on data rather than guesses and, as a result, boost your chances of getting it right the first time.

6. Compete More Effectively

Solid market research can be the difference that gives you a competitive edge in the marketplace. For one, by understanding your customers better, you may be able to engage them more effectively than your competitor is doing. Additionally, competitor research can give you direct insight into your competitors so you can understand how you fit into the marketplace.

If you’re a newcomer and want to know the best ways to draw customers away from legacy brands, market research can help you find out where consumers are dissatisfied with these brands and their offerings. By pinpointing these gaps, you can appeal directly to consumers’ desires and market yourself as a disruptive company with a superior solution.

You can also use market research to help you discover underserved segments of the market. By targeting these underserved consumers, you can carve out a place in the market for yourself where you’ll excel. For example,  the founder of War Paint, a cosmetic company  marketed to men, said, “Growing up, I never felt there was a brand for me, that spoke to me.” War Paint and some other emerging cosmetic brands target male consumers who were previously not part of the equation in the makeup market.

benefits of market research study

7. Stay on Top of Trends

Market research isn’t just important for new businesses. As consumers evolve, companies must also evolve to optimize the way they connect with customers. Market research is a valuable means of staying up on relevant trends. Researching trends can often be done through secondary research. Industry reports or research from your competitors, for example, can reveal what new product features consumers are interested in.

Today’s culture changes rapidly, and market research is essential if you want to keep up. You need to stay aware of trends regarding your consumers’ purchasing behavior, the most popular advertising channels, packaging preferences, product features, relevant messaging, and much more. Mimicking what your competitor did last year isn’t a good strategy.

Trends are especially important and cycle more frequently in some industries, such as fashion and design. If your company sells light fixtures, for example, you need to conduct research frequently to see what styles appeal to modern interior designers and homeowners. You also need to be aware of any new technology you can incorporate into your product to help you stay at the cutting edge and deliver the latest and greatest products to your consumers.

benefits of market research study

How to Conduct Market Research

Companies can conduct market research through various means. First, it’s helpful to understand the difference between two main categories of sourcing market research data — primary and secondary research:

  • Primary research  is the data a company collects or an expert collects on the company’s behalf for their market research purposes. In other words, it’s field research. Some primary research is exploratory, meaning it’s more open-ended, and other forms of primary research aim to provide insight into specific questions or issues.
  • Secondary research  involves using data that already exists and is at your disposal for market research purposes. For example, you could consult government census data, industry data reports or statistics on market trends. This type of research can provide a good starting point for understanding the market more broadly and learning about the competition.

Secondary research tends to be a starting point before conducting primary research.

There are several methods of primary research companies use to learn from consumers. Some of the most popular methods include:

  • Surveys:  Surveys involve asking consumers questions they can quickly answer. Survey questions can be multiple choice or more open-ended. Surveys can be conducted in-person, over the phone, through the mail or  online . They provide a fast and simple way of reaching a large audience and getting their feedback.
  • Focus groups:  Focus groups tend not to involve as many participants as a survey. Instead, a market researcher leads a small group of consumers in a discussion to get a window into consumers’ thoughts. Because the groups are small, most companies will assemble multiple focus groups and take all the results into account. They may observe through a one-way mirror or watch a recording.
  • Interviews:  Interviews are similar to focus groups but may involve even fewer people. A one-on-one interview can be a valuable way of gaining detailed insight from one customer. These insights can be helpful, but they don’t provide statistically reliable data as you can get with a large survey.
  • Observation:  Market observation involves watching consumers to see how they behave under natural conditions, such as a retail store. These consumers may or may not know they are being observed. For example, researchers may watch security footage taken from a store to see which departments customers tend to go to first and whether they stop to look at point-of-purchase displays.
  • Field trials:  Field trials involve making a business move but doing so on a smaller scale and observing the results. For example, a restaurant chain may try a new menu item at a handful of locations and see how popular it is. If it’s a success, the company can feel more confident about adding the item to their menus throughout the region.

Companies can conduct their own market research in-house, but many choose to share their goals with a third-party expert who can create a market research strategy and execute it. By outsourcing your market research, you can streamline the process, focus on your core competencies, and receive valuable data from the experts that you can then leverage to drive your business forward.

benefits of market research study

Does Market Research Work?

Market research takes time, effort, and finances to complete, so it makes sense to spend these resources only if you’re going to get a positive return. The reality is that market research remains a crucial part of running a successful business because it is indeed worth the investment. Of course, market research alone won’t cause your business to succeed — but it will give you the information you need to make strategic decisions that will steer your company to success.

We looked at several benefits of market research but consider the inverse reality. Without market research, you could fail to connect with customers, miss out on growth opportunities, be vulnerable to risks, make poor business decisions, and ultimately lose your customers to your competitors. Some businesses get lucky without doing their research, but these instances are rare. Market research can help you avoid common pitfalls and grow your business.

Learn More About Our Market Research Tools

Market research should be a key part of your company’s recipe for success. Surveys are one of the most popular and effective means of reaching consumers and gaining insight into their values, preferences, opinions, and more. At Cint, we help brands and agencies conduct online studies that can empower them with the market research data they need. We can connect your company with millions of consumers, deliver fast results, and ensure those results are accurate through robust quality checks. Cint can help you produce the primary data you need on a tight timetable so you can make informed decisions to help you connect with customers and grow your business. To learn more about our market research tools, contact our team today.

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How to Do Market Research: The Complete Guide

Learn how to do market research with this step-by-step guide, complete with templates, tools and real-world examples.

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Market research is the systematic process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a specific market or industry.

What are your customers’ needs? How does your product compare to the competition? What are the emerging trends and opportunities in your industry? If these questions keep you up at night, it’s time to conduct market research.

Market research plays a pivotal role in your ability to stay competitive and relevant, helping you anticipate shifts in consumer behavior and industry dynamics. It involves gathering these insights using a wide range of techniques, from surveys and interviews to data analysis and observational studies.

In this guide, we’ll explore why market research is crucial, the various types of market research, the methods used in data collection, and how to effectively conduct market research to drive informed decision-making and success.

What is market research?

The purpose of market research is to offer valuable insight into the preferences and behaviors of your target audience, and anticipate shifts in market trends and the competitive landscape. This information helps you make data-driven decisions, develop effective strategies for your business, and maximize your chances of long-term growth.

Business intelligence insight graphic with hand showing a lightbulb with $ sign in it

Why is market research important? 

By understanding the significance of market research, you can make sure you’re asking the right questions and using the process to your advantage. Some of the benefits of market research include:

  • Informed decision-making: Market research provides you with the data and insights you need to make smart decisions for your business. It helps you identify opportunities, assess risks and tailor your strategies to meet the demands of the market. Without market research, decisions are often based on assumptions or guesswork, leading to costly mistakes.
  • Customer-centric approach: A cornerstone of market research involves developing a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences. This gives you valuable insights into your target audience, helping you develop products, services and marketing campaigns that resonate with your customers.
  • Competitive advantage: By conducting market research, you’ll gain a competitive edge. You’ll be able to identify gaps in the market, analyze competitor strengths and weaknesses, and position your business strategically. This enables you to create unique value propositions, differentiate yourself from competitors, and seize opportunities that others may overlook.
  • Risk mitigation: Market research helps you anticipate market shifts and potential challenges. By identifying threats early, you can proactively adjust their strategies to mitigate risks and respond effectively to changing circumstances. This proactive approach is particularly valuable in volatile industries.
  • Resource optimization: Conducting market research allows organizations to allocate their time, money and resources more efficiently. It ensures that investments are made in areas with the highest potential return on investment, reducing wasted resources and improving overall business performance.
  • Adaptation to market trends: Markets evolve rapidly, driven by technological advancements, cultural shifts and changing consumer attitudes. Market research ensures that you stay ahead of these trends and adapt your offerings accordingly so you can avoid becoming obsolete. 

As you can see, market research empowers businesses to make data-driven decisions, cater to customer needs, outperform competitors, mitigate risks, optimize resources and stay agile in a dynamic marketplace. These benefits make it a huge industry; the global market research services market is expected to grow from $76.37 billion in 2021 to $108.57 billion in 2026 . Now, let’s dig into the different types of market research that can help you achieve these benefits.

Types of market research 

  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Exploratory research
  • Descriptive research
  • Causal research
  • Cross-sectional research
  • Longitudinal research

Despite its advantages, 23% of organizations don’t have a clear market research strategy. Part of developing a strategy involves choosing the right type of market research for your business goals. The most commonly used approaches include:

1. Qualitative research

Qualitative research focuses on understanding the underlying motivations, attitudes and perceptions of individuals or groups. It is typically conducted through techniques like in-depth interviews, focus groups and content analysis — methods we’ll discuss further in the sections below. Qualitative research provides rich, nuanced insights that can inform product development, marketing strategies and brand positioning.

2. Quantitative research

Quantitative research, in contrast to qualitative research, involves the collection and analysis of numerical data, often through surveys, experiments and structured questionnaires. This approach allows for statistical analysis and the measurement of trends, making it suitable for large-scale market studies and hypothesis testing. While it’s worthwhile using a mix of qualitative and quantitative research, most businesses prioritize the latter because it is scientific, measurable and easily replicated across different experiments.

3. Exploratory research

Whether you’re conducting qualitative or quantitative research or a mix of both, exploratory research is often the first step. Its primary goal is to help you understand a market or problem so you can gain insights and identify potential issues or opportunities. This type of market research is less structured and is typically conducted through open-ended interviews, focus groups or secondary data analysis. Exploratory research is valuable when entering new markets or exploring new product ideas.

4. Descriptive research

As its name implies, descriptive research seeks to describe a market, population or phenomenon in detail. It involves collecting and summarizing data to answer questions about audience demographics and behaviors, market size, and current trends. Surveys, observational studies and content analysis are common methods used in descriptive research. 

5. Causal research

Causal research aims to establish cause-and-effect relationships between variables. It investigates whether changes in one variable result in changes in another. Experimental designs, A/B testing and regression analysis are common causal research methods. This sheds light on how specific marketing strategies or product changes impact consumer behavior.

6. Cross-sectional research

Cross-sectional market research involves collecting data from a sample of the population at a single point in time. It is used to analyze differences, relationships or trends among various groups within a population. Cross-sectional studies are helpful for market segmentation, identifying target audiences and assessing market trends at a specific moment.

7. Longitudinal research

Longitudinal research, in contrast to cross-sectional research, collects data from the same subjects over an extended period. This allows for the analysis of trends, changes and developments over time. Longitudinal studies are useful for tracking long-term developments in consumer preferences, brand loyalty and market dynamics.

Each type of market research has its strengths and weaknesses, and the method you choose depends on your specific research goals and the depth of understanding you’re aiming to achieve. In the following sections, we’ll delve into primary and secondary research approaches and specific research methods.

Primary vs. secondary market research

Market research of all types can be broadly categorized into two main approaches: primary research and secondary research. By understanding the differences between these approaches, you can better determine the most appropriate research method for your specific goals.

Primary market research 

Primary research involves the collection of original data straight from the source. Typically, this involves communicating directly with your target audience — through surveys, interviews, focus groups and more — to gather information. Here are some key attributes of primary market research:

  • Customized data: Primary research provides data that is tailored to your research needs. You design a custom research study and gather information specific to your goals.
  • Up-to-date insights: Because primary research involves communicating with customers, the data you collect reflects the most current market conditions and consumer behaviors.
  • Time-consuming and resource-intensive: Despite its advantages, primary research can be labor-intensive and costly, especially when dealing with large sample sizes or complex study designs. Whether you hire a market research consultant, agency or use an in-house team, primary research studies consume a large amount of resources and time.

Secondary market research 

Secondary research, on the other hand, involves analyzing data that has already been compiled by third-party sources, such as online research tools, databases, news sites, industry reports and academic studies.

Build your project graphic

Here are the main characteristics of secondary market research:

  • Cost-effective: Secondary research is generally more cost-effective than primary research since it doesn’t require building a research plan from scratch. You and your team can look at databases, websites and publications on an ongoing basis, without needing to design a custom experiment or hire a consultant. 
  • Leverages multiple sources: Data tools and software extract data from multiple places across the web, and then consolidate that information within a single platform. This means you’ll get a greater amount of data and a wider scope from secondary research.
  • Quick to access: You can access a wide range of information rapidly — often in seconds — if you’re using online research tools and databases. Because of this, you can act on insights sooner, rather than taking the time to develop an experiment. 

So, when should you use primary vs. secondary research? In practice, many market research projects incorporate both primary and secondary research to take advantage of the strengths of each approach.

One rule of thumb is to focus on secondary research to obtain background information, market trends or industry benchmarks. It is especially valuable for conducting preliminary research, competitor analysis, or when time and budget constraints are tight. Then, if you still have knowledge gaps or need to answer specific questions unique to your business model, use primary research to create a custom experiment. 

Market research methods

  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Observational research
  • Online research tools
  • Experiments
  • Content analysis
  • Ethnographic research

How do primary and secondary research approaches translate into specific research methods? Let’s take a look at the different ways you can gather data: 

1. Surveys and questionnaires

Surveys and questionnaires are popular methods for collecting structured data from a large number of respondents. They involve a set of predetermined questions that participants answer. Surveys can be conducted through various channels, including online tools, telephone interviews and in-person or online questionnaires. They are useful for gathering quantitative data and assessing customer demographics, opinions, preferences and needs. On average, customer surveys have a 33% response rate , so keep that in mind as you consider your sample size.

2. Interviews

Interviews are in-depth conversations with individuals or groups to gather qualitative insights. They can be structured (with predefined questions) or unstructured (with open-ended discussions). Interviews are valuable for exploring complex topics, uncovering motivations and obtaining detailed feedback. 

3. Focus groups

The most common primary research methods are in-depth webcam interviews and focus groups. Focus groups are a small gathering of participants who discuss a specific topic or product under the guidance of a moderator. These discussions are valuable for primary market research because they reveal insights into consumer attitudes, perceptions and emotions. Focus groups are especially useful for idea generation, concept testing and understanding group dynamics within your target audience.

4. Observational research

Observational research involves observing and recording participant behavior in a natural setting. This method is particularly valuable when studying consumer behavior in physical spaces, such as retail stores or public places. In some types of observational research, participants are aware you’re watching them; in other cases, you discreetly watch consumers without their knowledge, as they use your product. Either way, observational research provides firsthand insights into how people interact with products or environments.

5. Online research tools

You and your team can do your own secondary market research using online tools. These tools include data prospecting platforms and databases, as well as online surveys, social media listening, web analytics and sentiment analysis platforms. They help you gather data from online sources, monitor industry trends, track competitors, understand consumer preferences and keep tabs on online behavior. We’ll talk more about choosing the right market research tools in the sections that follow.

6. Experiments

Market research experiments are controlled tests of variables to determine causal relationships. While experiments are often associated with scientific research, they are also used in market research to assess the impact of specific marketing strategies, product features, or pricing and packaging changes.

7. Content analysis

Content analysis involves the systematic examination of textual, visual or audio content to identify patterns, themes and trends. It’s commonly applied to customer reviews, social media posts and other forms of online content to analyze consumer opinions and sentiments.

8. Ethnographic research

Ethnographic research immerses researchers into the daily lives of consumers to understand their behavior and culture. This method is particularly valuable when studying niche markets or exploring the cultural context of consumer choices.

How to do market research

  • Set clear objectives
  • Identify your target audience
  • Choose your research methods
  • Use the right market research tools
  • Collect data
  • Analyze data 
  • Interpret your findings
  • Identify opportunities and challenges
  • Make informed business decisions
  • Monitor and adapt

Now that you have gained insights into the various market research methods at your disposal, let’s delve into the practical aspects of how to conduct market research effectively. Here’s a quick step-by-step overview, from defining objectives to monitoring market shifts.

1. Set clear objectives

When you set clear and specific goals, you’re essentially creating a compass to guide your research questions and methodology. Start by precisely defining what you want to achieve. Are you launching a new product and want to understand its viability in the market? Are you evaluating customer satisfaction with a product redesign? 

Start by creating SMART goals — objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Not only will this clarify your research focus from the outset, but it will also help you track progress and benchmark your success throughout the process. 

You should also consult with key stakeholders and team members to ensure alignment on your research objectives before diving into data collecting. This will help you gain diverse perspectives and insights that will shape your research approach.

2. Identify your target audience

Next, you’ll need to pinpoint your target audience to determine who should be included in your research. Begin by creating detailed buyer personas or stakeholder profiles. Consider demographic factors like age, gender, income and location, but also delve into psychographics, such as interests, values and pain points.

The more specific your target audience, the more accurate and actionable your research will be. Additionally, segment your audience if your research objectives involve studying different groups, such as current customers and potential leads.

If you already have existing customers, you can also hold conversations with them to better understand your target market. From there, you can refine your buyer personas and tailor your research methods accordingly.

3. Choose your research methods

Selecting the right research methods is crucial for gathering high-quality data. Start by considering the nature of your research objectives. If you’re exploring consumer preferences, surveys and interviews can provide valuable insights. For in-depth understanding, focus groups or observational research might be suitable. Consider using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to gain a well-rounded perspective. 

You’ll also need to consider your budget. Think about what you can realistically achieve using the time and resources available to you. If you have a fairly generous budget, you may want to try a mix of primary and secondary research approaches. If you’re doing market research for a startup , on the other hand, chances are your budget is somewhat limited. If that’s the case, try addressing your goals with secondary research tools before investing time and effort in a primary research study. 

4. Use the right market research tools

Whether you’re conducting primary or secondary research, you’ll need to choose the right tools. These can help you do anything from sending surveys to customers to monitoring trends and analyzing data. Here are some examples of popular market research tools:

  • Market research software: Crunchbase is a platform that provides best-in-class company data, making it valuable for market research on growing companies and industries. You can use Crunchbase to access trusted, first-party funding data, revenue data, news and firmographics, enabling you to monitor industry trends and understand customer needs.

Market Research Graphic Crunchbase

  • Survey and questionnaire tools: SurveyMonkey is a widely used online survey platform that allows you to create, distribute and analyze surveys. Google Forms is a free tool that lets you create surveys and collect responses through Google Drive.
  • Data analysis software: Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are useful for conducting statistical analyses. SPSS is a powerful statistical analysis software used for data processing, analysis and reporting.
  • Social listening tools: Brandwatch is a social listening and analytics platform that helps you monitor social media conversations, track sentiment and analyze trends. Mention is a media monitoring tool that allows you to track mentions of your brand, competitors and keywords across various online sources.
  • Data visualization platforms: Tableau is a data visualization tool that helps you create interactive and shareable dashboards and reports. Power BI by Microsoft is a business analytics tool for creating interactive visualizations and reports.

5. Collect data

There’s an infinite amount of data you could be collecting using these tools, so you’ll need to be intentional about going after the data that aligns with your research goals. Implement your chosen research methods, whether it’s distributing surveys, conducting interviews or pulling from secondary research platforms. Pay close attention to data quality and accuracy, and stick to a standardized process to streamline data capture and reduce errors. 

6. Analyze data

Once data is collected, you’ll need to analyze it systematically. Use statistical software or analysis tools to identify patterns, trends and correlations. For qualitative data, employ thematic analysis to extract common themes and insights. Visualize your findings with charts, graphs and tables to make complex data more understandable.

If you’re not proficient in data analysis, consider outsourcing or collaborating with a data analyst who can assist in processing and interpreting your data accurately.

Enrich your database graphic

7. Interpret your findings

Interpreting your market research findings involves understanding what the data means in the context of your objectives. Are there significant trends that uncover the answers to your initial research questions? Consider the implications of your findings on your business strategy. It’s essential to move beyond raw data and extract actionable insights that inform decision-making.

Hold a cross-functional meeting or workshop with relevant team members to collectively interpret the findings. Different perspectives can lead to more comprehensive insights and innovative solutions.

8. Identify opportunities and challenges

Use your research findings to identify potential growth opportunities and challenges within your market. What segments of your audience are underserved or overlooked? Are there emerging trends you can capitalize on? Conversely, what obstacles or competitors could hinder your progress?

Lay out this information in a clear and organized way by conducting a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Jot down notes for each of these areas to provide a structured overview of gaps and hurdles in the market.

9. Make informed business decisions

Market research is only valuable if it leads to informed decisions for your company. Based on your insights, devise actionable strategies and initiatives that align with your research objectives. Whether it’s refining your product, targeting new customer segments or adjusting pricing, ensure your decisions are rooted in the data.

At this point, it’s also crucial to keep your team aligned and accountable. Create an action plan that outlines specific steps, responsibilities and timelines for implementing the recommendations derived from your research. 

10. Monitor and adapt

Market research isn’t a one-time activity; it’s an ongoing process. Continuously monitor market conditions, customer behaviors and industry trends. Set up mechanisms to collect real-time data and feedback. As you gather new information, be prepared to adapt your strategies and tactics accordingly. Regularly revisiting your research ensures your business remains agile and reflects changing market dynamics and consumer preferences.

Online market research sources

As you go through the steps above, you’ll want to turn to trusted, reputable sources to gather your data. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Crunchbase: As mentioned above, Crunchbase is an online platform with an extensive dataset, allowing you to access in-depth insights on market trends, consumer behavior and competitive analysis. You can also customize your search options to tailor your research to specific industries, geographic regions or customer personas.

Product Image Advanced Search CRMConnected

  • Academic databases: Academic databases, such as ProQuest and JSTOR , are treasure troves of scholarly research papers, studies and academic journals. They offer in-depth analyses of various subjects, including market trends, consumer preferences and industry-specific insights. Researchers can access a wealth of peer-reviewed publications to gain a deeper understanding of their research topics.
  • Government and NGO databases: Government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other institutions frequently maintain databases containing valuable economic, demographic and industry-related data. These sources offer credible statistics and reports on a wide range of topics, making them essential for market researchers. Examples include the U.S. Census Bureau , the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Pew Research Center .
  • Industry reports: Industry reports and market studies are comprehensive documents prepared by research firms, industry associations and consulting companies. They provide in-depth insights into specific markets, including market size, trends, competitive analysis and consumer behavior. You can find this information by looking at relevant industry association databases; examples include the American Marketing Association and the National Retail Federation .
  • Social media and online communities: Social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter (X) , forums such as Reddit and Quora , and review platforms such as G2 can provide real-time insights into consumer sentiment, opinions and trends. 

Market research examples

At this point, you have market research tools and data sources — but how do you act on the data you gather? Let’s go over some real-world examples that illustrate the practical application of market research across various industries. These examples showcase how market research can lead to smart decision-making and successful business decisions.

Example 1: Apple’s iPhone launch

Apple ’s iconic iPhone launch in 2007 serves as a prime example of market research driving product innovation in tech. Before the iPhone’s release, Apple conducted extensive market research to understand consumer preferences, pain points and unmet needs in the mobile phone industry. This research led to the development of a touchscreen smartphone with a user-friendly interface, addressing consumer demands for a more intuitive and versatile device. The result was a revolutionary product that disrupted the market and redefined the smartphone industry.

Example 2: McDonald’s global expansion

McDonald’s successful global expansion strategy demonstrates the importance of market research when expanding into new territories. Before entering a new market, McDonald’s conducts thorough research to understand local tastes, preferences and cultural nuances. This research informs menu customization, marketing strategies and store design. For instance, in India, McDonald’s offers a menu tailored to local preferences, including vegetarian options. This market-specific approach has enabled McDonald’s to adapt and thrive in diverse global markets.

Example 3: Organic and sustainable farming

The shift toward organic and sustainable farming practices in the food industry is driven by market research that indicates increased consumer demand for healthier and environmentally friendly food options. As a result, food producers and retailers invest in sustainable sourcing and organic product lines — such as with these sustainable seafood startups — to align with this shift in consumer values. 

The bottom line? Market research has multiple use cases and is a critical practice for any industry. Whether it’s launching groundbreaking products, entering new markets or responding to changing consumer preferences, you can use market research to shape successful strategies and outcomes.

Market research templates

You finally have a strong understanding of how to do market research and apply it in the real world. Before we wrap up, here are some market research templates that you can use as a starting point for your projects:

  • Smartsheet competitive analysis templates : These spreadsheets can serve as a framework for gathering information about the competitive landscape and obtaining valuable lessons to apply to your business strategy.
  • SurveyMonkey product survey template : Customize the questions on this survey based on what you want to learn from your target customers.
  • HubSpot templates : HubSpot offers a wide range of free templates you can use for market research, business planning and more.
  • SCORE templates : SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides templates for business plans, market analysis and financial projections.
  • SBA.gov : The U.S. Small Business Administration offers templates for every aspect of your business, including market research, and is particularly valuable for new startups. 

Strengthen your business with market research

When conducted effectively, market research is like a guiding star. Equipped with the right tools and techniques, you can uncover valuable insights, stay competitive, foster innovation and navigate the complexities of your industry.

Throughout this guide, we’ve discussed the definition of market research, different research methods, and how to conduct it effectively. We’ve also explored various types of market research and shared practical insights and templates for getting started. 

Now, it’s time to start the research process. Trust in data, listen to the market and make informed decisions that guide your company toward lasting success.

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Written by Mary Kate Miller | June 1, 2021

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Components of market research

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Market research is a cornerstone of all successful, strategic businesses. It can also be daunting for entrepreneurs looking to launch a startup or start a side hustle . What is market research, anyway? And how do you…do it?

We’ll walk you through absolutely everything you need to know about the market research process so that by the end of this guide, you’ll be an expert in market research too. And what’s more important: you’ll have actionable steps you can take to start collecting your own market research.

What Is Market Research?

Market research is the organized process of gathering information about your target customers and market. Market research can help you better understand customer behavior and competitor strengths and weaknesses, as well as provide insight for the best strategies in launching new businesses and products. There are different ways to approach market research, including primary and secondary research and qualitative and quantitative research. The strongest approaches will include a combination of all four.

“Virtually every business can benefit from conducting some market research,” says Niles Koenigsberg of Real FiG Advertising + Marketing . “Market research can help you piece together your [business’s] strengths and weaknesses, along with your prospective opportunities, so that you can understand where your unique differentiators may lie.” Well-honed market research will help your brand stand out from the competition and help you see what you need to do to lead the market. It can also do so much more.

The Purposes of Market Research

Why do market research? It can help you…

  • Pinpoint your target market, create buyer personas, and develop a more holistic understanding of your customer base and market.
  • Understand current market conditions to evaluate risks and anticipate how your product or service will perform.
  • Validate a concept prior to launch.
  • Identify gaps in the market that your competitors have created or overlooked.
  • Solve problems that have been left unresolved by the existing product/brand offerings.
  • Identify opportunities and solutions for new products or services.
  • Develop killer marketing strategies .

What Are the Benefits of Market Research?

Strong market research can help your business in many ways. It can…

  • Strengthen your market position.
  • Help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Help you identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Minimize risk.
  • Center your customers’ experience from the get-go.
  • Help you create a dynamic strategy based on market conditions and customer needs/demands.

What Are the Basic Methods of Market Research?

The basic methods of market research include surveys, personal interviews, customer observation, and the review of secondary research. In addition to these basic methods, a forward-thinking market research approach incorporates data from the digital landscape like social media analysis, SEO research, gathering feedback via forums, and more. Throughout this guide, we will cover each of the methods commonly used in market research to give you a comprehensive overview.

Primary vs. Secondary Market Research

Primary and secondary are the two main types of market research you can do. The latter relies on research conducted by others. Primary research, on the other hand, refers to the fact-finding efforts you conduct on your own.

This approach is limited, however. It’s likely that the research objectives of these secondary data points differ from your own, and it can be difficult to confirm the veracity of their findings.

Primary Market Research

Primary research is more labor intensive, but it generally yields data that is exponentially more actionable. It can be conducted through interviews, surveys, online research, and your own data collection. Every new business should engage in primary market research prior to launch. It will help you validate that your idea has traction, and it will give you the information you need to help minimize financial risk.

You can hire an agency to conduct this research on your behalf. This brings the benefit of expertise, as you’ll likely work with a market research analyst. The downside is that hiring an agency can be expensive—too expensive for many burgeoning entrepreneurs. That brings us to the second approach. You can also do the market research yourself, which substantially reduces the financial burden of starting a new business .

Secondary Market Research

Secondary research includes resources like government databases and industry-specific data and publications. It can be beneficial to start your market research with secondary sources because it’s widely available and often free-to-access. This information will help you gain a broad overview of the market conditions for your new business.

Identify Your Goals and Your Audience

Before you begin conducting interviews or sending out surveys, you need to set your market research goals. At the end of your market research process, you want to have a clear idea of who your target market is—including demographic information like age, gender, and where they live—but you also want to start with a rough idea of who your audience might be and what you’re trying to achieve with market research.

You can pinpoint your objectives by asking yourself a series of guiding questions:

  • What are you hoping to discover through your research?
  • Who are you hoping to serve better because of your findings?
  • What do you think your market is?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Are you testing the reception of a new product category or do you want to see if your product or service solves the problem left by a current gap in the market?
  • Are you just…testing the waters to get a sense of how people would react to a new brand?

Once you’ve narrowed down the “what” of your market research goals, you’re ready to move onto how you can best achieve them. Think of it like algebra. Many math problems start with “solve for x.” Once you know what you’re looking for, you can get to work trying to find it. It’s a heck of a lot easier to solve a problem when you know you’re looking for “x” than if you were to say “I’m gonna throw some numbers out there and see if I find a variable.”

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How to Do Market Research

This guide outlines every component of a comprehensive market research effort. Take into consideration the goals you have established for your market research, as they will influence which of these elements you’ll want to include in your market research strategy.

Secondary Data

Secondary data allows you to utilize pre-existing data to garner a sense of market conditions and opportunities. You can rely on published market studies, white papers, and public competitive information to start your market research journey.

Secondary data, while useful, is limited and cannot substitute your own primary data. It’s best used for quantitative data that can provide background to your more specific inquiries.

Find Your Customers Online

Once you’ve identified your target market, you can use online gathering spaces and forums to gain insights and give yourself a competitive advantage. Rebecca McCusker of The Creative Content Shop recommends internet recon as a vital tool for gaining a sense of customer needs and sentiment. “Read their posts and comments on forums, YouTube video comments, Facebook group [comments], and even Amazon/Goodreads book comments to get in their heads and see what people are saying.”

If you’re interested in engaging with your target demographic online, there are some general rules you should follow. First, secure the consent of any group moderators to ensure that you are acting within the group guidelines. Failure to do so could result in your eviction from the group.

Not all comments have the same research value. “Focus on the comments and posts with the most comments and highest engagement,” says McCusker. These high-engagement posts can give you a sense of what is already connecting and gaining traction within the group.

Social media can also be a great avenue for finding interview subjects. “LinkedIn is very useful if your [target customer] has a very specific job or works in a very specific industry or sector. It’s amazing the amount of people that will be willing to help,” explains Miguel González, a marketing executive at Dealers League . “My advice here is BE BRAVE, go to LinkedIn, or even to people you know and ask them, do quick interviews and ask real people that belong to that market and segment and get your buyer persona information first hand.”

Market research interviews can provide direct feedback on your brand, product, or service and give you a better understanding of consumer pain points and interests.

When organizing your market research interviews, you want to pay special attention to the sample group you’re selecting, as it will directly impact the information you receive. According to Tanya Zhang, the co-founder of Nimble Made , you want to first determine whether you want to choose a representative sample—for example, interviewing people who match each of the buyer persona/customer profiles you’ve developed—or a random sample.

“A sampling of your usual persona styles, for example, can validate details that you’ve already established about your product, while a random sampling may [help you] discover a new way people may use your product,” Zhang says.

Market Surveys

Market surveys solicit customer inclinations regarding your potential product or service through a series of open-ended questions. This direct outreach to your target audience can provide information on your customers’ preferences, attitudes, buying potential, and more.

Every expert we asked voiced unanimous support for market surveys as a powerful tool for market research. With the advent of various survey tools with accessible pricing—or free use—it’s never been easier to assemble, disseminate, and gather market surveys. While it should also be noted that surveys shouldn’t replace customer interviews , they can be used to supplement customer interviews to give you feedback from a broader audience.

Who to Include in Market Surveys

  • Current customers
  • Past customers
  • Your existing audience (such as social media/newsletter audiences)

Example Questions to Include in Market Surveys

While the exact questions will vary for each business, here are some common, helpful questions that you may want to consider for your market survey. Demographic Questions: the questions that help you understand, demographically, who your target customers are:

  • “What is your age?”
  • “Where do you live?”
  • “What is your gender identity?”
  • “What is your household income?”
  • “What is your household size?”
  • “What do you do for a living?”
  • “What is your highest level of education?”

Product-Based Questions: Whether you’re seeking feedback for an existing brand or an entirely new one, these questions will help you get a sense of how people feel about your business, product, or service:

  • “How well does/would our product/service meet your needs?”
  • “How does our product/service compare to similar products/services that you use?”
  • “How long have you been a customer?” or “What is the likelihood that you would be a customer of our brand?

Personal/Informative Questions: the deeper questions that help you understand how your audience thinks and what they care about.

  • “What are your biggest challenges?”
  • “What’s most important to you?”
  • “What do you do for fun (hobbies, interests, activities)?”
  • “Where do you seek new information when researching a new product?”
  • “How do you like to make purchases?”
  • “What is your preferred method for interacting with a brand?”

Survey Tools

Online survey tools make it easy to distribute surveys and collect responses. The best part is that there are many free tools available. If you’re making your own online survey, you may want to consider SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google Forms, or Zoho Survey.

Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis is a breakdown of how your business stacks up against the competition. There are many different ways to conduct this analysis. One of the most popular methods is a SWOT analysis, which stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.” This type of analysis is helpful because it gives you a more robust understanding of why a customer might choose a competitor over your business. Seeing how you stack up against the competition can give you the direction you need to carve out your place as a market leader.

Social Media Analysis

Social media has fundamentally changed the market research landscape, making it easier than ever to engage with a wide swath of consumers. Follow your current or potential competitors on social media to see what they’re posting and how their audience is engaging with it. Social media can also give you a lower cost opportunity for testing different messaging and brand positioning.

SEO Analysis and Opportunities

SEO analysis can help you identify the digital competition for getting the word out about your brand, product, or service. You won’t want to overlook this valuable information. Search listening tools offer a novel approach to understanding the market and generating the content strategy that will drive business. Tools like Google Trends and Awario can streamline this process.

Ready to Kick Your Business Into High Gear?

Now that you’ve completed the guide to market research you know you’re ready to put on your researcher hat to give your business the best start. Still not sure how actually… launch the thing? Our free mini-course can run you through the essentials for starting your side hustle .

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About Mary Kate Miller

Mary Kate Miller writes about small business, real estate, and finance. In addition to writing for Foundr, her work has been published by The Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Bustle, and more. She lives in Chicago.

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benefits of market research study

The Ultimate Guide to Market Research: Types, Benefits, and Real-World Examples

Team Fratzke

benefits of market research study

Today's consumers hold a lot of power when making purchase decisions. With a quick inquiry in a search engine or search bar within a social media platform, they can access genuine reviews from their peers without relying on sales reps.

Considering this shift in consumer behavior, adjusting your marketing strategy so it caters to the modern-day buying process is essential . To achieve this, you must thoroughly understand your target audience, the market you operate in, and the factors influencing their decision-making.

This is where market research can be leveraged so you stay current with your audience and industry. 

Article Overview

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to conduct market research, including:

  • Why market research is essential for understanding your target audience, the market you operate in, and factors influencing decision-making
  • What are the different types of market research, such as primary and secondary market research
  • How to collect information about your customers and target market to determine the success of a new or existing product, improve your brand, and communicate your company's value
  • Real-world examples of companies leveraging market research

Schedule your Free Market Research Consultation with Fratzke

What is market research?

Market research is a necessary process that involves collecting and documenting information about your target market and customers. This helps you determine the success of a new product, improve an existing one, or understand how your brand is perceived. You can then turn this research into profits by  developing marketing strategies and campaigns to effectively communicate your company's value .

While market research can provide insights into various aspects of an industry, it is not a crystal ball that can predict everything about your customers. Market researchers typically explore multiple areas of the market, which can take several weeks or even months to get a complete picture of the business landscape.

Even by researching just one of those areas, you can gain better insights into who your buyers are and what unique value proposition you can offer them that no other business currently provides.

Of course, you can simply use your industry experience and existing customer insights to make sound judgment calls. However, it's important to note that market research provides additional benefits beyond these strategies. There are two things to consider:

  • Your competitors also have experienced individuals in the industry and a customer base. Your immediate resources may equal those of your competition's immediate resources. Seeking a larger sample size for answers can provide a better edge.
  • Your brand's customers do not represent the entire market's attitudes, only those who are attracted to your brand.

The market research services industry is experiencing rapid growth , indicating a strong interest in market research as we enter 2024. The market is expected to grow from approximately $75 billion in 2021 to $90.79 billion in 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 5%. 

Your competitors have highly skilled individuals within the industry, meaning your available personnel resources are likely similar to those of your competitors. So what are you going to do to get ahead?

You’re going to do thorough market research, which is why seeking answers from a larger sample size is essential. Remember that your customers represent only a portion of the market already attracted to your brand, and their attitudes may not necessarily reflect those of the entire market. You could be leaving money on the table by leaving out untapped customers .

Why do market research?

Market research helps you meet your buyers where they are. Understanding your buyer's problems, pain points, and desired outcomes is invaluable as our world becomes increasingly noisy and demanding. This knowledge will help you tailor your product or service to appeal to them naturally. 

What’s even better is when you're ready to grow your business, market research can also guide you in developing an effective market expansion strategy.

Market research provides valuable insights into factors that impact your profits and can help you to :

What can market research help your brand with?

  • Identify where your target audience and current customers are conducting their product or service research
  • Determine which competitors your target audience looks to for information, options, or purchases
  • Keep up with the latest trends in your industry and understand what your buyers are interested in
  • Understand who makes up your market and what challenges they are facing
  • Determine what influences purchases and conversions among your target audience
  • Analyze consumer attitudes about a particular topic, pain, product, or brand
  • Assess the demand for the business initiatives you're investing in
  • Identify unaddressed or underserved customer needs that can be turned into selling opportunities
  • Understand consumer attitudes about pricing for your product or service.

Market research provides valuable information from a larger sample size of your target audience, enabling you to obtain accurate consumer attitudes. By eliminating any bias or assumptions you have about your target audience, you can make better business decisions based on the bigger picture. 

As you delve deeper into your market research, you will come across two types of research: primary and secondary market research . Simply put, think of two umbrellas beneath market research - one for primary and one for secondary research. In the next section, we will discuss the difference between these two types of research. That way, if you work with a market who wants to use them, you’ll be ready with an understanding of how they can each benefit your business.

Primary vs. Secondary Research

Both primary and secondary research are conducted to collect actionable information on your product. That information can then be divided into two types: qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research focuses on public opinion and aims to determine how the market feels about the products currently available. On the other hand, quantitative research seeks to identify relevant trends in the data gathered from public records. 

Let's take a closer look at these two types.

Primary Research vs Secondary Research

Primary Research

Primary research involves gathering first-hand information about your market and its customers. It can be leveraged to segment your market and create focused buyer personas . Generally, primary market research can be categorized into exploratory and specific studies.

Exploratory Primary Research

This type of primary market research is not focused on measuring customer trends; instead, it is focused on identifying potential problems worth addressing as a team. It is usually conducted as an initial step before any specific research is done and may involve conducting open-ended interviews or surveys with a small group of people.

Specific Primary Research

After conducting exploratory research, businesses may conduct specific primary research to explore issues or opportunities they have identified as necessary. Specific research involves targeting a smaller or more precise audience segment and asking questions aimed at solving a suspected problem. Specific primary research reveals problems that are unique to your audience so you can then offer a unique (and valuable) solution.

Secondary Research

Secondary research refers to collecting and analyzing data that has already been published or made available in public records. This may include market statistics, trend reports, sales data, and industry content you already can access. Secondary research really shines when you go to your competitors . The most commonly used sources of secondary market research include:

  • Public sources
  • Commercial sources
  • Internal sources

Public Sources

When conducting secondary market research, the first and most accessible sources of information are usually free . That’s right–these public sources are free and at your fingertips so there’s no reason for you to not be checking them out and leveraging them for your own gain.

One of the most common types of public sources is government statistics. According to Entrepreneur, two examples of public market data in the United States are the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor & Statistics. These sources offer helpful information about the state of various industries nationwide including:

Commercial Sources

Research agencies such as Pew, Fratzke, Gartner, or Forrester often provide market reports containing industry insights from their own in-depth studies . These reports usually come at a cost if you want to download and obtain the information, but these agencies are experts at what they do, so the research is most likely valuable.

Internal Sources

Internal sources of market data can include average revenue per sale, customer retention rates, and other data on the health of old and new accounts. They are often overlooked when it comes to conducting market research because of how specific the data is; however, these sources can be valuable as they provide information on the organization's historical data.

By analyzing this information, you can gain insights into what your customers want now . In addition to these broad categories, there are various ways to conduct market research. Let’s talk about them.  

Types of Market Research

  • Interviews (in-person or remote)

Focus Groups

  • Product/ Service Use Research

Observation-Based Research

Buyer persona research, market segmentation research, pricing research.

  • Competitive Analysis Research

Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research

Brand awareness research, campaign research.

11 types of market research

Interviews can be conducted face-to-face or virtually, allowing for a natural conversation flow while observing the interviewee's body language. By asking questions about themselves, the interviewee can help you create buyer personas , which are made by using information about the ideal customer, such as:

  • Family size 
  • Challenges faced at work or in life 

And other aspects of their lifestyle. This buyer profile can shape your entire marketing strategy , from the features you add to your product to the content you publish on your website. Your target audience will feel that the marketing was made just for them and will be drawn to your product or service.

Focus groups are market research involving a few carefully selected individuals who can test your product, watch a demonstration, offer feedback, and answer specific questions. This research can inspire ideas for product differentiation or highlight the unique features of your product or brand that set it apart from others in the market.  This is a great market research option to gain specific feedback, which you can use to improve your services .

Product/Service Use Research

Product or service usage research provides valuable insights into how and why your target audience uses your product or service.  This research can help in various ways including:

  •  Identifying specific features of your offering that appeal to your audience. 
  • Allowing you to assess the usability of your product or service for your target audience. 

According to a report published in 2020, usability testing was rated the most effective method for discovering user insights, with a score of 8.7 out of 10. In comparison, digital analytics scored 7.7, and user surveys scored 6.4.

Observation-based research is a process that involves observing how your target audience members use your product or service. The way that you intended your product or service to be used may not be the actual way that it is used. Observation-based research helps you understand what works well in terms of customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX), what problems they face, and which aspects of your product or service can be improved to make it easier for them to use.

To better understand how your potential customers make purchasing decisions in your industry, it is essential to know who they are. This is where buyer persona research comes in handy. Buyer or marketing personas are fictional yet generalized representations of your ideal customers. They give you someone to whom you want your marketing efforts to empathize and move, even though they don’t really exist. 

Gathering survey data and additional research to correctly identify your buyer personas will help you to visualize your audience so you can streamline your communications and inform marketing strategy . Key characteristics to include in a buyer persona are:

  • Job title(s)
  • Family size
  • Major challenges

Customer Persona Example

Market segmentation research enables you to classify your target audience into various groups or segments based on specific and defining characteristics. This method allows you to understand their needs, pain points, expectations, and goals more effectively.

Pricing research can provide valuable insights about the prices of similar products or services in your market. It can help you understand what your target audience expects to pay for your offerings and what would be a reasonable price for you to set. Correct pricing is important because if you set it too high, consumers will go to your cheaper competitor; but if you set it too low, your consumers may become suspicious of your product or service and still end up with your competitor. This information allows you to develop a solid pricing strategy aligning with your business goals and objectives. 

Competitive Analysis

Competitive analyses are incredibly valuable as they provide a deep understanding of your market and industry competition. Through these analyses, you can gain insights like: 

  • What works well in your industry 
  • What your target audience is already interested in regarding products like yours
  • Which competitors you should work to keep up with and surpass 
  • How you can differentiate yourself from the competition

Understanding customer satisfaction and loyalty is crucial to encouraging repeat business and identifying what drives customers to return (such as loyalty programs, rewards, and exceptional customer service). Researching this area will help you determine the most effective methods to keep your customers coming back again and again. If you have a CRM system, consider further utilizing automated customer feedback surveys to improve your understanding of their needs and preferences.

Brand awareness research helps you understand the level of familiarity your target audience has with your brand. It provides insights into your audience members' perceptions and associations when they think about your business.This type of research reveals what they believe your brand represents. This information is valuable for developing effective marketing strategies, improving your brand's reputation, and increasing customer loyalty .

To improve your marketing campaigns, you need to research by analyzing the success of your past campaigns among your target audience and current customers. This requires experimentation and thoroughly examining the elements that resonate with your audience. By doing so, you can identify the aspects of your campaigns that matter most to your audience and use them as a guide for future campaigns. 

Now that you understand the different market research categories and types let's look at how to conduct your market research.  Using our expertise and experience, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to conducting market research.

How to Do Market Research (Detailed Roadmap)

  • Define the problem or objective of the research. 
  • Determine the type of data needed. 
  • Identify the sources of data. 
  • Collect the data. 
  • Analyze the data. 
  • Interpret the results. 
  • Report the findings. 
  • Take action based on the findings.

Market Research Roadmap

1. Define the problem or objective of the research

Defining the problem or objective of the research is the first step in conducting market research. This involves identifying the specific issue that the research is trying to address. It is essential to be clear and specific about the research problem or objective, as it will guide the entire research process.

2. Determine the type of data needed

After defining the research problem or objective, the next step is determining the data type needed to address the issue. This involves deciding whether to collect primary or secondary data. Primary data is collected directly from the source, while secondary data is collected from existing sources such as government reports or market research studies.

3. Identify the sources of data

Once the data type has been determined, the next step is identifying the data sources. This involves identifying potential sources of primary and secondary data that can be used to address the research problem or objective. Primary data sources can include surveys, focus groups, and interviews, while secondary data sources can include government reports, industry publications, and academic journals.

4. Collect the data

After identifying the data sources, the next step is to collect the data. This involves designing and implementing a data collection plan consistent with the research problem or objective. The data collection plan should specify the methods and procedures for collecting data, sample size, and sampling method.

5. Analyze the data

Once the data has been collected, the next step is to analyze the data. This involves organizing, summarizing, and interpreting the data to identify patterns, relationships, and trends. The research problem or objective should guide the data analysis process and be conducted using appropriate statistical methods and software.

6. Interpret the results

After analyzing the data, the next step is to interpret the results. This involves drawing conclusions from the data analysis and using the results to address the research problem or objective. It is essential to analyze the results objectively and to avoid making assumptions or drawing conclusions that are not supported by the data.

7. Report the findings

Try identifying common themes to create a story and action items.To make the process easier, use your favorite presentation software to create a report, as it will make it easy to add quotes, diagrams, or call clips.

Feel free to add your flair, but the following outline should help you craft a clear summary:

  • Background: What are your goals, and why did you conduct this study?
  • Participants: Who you talked to? A table works well to break groups down by persona and customer/prospect.
  • Executive Summary: What were the most exciting things you learned? What do you plan to do about it?
  • Key Findings: Identify the key findings using data visualizations and emphasize key points.
  • Recommendations + Action Plan: Your analysis will uncover actionable insights to fuel strategies and campaigns you can run to get your brand in front of buyers earlier and more effectively. Provide your list of priorities, action items , a timeline, and its impact on your business.

8. Take action based on the findings

The final step in conducting market research is to take action based on the findings. This involves using the results to make informed decisions about the marketing strategy, product development, or other business decisions. It is important to use the findings to drive action and to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the action taken continuously.

How to Prepare for Market Research Projects

Identify a persona group to engage, prepare research questions for your market research participants, list your primary competitors.

The idea is to use your persona as a reference point for understanding and reaching out to your industry's audience members. Your business might cater to more than one persona, and that's completely acceptable! However, you must be mindful of each persona while strategizing and planning your content and campaigns. 

How to Identify the Right People to Engage for Market Research

When selecting a group on which to conduct market research , it is essential to consider individuals with the same characteristics as your target audience. 

If you need to research multiple target audiences, recruit separate groups for each one. Select people who have recently interacted with you by looking through social media for post interactions or seeing if they’ve made recent purchases from you.

If you are planning to conduct an evaluation, it is recommended that you focus on people who have completed it within the last six months. However, if you have a longer sales cycle or a specific market, you can extend the period up to a year. It is crucial to ask detailed questions during the evaluation, so the participants' experience must be fresh.

Gather a mix of participants

If you want to expand your customer base, you’re going to want to get viewpoints of your product or service from every angle. Consider getting this mix by recruiting individuals who have already purchased your product, those who have bought a competitor's product, and those who haven't purchased anything. While targeting your existing customers may be the easiest option, gathering information from non-customers can help you gain a more balanced market perspective .

We recommend taking the following steps to select a mix of participants:

  • Create a list of customers who made a recent purchase . This is usually the most accessible group to recruit. If you have a CRM system with list segmentation capabilities, run a report of deals that closed within the past six months and filter it for the characteristics you're looking for. Otherwise, work with your sales team to get them a list of appropriate accounts.
  • Create a list of customers who were in an active evaluation but didn't make a purchase. You should get a mix of buyers who either purchased from a competitor or decided not to purchase. Again, you can obtain this list from your CRM or your Sales team's system to track deals.
  • Use social media to call for participants. Try reaching out to people who follow you on social media but decided not to buy from you. Some may be willing to talk to you and explain why they did not purchase your product.
  • Leverage your network . Spread the word that you're conducting a study to your coworkers, former colleagues, and LinkedIn connections. Even if your direct connections don't qualify, some will likely have a coworker, friend, or family member who does.
  • Choose an incentive to motivate participants to spend time on your study. If you're on a tight budget , you can reward participants for free by giving them exclusive access to content. 
Related Resources:
  • Digital Marketing Strategy: Keep It Simple
  • 5 Marketing Predictions for the Looming Recession
  • Recession Proof Marketing Strategies for Your Business
  • Marketing Operations Framework - The Five Ps
  • Biggest Marketing Challenges Leaders Face
  • Digital Marketing Benchmarks & KPIs - How To Compare Your Performance

Preparation is key when conducting research in hopes of gaining productive and informative conversations. This involves creating a discussion guide, whether it is for a focus group, an online survey, or a phone interview. The guide should help you cover all the relevant topics and manage your time efficiently.

The discussion guide should be in an outline format, with an allocated time and open-ended questions for each section. All the questions must be open-ended, as asking closed questions may lead the interviewee to respond with a simple "yes" or "no" answer. You may need more detailed answers to make informed decisions, so be sure to ask follow-up questions as necessary.  Also leave out any leading questions as they may unintentionally influence the interviewee's response, skewing your research results.

It's essential to identify your competitors accurately and you may even have some hidden in plain sight.  There are some instances where your company's business division might compete with your main product or service, even though that company's brand might have a different focus. Take a look at Apple:  the company is known primarily for its laptops and mobile devices, but Apple Music competes with Spotify over its music streaming service.

From a content perspective, you might compete with a blog, YouTube channel, or similar publication for inbound website visitors — even though their products don't overlap with yours. An example of this is when a toothpaste company might compete with publications like Health.com or Prevention on specific blog topics related to health and hygiene, even though the magazines don't sell oral care products.

Here are a few ways to build your competitor list:

  • Check your industry quadrant on G2 Crowd: This is a significant first step for secondary market research in some industries. G2 Crowd aggregates user ratings and social data to create "quadrants" that show companies as contenders, leaders, niche players, or high performers in their respective industries. G2 Crowd specializes in digital content, IT services, HR, e-commerce, and related business services.
  • Download a market report: Companies like Forrester and Gartner offer free and gated market forecasts yearly on the vendors leading their industry. On Forrester's website, for example, you can select "Latest Research" from the navigation bar and browse Forrester's latest material using a variety of criteria to narrow your search. These reports are good assets to save on your computer.
  • Use social media : Social networks can be excellent company directories if you use the search bar correctly. On LinkedIn, for example, select the search bar and enter the name of the industry you're pursuing. Then, under "More," select "Companies" to narrow your results to the businesses that include this or a similar industry term on their LinkedIn profile.

Identifying Content Competitors

Search engines can be beneficial when it comes to secondary market research . To identify the online publications competing with your business, start with the overarching industry term you identified earlier, and then come up with more specific industry terms that are related to your company . For example, if you run a catering business, you might consider yourself a "food service" company, as well as a vendor in "event catering," "cake catering," "baked goods," and so on.

Once you have this list, follow these steps:

  • Google it: Running a search on Google for the industry terms that describe your company can be very beneficial. You may come across a mix of product developers, blogs, magazines, and other websites.
  • Compare your search results against your buyer persona: Remember the persona you created during the primary research stage? You can use it to evaluate whether a publication you found through Google could steal website traffic from you. If the website's content aligns with what your buyer persona would want to see, it is a potential competitor and should be added to your list of competitors.

After a series of similar Google searches for the industry terms you identify with, look for repetition in the website domains that have come up.

When searching, examine the first two or three pages of results. These websites are considered reputable sources of content in your industry and should be monitored closely as you create your collection of videos, reports, web pages, and blog posts.

Make faster, smarter decisions with market research.

Market Research Examples

Mcdonald's focus on customer feedback and profiling.

McDonald's invests in developing a detailed consumer profile to attract and retain customers, including parents of young children who appreciate the family-friendly atmosphere and menus. The brand seeks feedback from customers through surveys and questionnaires in stores, social media, and its mobile app. It also monitors customer feedback on digital channels.

Nike's Extensive Research and Collaboration for Running Shoes Development

Nike invests heavily in creating running shoes that cater to the needs of its customers, which it determines through extensive market research and customer surveys. The brand goes to great lengths to understand its customers' preferences, such as the type of running surface, the distance they run, and their running style, to develop shoes that meet their specific needs.

In addition to customer surveys, Nike also collaborates with athletes to develop shoes that cater to their specific requirements. This research helps Nike improve its existing running shoe models and innovate new ones, ensuring that the brand stays ahead of the competition.

Disney employs focus groups that specifically cater to children to test out their new characters and ideas.

The Walt Disney Company invests millions of dollars in creating captivating stories tested for their effectiveness with children, the intended audience. Disney executives hold focus groups with preschoolers and kindergartners several times a year to gather their opinions and feedback on TV episodes, Disney characters, and more. 

This market research strategy is effective because children are the ultimate audience that Disney aims to please. The collected feedback helps the company improve existing content to meet the preferences of its audience and ensure continued success as a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

KFC tested its meatless product in specific markets before launching it nationwide.

In 2019, KFC began developing and testing a meatless version of its famous chicken. However, instead of immediately launching the product nationwide, they decided to test it in select stores in the Atlanta, Georgia area. 

This is an innovative and practical approach to market research, as it allows the company to determine the product's sales performance on a smaller scale before committing too many resources to it. If the meatless chicken fails to gain popularity in Georgia, KFC can make the necessary changes to the product before introducing it to the broader market.

Yamaha conducted a survey to determine whether to use knobs or sliding faders on the Montage keyboard.

Yamaha is a Japanese corporation that produces various products, from motorcycles to golf cars to musical instruments. When it began developing its new Montage keyboard, the team was unsure whether to use knobs or sliding faders on the product. 

To address this dilemma, Yamaha used Qualtrics to send a survey to their customers. Within just a few hours , they received 400 responses. By using survey feedback, Yamaha ensured that it was designing a product that would perfectly meet the preferences of its audiences.

The Body Shop used social listening to determine how to reposition brand campaigns based on customer feedback.

The Body Shop is a well-known brand that offers ethically sourced and natural products. They take pride in their core value of sustainability. The Body Shop team tracked conversations to understand the sustainability subtopics that were most important to their audiences. 

They found that their customers cared a lot about refills. Based on this information, the Body Shop team confidently relaunched their Refill Program across 400 stores globally in 2021, with plans to add another 400 in 2022. Market research confirmed that their refill concept was on the right track and also highlighted the need for increased efforts to demonstrate how much the Body Shop cares about its customers' values .

VideoTranscript

The takeaway.

Fratzke Consulting offers a comprehensive suite of market research services to help brands gain valuable insights into their target market, competitors, and industry trends. Our expert team utilizes various primary and secondary research methods to gather accurate and unbiased data, including surveys, competitive research, and industry reports. With Fratzke Consulting, you'll have the tools to succeed in today's rapidly evolving business landscape.

Interested in learning more? Book a free audit consultation today.

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What are the Benefits of Market Research?

Market research is a valuable asset for any company, providing insight that enables key stakeholders to make better business decisions. In addition to helping companies develop products that are more useful, more desirable, and, thus, more profitable, market research also acts as insurance, protecting companies against competition, market fluctuations, and more! When properly conducted, market research yields benefits that have the potential to far outweigh its costs (of time, resources and money). Here are the top three benefits of market research:

Market Research Minimizes Risk

First and foremost, market research provides security . By supplying a selection of timely, relevant facts and figures, market research helps protect a company’s market presence, providing validation for specific business strategies. With market research data, companies can identify and segment market needs; frame brand messaging; and manage organizational, as well as operational, processes. The result: they can prioritize the allocation of their resources and, thereby, minimize their risks!

Market Research Maximizes Business Opportunities

Of course, information also maximizes a company’s potential for success by uncovering data about consumers, competitors, and the market as a whole that can be exploited for profit in the future. Much like any basic SWOT analysis, market research reveals details about a company’s own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of its competitors, and gives evidence of the possible opportunities and threats they are currently (or might be) facing within a market. With data to bolster their decision-making processes, businesses can stack the odds in their favor, designating time and money to the endeavors most likely to produce positive results.

Market Research Serves as a Benchmark 

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, “companies that benchmark achieve 69% faster growth and 45% greater productivity than those that don’t.” Apparently, the old adage about not knowing where you’re going if you can’t see where you’ve been” (attributed in various ideations by philosophers and writers like Confucius, Maya Angelou, and George Santayana) extends to the business world. Market research provides companies with the data they need to monitor their performance over time so that they can improve it in the future. It serves as a point of reference against which they can gauge how well (or not) their current and future products, policies, and practices are affecting their overall business decisions.

Want to Learn More?

There’s little doubt that the benefits of market research can provide competitive advantages for companies. To ensure that your business is getting accurate and relevant feedback that is capable of truly informing better business decisions, you need an experienced market research partner . Contact our team at Research America to learn more about the benefits of market research and what you can expect from well-designed — custom — research.

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How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example

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Market research examines consumer behavior and trends in the economy to help a business develop and fine-tune its business idea and strategy. It helps a business understand its target market by gathering and analyzing data.

Market research is the process of evaluating the viability of a new service or product through research conducted directly with potential customers. It allows a company to define its target market and get opinions and other feedback from consumers about their interest in a product or service.

Research may be conducted in-house or by a third party that specializes in market research. It can be done through surveys and focus groups, among other ways. Test subjects are usually compensated with product samples or a small stipend for their time.

Key Takeaways

  • Companies conduct market research before introducing new products to determine their appeal to potential customers.
  • Tools include focus groups, telephone interviews, and questionnaires.
  • The results of market research inform the final design of the product and determine how it will be positioned in the marketplace.
  • Market research usually combines primary information, gathered directly from consumers, and secondary information, which is data available from external sources.

Market Research

How market research works.

Market research is used to determine the viability of a new product or service. The results may be used to revise the product design and fine-tune the strategy for introducing it to the public. This can include information gathered for the purpose of determining market segmentation . It also informs product differentiation , which is used to tailor advertising.

A business engages in various tasks to complete the market research process. It gathers information based on the market sector being targeted by the product. This information is then analyzed and relevant data points are interpreted to draw conclusions about how the product may be optimally designed and marketed to the market segment for which it is intended.

It is a critical component in the research and development (R&D) phase of a new product or service introduction. Market research can be conducted in many different ways, including surveys, product testing, interviews, and focus groups.

Market research is a critical tool that companies use to understand what consumers want, develop products that those consumers will use, and maintain a competitive advantage over other companies in their industry.

Primary Market Research vs. Secondary Market Research

Market research usually consists of a combination of:

  • Primary research, gathered by the company or by an outside company that it hires
  • Secondary research, which draws on external sources of data

Primary Market Research

Primary research generally falls into two categories: exploratory and specific research.

  • Exploratory research is less structured and functions via open-ended questions. The questions may be posed in a focus group setting, telephone interviews, or questionnaires. It results in questions or issues that the company needs to address about a product that it has under development.
  • Specific research delves more deeply into the problems or issues identified in exploratory research.

Secondary Market Research

All market research is informed by the findings of other researchers about the needs and wants of consumers. Today, much of this research can be found online.

Secondary research can include population information from government census data , trade association research reports , polling results, and research from other businesses operating in the same market sector.

History of Market Research

Formal market research began in Germany during the 1920s. In the United States, it soon took off with the advent of the Golden Age of Radio.

Companies that created advertisements for this new entertainment medium began to look at the demographics of the audiences who listened to each of the radio plays, music programs, and comedy skits that were presented.

They had once tried to reach the widest possible audience by placing their messages on billboards or in the most popular magazines. With radio programming, they had the chance to target rural or urban consumers, teenagers or families, and judge the results by the sales numbers that followed.

Types of Market Research

Face-to-face interviews.

From their earliest days, market research companies would interview people on the street about the newspapers and magazines that they read regularly and ask whether they recalled any of the ads or brands that were published in them. Data collected from these interviews were compared to the circulation of the publication to determine the effectiveness of those ads.

Market research and surveys were adapted from these early techniques.

To get a strong understanding of your market, it’s essential to understand demand, market size, economic indicators, location, market saturation, and pricing.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a small number of representative consumers chosen to try a product or watch an advertisement.

Afterward, the group is asked for feedback on their perceptions of the product, the company’s brand, or competing products. The company then takes that information and makes decisions about what to do with the product or service, whether that's releasing it, making changes, or abandoning it altogether.

Phone Research

The man-on-the-street interview technique soon gave way to the telephone interview. A telephone interviewer could collect information in a more efficient and cost-effective fashion.

Telephone research was a preferred tactic of market researchers for many years. It has become much more difficult in recent years as landline phone service dwindles and is replaced by less accessible mobile phones.

Survey Research

As an alternative to focus groups, surveys represent a cost-effective way to determine consumer attitudes without having to interview anyone in person. Consumers are sent surveys in the mail, usually with a coupon or voucher to incentivize participation. These surveys help determine how consumers feel about the product, brand, and price point.

Online Market Research

With people spending more time online, market research activities have shifted online as well. Data collection still uses a survey-style form. But instead of companies actively seeking participants by finding them on the street or cold calling them on the phone, people can choose to sign up, take surveys, and offer opinions when they have time.

This makes the process far less intrusive and less rushed, since people can participate on their own time and of their own volition.

How to Conduct Market Research

The first step to effective market research is to determine the goals of the study. Each study should seek to answer a clear, well-defined problem. For example, a company might seek to identify consumer preferences, brand recognition, or the comparative effectiveness of different types of ad campaigns.

After that, the next step is to determine who will be included in the research. Market research is an expensive process, and a company cannot waste resources collecting unnecessary data. The firm should decide in advance which types of consumers will be included in the research, and how the data will be collected. They should also account for the probability of statistical errors or sampling bias .

The next step is to collect the data and analyze the results. If the two previous steps have been completed accurately, this should be straightforward. The researchers will collect the results of their study, keeping track of the ages, gender, and other relevant data of each respondent. This is then analyzed in a marketing report that explains the results of their research.

The last step is for company executives to use their market research to make business decisions. Depending on the results of their research, they may choose to target a different group of consumers, or they may change their price point or some product features.

The results of these changes may eventually be measured in further market research, and the process will begin all over again.

Benefits of Market Research

Market research is essential for developing brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. Since it is unlikely for a product to appeal equally to every consumer, a strong market research program can help identify the key demographics and market segments that are most likely to use a given product.

Market research is also important for developing a company’s advertising efforts. For example, if a company’s market research determines that its consumers are more likely to use Facebook than X (formerly Twitter), it can then target its advertisements to one platform instead of another. Or, if they determine that their target market is value-sensitive rather than price-sensitive, they can work on improving the product rather than reducing their prices.

Market research only works when subjects are honest and open to participating.

Example of Market Research

Many companies use market research to test new products or get information from consumers about what kinds of products or services they need and don’t currently have.

For example, a company that’s considering starting a business might conduct market research to test the viability of its product or service. If the market research confirms consumer interest, the business can proceed confidently with its business plan . If not, the company can use the results of the market research to make adjustments to the product to bring it in line with customer desires.

What Are the Main Types of Market Research?

The main types of market research are primary research and secondary research. Primary research includes focus groups, polls, and surveys. Secondary research includes academic articles, infographics, and white papers.

Qualitative research gives insights into how customers feel and think. Quantitative research uses data and statistics such as website views, social media engagement, and subscriber numbers.

What Is Online Market Research?

Online market research uses the same strategies and techniques as traditional primary and secondary market research, but it is conducted on the Internet. Potential customers may be asked to participate in a survey or give feedback on a product. The responses may help the researchers create a profile of the likely customer for a new product.

What Are Paid Market Research Surveys?

Paid market research involves rewarding individuals who agree to participate in a study. They may be offered a small payment for their time or a discount coupon in return for filling out a questionnaire or participating in a focus group.

What Is a Market Study?

A market study is an analysis of consumer demand for a product or service. It looks at all of the factors that influence demand for a product or service. These include the product’s price, location, competition, and substitutes as well as general economic factors that could influence the new product’s adoption, for better or worse.

Market research is a key component of a company’s research and development (R&D) stage. It helps companies understand in advance the viability of a new product that they have in development and to see how it might perform in the real world.

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U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

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10 key benefits of market research

Market research is available as a service to help any company, service provider, individual or organisation make better, more informed decisions. The more research is embedded in the strategic plans of a firm, the better equipped it is to deal with the changing environment within which it operates. Here is a list outlining the main benefits of investing in marketing research:

  • It helps businesses strengthen their position. Knowledge is power. Use market research to gain a better perspective and understanding of your market or target audience and ensure that your firm stays ahead of the competition.
  • It minimises any investment risk. This is a simple but vitally important and often business critical consideration. Spending what is often only a small proportion of your investment on researching and testing the market, product, concept or idea makes sound business sense.
  • It identifies potential threats and opportunities. Both primary research (fieldwork) and secondary research (desk research) can be utilised as an insurance policy against both obvious dangers on the road ahead. Coupling this with some qualitative research for deeper probing can highlight certain opportunities or warning signs that may otherwise have been missed.
  • It helps to discover your’s and your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s vitally important to adopt an ‘eye’s wide open’ approach to any market research project which is why it’s often advised to work with a market research agency to ensure completely unbiased reporting. Use research findings to adapt and learn from your own weaknesses whilst capitalising on your new-found knowledge from competitor analysis to take advantage and forge ahead of the pack.
  • It facilitates strategic planning. What is the foundation of your business strategy? If it’s evidence based and you’ve taken the time to invest in your own (and hopefully ongoing) research, you can be confident that you’ve given yourself the best chance to achieve your business goals.
  • It helps in spotting emerging trends. Staying ahead in business is often about being the first, being the best or doing something that no-one else has thought about. Regularly taking the ‘pulse’ of what’s hot and what’s not in your industry is a key discipline. Speak to your research agency or research consultant about the range of techniques you can employ to spot and exploit these trends.
  • It assists businesses to stay ahead of the competition.  Being the best demands a relentlessness to keep getting the basics right combined with a curiosity and willingness to innovate. Knowing how to leverage the findings and insights you extract from market research, audience research and data research are the keys to both getting ahead and staying ahead.
  • It provides revenue projections.  A market forecast is a core component of a market analysis projecting the future numbers, characteristics, and trends in your target market. Potential customers can then be divided into segments . You want to focus on the best market – which is not necessarily the largest one or the market with the highest growth – it will be the one that matches your own company profile.
  • It focuses on customer needs and demands. There are so many important reasons to keep your customers at the centre of all that you do in business and the same goes for research. With so many ways to reach customers using online panels, web communities, telephone survey’s, depth interviews and focus groups, market research keeps you attentive to where you can improve your proposition, customer service or product offering.
  • It helps to evaluate the success of a business against benchmarks. A PWC survey found that companies that benchmark achieve 69% faster growth and 45% greater productivity than those that don’t. Use market research for competitor research, employee engagement surveys, and to highlight performance or knowledge gaps and areas for potential growth. This will open your company up to thinking about new methods, ideas and tools to improve your business effectiveness.

Find out more…

If you’re interested to find out more about the many techniques and research methodologies that are available to you, then check out our introduction to market research .

How to avoid common market research mistakes…

To help you avoid some common market research pitfalls , we’ve put together a list of the most common market research mistakes  and how to avoid them!

Can we help you?

If you have a specific business question that you think could be solved with the help with a market research professional then we’d be delighted to have chat. Please get in touch using the form below or you can email [email protected] or call us on 01271 337 100.

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10 market research mistakes and how to avoid them 09/05/2017

Using market research to win new business 10/07/2018

Essential Market Research Basics For Your Startup 11/02/2020

5 Golden Rules To Get The Most Out Of Your Market Research 02/03/2020

Top Market Research Tools Every Business Needs To Know About 11/08/2020

How To Begin Your Career In Market Research 17/01/2023

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10 Benefits of Market Research

benefits of market research

Continuing the market research series, in this article, we’ll discuss the importance and benefits of market research.

To recap, in the last article we talked about what market research is, and the different types of market research every business needs to conduct.

From the last article you probably already have a good idea on the benefits of conducting your research, but let’s go deeper and expand on what you stand to gain from a thorough market research.

1. Provides Better Understanding Of Your Customers

Market research will help you map out the full profile of your ideal customers. Knowing who your customers really are will help you determine the market size and what triggers them to buy. 

By conducting market research you stand to gain valuable insights like their age, location, gender & income, which will help you in creating effective marketing and pricing campaigns.

Market research will also help you determine the type of product or service that would be profitable to introduce in a market. Which would also help you test if the existing product/services in the market are meeting the customer’s needs or if there are potential customers you have not reached.

If you already have a product/service in the market that is not meeting customers’ expectations then the research will help you find out if you require a change in the packaging, delivery or in the product/service features itself.

2. Provides Insights On Your Competitor And How To Outsell Them

Your competitors are taking away your customers and winning in the marketplace because they’ve done their research ahead of you.

Market research is a good evaluation tool that can help you track your company’s progress and the growth of your competitors, by keeping an eye on your competitors. We can use the data collected to devise business strategies that would keep you ahead of your business rivals.

Being the best in your market demands a relentlessness to keep getting the basics right combined with a curiosity and willingness to innovate. Knowing how to leverage the findings and insights you get the from market research is the key to getting ahead and staying ahead.

According to Tutsplus Business , If you can beat your competitors at finding out your customers’ needs and you aim to fulfill those needs, you’ve got a better chance of standing out from the competition. Here are some ways you can use market research to outsell competitors:

  • Target your competitors’ dissatisfied customers
  • Find an under-served customer segment
  • Identify unaddressed customer needs

3. Ability To Test Product Success Before Launch

You can never be 100% sure that your product will be a hit or will instantly connect with your potential customer.

However, with market research, you’ll find out what approach you should take when marketing the product and the key messages that resonates with potential customers

4. Helps In Decision Making

If the goal of market research is to identify business opportunities and strengthen your position in the market, then there would undoubtedly be several big decisions that could facilitate the success of your business.

The need for and importance of marketing research frequently comes up when making tough business decisions. Instead of guessing, going with your gut feelings or having arbitrary criteria for the decisions you make as a business owner, you can always go back to your market research report. 

Based on that research you would get answers to questions such as 

  • Will this decision lead to more customers?
  • Will we be able to reach more people who are likely to buy from us? 
  • Will it be clear to customers that our business can meet their needs? 

While not all decisions should be solved by market research, many of them can be, such as:

  • where to spend your advertising or marketing budget
  • whether there’s a demand for a new product you want to make
  • if you should open a storefront in a new location
  • which products to discontinue and which ones to improve
  • how to price all your offers

5. Spot Business Opportunities

Every business is constantly looking to identify new market opportunities for existing and new products. 

There is a lot of competition out there, for every product or service you put into the market, there are at least a dozen others from competitors. Even worse, consumer needs are difficult to predict based on product functionality alone. 

This is where market research comes in to play. Good market research will assist in production planning and make the distribution process seamless.

After you’ve done your market research, it’ll be clear to you who you want to reach out to (your target customers), where you can reach them (your marketing channels), and what they’re interested in. Once you’ve defined these, you’ll be able to easily spot business opportunities such as:

  • Partnerships with other businesses
  • Profitable order upgrades
  • New locations to sell to

6. Strengthen Your Business Position In The Market

When done right, market research can provide detailed information on the market share, competitors, customer dissatisfaction levels, sales performance, and channel distribution. 

Which would, in turn, identify potential issues with your business and ideas on how to address these issues quickly.

As the saying goes Knowledge is power . You should use market research to gain a better perspective and understanding of your market or target audience and ensure that your firm stays ahead of the competition.

When it comes to strengthening your position in your target market, the whole idea is to promote and distribute ideas, goods, and services to create a satisfying customer base. This is the basis of business growth.

Going a step further, market research also helps to analyze the cause of an existing customer choosing a different brand over the old one. The goal here is to retain your customer base while generating profit at the same time.

7. Lower Business Risks

bankruptcy from lack of market research

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics roughly half of businesses with employees don’t survive past the fifth year. And we all know that the only way to make sure that your business survives is to ensure that you’ve got a steady stream of sales and customers.

Here’s the kicker, you need market research to sustain your business.

Market research helps you understand your customers’ demands, identify more business opportunities, plan the perfect marketing campaign, minimize losses, and keep track of the competition. 

Even better, it allows businesses to Identify problems in their strategies and business executions before they happen. Effective market research will not only help you predict some pitfalls that can occur but also it will save you a lot of money too. 

We all want to believe that our product or service is the perfect solution to your customer’s needs, that our offering is a perfect customer-market fit, but what if that isn’t the case? What if you’re wrong and giving launching would be a big risk?

The process of market research itself is designed to reduce the risk.

What if you’re yet to launch, but is considering investing in a business venture? Well, Market research is also essential here. Spending what is a small proportion of your investment in researching and testing the market, product, concept or idea makes sound business sense.

Regular market research will help you check your business performance with your current customers and potential customers to ensure that you’re still meeting their needs. 

8. Create Relevant Marketing Resources

We know that when we run ads, we should test to see what phrases, colors, images perform better than others. The same thing applies to marketing in general.

With in-depth market research, you’ll know what images or phrases to put on marketing assets such as fliers, website, social media, blog posts, videos, etc.

You’ll know this because if your research targets the right audience, then technically your target customers have already told you their wants, needs, and frustrations. And as such, you’ll know exactly what to address and how to address it when you create your marketing materials.

For example, an author or blogger can ask their readers via a survey, what problems they have and are trying to solve. and instead of blindly coming up with blog topics, they can use the result of the survey to create posts that readers are really interested in.

Here are some other ways your marketing materials will be easier to create:

  • Knowing whether customers see your products and services as a necessity or as a luxury can help you design your product labels, brochures, and a website that fits their perception.
  • Identifying the age range of your customers can tell you the type of language you’ll be using in your promotional materials. You’ll write differently when addressing retired Baby Boomers than you would when addressing young professionals.

The collecting relevant data and analyzing this data can help businesses adopt a proactive approach for both, framing and implementing market strategies.

9. Knowledge On Where To Advertise

Market research not only helps in identifying new business opportunities but also helps in designing ad campaigns that will directly target the interest of your potential consumers and help in increasing sales. 

Thorough research should provide valuable information about the sales potential of a particular market segment, during a specific time period, and within a particular age group.

Let’s be honest, Ads can be expensive and one major issue small businesses face is a limited budget. This means you need to get smart with your marketing budget, and your ads must be optimized to give you the best possible return within your budget.

Conducting market research can help ensure that you’re reaching your intended audience in the channels where they’re most likely to see your message.

According to Tutsplus Business , market research can help with:

  • Buying ads on social media: If your market research shows that your target audience spends most of their time on Instagram and almost never use Twitter, you’ll know to direct most of your social media ad budget to Instagram and forget about Twitter.
  • Placing flyers and posters: Knowing the physical spaces where your customer spends their time will tell you where you can best place your advertising. For example, university students are likely to be on campus, so placing ads for that market means that you can try bulletin boards on campus or outside local establishments that their crowd frequents.
  • Targeting ads: Online ads such as social media ads and pay-per-click ads can often be targeted with precision. This means that you can target based not just on the usual demographic data, but also based on online behaviors, life stage, and interests. If you truly know your customers, you’ll be able to maximize the potential for targeting. For example: here are some targeting options for Facebook Ads .

10. Facilitates Strategic Planning

What is the basis of your current business strategy? If it’s evidence-based and you’ve taken the time to invest in market research, you can be confident that you’ve given yourself the best chance to achieve your business goals.

When businesses set goals for their business, it’s typically related to growth in sales or customers. But without market research, you won’t be able to know if your goal is achievable and how to achieve it in the first place.

You might say that you want to double sales by the end of the next quarter. But how would you know if this goal is feasible if you don’t know whether the size of your target market is more than twice the size of your current customer base?

Without knowing the current size of your potential market, you’ll just be setting irrational goals.

Now that you know the importance of market research and how it can benefit your business, in the next article will discuss how to create a market research proposal. A template of the proposal process will also be included.

Comment with any questions you have about Market Research Proposals and I will get back to you ASAP.

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How To Do Market Research: Definition, Types, Methods

Jan 2, 2024

11 min. read

Market research isn’t just collecting data. It’s a strategic tool that allows businesses to gain a competitive advantage while making the best use of their resources. Research reveals valuable insights into your target audience about their preferences, buying habits, and emerging demands — all of which help you unlock new opportunities to grow your business.

When done correctly, market research can minimize risks and losses, spur growth, and position you as a leader in your industry. 

Let’s explore the basic building blocks of market research and how to collect and use data to move your company forward:

Table of Contents

What Is Market Research?

Why is market research important, market analysis example, 5 types of market research, what are common market research questions, what are the limitations of market research, how to do market research, improving your market research with radarly.

Market Research Definition: The process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market or audience.

doing a market research

Market research studies consumer behavior to better understand how they perceive products or services. These insights help businesses identify ways to grow their current offering, create new products or services, and improve brand trust and brand recognition .

You might also hear market research referred to as market analysis or consumer research .

Traditionally, market research has taken the form of focus groups, surveys, interviews, and even competitor analysis . But with modern analytics and research tools, businesses can now capture deeper insights from a wider variety of sources, including social media, online reviews, and customer interactions. These extra layers of intel can help companies gain a more comprehensive understanding of their audience.

With consumer preferences and markets evolving at breakneck speeds, businesses need a way to stay in touch with what people need and want. That’s why the importance of market research cannot be overstated.

Market research offers a proactive way to identify these trends and make adjustments to product development, marketing strategies , and overall operations. This proactive approach can help businesses stay ahead of the curve and remain agile as markets shift.

Market research examples abound — given the number of ways companies can get inside the minds of their customers, simply skimming through your business’s social media comments can be a form of market research.

A restaurant chain might use market research methods to learn more about consumers’ evolving dining habits. These insights might be used to offer new menu items, re-examine their pricing strategies, or even open new locations in different markets, for example.

A consumer electronics company might use market research for similar purposes. For instance, market research may reveal how consumers are using their smart devices so they can develop innovative features.

Market research can be applied to a wide range of use cases, including:

  • Testing new product ideas
  • Improve existing products
  • Entering new markets
  • Right-sizing their physical footprints
  • Improving brand image and awareness
  • Gaining insights into competitors via competitive intelligence

Ultimately, companies can lean on market research techniques to stay ahead of trends and competitors while improving the lives of their customers.

Market research methods take different forms, and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one. Let’s review the most common market research techniques and the insights they deliver.

1. Interviews

3. Focus Groups

4. Observations

5. AI-Driven Market Research

One-on-one interviews are one of the most common market research techniques. Beyond asking direct questions, skilled interviewers can uncover deeper motivations and emotions that drive purchasing decisions. Researchers can elicit more detailed and nuanced responses they might not receive via other methods, such as self-guided surveys.

colleagues discussing a market research

Interviews also create the opportunity to build rapport with customers and prospects. Establishing a connection with interviewees can encourage them to open up and share their candid thoughts, which can enrich your findings. Researchers also have the opportunity to ask clarifying questions and dig deeper based on individual responses.

Market research surveys provide an easy entry into the consumer psyche. They’re cost-effective to produce and allow researchers to reach lots of people in a short time. They’re also user-friendly for consumers, which allows companies to capture more responses from more people.

Big data and data analytics are making traditional surveys more valuable. Researchers can apply these tools to elicit a deeper understanding from responses and uncover hidden patterns and correlations within survey data that were previously undetectable.

The ways in which surveys are conducted are also changing. With the rise of social media and other online channels, brands and consumers alike have more ways to engage with each other, lending to a continuous approach to market research surveys.

3. Focus groups

Focus groups are “group interviews” designed to gain collective insights. This interactive setting allows participants to express their thoughts and feelings openly, giving researchers richer insights beyond yes-or-no responses.

focus group as part of a market research

One of the key benefits of using focus groups is the opportunity for participants to interact with one another. They spark discussions while sharing diverse viewpoints. These sessions can uncover underlying motivations and attitudes that may not be easily expressed through other research methods.

Observing your customers “in the wild” might feel informal, but it can be one of the most revealing market research techniques of all. That’s because you might not always know the right questions to ask. By simply observing, you can surface insights you might not have known to look for otherwise.

This method also delivers raw, authentic, unfiltered data. There’s no room for bias and no potential for participants to accidentally skew the data. Researchers can also pick up on non-verbal cues and gestures that other research methods may fail to capture.

5. AI-driven market research

One of the newer methods of market research is the use of AI-driven market research tools to collect and analyze insights on your behalf. AI customer intelligence tools and consumer insights software like Meltwater Radarly take an always-on approach by going wherever your audience is and continuously predicting behaviors based on current behaviors.

By leveraging advanced algorithms, machine learning, and big data analysis , AI enables companies to uncover deep-seated patterns and correlations within large datasets that would be near impossible for human researchers to identify. This not only leads to more accurate and reliable findings but also allows businesses to make informed decisions with greater confidence.

Tip: Learn how to use Meltwater as a research tool , how Meltwater uses AI , and learn more about consumer insights and about consumer insights in the fashion industry .

No matter the market research methods you use, market research’s effectiveness lies in the questions you ask. These questions should be designed to elicit honest responses that will help you reach your goals.

Examples of common market research questions include:

Demographic market research questions

  • What is your age range?
  • What is your occupation?
  • What is your household income level?
  • What is your educational background?
  • What is your gender?

Product or service usage market research questions

  • How long have you been using [product/service]?
  • How frequently do you use [product/service]?
  • What do you like most about [product/service]?
  • Have you experienced any problems using [product/service]?
  • How could we improve [product/service]?
  • Why did you choose [product/service] over a competitor’s [product/service]?

Brand perception market research questions

  • How familiar are you with our brand?
  • What words do you associate with our brand?
  • How do you feel about our brand?
  • What makes you trust our brand?
  • What sets our brand apart from competitors?
  • What would make you recommend our brand to others?

Buying behavior market research questions

  • What do you look for in a [product/service]?
  • What features in a [product/service] are important to you?
  • How much time do you need to choose a [product/service]?
  • How do you discover new products like [product/service]?
  • Do you prefer to purchase [product/service] online or in-store?
  • How do you research [product/service] before making a purchase?
  • How often do you buy [product/service]?
  • How important is pricing when buying [product/service]?
  • What would make you switch to another brand of [product/service]?

Customer satisfaction market research questions

  • How happy have you been with [product/service]?
  • What would make you more satisfied with [product/service]?
  • How likely are you to continue using [product/service]?

Bonus Tip: Compiling these questions into a market research template can streamline your efforts.

Market research can offer powerful insights, but it also has some limitations. One key limitation is the potential for bias. Researchers may unconsciously skew results based on their own preconceptions or desires, which can make your findings inaccurate.

  • Depending on your market research methods, your findings may be outdated by the time you sit down to analyze and act on them. Some methods struggle to account for rapidly changing consumer preferences and behaviors.
  • There’s also the risk of self-reported data (common in online surveys). Consumers might not always accurately convey their true feelings or intentions. They might provide answers they think researchers are looking for or misunderstand the question altogether.
  • There’s also the potential to miss emerging or untapped markets . Researchers are digging deeper into what (or who) they already know. This means you might be leaving out a key part of the story without realizing it.

Still, the benefits of market research cannot be understated, especially when you supplement traditional market research methods with modern tools and technology.

Let’s put it all together and explore how to do market research step-by-step to help you leverage all its benefits.

Step 1: Define your objectives

You’ll get more from your market research when you hone in on a specific goal : What do you want to know, and how will this knowledge help your business?

This step will also help you define your target audience. You’ll need to ask the right people the right questions to collect the information you want. Understand the characteristics of the audience and what gives them authority to answer your questions.

Step 2: Select your market research methods

Choose one or more of the market research methods (interviews, surveys, focus groups, observations, and/or AI-driven tools) to fuel your research strategy.

Certain methods might work better than others for specific goals . For example, if you want basic feedback from customers about a product, a simple survey might suffice. If you want to hone in on serious pain points to develop a new product, a focus group or interview might work best.

You can also source secondary research ( complementary research ) via secondary research companies , such as industry reports or analyses from large market research firms. These can help you gather preliminary information and inform your approach.

team analyzing the market research results

Step 3: Develop your research tools

Prior to working with participants, you’ll need to craft your survey or interview questions, interview guides, and other tools. These tools will help you capture the right information , weed out non-qualifying participants, and keep your information organized.

You should also have a system for recording responses to ensure data accuracy and privacy. Test your processes before speaking with participants so you can spot and fix inefficiencies or errors.

Step 4: Conduct the market research

With a system in place, you can start looking for candidates to contribute to your market research. This might include distributing surveys to current customers or recruiting participants who fit a specific profile, for example.

Set a time frame for conducting your research. You might collect responses over the course of a few days, weeks, or even months. If you’re using AI tools to gather data, choose a data range for your data to focus on the most relevant information.

Step 5: Analyze and apply your findings

Review your findings while looking for trends and patterns. AI tools can come in handy in this phase by analyzing large amounts of data on your behalf.

Compile your findings into an easy-to-read report and highlight key takeaways and next steps. Reports aren’t useful unless the reader can understand and act on them.

Tip: Learn more about trend forecasting , trend detection , and trendspotting .

Meltwater’s Radarly consumer intelligence suite helps you reap the benefits of market research on an ongoing basis. Using a combination of AI, data science, and market research expertise, Radarly scans multiple global data sources to learn what people are talking about, the actions they’re taking, and how they’re feeling about specific brands.

Meltwater Radarly screenshot for market research

Our tools are created by market research experts and designed to help researchers uncover what they want to know (and what they don’t know they want to know). Get data-driven insights at scale with information that’s always relevant, always accurate, and always tailored to your organization’s needs.

Learn more when you request a demo by filling out the form below:

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Market Research Definition, Types, Tools and Benefits

what is Market Research

Published on Jul 01, 2022

More than doubling in size from 2008 to 2021, the market research sector brought in over $76.4 (Statista) billion worldwide in 2021.  

What is Market Research?

Market research is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market, about the product or service to be offered for sale in that market. It is also about the previous, current, and potential customers for the product or service. 

Data collection, analysis, and interpretation are the three main steps in any successful market research project. The data could pertain to a certain demographic, general consumers, rival businesses, or the entire market. This is the cornerstone of any thriving business. The findings can be used for anything from discovering a fresh opportunity to entering the market to developing an entirely new product or service. 

Small business owners can benefit greatly from conducting market research. It can eliminate uncertainty in the creative process and direct energy and funding toward the most promising ideas and initiatives. Many types of market research are conducted by businesses at many different stages. 

Market Research for Businesses  

Accurate and comprehensive data gives a plethora of information on potential and existing customers, competitors, and the industry as a whole, making it the bedrock of any successful commercial endeavor. It helps entrepreneurs weigh the odds of success before sinking a lot of money into a new firm. 

what is Market Research

An essential aspect of every successful business plan is conducting market research to gather data that can be used to address potential marketing obstacles. In reality, it is not viable to develop tactics like market segmentation (identifying distinct groups within a market) and product differentiation (establishing a unique selling proposition for a product or service that distinguishes it from the competition) without conducting market research. 

Types of Market Research  

1. quantitative research .

The results of quantitative studies are typically presented using numerical and graphic representations. It's the gold standard for verifying or disproving hypotheses. It is possible to establish broad, overarching truths about a subject by conducting this kind of study. Experiments, numerically recorded observations, and surveys with a limited number of predetermined answer choices are all examples of common quantitative approaches. 

2. Qualitative research 

Words are the currency of qualitative inquiry. It's a tool for making sense of things like ideas and experiences. Using this method, you can learn more about a topic from every angle, which is very useful for researching controversial or poorly understood subjects. Open-ended interviews, written descriptions of observations, and in-depth analyses of the existing literature are all examples of common qualitative techniques. 

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research 

Quantitative research focuses on numerical and statistical facts, while qualitative research examines concepts and interpretations. Both are necessary to learn various things. Comparatively, qualitative research draws its conclusions from interviews and documents rather than statistics and reasoning. Quantitative studies typically report their findings numerically or graphically, while qualitative studies report their findings verbally. 

3. Primary Research 

Primary data refers to a study that seeks to collect firsthand information from real-world participants. Primary research is data collected by the researcher themselves through various techniques of approaching the target audience directly. You have full legal and ethical rights to the data set you to create. Primary research can be challenging due to the time, money, resources, and familiarity with the topic that it demands. 

4. Secondary Research 

Secondary research is a study that is done after primary research has already been conducted, and it consists of analyzing, interpreting, and summarizing the results of the primary research. A more precise definition of secondary research would be any study that makes use of publicly available data. When conducting secondary research, scholars refer to information that has already been gathered, processed, and made public (and therefore, you do not own this data). Since the accessible data has already been evaluated and interpreted, the researcher just needs to determine the data he wants to use, i.e., the data that is necessary for his project. 

types of market research

Primary Research vs. Secondary Research

Research that involves the collection of new information, or "primary" research, is distinguished from secondary research by the fact that it is conducted for the first time on a particular topic. Instead, secondary research makes use of information that has previously been gathered through primary research. The fundamental dividing line between primary and secondary research is whether the research has been done before. 

5. Market Research 

Market research on branding can help a business develop, launch, and sustain its brand. This may involve the firm's ethos, branding, visuals, ideals, or very name. Interviews, focus groups, and surveys are all viable options for conducting research. 

6. Customer Research 

Market research on customers is learning what factors most strongly affect your demographic of interest and what adjustments may be made to better attract and retain them as paying customers. The objective of this study is to acquire an intimate understanding of your consumer base and their habits and preferences as they relate to your business. 

7. Competitor Research 

Conducting market research on your competitors entails learning about their businesses and assessing how they stack up against your own. Your competitive product in the market or how to break into a new market could also be a topic of discussion. The study's overarching goal is to help your company prepare for the future by identifying methods to set itself apart from competitors and by learning from customers' opinions and suggestions. 

8. Product Research 

Conducting market research on your items is essential to ensuring they will sell successfully once they hit the shelves. Finding out how people feel about your product and if they feel it's valuable and functioning properly is the goal of this study. The ability to think creatively about enhancements and new features is another benefit. 

Benefits of Market Research 

According to a survey, the market research business is expected to increase at a rate of 12-14% (The Economic Times) per year through FY26, at which point it would have surpassed the $4 billion mark. 

Benefits of Market Research 

The following is a list of the most important reasons and benefits of marketing research: 

It's a great tool for boosting companies' standing. The ability to think critically and act on that thinking is the key to success. You can keep your business one step ahead of the competition by conducting market research to expand your knowledge of your market or target audience. 

Reduces the potential for loss on an investment. This is a basic point to think about, but it is often crucial to the success of a firm. When starting a firm, it makes sense to spend what amounts to a negligible amount on research and testing the market, product, concept, or idea. 

Possible dangers and benefits are highlighted. Insurance against these two glaring pitfalls lies in both primary research (fieldwork) and secondary research (desk research). Opportunities or red flags may be uncovered through the combination of this with qualitative research for further investigation. 

You can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of your own business and of your competitors. To achieve entirely objective reporting, it is generally recommended to collaborate with a market research agency. Take advantage of what you've learned from study to improve in areas where you're weak and to gain an edge over the competition. 

Strategic preparation is helped by this. Where do you stand with the core principles of your company plan? If it's supported by data, and you've put in the time and effort to do your own (hopefully continuous) research, you can rest assured that you're giving yourself the best chance of success in your commercial endeavors. 

This aids in the identification of developing tendencies. Being the first, the best, or coming up with the idea that nobody else has is typically what it takes to stay ahead in business. Taking the pulse of your industry on a regular basis is an important habit. You can learn more about the tools available to you to identify and capitalize on these trends by consulting with a research firm or expert. 

Helpful for firms in keeping up with the competition. Being the best calls for an insatiable need for knowledge and a propensity to experiment. The key to success, and the ability to maintain that success, is knowing how to effectively apply the information gleaned from market research, audience research, and data research. 

It includes forecasts for future income. One of the most important parts of any market study is a forecast, which looks into the future and predicts the size, makeup, and trends of the market you're interested in. This allows for the categorization of prospective clients. You should prioritize the market that is the best fit for your business rather than the largest or fastest-growing. 

It's geared toward meeting the wants and desires of its patrons. Many things in business, including research, benefit from keeping clients front and center. By reaching out to individuals through online panels, web forums, telephone surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus groups, market researchers can learn where their business's ideas, services, and products can be strengthened. 

Using this method, one can measure the progress of one's company against predetermined standards. Utilize data gathered from the market to study the competition, gauge employee enthusiasm, identify knowledge or skill shortages, and identify development opportunities. This will allow you to consider novel approaches, ideas, and resources for boosting your company's efficiency. 

Product Research 

Market Research Tools 

In order to better understand your market and target audience, you need to use market research techniques. It's fundamental to every company's success, and in today's more crowded marketplace, a thorough familiarity with your target market is more important than ever. Good news: you don't have to be an "insights genius" to get started collecting the data you need, owing to the proliferation of market research tools. Some of the best and most widely used methods of market research include: 

  • Answer the Public 
  • Attest 
  • Google Trends 
  • Social Mention 
  • Remesh 
  • Heartbeat Ai 
  • Think With Google 
  • Spyfu 
  • Latana 
  • BuzzSumo 
  • Statista 
  • Typeform 
  • Otter.ai 
  • Dimensions.ai 

How to Conduct Research for Your Business: Market Research Strategies 

Despite their different objectives, market research and marketing research should use the same framework for gathering and analyzing information about your company's target audiences. These help in primary research as well as secondary research.  

Clearly identify the problem at stake. Establish an initial research topic. Having a clear research question in mind will allow you to better organize your findings. 

Start by figuring out your financial and time constraints. How much money do you have to put into your study? When do you anticipate finishing data collection? Research, like any other tactic for expanding your company, should be carried out within your means. Nonetheless, it may be worthwhile to spend more money to receive the most comprehensive results available, especially if the questions you are answering are time-sensitive. 

Planning your approach and requirements. Find out what information needs to be gathered and figure out how to get it. Observation, surveys, phone calls, and focus groups are among the alternatives. Consult a professional research agency if you are unsure of how to organize your data collection. 

Pick a way to sample the data. I need to know how you plan on picking people to take part in your study. You may require a cross-section of the consumer population at large, a subset of the population who share a particular characteristic of their way of life, or just the opinions of those who are already familiar with your brand. Develop a plan for tracking down and contacting the persons who will take part in your research. 

Prepare a data analysis strategy. Think about the methods you'll use to examine the data. Do you require numbers for statistical analysis, or can you get a sense of things from qualitative, observable data? Spend some time learning about the many types of analysis so you can pick the one that will yield the most useful results for your study. 

Gathering information. The next step is data collection, which may begin once you have settled on a research question and developed a strategy for answering it within the bounds of your time and money. Research is often outsourced to professional firms or consultants by many corporations. 

Examining the information. It is important to apply certain methods of analysis to make sense of your data, no matter how simple it may appear at first. Which analytical techniques you employ are most suited to your data is a function of the information you've gathered. Also, this is the time to double-check for any mistakes that might have crept into your data gathering, analysis, or sampling. 

market research tools

Make the report you need. Concluding your research with a written report is the next to last stage. From formulating a problem statement to discussing the findings of your data study, your report should include it all. 

Why is Market Research Important?

Over 44,000 businesses across the United States provide some form of market research. Their total annual income is around $23 billion (QuestionPro).  

The importance of Market Research is the following -  

1. Identifies new products or services

By conducting market research, a business can learn what consumers want and how to best meet their demands. Identifying the major challenges associated with creating a product or service can help you save money. It's useful for figuring out what customers value most and how to implement that into your product or service offering. 

2. Identifies potential customers

You may learn more about your clientele by analyzing demographic information like their gender, age, income, occupation, and interests. You'll have a better idea of who to target with your future advertising efforts if you have a clear picture of your current clientele. When a product is marketed to the wrong demographic, sales suffer. 

3. Establishes viability of a product or service

If your organization is considering introducing a novel product or service to consumers, you should find out if there is a need for it. Do people need this product? Do the people you plan to sell to actually want this product? Does it have any chance of succeeding, and does it even have a chance of being a viable trend? 

4. Anticipates and discovers future market trends 

If you are familiar with your market and the tendencies that are just beginning to emerge, you will be better prepared to build tactics to combat any negative tendencies that may threaten your company. As a result, you can use rising tendencies to your advantage and propel your company forward. 

5. Keeps your company ahead of competitors

Examining your company's performance in relation to that of its rivals is a prime use for comparative research. If they're much ahead of you, it's a fantastic chance to figure out what you're doing wrong. It is possible to devise business plans that will help you surpass the competition. 

6. Decide the best marketing strategy

Conducting research is helpful for pinpointing the optimal distribution platform for reaching your target audience. If you find out that a large portion of your audience prefers one form of communication over another, it makes sense to concentrate your efforts there. Because of the scarcity of these resources, it only makes sense to direct them toward endeavors with a high probability of success. 

7. Reduces risk and increases profitability

The ability to assess the value of potential risks in light of past performance and anticipated future market behavior is a crucial business skill. The success or failure of a business idea depends heavily on the results of market research. Understanding your consumers and their habits is another crucial step in risk reduction. Taking less risk leads to greater financial rewards. 

8. Identifies threats and opportunities

The SWOT analysis is likely familiar to many of you. The acronym SWOT refers to a company's "strengths," "weaknesses," and "All four of them can be figured out with the use of market research . While a lot of data can be collected through market research, not all of it needs to be used. Use only information that is directly related to your major objective (which you will have established in advance). 

9. Helps to understand existing customers

By conducting market research, you can learn more about your current clientele. Because of this complexity, you can't assume that you know what your clients require. If you want to be successful, you need to take the temperature of your clientele on a frequent basis. Satisfaction levels among customers can also be measured with the help of surveys. You can find out what is bothering them and make adjustments if necessary. If they are already rather high, you can examine the factors that led to this success and implement changes to maintain it. 

10. Assists in realistic goal setting

Goals that are more realistic can be established with the support of up-to-the-minute information on your market and customer base. Knowing what to expect and how to realistically expand growth over time is greatly aided by establishing a growth pattern throughout time. Setting objectives that are too lofty will cause you to waste time and energy trying to achieve something that is impossible. 

 importance of Market Research

How Efficient is Market Research? 

You should only invest time, energy, and money into market research if you expect to see a favorable return on that investment. Because it is so worthwhile, market research continues to play a significant role in the success of any organization. Market research won't ensure your company's success on its own, but it will arm you with the data you need to make the moves that will. 

Many of the advantages of this type of study were examined, but the drawbacks were also taken into account. If you don't conduct market research, you run the danger of losing clients to the competition, missing out on growth prospects, being more susceptible to hazards, making bad business decisions, and more. Some companies succeed without first doing their homework, but those situations are unusual. To build your firm and avoid typical errors, conduct market research. 

Market Research Methods  

Although there are a variety of approaches to conducting market research, the majority of companies opt to utilize one of the following five fundamental approaches: surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials. Which strategies you decide to implement for your company will depend on the kinds of data you require as well as the amount of money you are ready to pay. Some of the major methods of market research are following - 

1. Surveys 

Surveys ask participants questions. They can use numerous survey methods. Surveys are a cost-effective technique to collect data for the study. Written surveys may encourage truthful responses since participants feel like they're speaking privately. 

2. Discussions 

Focus groups are moderated discussions. Companies assemble consumers to conduct focus groups, pose questions, and record replies. Participants' replies may reveal what consumers want in a firm or a product because they represent a broad group. Focus groups offer longer participant interaction than surveys. 

3. Interviews 

An interview combines focus group and one-on-one survey aspects. It includes recording one participant's comments at a time. Open-ended questions elicit in-depth answers from the interviewee. Researchers can ask follow-up questions and let interviewees ask their own. 

4. Social media listening 

Social media users routinely discuss corporations and their products. Researchers can search for discussion topics and measure consumer sentiment through social media listening. 

5. Observations 

Observation in market research means studying how consumers shop. Filming shoppers in a store and studying their shopping habits is common. This strategy can reveal their natural selves if they are ignorant of the observation. 

6. Experiments 

In a field trial, a corporation lets participants use a product under typical conditions and collects data. Participants' feedback was used to improve the product. 

7. Competitive analysis 

Competitive analysis is a secondary market research process where companies acquire and analyze competition information. It entails identifying primary and secondary rivals and analyzing their offerings, revenues, and marketing methods. 

8. Statistics 

Public data entails seeking and evaluating public market data. This research is often free online or in libraries. Research centers, polls, or government databases may provide this information. Public data is often used to confirm or compare primary market research. 

9. Purchased data 

Companies without the time or resources to perform their own market research can buy it. Several market research companies sell database subscriptions. Small and medium-sized businesses that can't afford primary market research may benefit from this approach. 

10. Analysis of sales data 

Competition analysis is just one way that may be used in tandem with sales data analysis to show how different business tactics affect revenue. It can also reveal consumers' buying behavior and consumer trends. 

Functions of Marketing Research  

The following are the main functions of Marketing Research - 

Description: Marketing research details customers. Age, sex, education, income, etc., are listed. It describes the market and competitors. This description helps marketing decision-makers and problem-solvers. 

Evaluation: Marketing research evaluates firm performance. It evaluates production and marketing policies. It measures customer reactions to product quality, price, packaging, advertising, sales, and promotions. If consumers dislike the company's policies, they must alter them. It contrasts company and rival policies. 

Functions of Marketing Research  

Explanation: Marketing research answers all marketing questions. It explains why sales are declining, why retailers are unhappy, etc. It explains the problem's causes. It gives a solution. 

Prediction: Marketing research forecasts. Predictions are future forecasts. It predicts sales, market prospects, dangers, marketing environment, customer behavior, etc. All predictions may be wrong. Predictions help the organization create plans and policies. It helps seize possibilities. It prevents future hazards. 

Decision Making: Marketing research aids decision-makers. It gives decision-making data. Decision-making involves choosing between options. Decision-making requires accurate data. MR helps the marketer decide. It gives decision-making data. It offers alternatives. It compares each option's pros and cons. It helps marketing managers choose the right action. 

Conclusion 

The world's markets are changing at a dizzying rate, making it more important than ever for companies to adapt quickly enough to be competitive. One method is to conduct market research. The results of your market research and analysis will provide you with a thorough understanding of your target audience's wants and needs, as well as your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. 

The key to making your business successful in the face of intense competition is identifying and fixing your deficiencies. The right market research tools will aid you in doing just that! The time to begin expanding your company is now.  

With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.    

A leader in  Market research services , SG Analytics enables organizations to achieve actionable insights into products, technology, customers, competition, and the marketplace to make insight-driven decisions.  Contact us  today if you are an enterprise looking to make critical data-driven decisions to prompt accelerated growth and breakthrough performance.

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Why Is Market Research Important: We Give You 7 Reasons

Market Research

Planning and conducting market research is a critical component of any business. It provides decision-makers with important information to decide the course of the company, launch a new product, or to keep a tab on what competitors are doing.

Data indicates that market research is a growing industry of 47.36bn USD , globally – and rightly so. For a business to succeed, all its resources – financial and otherwise – must be invested in areas where they are needed the most. Conducting market research helps you identify those areas. It also helps you discover and understand your customers’ needs so you can innovate better, expand when the time is right, and work with more focus.

In this article below, we will share a few pointers with you about why market research is important for every business – big and small. But first, let’s talk about the types of market research.

Types Of Market Research

Depending on the purpose of your research, you can choose either of the two main types of market research. These are primary research and secondary research.

– Primary Research

Primary research is direct research that you conduct yourself or hire someone else to do it for you. It involves reaching out to your target market, asking them questions, collecting data, and analyzing the information gathered. Based on the data, strategies are devised, decisions are made, and policies are created.

Primary research helps you explore issues, dig deeper, and ask specific questions that are relevant to what you are looking for. Because it takes more time and effort, it may also cost a bit more than secondary research but it is more effective and helps you gain a solid picture of what’s going on.

– Secondary Research

Secondary research is using somebody else’s primary research for your business purposes. Research that is already conducted, organized, and published is often used by small businesses to gauge market trends, current economies, and to devise plans.

A lot of government agencies conduct market research for various purposes. If you’re on a budget, going to one of those agencies may help you out a lot as most of that research is freely available to the public. If you want to access a private market research company’s report, you may have to pay a fee to access the complete file.

However, there are private companies that publish their reports publicly. Additionally, you can also go online and conduct Google searches looking for specific phrases relevant to your research purpose to find valuable data.

Why Is It Important?

Now that we know what market research is and what different kinds it has, it’s time to learn why it is important, and why you should invest in it if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

1. It Helps You Identify The Problem Areas As Well As Strong Areas

Knowing what you are good at and what you’re not, help you take profitable risks in life. It’s true in business too. Accurate market research helps you identify business areas that are performing well, those that need more attention, and also those that you should perhaps give up.

Back in 2010 , two young tech enthusiasts launched a location-based app – Burbn – that would allow consumers to check-in, make plans of hangouts with friends, share pictures, and more. Few weeks into the launch, they realized through internal discussions and reevaluation of the market, that Burbn is cluttered and their target market is more into Foursquare and they won’t be able to budge them.

They took a long, hard look at their app again – which had already been launched – and started working on it from scratch, removing all the features and only letting the photo-sharing, liking, and commenting options intact. And thus, Instagram was born.

It also helps you discover and understand your customers’ needs so you can innovate better, expand when the time is right, and work with more focus. For example, if you plan on starting a digital marketing agency, you’d know that there’s more need for social media in your area, than for PPC services. Thus, you’ll hire more social media experts.

2. It Helps You Understand Your Customers’ Needs

It is not enough that you know your business; you got to know what your customers are saying about you – and about your competitors. If you have got your pulse on what your customer is thinking, you’d create products that solve their issues, reach out to them when they are most ready to listen, and help them become your loyal ambassadors.

A huge part of business market research is always dedicated to gauging customer satisfaction rates, their reactions to a new product, and what they are looking for next.

In 2005, when YouTube initially launched, it was for a very different purpose : dating. Pretty soon into launch, however, and by investing in robust market research (a part of which they conducted themselves) the founders realized that their video dating app is not what their customers are looking for. Analyzing the data, they discovered that there is no app or platform in the market for video sharing. The websites that were offering this service were patchy at best and not intuitive at all.

Being attuned to their customers’ needs and spotting a wide space in the market, they tweaked their video platform and launched YouTube .

Following what your customers are talking about, listening to them, and then delivering on their needs is an important task that you can fulfill with timely customer-centered market research.

3. Helps You Conduct Your Marketing Based On Informed Decisions

Launching and running a business means making decisions every day – about products, services, expansions, HR, and so much more. Without solid market research backing your decisions, all you are doing is guess-work, hoping the results will be in your favor.

With research helping your business, you are better informed about areas to invest in, gauge the potential success of new products, test new markets to expand into, and to determine what kinds of products/services will be most favored by your customers.

This is certainly what Starbucks does. The company has a whole dedicated platform ‘My Starbucks Idea’ where employees and customers and anyone who wants can pitch in and share what they think the company should do next, the flavors it should try, the new products it should launch, bring back some old favorites, and more.

The platform helps them remain informed on all important aspects of business investment and propels them towards ventures and venues that hold the most potential.

If you aren’t a humungous company like Starbucks and cannot afford to host dedicated platforms to gain important information, invest in market research whenever you have a big decision coming up. It isn’t as expensive as you think and doesn’t take that much time. Plus the results can be relevant for a lot of related areas that you may want information on.

4. Helps You Keep An Eye On Your Competitors

As a startup founder, you may think being original is all about being focused on what you’re doing and not worry about what everyone else may be up to. This approach spells long-term disaster. While you should certainly keep your focus on your own efforts, it is critical – and smart – to keep tabs on your rivals and know what they are thinking or planning.

With sound market research on your side, you can better prepare for what your competitor may be about to do next and make sure they aren’t able to put a dent in your market share. With regular research, you can not only learn to anticipate their next move but be in a better position to avert any possible damage from their end.

In addition to conducting market research, you can pair it up with regularly monitoring their social media or to increase Instagram followers , blog posts, and seeing what is trending in your market. Here is a great resource on how you can go about it.

5. Helps You Expand And Innovate

Market research can help you identify markets and geographical areas where you can expand to. It can also help you to invest in ideas that have the most potential to succeed based on what customers are looking for and what the market is lacking.

For example, if you are a retail company, conducting market research can help you identify locations where your store can profit the most. If you are planning to buy a business to increase your market share, market research can help you point towards businesses that may be ripe for acquiring. Not only that, conducting market research before you launch your business can help you figure out ways to put your best foot forward.

It guides you towards opportunities where you have the most room to innovate and take risks with the highest return potential. For example, if your competition is employing cutting edge tech such as VoIP Phone to get better results, you can also employ the same to improve your customer care and business goals.

6. Helps You Set Business Goals

Goal-setting is one of the major parts of running a business – big and small. Goals give you directions, help you remain in sight of the bigger picture, and set you on the path of continued success. Goals can be of different kinds: short-term, long-term, department-oriented, over-arching, and such.

To set all these kinds of goals and get ready to meet them, businesses need to have a thorough and complete knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses. They need to be aware of how the market is behaving and predict what may come next.

All of this is only possible after conducting market research. With the help of focused market research, you can set achievable business goals and not follow some vague notions of instant success. These often include how to improve productivity, customer satisfaction, and business’ financial health. You can also use market research to learn ways you can reduce expenses without hurting the business, find out how to amplify your digital marketing, generate copywriting tips for research paper writers , or introduce a new employee incentive program.

7. Helps You Know Which Risks To Take And Increases Earning Potential

Risk-taking is an important component of the business. Without it, you can become stagnant and a sitting-duck for a more ambitious rival. But risk-taking cannot be a shot in the dark. To know which risks to take and when to take the plunge are attributes of successful innovators. From Dropbox’s Drew Houston who refused Steve Jobs to Google’s buying of YouTube when it was a fledgling startup, the history of business success and innovating is packed full of stories of ambitious – but informed – risk-taking.

Using market research, you can also join the ranks of informed-decision makers who do not shy away from taking risks. It prevents you from making costly mistakes that could have been avoided and take steps that result in massive profits.

Take the example of Frito-Lay . When the potato chip maker wanted to introduce a new brand, it launched online market research conducted through Facebook to ask its customer-base which flavor they would like the best. The results showed that beer-battered onion-ring flavor is a hit in California and Ohio, while New Yorkers preferred the Churros flavor idea. This research also helped him increase Instagram followers as his posts became popular over the internet.

The research helped the company come up with different flavors and market them strategically to different states. If the research would not have been done, the company would have come up with a new flavor that could have been a hit – or a miss.

Popular Instruments Of Market Research

As technology keeps advancing, market research keeps evolving. Where before you had to rely on face-to-face interviews, telephone surveys, or lengthy online questionnaires, now it’s all about short online surveys, instant case studies aided by technologies, and focused groups that are already available on your social media channels.

Below we talk about 4 popular instruments of market research that are frequently used by companies worldwide with excellent results.

– Surveys

The survey is a quantitative method of research which means it gives you numerical scores. These scores pertain to specific answers and don’t leave much room for multiple interpretations. Because they are precise, provide specific answers, and immediate interpretation, quantitative methods are popular to conduct research when you are looking for exact information: to find out how to solve a particular problem, etc.

According to a study conducted by Statista.com , 26% of all market research is conducted through online quantitative methods, with online surveys accounting for a major share of 79%.

If you know how to create an easy survey online for your company, here is a great resource to get you started.

– Case Studies

Case studies are usually qualitative research methods; however, you can incorporate a mixed approach with a quantitative questionnaire thrown in for additional information. Using case studies, you focus on a single individual or single entity to research them thoroughly. The purpose of using case studies in business market research is usually to test theories of what went wrong in a particular situation or what went right.

Case studies are time-taking but provide extremely valuable information, detailed data, and in-depth analysis opportunities.

– Focus Groups

Focus groups are another popular instrument to conduct market research in business. A focus group consists of a small portion of your target audience that you can study in detail. It is a qualitative method of research and allows you to bring together a group of individuals that can take part in a guided form of discussion.

You can give them one or more focus questions that the group can talk about and share their views on. Focus groups are great to use when you’re creating a new product, researching a particular market segment, or want to know what your customers are thinking about you or your market.

Similar to case studies, focus groups give you a comprehensive view of a situation and allow you to conduct an in-depth analysis of different business elements.

Market Research Trends

The Future Of Market Research

The future of market research is bright. As a budding and burgeoning industry, it shows all the trends of continued growth. But as technology becomes more accessible and mobile devices more popular than desktops, market research is also evolving to fulfill the shifting customer needs.

The surveys are becoming shorter as nobody has got the time or interest to fill out a 10-page questionnaire. Artificial Intelligence is making the data collection process quicker and more intuitive, including contact database . And as time passes, you’ll see more and more market surveys being optimized for mobile.

So use all that modern market research has to offer you and use it to propel your business for the success you’d always dreamed of.

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About The Author Kelvin Stiles

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.

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benefits of market research study

Home Market Research

Market Research: What it Is, Methods, Types & Examples

What is Market Research

Would you like to know why, how, and when to apply market research? Do you want to discover why your consumers are not buying your products? Are you interested in launching a new product, service, or even a new marketing campaign, but you’re not sure what your consumers want?

LEARN ABOUT: Market research vs marketing research

To answer the questions above, you’ll need help from your consumers. But how will you collect that data? In this case and in many other situations in your business, market research is the way to get all the answers you need.

In this ultimate guide about market research, you’ll find the definition, advantages, types of market research, and some examples that will help you understand this type of research. Don’t forget to download the free ebook available at the end of this guide!

LEARN ABOUT: Perceived Value

Content Index

Three key objectives of market research

Why is market research important.

  • Types of Market Research: Methods and Examples

Steps for conducting Market Research

Benefits of an efficient market research, 5 market research tips for businesses, why does every business need market research, free market research ebook, what is market research.

Market research is a technique that is used to collect data on any aspect that you want to know to be later able to interpret it and, in the end, make use of it for correct decision-making.

Another more specific definition could be the following:

Market research is the process by which companies seek to collect data systematically to make better decisions. Still, its true value lies in the way in which all the data obtained is used to achieve a better knowledge of the market consumer.

The process of market research can be done through deploying surveys , interacting with a group of people, also known as a sample , conducting interviews, and other similar processes.  

The primary purpose of conducting market research is to understand or examine the market associated with a particular product or service to decide how the audience will react to a product or service. The information obtained from conducting market research can be used to tailor marketing/ advertising activities or determine consumers’ feature priorities/service requirement (if any).

LEARN ABOUT: Consumer Surveys

Conducting research is one of the best ways of achieving customer satisfaction , reducing customer churn and elevating business. Here are the reasons why market research is important and should be considered in any business:

  • Valuable information: It provides information and opportunities about the value of existing and new products, thus, helping businesses plan and strategize accordingly.
  • Customer-centric: It helps to determine what the customers need and want. Marketing is customer-centric and understanding the customers and their needs will help businesses design products or services that best suit them. Remember that tracing your customer journey is a great way to gain valuable insights into your customers’ sentiments toward your brand.
  • Forecasts: By understanding the needs of customers, businesses can also forecast their production and sales. Market research also helps in determining optimum inventory stock.
  • Competitive advantage: To stay ahead of competitors market research is a vital tool to carry out comparative studies. Businesses can devise business strategies that can help them stay ahead of their competitors.

LEARN ABOUT: Data Analytics Projects

Types of Market Research: Market Research Methods and Examples

Whether an organization or business wishes to know the purchase behavior of consumers or the likelihood of consumers paying a certain cost for a product segmentation , market research helps in drawing meaningful conclusions.

LEARN ABOUT: Behavioral Targeting

Depending on the methods and tools required, the following are the types:

1. Primary Market Research (A combination of both Qualitative and Quantitative Research):

Primary market research is a process where organizations or businesses get in touch with the end consumers or employ a third party to carry out relevant studies to collect data. The data collected can be qualitative data (non-numerical data) or quantitative data (numerical or statistical data).

While conducting primary market research, one can gather two types of information: Exploratory and Specific. Exploratory research is open-ended, where a problem is explored by asking open ended questions in a detailed interview format usually with a small group of people, also known as a sample. Here the sample size is restricted to 6-10 members. Specific research, on the other hand, is more pinpointed and is used to solve the problems that are identified by exploratory research.

LEARN ABOUT: Marketing Insight

As mentioned earlier, primary market research is a combination of qualitative market research and quantitative market research. Qualitative market research study involves semi-structured or unstructured data collected through some of the commonly used qualitative research methods like:

Methods of Market Research

Focus groups :

Focus group is one of the commonly used qualitative research methods. Focus group is a small group of people (6-10) who typically respond to online surveys sent to them. The best part about a focus group is the information can be collected remotely, can be done without personally interacting with the group members. However, this is a more expensive method as it is used to collect complex information.

One-to-one interview:

As the name suggests, this method involves personal interaction in the form of an interview, where the researcher asks a series of questions to collect information or data from the respondents. The questions are mostly open-ended questions and are asked to facilitate responses. This method heavily depends on the interviewer’s ability and experience to ask questions that evoke responses.

Ethnographic research :

This type of in-depth research is conducted in the natural settings of the respondents. This method requires the interviewer to adapt himself/herself to the natural environment of the respondents which could be a city or a remote village. Geographical constraints can be a hindering market research factor in conducting this kind of research. Ethnographic research can last from a few days to a few years.

Organizations use qualitative research methods to conduct structured market research by using online surveys , questionnaires , and polls to gain statistical insights to make informed decisions.

LEARN ABOUT: Qualitative Interview

This method was once conducted using pen and paper. This has now evolved to sending structured online surveys to the respondents to gain actionable insights. Researchers use modern and technology-oriented survey platforms to structure and design their survey to evoke maximum responses from respondents.

Through a well-structured mechanism, data is easily collected and reported, and necessary action can be taken with all the information made available firsthand.

Learn more: How to conduct quantitative research

2. Secondary Market Research:

Secondary research uses information that is organized by outside sources like government agencies, media, chambers of commerce etc. This information is published in newspapers, magazines, books, company websites, free government and nongovernment agencies and so on. The secondary source makes use of the following:

  • Public sources: Public sources like library are an awesome way of gathering free information. Government libraries usually offer services free of cost and a researcher can document available information.
  • Commercial sources: Commercial source although reliable are expensive. Local newspapers, magazines, journal, television media are great commercial sources to collect information.
  • Educational Institutions: Although not a very popular source of collecting information, most universities and educational institutions are a rich source of information as many research projects are carried out there than any business sector.

Learn more: Market Research Example with Types and Methods

A market research project may usually have 3 different types of objectives.

  • Administrative : Help a company or business development, through proper planning, organization, and both human and material resources control, and thus satisfy all specific needs within the market, at the right time.
  • Social : Satisfy customers’ specific needs through a required product or service. The product or service should comply with a customer’s requirements and preferences when consumed.
  • Economical : Determine the economical degree of success or failure a company can have while being new to the market, or otherwise introducing new products or services, thus providing certainty to all actions to be implemented.

LEARN ABOUT:  Test Market Demand

Knowing what to do in various situations that arise during the investigation will save the researcher time and reduce research problems . Today’s successful enterprises use powerful market research survey software that helps them conduct comprehensive research under a unified platform, providing actionable insights much faster with fewer problems.

LEARN ABOUT:  Market research industry

Following are the steps to conduct effective market research.

Step #1: Define the Problem

Having a well-defined subject of research will help researchers when they ask questions. These questions should be directed to solve problems and must be adapted to the project. Make sure the questions are written clearly and that the respondents understand them. Researchers can conduct a marketing test with a small group to know if the questions are going to know whether the asked questions are understandable and if they will be enough to gain insightful results.

Research objectives should be written in a precise way and should include a brief description of the information that is needed and the way in which it will obtain it. They should have an answer to this question “why are we doing the research?”

Learn more: Interview Questions

Step #2: Define the Sample

To carry out market research, researchers need a representative sample that can be collected using one of the many sampling techniques . A representative sample is a small number of people that reflect, as accurately as possible, a larger group.

  • An organization cannot waste their resources in collecting information from the wrong population. It is important that the population represents characteristics that matter to the researchers and that they need to investigate, are in the chosen sample.
  • Take into account that marketers will always be prone to fall into a bias in the sample because there will always be people who do not answer the survey because they are busy, or answer it incompletely, so researchers may not obtain the required data.
  • Regarding the size of the sample, the larger it is, the more likely it is to be representative of the population. A larger representative sample gives the researcher greater certainty that the people included are the ones they need, and they can possibly reduce bias. Therefore, if they want to avoid inaccuracy in our surveys, they should have representative and balanced samples.
  • Practically all the surveys that are considered in a serious way, are based on a scientific sampling, based on statistical and probability theories.

There are two ways to obtain a representative sample:

  • Probability sampling : In probability sampling , the choice of the sample will be made at random, which guarantees that each member of the population will have the same probability of selection bias and inclusion in the sample group. Researchers should ensure that they have updated information on the population from which they will draw the sample and survey the majority to establish representativeness.
  • Non-probability sampling : In a non-probability sampling , different types of people are seeking to obtain a more balanced representative sample. Knowing the demographic characteristics of our group will undoubtedly help to limit the profile of the desired sample and define the variables that interest the researchers, such as gender, age, place of residence, etc. By knowing these criteria, before obtaining the information, researchers can have the control to create a representative sample that is efficient for us.

When a sample is not representative, there can be a margin of error . If researchers want to have a representative sample of 100 employees, they should choose a similar number of men and women.

The sample size is very important, but it does not guarantee accuracy. More than size, representativeness is related to the sampling frame , that is, to the list from which people are selected, for example, part of a survey.

LEARN ABOUT: Behavioral Research If researchers want to continue expanding their knowledge on how to determine the size of the sample consult our guide on sampling here.

Step #3: Carry out data collection

First, a data collection instrument should be developed. The fact that they do not answer a survey, or answer it incompletely will cause errors in research. The correct collection of data will prevent this.

Step #4: Analyze the results

Each of the points of the market research process is linked to one another. If all the above is executed well, but there is no accurate analysis of the results, then the decisions made consequently will not be appropriate. In-depth analysis conducted without leaving loose ends will be effective in gaining solutions. Data analysis will be captured in a report, which should also be written clearly so that effective decisions can be made on that basis.

Analyzing and interpreting the results is to look for a wider meaning to the obtained data. All the previous phases have been developed to arrive at this moment. How can researchers measure the obtained results? The only quantitative data that will be obtained is age, sex, profession, and number of interviewees because the rest are emotions and experiences that have been transmitted to us by the interlocutors. For this, there is a tool called empathy map that forces us to put ourselves in the place of our clientele with the aim of being able to identify, really, the characteristics that will allow us to make a better adjustment between our products or services and their needs or interests. When the research has been carefully planned, the hypotheses have been adequately defined and the indicated collection method has been used, the interpretation is usually carried out easily and successfully. What follows after conducting market research?

Learn more: Types of Interviews

Step #5: Make the Research Report

When presenting the results, researchers should focus on: what do they want to achieve using this research report and while answering this question they should not assume that the structure of the survey is the best way to do the analysis. One of the big mistakes that many researchers make is that they present the reports in the same order of their questions and do not see the potential of storytelling.

Tips to create a market research report

To make good reports, the best analysts give the following advice: follow the inverted pyramid style to present the results, answering at the beginning the essential questions of the business that caused the investigation. Start with the conclusions and give them fundamentals, instead of accumulating evidence. After this researchers can provide details to the readers who have the time and interest.

Step #6: Make Decisions

An organization or a researcher should never ask “why do market research”, they should just do it! Market research helps researchers to know a wide range of information, for example,  consumer purchase intentions, or gives feedback about the growth of the target market. They can also discover valuable information that will help in estimating the prices of their product or service and find a point of balance that will benefit them and the consumers.

Take decisions! Act and implement.

Learn more: Quantitative Research

  • Make well-informed decisions: The growth of an organization is dependent on the way decisions are made by the management. Using market research techniques, the management can make business decisions based on obtained results that back their knowledge and experience. Market research helps to know market trends, hence to carry it out frequently to get to know the customers thoroughly.

LEARN ABOUT: Research Process Steps

  • Gain accurate information: Market research provides real and accurate information that will prepare the organization for any mishaps that may happen in the future. By properly investigating the market, a business will undoubtedly be taking a step forward, and therefore it will be taking advantage of its existing competitors.
  • Determine the market size: A researcher can evaluate the size of the market that must be covered in case of selling a product or service in order to make profits.
  • Choose an appropriate sales system: Select a precise sales system according to what the market is asking for, and according to this, the product/service can be positioned in the market.
  • Learn about customer preferences: It helps to know how the preferences (and tastes) of the clients change so that the company can satisfy preferences, purchasing habits, and income levels. Researchers can determine the type of product that must be manufactured or sold based on the specific needs of consumers.
  • Gather details about customer perception of the brand: In addition to generating information, market research helps a researcher in understanding how the customers perceive the organization or brand.
  • Analyze customer communication methods: Market research serves as a guide for communication with current and potential clients.
  • Productive business investment: It is a great investment for any business because thanks to it they get invaluable information, it shows researchers the way to follow to take the right path and achieve the sales that are required.

LEARN ABOUT: Total Quality Management

The following tips will help businesses with creating a better market research strategy.

Tip #1: Define the objective of your research.

Before starting your research quest, think about what you’re trying to achieve next with your business. Are you looking to increase traffic to your location? Or increase sales? Or convert customers from one-time purchasers to regulars? Figuring out your objective will help you tailor the rest of your research and your future marketing materials. Having an objective for your research will flesh out what kind of data you need to collect.

Tip #2: Learn About Your Target Customers.

The most important thing to remember is that your business serves a specific kind of customer. Defining your specific customer has many advantages like allowing you to understand what kind of language to use when crafting your marketing materials, and how to approach building relationships with your customer. When you take time to define your target customer you can also find the best products and services to sell to them.

You want to know as much as you can about your target customer. You can gather this information through observation and by researching the kind of customers who frequent your type of business. For starters, helpful things to know are their age and income. What do they do for a living? What’s their marital status and education level?

Learn more: Customer Satisfaction

Tip #3: Recognize that knowing who you serve helps you define who you do not.

Let’s take a classic example from copywriting genius Dan Kennedy. He says that if you’re opening up a fine dining steakhouse focused on decadent food, you know right off the bat that you’re not looking to attract vegetarians or dieters. Armed with this information, you can create better marketing messages that speak to your target customers.

It’s okay to decide who is not a part of your target customer base. In fact, for small businesses knowing who you don’t cater to can be essential in helping you grow. Why? Simple, if you’re small your advantage is that you can connect deeply with a specific segment of the market. You want to focus your efforts on the right customer who already is compelled to spend money on your offer.

If you’re spreading yourself thin by trying to be all things to everyone, you will only dilute your core message. Instead, keep your focus on your target customer. Define them, go deep, and you’ll be able to figure out how you can best serve them with your products and services.

Tip #4: Learn from your competition.

This works for brick-and-mortar businesses as well as internet businesses because it allows you to step into the shoes of your customer and open up to a new perspective of your business. Take a look around the internet and around your town. If you can, visit your competitor’s shops. For example, if you own a restaurant specializing in Italian cuisine, dine at the other Italian place in your neighborhood or in the next township.

As you experience the business from the customer’s perspective, look for what’s being done right and wrong.

Can you see areas that need attention or improvement? How are you running things in comparison? What’s the quality of their product and customer service ? Are the customers here pleased? Also, take a close look at their market segment. Who else is patronizing their business? Are they the same kinds of people who spend money with you? By asking these questions and doing in-person research, you can dig up a lot of information to help you define your unique selling position and create even better offers for your customers.

Tip #5: Get your target customers to open up and tell you everything.

A good customer survey is one of the most valuable market research tools because it gives you the opportunity to get inside your customer’s head. However, remember that some feedback may be harsh, so take criticism as a learning tool to point you in the right direction.

Creating a survey is simple. Ask questions about what your customer thinks you’re doing right and what can be improved. You can also prompt them to tell you what kinds of products and services they’d like to see you add, giving you fantastic insight into how to monetize your business more. Many customers will be delighted to offer feedback. You can even give customers who fill out surveys a gift like a special coupon for their next purchase.

Bonus Tip: Use an insight & research repository

An insight & research repository is a consolidated research management platform to derive insights about past and ongoing market research. With the use of such a tool, you can leverage past research to get to insights faster, build on previously done market research and draw trendlines, utilize research techniques that have worked in the past, and more.

Market research is one of the most effective ways to gain insight into your customer base , competitors , and the overall market. The goal of conducting market research is to equip your company with the information you need to make informed decisions.

It is especially important when small businesses are trying to determine whether a new business idea is viable, looking to move into a new market, or are launching a new product or service.  Read below for a more in-depth look at how market research can help small businesses.

  • COMPETITION According to a study conducted by Business Insider, 72% of small businesses focus on increasing revenue. Conducting research helps businesses gain insight into competitor behavior. By learning about your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, you can learn how to position your product or offering. In order to be successful, small businesses need to have an understanding of what products and services competitors are offering, and their price point.

Learn more: Trend Analysis

  • CUSTOMERS Many small businesses feel they need to understand their customers, only to conduct market research and learn they had the wrong assumptions. By researching, you can create a profile of your average customer and gain insight into their buying habits, how much they’re willing to spend, and which features resonate with them. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, you can learn what will make someone use your product or service over a competitor.

Learn more: Customer Satisfaction Survey

  • OPPORTUNITIES Potential opportunities, whether they are products or services, can be identified by conducting market research. By learning more about your customers, you can gather insights into complementary products and services. Consumer needs change over time, influenced by new technology and different conditions, and you may find new needs that are not being met, which can create new opportunities for your business.

Learn more: SWOT Analysis 

  • FORECAST A small business is affected by the performance of the local and national economy, as are its’ customers. If consumers are worried, then they will be more restrained when spending money, which affects the business. By conducting research with consumers, businesses can get an idea of whether they are optimistic or apprehensive about the direction of the economy, and make adjustments as necessary. For example, a small business owner may decide to postpone a new product launch if it appears the economic environment is turning negative.

Learn more: 300+ Market Research Survey Questionnaires

Market research and market intelligence may be as complex as the needs that each business or project has. The steps are usually the same. We hope this ultimate guide helps you have a better understanding of how to make your own market research project to gather insightful data and make better decisions.

LEARN ABOUT: Projective Techniques

We appreciate you taking the time to read this ultimate guide. We hope it was helpful! 

You can now download our free ebook that will guide you through a market research project, from the planning stage to the presentation of the outcomes and their analysis.

Sign up now, and download our free ebook: The Hacker’s Guide to Advanced Research Methodologies 

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5 reasons why marketing research is important to your business

why market research is important

Marketing research is a critical tool that businesses and organisations use to gather valuable information about their target market and industry. By conducting research, companies can gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviour, as well as market trends and the competitive landscape. In this article, we'll explore five reasons why marketing research is important for businesses and organisations.

5 reasons why marketing research is important

Is your company on the fence about investing in marketing research? If so, read on for five reasons why marketing research is important to the viability and longevity of your business.

1. Marketing research helps businesses understand their customers.

Knowing your customers is the first step in running a successful business. And while this may sound simple enough, it can be difficult to look inside the consumer psyche—one whose needs, preferences, and behaviours are ever-evolving.

Fortunately, marketing research can give you a peek behind the curtain, helping you understand what motivates current as well as potential customers. A marketing research survey , for example, can provide insight into pricing sensitivity among a segment of your target population. The data yielded may suggest that boomers are more likely to purchase a product based on price alone while millennials are more motivated by the values of the respective company. Based on this information, you can tailor your offerings to better meet these needs.

Let’s take a closer look at what else marketing research can tell you about your target audience.

a. Marketing research reveals demographic data.

Through conducting surveys, you can better understand characteristics of your buyers, like age, gender, race, and ethnicity. You can also collect socioeconomic information like education, income, and employment status. These variables can help you engage in audience segmentation, which essentially involves tweaking your brand messaging to appeal to various subgroups.

b. Marketing research illustrates purchasing behaviour.

Marketing research tools like surveys, transaction tracking, and social media tracking can also shed light on when, why, how, and what consumers are buying. A better understanding of purchasing behaviour can help your company develop brand messaging that strikes a chord with its target audience. If consumers tend to shop between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m., for instance, your company may send an email coupon at 4:45 p.m. to prime that behaviour.

c. Marketing research helps companies appeal to potential customers.

It’s important to learn as much as possible about your current customers. However, it’s equally important to learn about people who are at the beginning of the customer journey. A deeper understanding of what motivates these individuals can help your business turn clicks into conversions.

2. Marketing research helps businesses manage risk.

Risk is an intrinsic part of the business world. However, by understanding market trends and customer behaviour, businesses can anticipate changes in demand and adjust their strategies accordingly. Market research can also help businesses identify potential obstacles or challenges and develop contingency plans to mitigate those risks.

For example, let’s say a company hopes to introduce a new product to the market. Before investing significant time and financial resources into product development, market researchers may conduct a series of surveys to determine if consumers are even interested in the respective product. This mitigates the risk of introducing a good for which there is no demand.

Other examples in which marketing research can be used as a tool for mitigating risk include:

  • Conducting ad testing to determine if brand messaging resonates with consumers
  • Hosting product development focus groups to receive feedback before revealing a new product to the larger market
  • Organising customer satisfaction surveys at various points of the customer journey to determine any issues affecting sales
  • Administering price testing to determine the ideal price for a new product

3. Marketing research helps businesses stay competitive.

Marketing research gives companies a competitive edge in many ways, one being a greater awareness of the industry itself. By understanding what other businesses are doing, your company can develop strategies to differentiate itself and stay ahead of the curve. For example, if research indicates that laundry detergent manufacturers are increasing prices, a company can either decide to a) keep up with the times and increase costs, b) keep costs the same, or c) decrease pricing to appeal to a specific target market.

Marketing research also helps companies determine areas where they may be falling behind. If several healthcare conglomerates are expanding telehealth services, it would be wise for a hospital to also make moves to provide digital appointments. Otherwise, patients may take their business elsewhere.

How else can marketing research help your business stay competitive?

a. Marketing research aids in trendspotting.

It’s important for companies to keep up with industry patterns. However, it’s also important for companies to predict patterns before they even happen. The fashion industry provides a good example of this. Trend forecasters analyse decades—centuries even—of socio-cultural data in an attempt to be the first company to put out a ‘hot’ new product that appeals to modern sensibilities.

b. Marketing research allows businesses to identify gaps in the industry.

Similarly, marketing research can help companies realise a demand that has yet to be satisfied. Through marketing research surveys, for instance, an organic snack food company may see that consumers are craving more savoury gluten-free snack options. Using this data, the company can one-up competitors by introducing a new product.

4. Marketing research gives businesses the tools to measure success.

Net profit is an important indicator of a company’s success. However, if profits are plummeting, it can be difficult to know if this is because of your company’s performance or industry-wide factors like increased materials costs and decreased demand. Because of this, businesses must rely on a more holistic approach to evaluating success.

Fortunately, marketing research can be a helpful tool if you want to measure business health using more than dollar signs. Here’s how marketing research can help you gauge company success.

a. Marketing research provides insight into customer satisfaction.

Sure, your company could be making money. But if your customers aren’t satisfied, your financial gains are likely to be short-lived. To determine if customers are happy with your products or services, you can conduct a customer feedback survey questionnaire.

Alternatively, you may choose to conduct a longitudinal panel survey . Unlike an ad hoc survey, which takes a snapshot of consumer opinions and behaviours, longitudinal studies (like monthly or quarterly trackers) monitor how consumer attitudes change over time. This tool is especially helpful if you want to see how customer satisfaction changes after the introduction of new protocols or training methods.

b. Marketing research helps businesses assess employee satisfaction.

A financially profitable company isn’t necessarily successful if its employees aren’t satisfied. To assess this metric of success, you can conduct surveys, in-person interviews, or focus groups. The results from these marketing research assessments may also shed light on the efficiency of your staff.

c. Marketing research provides insight into the performance of competitors.

It can be constructive to compare your company’s performance to that of competitors. This can help you understand if dips or rises in profit are unique to your company or simply an industry trend.

5. Marketing research helps businesses make informed decisions.

For decades, companies have made key business decisions based on gut feelings alone. But the new age of marketing revolves around data-driven decision-making: a process in which business decisions are informed by metrics and analytics. This contemporary model helps companies make solid choices that reduce risk while improving performance.

Since marketing research lends itself to data generation, it’s an integral part of this equation. For example, data yielded from a brand awareness survey may illustrate that men aged 50 to 65 in a specific geographic area are the least familiar with the brand. Using this information, the company can invest marketing dollars in a way that will yield true results.

Other examples of using marketing research to support data-driven decision-making include:

  • During a focus group, a company discovers that 60% of women are dissatisfied with the playback speed options of an audiobook app. In response, software developers dedicate time and financial resources to adjusting that feature.
  • Survey data reveals that as the price of microwaves increases, so does customers’ perceived value of the product. With this in mind, a company chooses to increase prices by 30%.
  • A popular food chain conducts a series of phone interviews to assess customer service at various locations. Afterward, the company mandates that employees at the restaurants with the lowest reviews take customer service training courses.

All this to say, marketing research has many different applications. By gathering data about customer preferences, market trends, and industry dynamics, businesses can make decisions based on facts rather than assumptions or intuition. This can help businesses avoid costly mistakes and increase their chances of success.

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Marketing research is a critical tool that businesses and organisations can use to gather valuable information about their target market and industry. By conducting research, businesses can gain insights into customer needs and behaviour, stay competitive, make informed decisions, manage risk, and measure success.

And during VUCA times (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), keeping a consistent pulse on consumer sentiment and behaviour is essential to driving the right decisions for business growth.

However, in today's rapidly changing business landscape, marketing research can feel complicated and overwhelming. That’s where Kantar comes in. As an industry leader, we provide tips and tools to help you navigate each step of the marketing research process, from survey design to data visualisation.

Want to get started? Speak to our award-winning team  to learn how we can help you conduct marketing research.

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Difference Between Market Study and Market Research

In the business world , the terms " market study " and " market research " are often used interchangeably . However , although they are related , they represent distinct concepts with specific applications and benefits . In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between these two approaches and how they can benefit your business .  

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What is a Market Study?  

   

A market study is a detailed evaluation of a specific market within an industry. Its main objective is to understand market dynamics, including trends, competition, consumer behaviors, and growth opportunities. This type of study primarily relies on the analysis of secondary data, such as industry reports, market statistics, and public data. These data are collected to provide an overview of the competitive landscape and business opportunities. For example, a market study can help you identify an emerging trend in consumer behavior that might influence the demand for your products or services in the future.  

What is Market Research?  

On the other hand, market research is a deeper and more specific process that involves collecting primary data directly from consumers. This process can include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and direct observation. Market research is used to obtain detailed and personalized information about consumers' preferences, needs, and behaviors, which helps companies develop more effective products and marketing strategies. For example, if a company wants to launch a new product, market research can provide data on the features consumers want and the price they are willing to pay.  

Key Differences Between Market Study and Market Research  

Although both terms refer to the collection and analysis of data to inform business decisions, there are key differences between a market study and market research. A market study focuses on providing an overview of the market, using primarily secondary data to evaluate trends and opportunities. In contrast, market research focuses on deeply understanding the needs and behaviors of specific consumers, based on primary data obtained directly from them.  

Another significant difference is the approach and methodology. Market studies are generally less expensive and quicker to conduct, as they rely on the collection of existing data. In contrast, market research, while more costly, provides more detailed and personalized insights through direct interaction with consumers.  

Benefits of a Market Study for Your Business  

Conducting a market study can offer several important benefits for your business. First, it allows you to identify new business opportunities and market niches that might not be immediately apparent. Additionally, it helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, which can inform how you better position your products or services in the market. Market studies also keep you updated with emerging trends and industry changes, which is crucial to staying competitive. Finally, the data collected can inform long-term strategic decisions based on objective data rather than assumptions.  

How to Choose Between a Market Study and Market Research  

Choosing between a market study and market research depends on the specific goals of your business. If you need an overview of the market and its trends, a market study is more suitable. However, if you seek to deeply understand the needs and behaviors of your consumers, you should opt for market research.  

Budget and available resources also play a crucial role in this decision. Market studies are generally less expensive and quicker to conduct, as they rely on secondary data. On the other hand, market research, while more costly, provides more detailed and personalized insights. Additionally, consider the phase your business is in. Startups may benefit more from an initial market study to identify opportunities, while established companies may turn to market research to improve products and marketing strategies.  

How Companies Use Market Studies and Market Research to Make Decisions  

Companies use market studies and market research in various ways to make informed decisions. In product development, companies can use insights from market research to create products that meet specific consumer needs. Marketing strategies also rely on the data obtained to effectively reach their target audience.  

Regarding market expansion, market studies can identify new geographic or demographic opportunities. Additionally, insights from market research can help adjust services and offerings to improve the customer experience.  

In summary, both market studies and market research are essential tools for companies seeking to make informed strategic decisions. By understanding the differences and applications of each approach, you can select the methodology that best suits your needs and business goals, thereby maximizing the potential for growth and success. If you have any questions or need assistance, do not hesitate to contact us . Our team of #DataExperts is here to assist you every step of the way, ensuring you get the most value from your research efforts.  

Nathalie Pozo

A seasoned marketer with over 20 years of experience, she specializes in online and retail platforms. With an MBA and multilingual proficiency, she excels in dynamic, multicultural environments. As the Marketing and Communication Director at Netquest, she leads a team, driving digital marketing strategies for B2B and B2C brands, focusing on lead generation, website optimization, content creation, and brand consistency.

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benefits of market research study

Cost and Benefits of Market Research

Ethan

What are the benefits of market research for professional services firms? Is it worth the cost? And does it really matter?

These are some of the questions we get from our clients when we recommend  researching their current clients and target markets . While on some level we all know that market research is a good thing, these are legitimate questions. What exactly are the costs and benefits of market research?

Why Market Research?

Let’s start with why your professional services firm should consider using market research in the first place. There are a number of occasions where market research is appropriate. Here are some of the most typical situations where you’d use it:

  • When your firm is launching a new service
  • When you’re looking to select verticals to concentrate on and specialize in
  • When you’re developing your organizational strategy
  • When your firm is seeing a diminishing market share
  • When your industry environment is changing
  • When your firm needs to accelerate growth

The Benefits of Market Research

While there are many intangible benefits of market research on your current and prospective clients, such as better targeting and a more accurate understanding of how your firm is viewed, there is a much more tangible and direct measure of benefits. In a  study of high growth professional services firms , we found that professional services firms that do systematic, structured research on their target client groups are more profitable and grow faster.

This relationship is documented in the figure below.

benefits of market research study

This figure shows that professional services firms that do frequent research (at least quarterly) grow more and are more profitable that firms that do occasional or no research on their target industry or client group.

Because of the specificity of these findings we are in a position to project the true economic benefits of  market research for services firms . But first let’s consider the cost side of the equation.

Download the Professional Services Guide to Research

The Cost of Market Research

The cost of a specific market research program is determined by the  research method  used (face-to-face interviews are more expensive than phone interviews, for example) and the sample size needed. Larger firms will typically require a larger sample. Taking these variations into account, we have estimated the typical market research costs for both occasional research (once per year) and a program of frequent research (quarterly).

Below are estimated costs for a single round of research for three sizes of firms:

  • Small ($5M revenue): $20,000
  • Medium ($20M revenue): $40,000
  • Large ($200M revenue): $60,000

For a program of frequent research (quarterly) you can simply quadruple these estimates. And keep in mind that the average duration of a market research project ranges from about 2 to 8 weeks.

See also: Top 6 B2B Marketing Benefits of Doing a Brand Study

The Return on Investment of Market Research

With estimates for the costs and economic benefits, we can now calculate the return on an investment in a program of market research for a professional services firm. For each of the three firm sizes, we’ll subtract the total research cost from the economic gain. This shows the net increase to top line revenue and bottom-line profitability over a one-year period.

Chart - ROI for Small Firm

Two things are immediately apparent from this analysis. First, the net return on invested research dollars is very sizable. If your firm realizes even a small fraction of the documented benefits of market research, you are well advised to make the investment.

The second observation is that the larger the firm, the greater the return on invested dollars. This is a very straightforward relationship arising from the observation that the expense of market research does not rise in lockstep with firm size. Put another way, market research is a relative bargain for larger firms.

Putting Research to Work in Your Firm

Sadly, market research is not magic. To enjoy the generous benefits it can provide, you need to take it seriously and systematically use it to adjust strategy and shape staff behavior. As it turns out, well-conducted and well-presented market research is often a powerful catalyst for change. 

Historically, professional services marketing has been driven by hunches and habits. But most professionals are pretty logical, and fact based in their work. Consequently, they are often refreshingly open to new data on their clients’ behavior and perceptions. Perhaps that is why it works so well. This is where a research organization such as The Hinge Research Institute can help.  The Hinge Research Institute believes that research can not only help you make more informed planning and strategy decisions—as premium content, it can also educate your target audiences, thereby increasing visibility, trust, sales leads, and engagement.

There are two viable ways to use research as premium content: customized research and licensed research . The advantage of customized research is that it allows you to get specific responses to specific questions from specific audiences. The downside to some is that customized research takes months to produce and can be perceived as expensive. This is where licensed research may be more appealing. Some research organizations offer licensed research on reports they publish. This type of research is typically available immediately, for 12 months, to be used in part or entirety. The advantages of licensed research are that it costs less than customized research and it is available almost immediately. The downside to some is that you are limited to existing or available topics so you give up some control. However, whether you use customized or licensed research, you should get a level of visibility, trust, and sales leads that you have never experienced before.

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Another tip when looking for a research organization. Choose one that can help you launch your published research so that you can use it as premium content to generate more visibility, leads, and revenue for your firm. A research firm that can support your rollout with webinars, blogs, articles, videos, and more will ensure you get a higher level of prospect engagement through trust and credibility. 

benefits of market research study

Free Resource

The Professional Services Guide to Research

Lee

How Hinge Can Help

Need help conducting market research? Research gets to the core of what will resonate with those audiences—and is an integral part of what Hinge does for clients. Learn more about our research services or contact us to learn whether research makes sense for your professional services firm.

Additional Resources

  • Our  Research As Content guide  gives you the tools and knowledge you need to use research to make better decisions AND educate and persuade your target audiences.
  • Understand your buyers. Win more business. Download our research study  Inside the Buyer’s Brain  and read the latest findings from the biggest study of professional services buyers to date.
  • If more of a hands-on approach is for you, register for one of our courses through Hinge University and become the next  Visible Firm ® .

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benefits of market research study

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  • Jul 31, 2020

10 Key Benefits Of Market Research For All Business Types

Updated: Feb 27

10 key benefits of market research for all types of businesses - a word cloud on a screen outlining the advantages of market research

Discover the 10 key benefits of market research that help all types of businesses and organisations whether they are large or small from minimising risks to identifying opportunities in the market.

So for those of you who don’t already know what market research is, it is collection of data and information that is analysed and interpreted to provide insights to address goals that were set out, whether that be resolving a problem or promoting a product, the research will help guide decisions of the main decision makers.

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.]

This influence on decision making mentioned above is explained in more detail below with an outline of the top 10 benefits of market research to help you understand it’s importance.

1.  Determining customer needs and b rand reputation

Understanding what customers want is crucial for businesses. Through market research, companies can gather valuable information about customer preferences, behaviours, and challenges they face. Armed with these insights, businesses can then customise their products and services to better meet the needs of their customers.

Also in knowing how your brand compares to your competitors through brand research , will then enable you to take action if needed.

Example: A smartphone manufacturer might conduct surveys and focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of what features customers value the most. This research might reveal a strong demand for longer battery life and improved camera quality. Armed with this knowledge, the company can prioritise these features in their next product, ensuring that it aligns with what their customers truly desire.

2. Allows for customer trends to be established

If market research is treated as an on-going process periodically then you will be able to establish key trends over time and analyse your customers from all the data that has been collected. This can be on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis in establishing customer trends. This enables you to stay updated and adapt to changing trends.

Example: A tech company keeps an eye on social media discussions and customer reviews to identify emerging trends in smartphone features. Through their research, they discover a rising interest in augmented reality capabilities. This prompts the company to incorporate this technology into their upcoming product.

3. H elps steer business communication

The most effective communication can be formulated for both current and new customers, once the market research results have been evaluated. You will be fully aware of what they like to do, hear and see. Plus you will be able to target them better through classification of these customers into different groups via market segmentation .

Example: A tech company conducts surveys to gauge customer perception of their brand. The research uncovers that, customers highly value innovation and user-friendly design. By utilising this valuable information, the company can adapt its marketing messages to emphasise these key attributes and better connect with its audience.

4. Helps to limit risk

From all the data and information gathered through market research will enable you to decide, whether to take action or not rather than relying on just a hunch. For example, you may find a market for a particular product line or service may be fully saturated in certain areas. By utilising the information available, you can make well-informed decisions and minimise the chances of failure.

Example: A clothing retailer might conduct market research to identify changing fashion trends and consumer preferences. This information can help them adjust their inventory and marketing strategies, reducing the risk of stocking unpopular items.

5. I dentify opportunities in the marketplace

It may become obvious from the research that the new product which you are looking to launch may not suitable for the market in terms of customer wants and needs. Therefore, this will allow you to make modifications to the product or service offering that is more suitable for the marketplace.

Example: A tech company might find that there is a growing demand for smart home devices. They can then develop innovative products to cater to this market and seize the opportunity.

benefits of market research study

6. Discover and identify potential issues

Whilst new products or services are being developed, you can get consumers thoughts and reactions. This will further develop what is needed in the marketplace. Also, you can actively uncover any potential issues or obstacles that could affect your day-to-day operations, enabling you to promptly find solutions.

Example: A clothing brand conducts focus groups and realises that customers are dissatisfied with the quality of their products. This research prompts the company to re-evaluate their manufacturing processes and make necessary improvements to ensure customer satisfaction.

7. E stimating sales and maximise advertising expenditure

In preparing for the future, market research can forecast sales of a new product or service, so you can ensure the right advertising budget is allocated to attain and maximise profits as well as making informed sales projections .

Example: Prior to launching a new app, a software company conducts market research to estimate the potential user base. The research findings help the company set achievable sales targets and allocate their advertising budget to channels that effectively reach their target audience.

8. Benchmark and monitor market position over time

Through market research, your market position can be determined by monitoring and benchmarking your brand’s progress . This will all help you in deciding whether to take action at specific moments in time. Plus, you can gain valuable insights into how you stack up against your competitors and make informed strategic decisions.

Example: A retail chain conducts regular market surveys to gauge customer satisfaction and compare their pricing and services with competitors. This ongoing research allows them to adjust their pricing strategies and enhance their services, ensuring they stay ahead in the market.

9. Compromise between gut feeling and the actual results

There will always be gut feelings and personal perceptions towards your product or service, which obviously cannot be ignored. However, market research will give you a new angle and proven justification of your thoughts or not by directly researching your target audience for their opinions and thoughts of the subject. This will allow you to come to a compromise between your personal feelings towards the brand and the results presented.

Example: When contemplating the expansion of a small business to a new location, the owner trusts their gut feeling but also conducts market research to validate their assumptions. The research uncovers a greater demand for their products in a neighbouring town, providing concrete data to support their decision to expand.

10. Help to define a brand promise

A promise is defined by every brand from large well-known brands to small independents, which could be assurances of the high quality of a product like computers or cars, speed and efficiency of service such as food orders. These brand promises are wide ranging dependent on the product or service in promising to customers, how they will be delivered. The brand promise has to be straight forward and research can help to define your brand promise and emphasis, which is the most persuasive and aligns with your customers values.

Example: A hotel chain conducts market research to gain insights into what their guests value the most during their stay. The research reveals that personalised service is highly preferred by the guests. Based on this valuable information, the hotel decides to establish a brand promise centred around delivering exceptional customer service and personalised experiences.

benefits of market research study

Benefits of market research agencies in providing insights

Obviously, you can do market research in-house to some extent but that requires a lot of your time, knowledge of where to look, who to speak to and what questions to ask and not to mention the analysis and insights.

This is where market research agencies come in, allowing you to focus on other essential business tasks. These research agencies such as Ipsos Mori or Nielsen can take up the goals and objectives you have set to address an issue or opportunity and start building the required solutions from audience sample, questionnaire material to fieldwork, analysis, conclusions and recommendation to the subject at hand.

The market research agencies have the experience and expertise to manage the whole research process or in part like fieldwork and tabulations or building digital dashboards. This is all dependent on your needs and how comfortable you are with research data.

Limitations of market research

There are many things, which have already been mentioned that are good about market research but as with all things there are some limitations.

The following are 3 disadvantages of market research:

1. Time consuming during the research process

It can be time consuming from proposal to delivery of results if using face to face or telephone methods . However, alternative methods can be used such as online research for much faster delivery times. It’s best to talk to a research professional for the best approach for obtaining quality insights in the shortest time possible.

2. Cost of using market research can be expensive

The cost of using market research can be expensive but that is dependent on what is required and what methods are being used to achieve this. For example, a large multi-country tracking survey can be costly that tends to be used by larger brands but a small one-off survey is relatively inexpensive. Also face to face methods tend to be dearer, while online is a much cheaper · option. Basically, all this comes down to what is needed and one method maybe far more suitable than another even if it’s cheaper – value for money .

3. Subjective with human response

It can be subjective with human response in knowing they are taking part in research but there are market research professionals who use methods to minimise this and statistically factor this in the results.

Key take outs

Market research is an essential tool to support the decision-making process for not only new product launches but on an on-going basis throughout the cycle of the product or service in addressing problems, market trends, identifying opportunities, current state of play and producing effective communications. In researching and analysing your particular market, you will be ahead of the game and have an advantage over your competition.

The insights gained from the research will help guide your most valuable strategic business decisions and providing this is done properly, taking cost and time considerations into account, the value of using market research to your business is invaluable.

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NMMA Certified Boats Attributed to Reduced Boating Accident Frequency and Severity in Latest Report

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The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC ) recently released the results of a study that examined the effectiveness of its standards in enhancing boating safety. The analysis was conducted by the research firms Industrial Economics and ITA International, which used NMMA Certified boats for the analysis to ensure compliance with ABYC standards through their rigorous inspection process.

“The results of this report are a testament to the hard work of the recreational boating industry in their efforts to self-regulate with comprehensive industry safety standards with the goal of protecting the consumer,” stated Scott Berry, NMMA’s vice president of engineering standards. “The NMMA certification program ensures all participating boat brands meet the most current safety and boat construction standards to deliver a safe and enjoyable boating experience for boaters and their loved ones.”

The report provided strong evidence that compliance with ABYC’s voluntary standards through NMMA Certification reduces the frequency and severity of the type of boating accidents the standards are designed to address. NMMA Certified boats, which are built to ABYC standards, contribute to fewer fatalities from both reduced boating accident occurrences and severity.

Report Highlights:

  • Boats that are NMMA certified to ABYC standards are 43-47% less likely to be involved in certain accidents
  • For accidents that occur, NMMA Certified boats reduce the likelihood of a fatality by 26-58%.
  • Results strongly suggest the effectiveness of the ABYC-standards at reducing the likelihood of accidents resulting in a fatality among focused incidents.
  • NMMA certification is correlated with a higher likelihood of non-fatal injuries during these types of accidents.

As the leading certification body for the recreational boating industry in the U. S., NMMA Certification impacts the recreational marine industry worldwide, helping to improve boat manufacturing and ensure quality products for consumers throughout the world. NMMA’s certification program requires an annual inspection of all boat models as well as proven demonstration that any variances found during inspection are corrected.

Learn more about NMMA Certified boats here, https://www.nmma.org/certification . For questions regarding certification, please contact Scott Berry, [email protected] .

A sustainable and economical solution for CO 2 capture with biobased carbon materials derived from palm kernel shells

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  • Published: 09 July 2024

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  • Jayaprina Gopalan 1 ,
  • Archina Buthiyappan   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9427-3322 2 ,
  • Nor Adilla Rashidi 3 ,
  • Suriati Sufian 3 &
  • Abdul Aziz Abdul Raman 1  

This study investigates the synthesize of activated carbon for carbon dioxide adsorption using palm kernel shell (PKS), a by-product of oil palm industry. The adsorbent synthesis involved a simple two-step carbonization method. Firstly, PKS was activated with potassium oxide (KOH), followed by functionalization with magnesium oxide (MgO). Surface analysis revealed that KOH activated PKS has resulted in a high specific surface area of 1086 m 2 /g compared to untreated PKS (435 m 2 /g). However, impregnation of MgO resulted in the reduction of surface area due to blockage of pores by MgO. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) demonstrated that PKS-based adsorbents exhibited minimal weight loss of less than 30% up to 500 °C, indicating their suitability for high-temperature applications. CO 2 adsorption experiments revealed that PKS-AC-MgO has achieved a higher adsorption capacity of 155.35 mg/g compared to PKS-AC (149.63 mg/g) at 25 °C and 5 bars. The adsorption behaviour of PKS-AC-MgO was well fitted by both the Sips and Langmuir isotherms, suggesting a combination of both heterogeneous and homogeneous adsorption and indicating a chemical reaction between MgO and CO 2 . Thermodynamic analysis indicated a spontaneous and thermodynamically favourable process for CO 2 capture by PKS-AC-MgO, with negative change in enthalpy (− 0.21 kJ/mol), positive change in entropy (2.44 kJ/mol), and negative change in Gibbs free energy (− 729.61 J/mol, − 790.79 J/mol, and − 851.98 J/mol) across tested temperature. Economic assessment revealed that the cost of PKS-AC-MgO is 21% lower than the current market price of commercial activated carbon, indicating its potential for industrial application. Environmental assessment shows a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (381.9 tCO2) through the utilization of PKS-AC-MgO, underscoring its environmental benefits. In summary, the use of activated carbon produced from PKS and functionalised with MgO shows great potential for absorbing CO 2 . This aligns with the ideas of a circular economy and sustainable development.

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Data Availability

The authors declare that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the paper and its Supplementary Information files. Should any raw data files be needed in another format they are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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The authors are grateful to the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia, for providing financial support through the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) (FRGS/1/2019/TK05/UM/01/3).

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Jayaprina Gopalan & Abdul Aziz Abdul Raman

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Biomass Processing Lab, Center of Biofuel and Biochemical, Chemical Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Bandar Seri Iskandar, 31750, Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia

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Gopalan, J., Buthiyappan, A., Rashidi, N.A. et al. A sustainable and economical solution for CO 2 capture with biobased carbon materials derived from palm kernel shells. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-024-34173-1

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    Market research is defined as the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data about a specific market, industry, or consumer segment. It involves studying customers, competitors, and market dynamics to identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and make informed business decisions. Market research provides valuable insights into ...

  20. What is Market Research Analysis? Definition, Steps, Benefits, and Best

    Market Research Analysis Steps. Market research analysis involves a series of systematic steps to gather, process, and interpret data to gain insights into a specific market or industry. These steps are crucial for making informed business decisions and developing effective strategies. Here are the key steps in the market research analysis process:

  21. Why Marketing Research Is Important

    3. Marketing research helps businesses stay competitive. Marketing research gives companies a competitive edge in many ways, one being a greater awareness of the industry itself. By understanding what other businesses are doing, your company can develop strategies to differentiate itself and stay ahead of the curve.

  22. Difference Between Market Study and Market Research

    Market studies are generally less expensive and quicker to conduct, as they rely on the collection of existing data. In contrast, market research, while more costly, provides more detailed and personalized insights through direct interaction with consumers. Benefits of a Market Study for Your Business

  23. Cost and Benefits of Market Research

    Taking these variations into account, we have estimated the typical market research costs for both occasional research (once per year) and a program of frequent research (quarterly). Below are estimated costs for a single round of research for three sizes of firms: Small ($5M revenue): $20,000. Medium ($20M revenue): $40,000.

  24. 10 Key Benefits Of Market Research For All Business Types

    1. Determining customer needs and brand reputation. Understanding what customers want is crucial for businesses. Through market research, companies can gather valuable information about customer preferences, behaviours, and challenges they face. Armed with these insights, businesses can then customise their products and services to better meet ...

  25. NMMA Certified Boats Attributed to Reduced Boating Accident Frequency

    The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) recently released the results of a study that examined the effectiveness of its standards in enhancing boating safety.The analysis was conducted by the research firms Industrial Economics and ITA International, which used NMMA Certified boats for the analysis to ensure compliance with ABYC standards through their rigorous inspection process.

  26. A sustainable and economical solution for CO2 capture with ...

    This study investigates the synthesize of activated carbon for carbon dioxide adsorption using palm kernel shell (PKS), a by-product of oil palm industry. The adsorbent synthesis involved a simple two-step carbonization method. Firstly, PKS was activated with potassium oxide (KOH), followed by functionalization with magnesium oxide (MgO). Surface analysis revealed that KOH activated PKS has ...