Before diving into Market Research, it’s good to know that Marketing is a field that is dynamically developing and gives a lot of space for researchers. Specialists in marketing who are proficient enough can become the drivers of changes in business strategies moving forward with the information about fields they discover.
From a practical point of view, market research allows us to determine the most working techniques of sales, make a realistic prediction of an advertising budget, etc. Generally, to become proficient in conducting market research, you need practice and skills. There might be some challenging aspects that confuse marketers when creating market research.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative way to deal with such a complex task. By reaching out to a professional service, you’ll find help from marketing experts and other consultants. The only main issue is choosing a reliable site or marketer.
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As such, I recommend paying attention to reputable research paper writing services such as those essayshark.com offers. This website has a vast pool of experienced authors, offers paying rates, and shows good customer reviews. Overall, marketing research should be a priority for all brands, and there’s a reason for that.
One thing is for sure, it keeps you informed. You wouldn’t buy a car, choose a retirement plan, or hire a daycare for your daughter without understanding the cost. You’ll also need to understand the benefits, and the risks first. Right? Your best decisions are based on having the best information.
The following complete guide to Marketing Research will lead you through every part of the process. You’ll walk away knowing how to gather all the information you need. More so, so that you can easily optimize your strategy and deliver results. So, with that in mind, what does market research really entail?
What Is Market Research?
Market Research (marketing research) involves gathering information about your industry, customers, and competitors so you can make informed decisions. Small business owners use the data they collect when they create a business plan. Bigger companies may engage a market research firm to collect customer and industry details.
More so, when introducing a new product, for instance. But, in most cases, marketing research is the same. Whereby, the main goal is for you to be more informed about your competitive landscape. As well as understanding your customer, and yourself, and knowing what it takes to compete. By so doing, you make better decisions and are more likely to succeed.
In other words, market research is any set of techniques used to gather information and better understand a company’s target market. Businesses use this information to design better products, improve user experience, and craft a marketing strategy that attracts quality leads and improves conversion rates.
Your brand needs marketing research to set objectives, uncover opportunities, and fine-tune its strategy. But first, you have to know where to start. Notably, BusinessDictionary.com defines marketing research as scientific discovery methods that are applied to marketing decision-making.
It generally comprises:
- Market research: Identification of a specific market and measurement of its size and other characteristics
- Product research: Identification of a need or want and the characteristic of the good or service that will satisfy it
- Consumer research: Identification of the preferences, motivations, and buying behavior of the targeted customer
By the same token, Entrepreneur.com gives marketing research the following meaning: The process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market.
Additionally, it also involves a process of data collection from the past, present, and potential customers for the product or service. And, more so, basic research into the characteristics, spending habits, location, and needs of your business’s target market. As well as the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face.
The Main Types of Market Research
For your information, market research is at the core of every great marketing strategy. It’s the only way to truly understand your industry, customers, and competitors on an intimate level. Generally speaking, every market research execution can be broken into one of four overarching types of market research.
Market research is an essential component when you conduct a market analysis. It can be useful when starting a new business, creating buyer personas, gauging customer satisfaction, or evaluating the competitive forces in an industry.
Consider tapping into several types of market research to understand consumer behavior and real-world concerns in your industry. Collect various types of data to provide a complete picture. Tap into several types of market research to understand consumer behavior and real-world concerns in your industry.
1. Primary Research
Primary market research is also known as first-party data. This is data you collect about your customers, potential customers, or business on your own. This is often gathered via online surveys or customer interviews (especially useful when a company is introducing a new product). You own and manage this data yourself.
2. Secondary Research
Secondary research refers to existing data you can use to inform your research. This includes data from second-and third-party sources. Second-party data is data another brand collects about its customers or business. It’s that brand’s first-party data, and it becomes second-party data when your company or another brand purchases it from them.
Let’s say a high-end watch company is interested in tapping into a new market or related niche market. It can turn to other companies for second-party data if the customer base overlaps, but the two companies don’t compete. For example, the watch company commissions a study on the customers of a yacht company.
Other sources of third-party secondary research include studies based on customer usage of social media platforms, such as that by consumer brand L’Oreal. It also includes reports by consulting firms like McKinsey and third-party data marketplaces like that offered by Salesforce.
3. Qualitative Research
Qualitative research refers to the collection of data with no measurable quantity. The data is descriptive and focuses on understanding behavior, motivations, and other human qualities. When you research buyer attitudes, you are conducting qualitative research.
4. Quantitative Research
Quantitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with collecting numbers for statistical analysis. Data like industry sales, U.S. Census figures, and even the number of social media followers or website visitors are considered quantitative.
Why Is Market Research Important?
Market research is vital because it helps identify the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy. While it’s important to follow your own marketing intuition as a business, you need to have that analytical understanding of what your customers want and what your competitors are doing to succeed over time.
Be that as it may, through market research, you can uncover very rich quantitative data such as size and demographics. And even qualitative research data like psychographics to get a better understanding of the size and scope of your industry.
Another benefit of market research is the ability to identify competitors within your industry. Market research can give you a better understanding of your competitive landscape by answering a few questions.
Consider the following:
- Are you competing against small businesses or big businesses?
- What do their target markets look like compared to yours?
- Does your company have enough brand awareness to compete?
Perhaps most importantly, market research also gives you insight into your target audience. You need to do market research to have a better understanding of customer preferences. The data you find can help your company better cater to the specific group of people you’re targeting.
And even open the door to new products they might want to purchase in the future. Market research is the driving force behind a customer’s purchase because it helps you understand exactly what they want and need.
How To Do Market Research For Your Brand
The information for marketing research is collected from direct observation of the consumers. Such as in retail stores, mail surveys, telephone, or face-to-face interviews. As well as from published sources (like demographic data). When you’re informed about your competitive landscape, you make better decisions. Eventually, data guides the best marketing plans.
Whereby, the general information about your target audience, competitors, and industry helps you get to know your market even better. And then, identify trends that will shape your marketing tactics and brand positioning. As you’ll learn, there are dozens of tools available to help marketers accomplish this.
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Remember, the dynamics of your market can change rapidly and often without much warning. That’s why it’s always important to make sure you’re conducting the market research process regularly. This will help you stay up-to-date with your industry, customers, and competitors at all times.
In turn, help you create stronger marketing strategies. That said, during the market research process, marketers collect data and analyze their audience and target audience. The following steps in marketing research will help you fully understand your audiences and their needs. Thus, in order to conduct successful market research, you’ll need to consider the following steps:
- Identify the purpose
- Plan your research methods
- Gather your market research
- Conduct market analysis
- Take action
Whichever method you use may vary based on your overall brand or business type. Not to mention, ecommerce business owners have different goals from SaaS businesses. So, it’s typically prudent to mix and match these methods based on your particular goals and what you need to know. And now, with that in mind, let’s look at each step more in-depth.
Step #1. Identify Your Main Purpose
The first step in how to do market research is articulating what you want to find out. The purpose may be to understand the issues, problems, and concerns of your target audience. It may be to support the creation of buyer personas. Or it could be to measure attitudes toward a product or changing forces in a market.
For example, the soda market has been on the decline for several years as Americans turn to healthier alternatives. Soda companies might do market research to better understand what customers want and develop marketing strategies to capitalize on this customer behavior.
In the market research process, they might discover that consumers are buying smaller cans and bottles, which is actually more profitable for companies. Learning why customers are opting for smaller, individual bottles instead of choosing liters and packs of cans would help them reposition their product.
More so, in order to appeal to that desire. You may also discover a viable target consumer you hadn’t considered. In this case, research shows the occasional soda consumer may be a viable market.
Step #2. Plan Your Research Methods
Once you have a concrete question you want to address, the next step is to choose your method of conducting marketing research and analysis. While most people might think about the “Mad Men” era of focus groups and consumer interviews, the modern digital age makes it easy to collect a variety of information related to your query.
In this step, it’s quite important that you keep in mind the difference between market research and user research. Market research takes a broader look at potential customers — what problems they’re trying to solve, their buying experience, and overall demand. User research, on the other hand, is more narrowly focused on the use (and usability) of specific products.
You can do your own quick and effective market research by (1) surveying your customers, (2) building user personas, (3) studying your users through interviews and observation, and (4) wrapping your head around your data. Particularly, with tools like flow models, affinity diagrams, and customer journey maps.
Data collection is one of the most important parts of market research. Note that data collection will be different for every company. Your organization might not be big enough to collect first-party data and, therefore, need to rely on second-and third-party sources. And, depending on your marketing objectives, some research tactics will be more fruitful than others.
Step #3: Conduct A Market Assessment
International expansion can generate benefits that can change a business forever. If miscalculations are made at the stage of market assessment, though, it might cause damage that can’t be undone. Everyone from the business development manager to the head of marketing needs to evaluate a future market’s business potential.
More so, by understanding the product demand and competitive offerings in the target region. This market assessment should all be done before making the ultimate decision to expand into a new country. There is always an element of risk involved, but the rewards can be worthwhile if you thoroughly research your opportunities.
A foreign market assessment can be done on a step-by-step basis, considering everything from local competitors, to cultural barriers, to consumer behaviors. That said, you can learn more about the key steps for market assessment in detail.
Before you even start looking into a potential new market, you need to understand your product-market fit in your existing one. Ask yourself: does your offering genuinely satisfy strong consumer demand in your domestic market, and how can you learn from it to enter a different one with different buyer behaviors?
Step #4: Start Your Market Research
Many marketing professionals are critical of market research because, if you don’t do it the lean way, it can be expensive and time-consuming. It’s often easier to convince your CEO or CMO to let you do lean market research rather than something more extensive because you can do it yourself. It also gives you quick answers so you can stay ahead of the competition.
Personally, I recommend that you start small and do it yourself in the beginning. By following a lean market research strategy, you can uncover some solid insights about your clients. Then you can make changes, test them out, and see whether the results are positive. This is an excellent strategy for making quick changes and remaining competitive.
If you’ve never done market research before, keep an open mind to find what works best for your unique market and discovery goals. Start out with the options below. As results unfold, you can fine-tune how to do market research online. Below are a few more research methods to consider.
4.1. Send out surveys to understand customer sentiment
The most common tool that companies use in their audience analysis is online surveys. Most survey software platforms are free or cheap to use, and you can export the data for easy manipulation. Whether you’re simply asking a few specific questions or sending out extensive surveys with open-ended questions to tap into the customer’s mind, you can have a treasure trove of first-person data in just a few days.
4.2. See what website visitors are doing on your site
Tools like Google Analytics make it possible to tap into online market research without disrupting your customers. Check out some of the options available through web analytics tools, which allow you to monitor engagement rates and customer behavior. You can use this information to make marketing decisions based on data-backed proof of customer interests.
4.3. Learn about your website demographics
Google Analytics can help you learn about the demographics of your website visitors as well. Under the Audience Reports, you can view demos like age and gender. To learn more about those in your brand interest, check for insights on any social profiles you have. For example, on your business’s Facebook page, you can navigate to the Insights tab, then click on “People” from the left-hand menu to see the age and gender of your fans, as well as their country, city, and language preferences.
4.4. See what your target audience interests are
As an example, the Alexa Tools help you gain insight into other interests that your audience has. By using the Audience Overlap Tool, you can see what other websites your audience frequently uses. Enter your site URL (or the URL of other sites that your target audience regularly visits). The report will display a visual map of other sites that share a similar audience. From this information, you can see what other interests your audience has by looking for trends in the sites they frequent.
4.5. Run experiments and A/B Tests to analyze customer behavior
If you have an idea of how you think customers will react to a particular option, product, or layout, test it with online customers. You can use heatmap tools or invest in A/B testing software that shows customers two options to see how they behave. You can also run experiments related to your products and services. More so, in order to see if they catch on. This is more cost-effective than investing in changes to your brand or website only to realize your customers hate it.
Step #5: Conduct A Market Analysis
Before you can use your market research, you need to analyze it. This is where you put the data you collected into a format that’s useful for decision-making. The type of analysis you’ll conduct depends on the information you collect. However, if you do not see growth in your current region, expanding elsewhere might not be the answer.
Bearing in mind, it could indicate that your solution is not aligned with your customers’ needs. Take the time to hone your product, understand your customers, and refine your marketing message at home. More so, before following any more advanced steps to prepare for a completely new market.
If you’re studying buyer attitudes, for example, qualitative data analysis techniques will be necessary. These techniques find themes in otherwise unmeasurable data. You can learn more about using analysis frameworks such as SWOT analysis in detail. And then, consider the following tactics as well.
5.1. Research Top Competitor Search Terms
As you learn how to do market research and analysis, remember to look at your audience as well as competitors. There are multiple ways to track your competitors. A Competitive Keyword Matrix helps you see what keywords are driving your audience to your competitors’ sites.
From an SEO perspective, you can go after these keywords. From a market research perspective, you can learn what problems your competitors address and how they meet the needs of consumers who you’re missing out on. You can see the best competitor keyword research tools for you to start with.
5.2. Check Your Competition Digital Footprint
Ahrefs also has other tools to help you gain insight into a competitor’s footprint online. Their Backlink Checker Tool allows you to see who is linking to other sites that are competitors or share an audience similar to yours. Whilst, through backlink analysis, you can learn about your competitors’ marketing strategies and start to mimic some of their link-building strategies.
Step #6: Start Taking Some Actions
The final step in conducting market research is taking action based on what you learn. Will you adjust your product and messaging? Appeal to a new target audience? Ramp up your customer service? Consider trends in data and identify customer habits and desires.
And, as a result, you’ll better find ways to adjust your offerings and market positioning. For example, consider the research about millennials. Brands are adjusting as they realize that this generation prefers experiences over things, and live together before they get married.
This means fewer people want gifts at their weddings or need home essentials like oven mitts or toasters. In response to customer trends and market research like this, more wedding registries are offering honeymoon options. Additionally, hotels and airlines are setting up their own wedding registries, where guests can buy experiences for couples.
The Best Market Research Analysis Methods
As a brand or business, it’s not enough for you to intimately know your products and services. You also have to know your industry and customers inside and out if you want to achieve the highest level of success. To help you gain these insights, there are sites for marketing research that can offer you a deeper outlook. With many tools and methods to start with.
More so, at the advantage of your business as you uncover more ways to win over your audience. As mentioned, market research is the act of gathering and analyzing data about the position of a product or service in a market. It looks at information regarding current customer interest and potential growth.
These insights help you find out:
- How many people are likely to become your customers
- Who your customers are
- Why they buy
- How they buy
- How much they buy
- Why do they buy from you
- Why do they buy from a competitor
- Where there might be opportunities for niche marketing
The market analysis also gathers information about the people who are and might be interested in a product or service. It interprets data in relation to user spending habits, geographic locations, industry competitors, economic state, etc.
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To find answers to these questions, there are many sites for market research that can help you uncover insights about your customers and industry. As well as great market research tools, platforms, and research methods.
When it comes to understanding and winning over more customers, don’t rely on guesses, estimates, or feelings. Get the facts. Do a detailed competitive analysis of your industry using these sites for market research and discover new growth potential for your business and the path you need to take to get there.
Consider the following:
- Alexa Tools
- Google Trends
- Social Mention
- City Town Info
- Google Surveys
- Pew Research Center
- U.S. Census Data Tools
- SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurship Education Resources
Use the above-mentioned free marketing research websites to gain insights into your industry, customer base, and potential for growth. In addition, below are more basic methods of market research that you can apply to your plan.
One of the popular methodic to conduct market research for customer-oriented businesses and services is conducting personal interviews. Unlike focus groups, this instrument requires an individual approach. An interview with one respondent can last up to one hour. An interviewer requires to prepare open-ended questions without structure.
Such a method allows getting a lot of insights, especially when it comes to new products and start-ups. Interviews are one-on-one conversations with members of your target market. Nothing beats a face-to-face interview for diving deep — while, at the same time, reading non-verbal cues. But, if an in-person meeting isn’t possible, video conferencing is a solid second choice too.
Regardless of how you conduct it, any type of in-depth interview will produce big benefits in understanding your target customers. Gaining a greater empathy for customer experience is what makes interviews so insightful — since you’ll be speaking directly with your ideal customers. And then, you can follow insightful threads that can produce plenty of ‘Aha!’ moments.
This methodic is more passive from aside rather than busywork with focus groups and interviews. During a customer observation session, someone from the company takes notes while they watch an ideal user engage with their product (or a similar product from a competitor).
What makes observation so clever and powerful is that observations do not involve direct contact with customers and the audience. Thus, in the end, it allows you to get an honest opinion of the product. When a researcher observes customers’ behaviors in stores, at home, or in the office, there is an ability to spectate how the product is used.
‘Fly-on-the-wall’ observation is a great alternative to focus groups. It’s not only less expensive, but you’ll see people interact with your product in a natural setting without influencing each other. The only downside is that you can’t get inside their heads, so observation is no replacement for customer surveys and interviews.
Another working and popular way to conduct market research is a survey. Surveys are a form of qualitative research that asks respondents a short series of open- or closed-ended questions, which can be delivered as an on-screen questionnaire or via email. According to 2,000 Customer Experience (CX) professionals about their company’s approach to research feedback, surveys proved to be the most commonly used market research technique.
What makes online surveys so popular is that they’re easy and inexpensive to conduct — you can do a lot of data collection quickly. Plus, the data is pretty straightforward to analyze. More so, even when you have to analyze open-ended questions whose answers might initially appear difficult to categorize.
The quality of a survey directly depends on the preliminary market research as they allow creating an effective questionnaire. The more extensive list of questions will give better results. There are many ways to conduct a survey: phone surveys, one-by-one interviews, email surveys, online surveys, etc. Usually, a survey takes time to complete; therefore, respondents are getting paid for participation in research.
4. Field Testing
Field Testing means creating, using, and iterating your offering before offering it to customers. That’s why it’s a very critical step in the Iteration Cycle, helping you find flaws in your offering. Its purpose is to minimize risk, by making sure that the offering works before trying to sell it.
Usually, it involves administering an early version of a survey to a sample of the target audience. By testing the survey in a “real world” environment, survey developers can gather valuable information that helps them improve survey items. And then, the authors describe the various stages and components of field tests and their place in the survey item development and evaluation process.
This is a practical way to conduct a product trial and see customers directly interacting with services. Field trials are perfect for trying new products in a selected number of stores and getting honest feedback from potential audiences. As a result of a field trial, marketing specialists get an opportunity to improve selling scripts, understand the purchasing patterns, improve packaging, adjust prices, and more.
5. Focus Groups
Other great tools in market research that brings together are the focus groups — a carefully selected group of people who fit a company’s target market. A trained moderator leads a conversation surrounding the product, user experience, and/or marketing message to gain deeper insights. Such a methodic is practical and easy to apply. Not forgetting, it does not require a lot of recourse and personalization.
Focus groups are oriented toward the generation of various hypotheses. To perform research in a focus group, you need a moderator to help with the session. It’s vital to video-recorded the process to analyze it afterward. It takes up to two hours to conduct market research in a focus group. Unfortunately, if you’re still new to market research, I wouldn’t recommend starting with focus groups.
Doing it right is expensive, and if you cut corners, your research could fall victim to all kinds of errors. Whereby, they are more prone to dominance bias — when a forceful participant influences the group — and moderator style bias — when different moderator personalities bring about different results in the same study. Above all, these are two of the many ways your focus group data could get skewed.
The Best Intelligence Tools For Market Research
By all means, good competitive intelligence is a very crucial tool for the success of businesses of all sizes. Business owners and marketers need to understand the competition, stay ahead of industry trends, and adapt quickly as markets shift. Conducting custom market research or purchasing quality market intelligence software can be prohibitively expensive.
And cheaper options, like “state of the industry” reports, can lose their value quickly as markets evolve. These factors often leave small to medium-sized businesses at a disadvantage. Fortunately, the advancement of competitive intelligence solutions in recent years has leveled the playing field. There are many affordable, powerful, and usable tools now widely available.
Whereby, smaller businesses can turn the luxury of custom market research into a regular practice. There are many tools available to help you understand the nuances of your market and customers. As well as identify your closest competitors, and gain high-level information about their businesses.
Consider the following:
- G2 Crowd
- Market Explorer
- Social Searcher
- Traffic Analytics
- Semrush EyeOn
Before drilling down into specific competitors’ marketing strategies or product offerings, it makes sense to develop a general understanding of your overall market. Who are you competing against? What direction is the market heading?
Likewise, who’s getting the most attention from consumers? Questions like these can guide your strategy moving forward. What’s the shortest path to a stronger marketing strategy? It’s simple — collect competitive marketing intelligence, analyze competitors’ strategies, and learn from the ones that generate the best results.
For example, knowing which channels drive the most traffic to your competitor’s website can help your strategic decision-making. Understanding which countries their best traffic comes from will help you plan international marketing campaigns. Gathering competitive intelligence for Search Engine Optimization can help you be more competitive on organic web traffic.
As a regular part of your market research, it can pay dividends for your marketers to keep an eye on updates to familiar products. After all, new features may add value to your competitive intelligence toolkit and help streamline your research.
Of course, it can often feel like a lot to keep up with the competition. But, not without the familiarity with updates and new features. In the end, this can ensure you’re getting the most out of your competitive research efforts. In this guide, we’ve selected our favorite competitive intelligence solutions. We understand our selection is only a small portion of what’s available on the market.
Furthermore, new products are constantly arriving, and older products are always evolving. Chances are, whatever your needs, there’s a tool out there that can help you accomplish the task. For example, the popularity of eсommerce in our digital world has led to inundated marketplaces.
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Finally, with so many online stores selling the same products, you may face harsh price competition. As a result, you have to change fees frequently to always offer the most compelling market prices. Whatever the case, jmexclusives is always ready to give any help you’ll need. Just Consult Us to get started any time. Our team will be more than glad to offer their support.
So, having said that, have you done your own lean market research? Comment below and tell us how it went — what you learned, what changes you made, and how your users responded. Let’s make this guideline a masterpiece for all.