A Complete Guide to Market Research: Methods, Templates, How to do it and a lot more

The Complete Guide to Market Research

We all have attended that exam which we have not studied for. You all know how difficult it is to write off an exam without learning anything. All we do is a rough guess and then hope for the best of luck. 

Well, managing business without market research is just like that, it puts us into a difficult situation where we have to just do the guesswork and pray for the best to happen. But, no it does not work that way. 

Most of the time, you might have to face the worst scenarios. Studying in advance for an exam is the best strategy to get success. Just like that, researching the target market and having a better understanding of the audience’s behavior is the best way to succeed in your business.

Table of contents








What is Market Research?

Market research is the process of gathering information about the company’s target market to understand the feasibility of a new product or service. Market research is a structured and purposeful process with designs, plans, and tools. As it is a systematic activity, it promises to interpret the data efficiently to make important business decisions.

Market research is not just about the collection of data through surveys or interviews. The data collected is converted to meaningful information that allows you to make smart moves in business. 

Why is Market Research so Important?

Ideal marketing is making the right product at the right place reaching the right people at the right price. So, how do we come up with everything right? The answer is easy – market research.

It is through research that we get an overview of the target market. Without research, you will not be able to understand your users. Sure, you might have a general idea of who they are and what they need, but you will have to dig deep for there should be no room for errors. 

Market research gives answers to perplexing questions about your business – 

‘How to introduce a new product?’ 

‘What features to add to the product?’ 

‘Where to improve the service?’

 – Effective market research delivers accurate results for the questions. 

Market Research Methods

Surveys

Surveys

Let’s start with the most commonly used method – Survey. Through surveys, the respondents are asked short and straightforward questions. The questions come in different forms – open-ended or closed-ended, the questions come through different ways – phone, online forms, in-person, emails, and more. 

Focus groups

Focus groups

Focus groups are an effective though risky technique for conducting research. In this, a group of people, generally a potential target market of the company is summoned. An experienced moderator organizes this group and discusses several factors regarding the product or service; from user experience to brand identity and more. 

The focus group method is expensive and it takes the opinion of a few people to get the generalized view of the whole population. 

Interviews

Interviews

Getting a one on one chat with your customer is very personal, effective and will allow deeper communication with the target market. 

Rather than receiving superficial responses through other methods, a personal interview gives way to understanding the needs and requirements seamlessly. 

Observation

Observation

Rather than setting up an environment for the customers to provide feedback, observation allows for a more natural and honest way of analyzing the audience.

By installing video cameras at stores or offices, you can observe how the customers react to your product or service without interfering with them. Observation may not be as effective as other research methods as you cannot actually read the minds of the people. 

Types of Market Research

Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is the process of categorizing the market into smaller groups of specific characters. It helps you to identify similar categories based on demographics, location, interests, etc. Market segmentation provides an opportunity to understand exactly what kind of messaging will push your customers to make a purchase. 

Brand Awareness and Reach

Brand awareness research lets you know the target audience’s outlook about your brand and identity. It measures the level of association and familiarity your customers have towards your product or business. 

A good brand awareness survey helps to understand how effective your market campaigns really are. Conducting online market research on brand awareness can bridge the gap between your company and the public. It helps you define your mission, vision, and goals in addition to building loyalty and transparency with your customers.

Pricing research

Doing pricing research helps you to know the cost of similar products in the market which you are intending to sell. It helps you identify what features customers are looking for in a product and how much they are willing to pay for it. 

Pricing research measures the impact of bringing a change in the pricing upon bringing new features. It determines insights on new product pricing and helps to develop a subscription pricing model for a product etc.

How to do Market Research?

Well, there are several ways by which one can approach to carry out a survey that observes the consumer market. A basic research process always follows the strategy given below. Whether it’s social media research, market research for a startup, or online research, keep in mind the points while working and elaborate on them. 

  • Keep a definite purpose

As mentioned above, there are different reasons why a business carries out research. It can be to understand audience demographics, pricing, etc. Therefore, while conducting a survey, determine what your purpose is in prior. The more focused you are, the more successful is your analysis going to be.

  • Identify the target audience

Market research is done basically through surveys or at a higher level, interviews, or focus groups. However, each aforementioned process focuses on people’s opinions. So, identifying this set of audience is an important aspect of carrying out the research. 

By identifying the target audience, you are creating buyer personas which are the generalized representations of the actual audience. The following are the aspects you have to keep in mind while selecting the market group:

  • Age
  • Location 
  • gender
  • Job
  • Income
  • Interests
  • Relationship status
  • Education level
  • Study your industry

Learn about the status of your niche industry by observing the trends and growth along with finding the relevance of your product or service. 

While you are on it, understand your competitors, their performance, and target. Chart out a swot analysis highlighting the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities of your competitors and compare it with your product. 

Now it is easier to pinpoint your advantages against the competitors. It is also an opportunity to improvise your service according to market demand.

  • Prepare survey questions

Prepping the questionnaire is a crucial part while performing market research. Creating questions sounds easy enough, though asking random questions will not help you. 

Instead, you have to get the answers that you are exactly looking for. Vague and faulty results lead to incorrect decisions, and the first step to getting the right results is asking the right questions. 

Make sure you put on queries that are simple and to the point. A thoughtfully planned survey gets you reliable results.

  • Record and analyze your findings

Once you get all the data and information, it’s time to organize the data and sort it out. Categorize your findings into different sections like target market, pricing, etc.

Convert the data into a format that makes it easier to identify the pain points. The final step of a market research process is interpreting the findings and drawing conclusions to make meaningful decisions. 

Market Research Report & Analysis Templates

A market research report shows the results of the research or survey you carried out. Easily customizable market research report templates are available out there to share your findings. 

Basically, a market research report contains critical information on the problem, research design, and conclusions illustrated in a comprehensive manner. 

SWOT Analysis Template

SWOT analysis template

A SWOT analysis is performed to analyze your companies’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is a simple way of analyzing the internal as well as external factors that influence the organization’s life.

It allows you to identify the factors that distinguish you from your competitors at a glance. SWOT analysis template is the most sought after research report template by most marketers. 

Market Survey Template

Market surveys are the best form to gather important information about your target audience. It helps to evaluate your buyer personas in terms of their demographics, psychographics, etc. apart from conducting pricing research, and branding surveys. 

15 common and Effective Market Survey Questions

The following questions can be used to create a market research survey for your firms. These are common and general questions that have always been seen to generate effective results. 

 Demographic questions

  1. How old are you?
  2. What is your gender?
  3. What is your employment status?
  4. What do you do? 

Psychographic questions

  1. What are your hobbies, interests, attitudes?
  2. What are your challenges, goals?

Questions about your product/service.

  1. How satisfied are you with our product?
  2. Would you recommend our product to a friend?
  3. How appealing is our website/store?
  4. Do you think our prices are high?
  5. How satisfied are you with our customer service?
  6. Was it easy to find the right product from our store/website?
  7. How did you know about our product?
  8. What attracted you to our brand?
  9. How often do you come across our advertisements online?

10 Best Market Research Software

Market research software generally comprises all the tools that a business needs to conduct in-depth research. 

They offer a suite of functionalities that can be customized according to your business research requirements. Some of the best research software you can try out are:

1. Surveybot

One of the biggest reasons that Facebook is still an active social media platform is its unparalleled marketing presence. Surveybot is a brilliant tool that helps you perform market research on Facebook in a breeze. 

Leveraging the opportunity of having over 2.6 active users on Facebook, Surveybot allows you to analyze your target audience via the messenger app itself. 

The convenience of responding directly through the Facebook messenger app makes the users inclined to complete the surveys. This increases reliable response rates and in turn gives better business decisions.

2. Google analytics

Google Analytics is already the favorite analysis tool for almost every marketer. Although it does not provide all the features of a perfect market research software, the valuable analytical information you get from google is imperative. 

3. Question Pro

Question Pro is a leading market research software providing free market research solutions and insights powered by deep research analytics. 

With over 22 Million Worldwide panelists they collect actionable insights and analyze your survey results, anytime and anywhere. 

4. Make My Persona

MakeMmy Persona from Hubspot helps you create professional, customizable buyer personas with a free generator tool. It prompts strategic questions that are designed to help you organize and better understand your target audience. 

5. SurveyMonkey

Survey monkey offers a collection of tools and solutions to do market research. It is one of the most popular and best research software in the market. It empowers organizations to gain insights from customers, employees, and the market through effective and engaging surveys. 

Dos and Don’ts of Market Research 

Do focus on your purpose

Before diving into achieving something larger, have a definite idea about what exactly you are going to achieve. There are chances that an established company may overlook the need of understanding the customers before getting things done.

But being a fast-paced world, customer behavior is changing rapidly nowadays. So always get clear-cut information about the target market before signing up.

Do use multiple tools

From surveys to observation, we specifically saw different research methods earlier and their importance. Do leverage the ideal research tools that suit your organizational goals to get reliable information. Analyze this data through different modes and draw conclusions in an effective way. 

Do make necessary changes according to the reports

Once the reports are available and if you happen to see unpredicted analysis data, do not hesitate to change the strategy. The purpose of doing research is to identify the pain points of your customers. Finding it out is not the only purpose, resolving is where the success of your business lies. 

Do use user-friendly survey

Always keep your customers in mind while framing the questions for your survey. Users are easily distracted from these survey questions or interviews as they have absolutely nothing to gain from it. 

It is your need to get reliable responses from the customers. So, keep your surveys simple and concise. If you are conducting an online survey, go for the most user-friendly and engaging application which compels the users to take up the complete questionnaire.

Do define a budget

Though conducting a market research will not cost you a fortune, if you are a small business and have not set aside a budget for it, all your effort may go in vain. 

Assure that you estimate an amount of money that will constitute all the expenses for research like seeking professional help or investing in research software etc. 

Don’t stop doing it again

Market research must be a continuous and recurring process. The benefits you get by carrying out research occasionally is humungous. Studies show that doing quarterly research can speed up business growth by 40%. 

With changing scenarios, like the situation of Covid 19, it is likely that the customer behavior changes from time to time. A recurring research process helps to understand the market better and allow you to plan for long term goals. 

Don’t rely on internet information alone

The easiest and useful form of getting research done is the internet. But it cannot be considered the summit of all. The respondents on the internet are not always reliable and honest. Try out in person and other methods to understand your target market better. 

Don’t go for professional respondents

The so-called professional respondents are those people who have considered participation in surveys and research as a job. The answers from these respondents are not as reliable as they skillfully complete the survey with no honest response. Try to avoid them from your research session and go for casual individuals who can be potential customers.

Market Research FAQs

  1. How long will it take to carry out market research?

The time taken to do research depends upon the size of your business and the scale of your research project. Keep in mind to consider a survey for almost 10% of your customer base, only then you can generate productive results from it. 

If it is a small business, it is likely to finish within a week. Online market research is also easier than traditional market surveys. The duration may depend on the depth and type of analysis. A quantitative analysis can be done sooner than qualitative analysis.

  1. How to choose the best market research software for my business?

With so many online tools available for marketing research today, go for the one that you think is most suitable for your business. The trends on the internet have made online market research and social media market research a thing now. 

The research tools now offer an effective suite of solutions tailored to your business. Try out social media market research tools to effortlessly analyze the trends of your business among the users in social media. Take a look at the one given below. 

  1. How many questions should be there in my survey?

There is no definite number of questions to be added as such. Though, it is always suggested to keep it short and concise. Make sure you ask quality questions that are effective in achieving your goal.

  1. Can I trust the research results to make business decisions?

Through a research process, a marketer can obtain information about important business areas, analyze the pain points, and develop a strategy, but the results ought to be reliable. You need an adequate response rate from your target audience to make solid business decisions.

Market research gives food for thought needed to develop a business. It is important to perform research in all phases of your business. It is an ongoing process that will definitely be a vital part of making important business decisions.

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