Market Research is an integral part of any business strategy: it allows you to analyze the market better, find your niche, and gain insights into how your target audience perceives your brand. No company can function effectively without conducting some market research method, and there are a few to choose between. The most basic market research methods include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation.
Before jumping to a deeper overview, let’s take a look at what factors might influence your choice of a particular method of market research.
What to consider when choosing a market research type?
The main factors that will play a role when choosing a particular method are your budget, objectives, and time. The budget sentiment is mostly understandable – an online survey is a lot cheaper than in-person surveys, for instance. Before jumping to conducting research, review your budgets and see what method will be the most (cost)effective in your case.
Another point to take note of is the objectives of your research. What exactly are you looking for? Are you trying to follow the user journey and see how your target audience reacts? Or, you want to know how the new feature you just released is working for your users? The way to find answers will depend on the initial questions.
Last but not least, the time you have at your hands. Some of the methods might take very long to execute. For example, the already mentioned in-person interviews will take a lot of time to find the people to interviewed and actually interviewing them.
Methods of Market Research
Surveys are the most common form of market research that is used all the time. Usually, it is conducted in the form of a series of questions – both open and closed – that are answered by the user.
Types of surveys:
There are many different types of surveys – there is no doubt that a brand can find the ones that suit their purposes the best. However, the usual practice is to mix different survey types to a) reach out to a wider demographic; b) collect more data; c) make sure the data is as reliable as it can be. Below we listed different kinds of surveys that you might consider engaging in:
Operational data collection:
- Telephone survey: A survey is conducted over the phone, with the interviewer logging all the answers into a specific customer experience management software tool.
- In-person survey: A survey is conducted face-to-face, sometimes in high traffic places like malls, or busy streets.
- Online survey: A customer is answering questions directly on the website, using pre-created questionnaires embedded on the page.
- Email surveys: A brand is collecting information by sending out emails to its customers.
- SMS surveys: A brand is collecting information by sending out SMS letters to its customers.
Customer satisfaction surveys:
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): single-question survey with the binary response (yes/no, happy face/sad face). Usually addresses questions like “Did the product meet your expectation?”, “Did it help you with your issue?”
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): single-question survey usually asking the client to rate how likely they would recommend the product to someone else, on a scale of 0-10.
- Customer Effort Score (CES): a survey measuring how easy it was to either use the service or get the problem solved through customer support.
- Milestone surveys: a full questionnaire sent out at key moments of the customer journey to better understand the user experience.
While surveys can be used to gather reliable and even statistical data, interviews provide more subjective knowledge. This type of market research allows gathering insight into the customer attitude, character, and sales decisions. Knowing your audience is one of the best tools you can have as a brand – then you know exactly whom to target. Apart from the audience analysis, interviews also work well in figuring out opinions and feedback on your product and services.
You need to consider that such types of market research as interviews require bigger budgets – we mentioned that before in the article.
Focus groups are rather difficult to research to conduct. In this method, a carefully selected group of people is gathered, consisting of the brand’s target audience. Then, a trained moderator uses a series of pre-prepared questions or topics to lead a discussion around the product or services, user experience, messaging, pain points of the user journey, etc.
We wouldn’t recommend conducting this market research method if you cut short on the budget or don’t have much time and dedication on your hands. If not done correctly, a focus group can provide very unreliable data. If the moderator is not professional enough, they can accidentally influence the group to change the bias or unwillingly answer in favor of things they really don’t line. Since usually, to gather all the required data, a brand needs to question a few focus groups – and not one – it takes a lot of time and money to do so.
Customer observation happens as an employee of the brand observes and takes notes while a target customer of the said brand uses their product or a similar one. This allows to single out the usage habits, shopping patterns, and the way people usually use the product. Finding out the reason for the use, brands can put more emphasis on this specific selling point.
How to conduct market research effectively?
One of the most efficient ways to conduct market research is using technology to help out. For instance, market research software – Checker helps gather, analyze, and act on the collected information securely.
Being a multichannel survey solution, the application will help you conduct any survey mentioned while saving you time and money along the way.
Checker is a professional market research software designed to help businesses grow – no issue is missed, every problem is addressed.