What Is Market Research?

The market research definition is simple – it’s the process of gathering information on your company’s target audience, buyers personas, and consumers in order to determine how successful your service offering would be to them. Gathering, analyzing, and understanding your customers and markets should be an essential part of your marketing plan. On top of it being vital when wanting to offer your services, market research is an important part of understanding your overall brand identity in general.

It is a simple concept, but you’ll need to understand it fully in order to get the best picture of your audience and brand. Keep reading to learn more about research and how it will benefit your business.

 

Why Is Market Research Important?

The key to success for any brand is understanding its consumers, and the only way to really tap into the information you need is to conduct research. The purpose of market research is to gather thorough research on your audience in order to inform your marketing decisions. So, the importance of market research can’t be overstated.

 

Types Of Market Research

There are two main types of market research companies can use to collect actionable information on their audience: primary and secondary. Let’s get into their differences below.

 

Primary Market Research

Primary research is the gathering of first-hand information on your industry and consumers. This information is oftentimes gathered by an outside firm or company and can include focus groups, online surveys, and more to gather unique insights into the challenges your potential buyers face and the brand awareness surrounding your company. This type of research is helpful in market segmentation and when building buyer personas.

 

Surveys

Brand surveys are questionnaires designed to collect brand data on various market and consumer conditions. This is one of the best market research tools because your company can get unique insights directly from the people who will be most affected by your service offerings. Luckily, Compass by The Harris Poll makes surveying your audience easy. Learn more about our market research survey options today!

 

Interviews

Interviews are a market research method that allows companies to have a one-on-one conversation with members of their audience. This is a very insightful practice, and, depending on the market research questions you draft, it can be a very successful step. Like surveys, interviews can lead to valuable pieces of information about brand perception that you might not get otherwise. One of the downsides of interviews, however, is that they are oftentimes labor and cost-intensive.

 

Focus Groups

Focus groups are meetings that bring together a carefully selected group of people to review a product or service offering. A trained moderator leads the discussion and other members of your team can listen in and record responses. These are valuable practices to put in place because they can lead to many illuminating insights about brand health, but they are also rather labor and cost-intensive.

 

Observation

During a market research observation, members of your team act as “flies on a wall” while an ideal user navigates through their product or service offering. It’s a great alternative to focus groups because they are budget-friendly, but you won’t get as unique of insights as you would with a focus group, so it’s important to pair this step with either a survey or an interview.

 

Secondary Market Research

Secondary research is conducted with data that was previously collected. This data can include internal and external resources such as the Census data or internal reports. Companies can use this information to understand the demographics of their audience to better specialize their messaging.

 

How To Do Market Research

When your company is ready to start conducting market research, it’s important to understand the entire process that is involved. Follow this step-by-step guide to successful research below.

 

1. Plan The Market Research Process

During this step, it’s important to decide which market research methods to utilize and how they will be implemented. For example, if you want to conduct an interview or focus group, your top priority should be to build out a list of thoughtful questions that can lead to any desired insights. Now is the time to build a plan that will help you collect the data you need to inform your marketing decisions.

 

2. Utilize The Market Research Techniques

Now, it’s time to implement the market research techniques that you outlined in the last step. The key to success here is to avoid taking short cuts during the data collection process. Taking short cuts during this phase will undermine the effectiveness of your research and lead to inaccurate findings.

 

3. Analyze The Market Research Data

Lastly, once all of your data is collected, analyze it for trends, and display it in an easy-to-follow way. Visuals are critical to this stage of the process because they can literally show your team what they need to know about your audience. Once the visuals are prepared it is important to review and think critically about them to develop relevant marketing strategies that will contribute to your brand momentum.

Compass by The Harris Poll’s market research service is designed to quickly and easily navigate companies through the market research process and deliver results sooner. Compass can survey your audience, create stunning visuals automatically, and store market research data all in one tool. Our brand tracker is the perfect market research platform to have when your company is seeking to understand its audience in a more meaningful way. Demo Compass by The Harris Poll today to learn more!

 

Amir Kanpurwala

Author Amir Kanpurwala

Amir has over ten years of experience in management and marketing consulting and across a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, consumer product and retail, financial services, education, and technology. Prior to joining Harris, Amir was a VP of Corporate Strategy at Wells Fargo, focusing on devising and implementing strategy to grow top line revenue.

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