There is a common misconception that market research can be executed by anyone. However, there are many different types of research, and they each have their own nuances.
Each type of research also requires a specific methodology to ensure the quality of data you collect is accurate and reliable for your company’s needs.
Therefore, it’s essential to learn how to execute each type of research correctly because bad market research can cost you thousands of dollars or even harm your brand reputation in the long run.
In this guide, we will cover 18 strategies you need to know to master market research:
|1. Understand the importance of market research for informed decision-making.
|2. Define clear research objectives before starting the process.
|3. Choose appropriate research methods based on your goals.
|4. Identify and segment your target audience for precise insights.
|5. Conduct competitor analysis to understand your market positioning.
|6. Collect both qualitative and quantitative data for a comprehensive view.
|7. Ensure data accuracy and reliability through proper validation.
|8. Utilize technology and tools for efficient data collection and analysis.
|9. Analyze trends and patterns to extract actionable insights.
|10. Synthesize findings to draw meaningful conclusions.
|11. Implement data-driven strategies to enhance your marketing efforts.
|12. Continuously monitor and update your research for relevance.
|13. Embrace flexibility to adapt to changing market dynamics.
|14. Collaborate with cross-functional teams to leverage diverse perspectives.
1. Asking The Right Questions
You might think that the most important aspect of good marketing research is deciding what to ask, but it’s actually about asking the right questions. You can’t get useful insights if your questions aren’t phrased correctly.
When planning a study, start with a broad question, then narrow it down to more specific ones. This approach will help you ensure that all aspects of your business are covered in-depth and allow for more meaningful responses from participants.
If you’re stuck on what to ask, here are some tips:
Use the five W’s (who, what, when where, and why) and one H (how) when possible. This will enable you to understand people’s opinions better than broad statements like “What do you think of this product?” or “How do you feel about our company?”
These open-ended formats often result in vague answers such as “It’s great!” or “I don’t know anything about it yet.” Which isn’t helpful at all!
Building a solid foundation for your market research is essential. Learn how to conduct effective market research without breaking the bank by exploring our guide on how to conduct market research for free.
2. Acknowledging Your Biases
As a researcher, one of the most important things you can do is recognize your own biases. By identifying those biases, you’ll be able to eliminate them from the research process and produce more reliable results.
If this sounds like an abstract concept, let me explain it with a real-life example:
I recently interviewed a group of people about their opinions on social media marketing.
I had assumed that these individuals would be passionate about social media marketing because they had applied to my course on it! Instead, they were skeptical of social media as an effective marketing tool and they were right to be skeptical!
Their answers were guided by their own experiences with lackluster businesses that used poorly executed social media strategies in place of good old-fashioned advertising.
Some students even went so far as to say that they didn’t believe any business could truly succeed via social media alone their skepticism was well earned!
For my research project (and all future projects down the line) to have validity and usability, it needs accurate data from people who aren’t biased towards any particular outcome (like what might happen when someone applies for an online course).
3. Forming A Hypothesis
At this point you’ve collected a wealth of data, but what good is it if you don’t know what to do with it?
Before you go any further, take some time to write down your goal. What do you want out of this research? What’s the purpose of doing it in the first place?
If your goal is simply “to learn about marketing research,” then yes you’re learning about marketing research. But if that’s all there is to your project, then why should anyone else care about what you found out.
If on the other hand, your objective is something like “To increase my brand awareness through viral marketing strategies within my target demographic” then at least now we have something more concrete than just “marketing research.”
There are many different types of goals: financial (increase sales), physical (lose weight), behavioral (stop smoking), emotional (feel happier), etc.,
But no matter which one(s) apply to your situation remember that setting goals will help guide everything else going forward and keep everything focused around those objectives – being clear on them early will save lots of headaches later!
Before launching a survey, it’s important to consider various factors for success. Discover our comprehensive list of 14 tips before conducting a survey to ensure you gather valuable insights.
4. Using Multiple Techniques
The more research techniques you use, the better your results will be. This is because different techniques provide different insights into a problem/issue or audience. For example, surveys can help you understand how people think about a topic and how they behave around it;
Focus groups can help you understand what motivates them to take action and what barriers prevent them from doing so; observation can help you identify unmet needs; ethnography can uncover hidden issues or opportunities that might otherwise be missed.
It is also important to use the most appropriate technique for your research question and the type of data being collected. For example:
Surveys are best used when collecting quantitative information about large populations (e.g., gender breakdowns) or when trying to collect opinions on specific topics such as whether customers prefer one product over another in order of brands A vs B (e.g., Coke vs Pepsi)
Focus groups work well at getting qualitative feedback from small groups of people who are similar in some way easing communication among group members
5. Planning Your Research
The fifth step is planning your research. If you don’t plan, you might end up wasting a lot of time and money on something that won’t help you.
By this point in the process, you should have read several books and articles about marketing research, identified some of the best practices, and started to determine which techniques are right for your business.
This will be a great time for you to write down what your goals are for each stage of market research:
What does success look like? What do I want to find out from my customers? How will it benefit them?
What questions do I need to be answered? What information do I need access to before making important decisions? How can I use these answers for my company or product/service to improve its value proposition with customers (if applicable)?
Different marketing research methods serve different purposes. Dive into the world of marketing research with our guide to 16 types of marketing research and why you need them to make informed decisions.
6. Scripting Your Research
Scripting your research is one of the most important steps in the entire process. A good script will help you collect better data, which means less time cleaning up messy responses and more time making decisions based on valuable insights.
Before you begin a project, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to know, how you want to learn about it, and what questions are worth asking. For example:
Do we need training for our sales team? If so, how much? Where should it take place? Who should attend? What kind of training would be most effective for us as an organization?
This could include role-playing scenarios or case studies from similar companies that had success with similar initiatives. What is our current customer retention rate compared with competitors’ retention rates?
Are there any changes we can make now (or shortly) that will improve our standing among competitors for this metric in particular and also increase overall revenue by 10 percent over next year?”
7. Setting Up Recruitment Criteria
There are two parts to this: defining the target audience and identifying the research participants.
First, you need to identify your target audience. That is, who do you want your product or service to appeal to? This can be as specific as “people who have dogs” or as general as “everyone in America who owns a smartphone” (although not everyone in America owns one).
You need to know what types of people will be interested in your product or service so that when it comes time for recruiting participants for testing out prototypes and other testing material, you know what type of person will be most representative of that market segment.
For example, if we were doing some marketing research on dog food products we might find a lot more interest among owners vs non-owners;
Whereas if we were doing marketing research on smartphone apps aimed at 18-year-olds then perhaps all adults over 30 would be excluded from our sample because they tend not to own smartphones anymore!
Conducting interviews on the phone requires a strategic approach. Elevate your interviewing skills by learning the most effective way to conduct interviews on the phone for in-depth insights.
8. Creating An Atmosphere Conducive To Research
It is important to create a quiet and comfortable environment that makes your participants feel comfortable, relaxed, and at ease.
The room should be clean and well-lit, so as not to distract the participant from their task. A private space is also recommended this can be anywhere from the corner of your office or even in another room if you want.
9. Explaining The Research Setup And Logistics
Explaining the research setup and logistics is a crucial step in setting up your study. As part of this process, you should explain the research setup and logistics to the participants before they begin their task.
This will help them feel more comfortable with what they are doing and make it easier for them to follow through with your instructions.
10. Greeting, Introducing, And Thanksgiving Participants
After the screening process, it is time to greet your participants.
The most important thing at this point is to introduce yourself and your team, explain what the research is about, how long it will take, how they can benefit from participating in the study, and what risks there might be. Make sure you also thank them for their time.
11. Using Probes Effectively When Needed In User Testing Sessions
Probes are questions that you ask participants after they have answered a question to encourage them to elaborate on their answers.
Probing is a good way for the researcher to get participants to share their thoughts and feelings about the topic, as well as understand how it affects them.
However, when using probes effectively in user testing sessions:
Use probes only if you want more information from your participant(s) or need clarification of their answer. If you ask too many probing questions, it can make people uncomfortable and lead them away from talking about what interests you most.
Make sure that each probe has an objective goal such as “get further insight into this area” or “verify how this feature works” before asking it.
This will help keep your research focused on what matters most during each session instead of getting distracted by irrelevant issues which might cause frustration later down the line (e-g., when looking back over notes).
12. Recording Notes When Conducting Unmoderated Research
Recording notes during unmoderated research is essential because it gives you a record of what participants are doing, saying, and clicking on.
Unfortunately, taking notes while sitting next to participants can be difficult it’s hard not to get distracted by their comments or questions. That’s why many researchers record these sessions using a digital recorder or video camera (if they’re being recorded).
The difference between recording and taking notes is important: recording means that all the information from your session will be stored in a single file.
If you were only taking notes by hand then there’d be no way for you to keep track of what happened in each user test session unless you wrote down every word spoken during each one!
The recording makes things easier for both parties involved since everything gets captured.
So there’s no doubt where the information came from when it comes time for reporting out findings and insights gained from testing sessions conducted with real users who lived through them firsthand rather than just reading about them secondhand as if through someone else’s eyes only not theirs.
Unconventional sources of inspiration can provide valuable insights into marketing research. Explore how concepts from zombie movies relate to the field in our article on 11 things zombie movies can teach us about marketing research to gain a fresh perspective.
13. Handling Sensitive Information Effectively For All Participants’ Comfort And Safety, Especially During Ethnographic Research
Ethnographic research is a qualitative research method that involves observing people in their natural environment. It can be an effective way to understand the group or groups you want to reach since it’s often used to observe people in their natural environment.
You may use ethnographic research when you need to understand the culture of a certain audience, or if your product or service has specific requirements for who will use it (such as people with disabilities).
The goal of ethnographic research is usually not just to collect information but also to come up with insights that can help inform strategy and lead generation.
14. Properly Storing Data And Following Data Privacy Laws
In the digital age, data is stored in many places. It can be stored on a computer server at your company, on someone else’s computer server (such as Amazon Web Services), or even in the cloud.
Data may also be stored on paper documents that have been scanned into a digital format. Regardless of where it’s kept, you must ensure that your organization complies with all applicable data privacy laws and regulations.
The requirements for storing personal information vary from country to country and industry to industry and sometimes from one type of personal information to another (e.g., name vs. email address).
You should consult an attorney if you are unsure about how best to store your customers’ personal information or which laws apply to your specific situation.
Mastering marketing research is a valuable skill that can help you be a powerful content creator. It will help you figure out what your audience is interested in, and how to cater to their needs.
This guide should give you enough information on the basics of conducting research for your next project. If you have more questions about marketing research, be sure to check out our other blog posts for more insights!
Explore more resources on mastering marketing research:
5 Tips for Successful Market Research: Discover essential tips for conducting successful market research, ensuring you gather actionable insights for your business.
A Guide to Market Research in the Buyer’s Journey: Learn how market research plays a pivotal role in understanding the buyer’s journey and tailoring your marketing strategies accordingly.
The 5-Step Marketing Research Process: Dive into a comprehensive guide outlining the five essential steps to conducting an effective marketing research process.
Got questions about mastering marketing research? Here are some answers to common queries:
How do I ensure successful market research?
Successful market research involves thorough planning, identifying your target audience, gathering relevant data, and analyzing insights to make informed decisions.
What role does market research play in the buyer’s journey?
Market research helps you understand your audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points at different stages of the buyer’s journey, allowing you to tailor your marketing efforts effectively.
What are the key steps in the marketing research process?
The marketing research process typically involves defining the problem, designing the research, collecting data, analyzing data, and drawing actionable conclusions.
How can I gather accurate data for market research?
To gather accurate data, use a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as surveys, interviews, and data analysis from credible sources.
How can market research help in optimizing marketing strategies?
Market research provides insights into customer behavior, market trends, and competitor analysis, enabling you to fine-tune your marketing strategies and achieve better results.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.