Even the smartest marketers need a little help sometimes. If you’ve been in this business for any period of time, you know that conducting market research can be a complex and challenging undertaking, especially if you’re new to it.
With so many moving parts and cultural considerations required to successfully reach your audience and harvest meaningful data, there are bound to be times when your company’s efforts fall short of expectations.
But don’t despair! You can find success with marketing research by simply identifying and understanding the challenges that come with it and using them as opportunities for future growth.
Here are 29 common challenges involved in conducting marketing research, along with some recommendations on how to overcome them:
|1. Identify common challenges in marketing research.|
|2. Develop effective strategies to overcome data collection complexities.|
|3. Explore innovative methods to tackle issues related to limited sample sizes.|
|4. Adapt research methodologies to evolving consumer behaviors.|
|5. Leverage technology for streamlined research processes and enhanced outcomes.|
|6. Stay proactive by anticipating and addressing potential obstacles.|
|7. Utilize diversified data collection approaches for comprehensive insights.|
|8. Optimize survey design for improved participant engagement.|
|9. Embrace targeted sampling techniques for more meaningful results.|
|10. Continuously monitor trends and leverage social media insights.|
Time And Cost
The biggest challenges that you’ll face when conducting marketing research are time and cost.
Time and cost are important factors in determining whether or not to conduct marketing research, but they’re not the only factors. Other considerations include:
What’s the purpose of your research? If you’re trying to determine if a new product is viable or how your current customers feel about a particular issue, then it makes sense to do some market research.
But if you’re looking at changing an existing product’s color scheme or logo design, then maybe just ask yourself what feels right instead of wasting money on expensive surveys.
Who’s going to be in charge of this project? Is there someone on staff who has experience with customer interviews and focus groups? Do they have connections with outside vendors who can help them find potential participants for their projects?
The person in charge should also have ownership of all aspects of the project from setting budgets through presenting findings back up top so that everyone stays accountable for what happens next time around (or at least knows whom they need).
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Accessibility is the ability to gain access to participants in your research. There are some instances where accessibility might be a challenge for you, but there are also ways you can use it to your advantage.
If a person who is interested in participating for whatever reason isn’t able to show up for an interview or does not respond to requests via email, text message, and phone calls within a reasonable amount of time (e.g., 24 hours).
Then this person might be considered “un-accessible” and therefore disqualified from participating in your study.
In addition, if someone has trouble understanding what they are being asked during an interview or survey because of language barriers or cultural differences, then they may also be deemed un-accessible and thus excluded from contributing their opinions on any given topic.
You may want as many people as possible available so that you can include them in all aspects of your research project; however, certain demographics within those groups don’t have access due to geographic location or personal circumstances (e.g., financial limitations).
Then those individuals won’t be counted toward reaching the right number of potential respondents needed by researchers conducting similar type studies in order
to get accurate results when comparing results across different types of studies conducted over time
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Reliability Of Research Participants
Reliability is the consistency or dependability of a measure. It’s the extent to which a measure or procedure consistently produces the same results on repeated application and it’s important for researchers because it helps us know that what we’re measuring exists.
In other words, if the researcher decides to remeasure the same dependent variable on the same sample of people and obtain different results, it can lead us to believe that at least one of those measurements is unreliable.
The simplest way to explain this concept is through an example:
The dependent variable is “satisfaction with customer service.”
We’ve chosen this because we want to know how satisfied customers are with our company’s customer service (which they need in order to be happy).
We have collected data from 100 customers who have provided their email addresses as well as their contact information.
So that we can reach out when there are issues with their orders or deliveries so we can resolve them quickly (this helps build trust between companies and consumers).
For simplicity’s sake let’s assume there are only two levels of response: completely dissatisfied or completely satisfied (there may be other levels between these two but let’s keep things simple).
Let’s also assume each respondent has only two answers for every question asked about satisfaction with customer service: 1) extremely dissatisfied 2) somewhat dissatisfied 3) neither/neutral 4) somewhat satisfied 5) extremely satisfied 6) Don’t Know/Refused
7) Not Sure 8), 9 through 13 are skipped because they don’t make sense given what I’m trying to do here 10), 11 through 15 skipped because they don’t make sense given what I’m trying to do here
12), 13 through 17 skipped because they don’t make sense given what I’m trying to do here 14), 15 through 19 skipped because they don’t make sense given what I’m trying to do here
16), 17 through 21 skipped because they don’t make sense given what I’m trying to do here 18), 20-23 remaining questions begin section
Sample Size And Distribution
Sample size and distribution are related, but they’re not the same thing. The sample size is fixed you can’t change it after you’ve conducted your research.
However, sample distribution is highly variable based on how many participants you include in your pool (the same participant can be sampled several times) and how many people fit into each category (some participants might fall into multiple categories).
The best way to think about this concept is to consider it as a pie chart:
You want all of the pieces of pie to be roughly equal in size when sliced up into pieces that represent your data collection effort.
If a study has too few participants, then those small samples will give skewed results; if there are too many participants for the categories being used for analysis or testing purposes.
This will also result in skewed results because there was no real chance for any one individual’s opinion/opinions being represented as accurately as possible.
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Sample bias is a problem that can affect your research data. Sample bias occurs when the people in the sample are not representative of the target population.
For example, if you’re conducting a survey about how to improve customer service and you only ask people who have had negative experiences with your company, then it would be likely that they will give you negative feedback on how to improve customer service.
A simple solution for avoiding sample bias is to make sure you recruit participants systematically using some sort of random selection process (see below).
You should also try to include a wide variety of respondents to ensure that they represent different viewpoints and perspectives within your market segment (although this isn’t always possible).
You can also use statistical analysis techniques such as multivariate analysis or regression modeling (see below) to understand how much influence sample bias has on your findings.
And then determine whether those findings are still useful despite being affected by this phenomenon.
Client Influence On Data Collection, Analysis, And Presentation
A client’s influence on the research process is a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it gives you insight into what your client needs and wants from the research efforts; on the other hand, it can make for some difficult discussions if you don’t know how to navigate those conversations.
If you haven’t had any experience working with clients before or conducted this type of research before, then there are some things that you need to understand about client influence:
- Client influence will be present in every single phase of data collection and analysis
- The impact of client influence will vary depending on who the primary stakeholder is (for example marketing vs. sales)
- Client influence can come in many forms including but not limited to: – Requests for specific metrics/numbers
Requirements around how data should be segmented or organized (vertical markets vs horizontal markets). A request that certain questions be asked or topics covered during interviews with customers/prospects
Beyond traditional approaches, explore innovative methods to conduct insightful marketing research. Dive into our post about 14 Alternative Methods You Can Use for Marketing Research, and uncover fresh perspectives to gather consumer insights.
Determining Target Audience For Marketing Research Study
Determine your target audience:
When you’re conducting marketing research, it’s important to know who your target audience is so that you can develop a strategy around them.
There are many ways to define the target audience for a marketing research study, but they all boil down to two categories: demographic and psychographic.
Demographic information includes age, gender, location, and other attributes that describe the physical characteristics of individuals or groups (e.g., their hair color).
Psychographic data describes people in psychological terms (e.g., personality traits like introversion/extroversion). The most common way to determine this information is through surveys that ask questions about lifestyle factors such as income level or marital status.
Plan Your Research Study: Once you’ve determined your target market segmentation strategy from step 1 above (demographic vs psychographic), now is the time when we will start planning out our full research program including how many interviews we need per question type, etc.,
Depending upon what stage of development we’re currently at (concept stage still early on) or if we already have products ready for launch; then there are different types of survey instruments again depending on where we want things going next i..e.,
Surveys are designed specifically for qualitative insights vs quantitative analysis tools which might include things like focus groups as well as online surveys using platforms like Survey Monkey etc.
The budget constraint is among the biggest challenges you will face as a market research project manager.
Understanding your client’s budget and how it relates to the value of the research, its results, and insights can help you create a solution that works for everyone involved.
Here are some things to think about when discussing budgets with your clients:
Understand their budget from every angle. This should include costs associated with staffing and managing the project.
Internal resources needed for implementation (marketing research software licenses or subscriptions), external resources needed for implementation (data providers), etc.
Make sure everyone understands how much time they have to complete their work before conducting interviews or other activities on behalf of the study.
If time is running out quickly, decide whether it would still be worth doing quality research within those parameters. Your client may decide that it’s better off not wasting money on something that won’t provide meaningful findings due to lack of time or resources available.”
Attrition Or Dropouts From Response List Or Project Panelist Pool Over Time
The number one problem with response lists and project panels is attrition or dropouts.
This can be a real issue to address because it may seem like your data integrity will suffer if you have to remove data from your file, but if you don’t know what the original size of your panel or list was, how can you fix the problem?
You need to start by having a clear understanding of who was initially in your pool so that when someone drops out, you can calculate what percentage that person represented of the total population.
There are many other ways in which attrition affects not only data integrity but also reliability, accuracy and consistency. The point is: Attrition should be considered as part of your overall approach to sample size optimization!
Screening Devices Lack Integrity/Honesty
Screening devices are tools that can be used to filter out participants who are not eligible for the study, such as those who do not fit the demographic profile or who don’t have a valid email address.
They can also filter out participants who are not honest and will provide false information on their profiles, either due to ignorance or dishonesty.
It’s important to note that screening devices can also be used to filter out participants who are not willing to participate in a study.
For example, if you want customers with at least five years of experience with your product but only get people with less than one year of experience signing up for your research.
This could indicate they’re unwilling to participate in your research (unless they have gone through a lot of effort just to sign up).
Delve into the realities of marketing research and its challenges. Navigate through the complexities with our exploration of The Inconvenient Truth of Marketing Research, and gain a deeper understanding of the field’s nuances for more informed decision-making.
Incentive Favoring Response Over Accuracy
You may be tempted to use a large sample size (say, over 1,000 respondents) or multiple samples to address the issue of response bias. If you think this will work, you’re wrong. The reasons are:
There’s no way to know if the people who have already responded are representative of your target population and/or if your non-responders would have provided similar results if they had participated.
You’ll waste time and money collecting data that may not be useful because it comes from people who aren’t representative of your target audience.
There’s no guarantee that the sample is representative of the population in terms of demographics or attitudes/beliefs about your product/service/brand;
There’s also no way to assess whether these demographic differences affect responses (e.g., age might affect how likely someone is to order fast food).
We hope that the suggestions we have provided for addressing the challenges you will face when conducting marketing research will help you to overcome the obstacles and make your research more effective.
We understand that these are not all of the possible challenges, but in our experience, these are some of the most common ones that clients face and find it difficult to overcome.
Some of them can be avoided with a little extra preparation while others require more time and effort on your part as a researcher.
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What are the common obstacles encountered by market researchers?
Market researchers often face challenges such as data collection complexities, inadequate sample sizes, and evolving consumer behaviors.
How can market researchers overcome data collection challenges?
To overcome data collection challenges, market researchers can employ diversified data collection methods, utilize technology for automation, and ensure data accuracy through quality checks.
What strategies can help tackle the issue of limited sample sizes?
Market researchers can address limited sample size concerns by employing targeted sampling techniques, optimizing survey design, and utilizing statistical tools to extract meaningful insights from smaller samples.
How can market researchers adapt to changing consumer behaviors?
Adapting to changing consumer behaviors requires continuous monitoring of trends, leveraging social media insights, conducting agile research, and engaging in proactive analysis to anticipate shifts.
What role does technology play in overcoming market research challenges?
Technology aids market researchers by offering advanced data collection tools, automation of repetitive tasks, data analysis platforms, and real-time feedback, thereby streamlining research processes and enhancing outcomes.
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.