How To Decide Which Market Research Method To Use

When you’re trying to understand your customers and the market, it can be hard to know which research method is the best for getting the answers you need. This post will provide you with tips on how to decide which market research method to use.

How to Conduct a Market Analysis in 4 Steps – YouTube
1. Understand your research goals and objectives.
2. Consider the nature of the data you need (quantitative/qualitative).
3. Evaluate the resources available (budget, time, expertise).
4. Analyze your target audience and their preferences.
5. Explore various research methods (surveys, interviews, observations).
6. Prioritize methods that align with your research scope.
7. Balance the pros and cons of each method.
8. Test a small-scale pilot study before full implementation.
9. Adapt and refine your approach based on initial results.
10. Continuously reassess and refine your research strategy.

Define Your Goals

The first step in selecting a research method is to define your goals. You need to identify the problem you are trying to solve and decide how best to do so by defining the audience that will be included or excluded from your research.

t’s important at this stage not only because it will help you narrow down your choice of methods but also because it will allow you to create a working timeline for your project.

Once these factors have been considered, it’s time to think about the budget and resources available. If there isn’t enough money available for each method within its given timeframe, then some compromises may need to be made before moving forward with one or more of them

Building a solid foundation for your marketing research is crucial. Learn about the fundamental concepts and the step-by-step process in our comprehensive guide on What Marketing Research Is & How to Do It Step by Step.

Get Clear On The Problem You’re Trying To Solve

To start, you should define the problem you’re trying to solve. It’s important for two reasons:

  • You can’t use data to solve a vague or ill-defined problem. If there isn’t a clear and concise description of what you’re looking for, then there won’t be much useful insight into your results.
  • Defining problems up front helps keep your research focused on getting answers that are relevant and actionable (we’ll talk more about this later).

Next, think about how many goals you want to accomplish throughout your project and create some concrete goals along those lines. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight by running three times a week and eating healthier meals five days per week until December 1st of next year (your birthday).

Then write it down somewhere so that it doesn’t get lost amidst other daily tasks on your never-ending task list. Remember: don’t worry about what other people’s goals are; stay ambitious but realistic!

Ask Yourself What Audience do You Need To Include And Exclude

Another important step in deciding which market research method to use is to define your audience. Answering the following questions will help you determine who should be included and excluded from your target audience:

  • What are the characteristics of my target customers?
  • Who do I want to reach? For example, using a focus group with parents may not make sense if you’re selling products or services for children or teens. If you’re looking for feedback on a new product line aimed at teenagers, however, then including a focus group of parents is probably appropriate.
  • Is this project best suited for one type of research method or multiple ones? For example, if you’re trying to understand how people feel about an issue that impacts both genders differently.

For example, whether they support equal pay), an online survey could be too broad because it would include both men and women while neglecting gender-specific results. 

In contrast, a telephone interview conducted with an equal number of male and female respondents would provide more nuanced insights into attitudes toward equal pay between genders than an online survey but it would cost significantly more (and take longer).

Enhance your market research efforts by exploring cutting-edge tools. Discover the potential of lesser-known options in our article about The Top 10 Most Powerful Marketing Research Tools You Haven’t Heard Of.

List All Of The Questions That Need To Be Answered

This is the first step in identifying your research question. You should write down all of the questions that need to be answered and then rank them, so you can use this ranking to help you decide which research method is best for you.

This will also help you decide what audience to include and exclude during your research, as well as how detailed each question needs to be.

Look At Your Budget, Timeline, And Resources

  • Budget

Budget is an obvious consideration, but it shouldn’t be the only one. In most cases, you have to keep your budget in mind when deciding which method to use. But if one method will give you more value than another for the same price, then this becomes a non-issue.

It’s also important not to get so bogged down with money that you can’t see the forest for the trees and end up making a poor decision based on cost alone.

  • Timelines

Depending on what kind of research you want to be done and how much time and resources you have available, some methods may work better than others for your project.

For example: If multiple people are working on a project together and they’re all experts in their fields (e.g., marketing), then focus groups might be more effective than individual interviews because they can provide insight into different aspects of their business knowledge. 

Whereas surveys would only allow one person’s viewpoint at a time (and even then only one person per survey).

Consider How Much Detail You Need For Each Question

The next step is to think about the level of detail required by each question. This will depend on what you want to do with the research, and whether it’s qualitative or quantitative.

For example, if you are carrying out customer satisfaction surveys or focus groups (both qualitative market research methods), then you’ll need more detailed answers from people than if they were being asked questions on a questionnaire (a quantitative market research method).

Finding the right market can determine the success of your product. Dive into strategies for identifying demand in our insightful piece: How I Found the Market That Had a Demand for My Product.

Consider How Much Flexibility You’ll Have During The Research Process

A lot of times, research will be interrupted by unexpected events. That can happen in the field or your office. So it’s important to consider how much flexibility you’ll have during the research process.

Will you be able to change your schedule? Can you adapt as needed? And are there parts of this process that require quick decisions? These questions may seem obvious at first glance, but if you think about it for a moment, many of us spend most of our time in an environment where flexibility is not usually an option.

And when we do make changes on behalf of clients or employers, those changes are often more reactionary than proactive we don’t always know what’s coming next.

Determine If You’ll Want To Connect With Participants Before, During, And/Or After The Sessions Take Place

This is a good option if you want to ensure your participants are prepared for the research. If you reach out to them before the session, you can offer any additional information they may need to be able to participate in the study.

For example, if it’s a survey-based study and some of your questions are about health or lifestyle habits, you could offer tips on how best to prepare for that area of questioning.

You can also connect with your participants after each session takes place. You may want to follow up with questions or feedback from them on what they liked/didn’t like about the research experience or whether they found it helpful at all in answering their questions.

Think About Whether You’ll Want To Show People Ads Or Prototypes That Haven’t Yet Been Released Into The World

Focus groups, interviews, and surveys are all great methods for gathering feedback on ads or prototypes. Unfortunately, the best one to use depends on the type of feedback you want.

If you’re looking for insight into how people will react when they first see your ad or prototype:

  • Focus groups can be useful if your target audience is large enough that it’s hard to get them all together in one place. They can also help you generate ideas about how to create an effective ad or prototype.
  • Interviews offer a greater degree of depth than focus groups do; they allow participants more time to articulate their reactions and thoughts on particular topics before moving on to another subject area or topic altogether.

They’re also useful if there are sensitive issues involved (such as privacy concerns), or if there are important details that need explaining (for example, why some people might not trust your brand).

Bridging the gap between marketing research and successful product marketing is essential. Discover valuable insights on this topic in our article: Marketing Research: How to Market Products and Be Successful.

Determine If You Have An Existing Relationship With Your Target Audience (E.G., Customers Or Employees)

Determine if you have an existing relationship with your target audience (e.g., customers or employees). If you already work with the people with that you want to conduct market research, then this is a big advantage for you.

You can talk to them about what they are looking for in a product or service and how it compares against existing products/services on the market. You can ask them questions about how they would use a new product if it was available so that you know how much value it will create in practice instead of just theory.

If your business doesn’t have any personal relationships with its target audience yet, don’t worry. This is beneficial as well because it means that there’s room for growth if there were no disconnect between where their needs are currently being met and where they want those needs met, then there wouldn’t be any opportunity left.

Estimate How Many Participants You’ll Need To Conduct The Research Effectively

One of the most important considerations in deciding which market research method to use is how many participants you need, or how large your sample size will be.

If you’re conducting a survey, for example, this is an area where understanding statistics can help. You’ll want enough participants so that the results of your survey are statistically significant which means they aren’t just random noise.

As a rule of thumb, researchers suggest having at least 30 people in each group (also known as “cells”) with which comparisons are made when comparing two things together.

So if someone were looking at whether men and women differ on some issue (e.g., buying behavior), they might consider having 10 men and 10 women complete surveys on their preferences (or whatever question was being asked).

Consider The Kinds Of Experiences You Want Participants To Give Feedback On

There are many things to consider when deciding which market research method to use. For example, do you want participants to give feedback on websites? If so, then usability testing might be a good fit for your needs.

On the other hand, if you want them to provide feedback about their experiences with mobile apps or in-person purchasing experiences like shopping at a store then remote user testing may be the better option.

It’s also important that you consider the context in which your research will occur this includes things like location, time of day/day of the week (e.g., Monday mornings vs Friday evenings), culture, and demographic considerations (such as age ranges).

Take into account these environmental factors when making decisions about how best to conduct user feedback sessions with your target audience members.

You should also take into account what kind of information you hope to elicit from these sessions: qualitative data such as why people make certain decisions while using our product versus quantitative data like typical usage patterns during different tasks within our software solution.”

Think About Whether Your Research Will Be Private Or Public

As a rule, you should make your research private unless you have a specific reason for making it public. In general, the more public your research is, the more people will see it and react to it and it’s important to consider how they’ll feel when they do.

One thing that can help decide whether or not to make your market research publicly available is considering what purpose the data has. For example:

  • What if you want to improve your brand? You could use research as part of a larger strategy (like posting frequently on social media) that helps establish yourself as an expert in your field or increases awareness of who you are and what you do.

This could be useful for attracting new customers or building relationships with existing ones.

  • What if you’re looking for ways to improve one particular product? Your findings might be useful for other departments within the company, so making them known could lead other teams toward better products as well.

Unsure if marketing research is necessary for your venture? Get a clearer perspective with our comprehensive guide: Marketing Research: Need It? Here’s 15 What You Need to Know.

Choose A Research Method Based On What Makes Sense For Your Goals, Budget And Timeline

This is the last step in deciding which market research method to use. You’ve decided what you want to know from your research, who you want to ask those questions and how many people you need answers from at this point it’s time to pick which method will be most effective at getting the information you need.

This can seem overwhelming, especially if there is more than one option available that could work for your needs. If this happens to be the case and none of them are ideal, consider combining methods into one study (for example survey + focus groups).

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read our 16 tips on how to decide which market research method to use, you’ll be able to approach your next project with a thorough understanding of the options available for your business needs.

If you want to test-drive the market research methods we mentioned in this blog post, check out consumer and business surveys from SurveyMonkey Audience.

Further Reading

Choosing the Best Sampling Method for Your Market Research Short Description: Learn about selecting the most suitable sampling method for your market research, ensuring accurate and representative data collection.

Picking the Right Market Research Method Short Description: Discover valuable insights on how to choose the appropriate market research method to gather actionable data for informed decisions.

Exploring Research Methodologies Short Description: Dive into different research methodologies and techniques to optimize your market research process and generate meaningful results.

People Also Ask

What Is Market Research?

Market research is the process of gathering information about your target customers, their needs, and their behaviors. This information can help you make better decisions about how to create or improve a product or service.

How Do I Decide Which Market Research Method To Use?

There are many different types of market research methods that may be useful for different situations. The first step in deciding which method will work best for your business is understanding what you want to learn from the research.

Then, you can determine which methods are most appropriate for gathering this information based on factors like cost and time required for data collection.

Some common types of market research include surveys (written or online), focus groups (small group interviews), observation (watching people interact with products or services), and analytics (analyzing existing data).

Which Market Research Method Should I Use?

The answer to this question depends on what you’re trying to find out, and the resources available to you. If you’re trying to learn about a specific product or service that’s already on the market, then you should use focus groups or surveys.

If you’re trying to learn about a problem that people have and how they might solve it, then you should use brainstorming or concept testing. If you have an idea for a new product or service but not enough information yet, then you should use exploratory research or focus groups.

What Are Some Examples Of Exploratory Research?

Exploratory research is meant to help uncover insights into problems and solutions that aren’t yet clear enough for focus groups or concept testing you want to ask questions like “What do people think about this?” or “What would make them more interested in this?” 

You can also conduct exploratory research by observing people interacting with products or services in their natural environments, which is called ethnographic research. This kind of research helps companies understand their customers’ needs better, so they can design better products and services for them.

What Is The Difference Between Quantitative And Qualitative Research?

Quantitative research refers to any research that measures something, such as how many people will buy a product or how many people have an opinion about something. Quantitative research is often used to measure the size of a problem or population of interest.

Qualitative research is used to understand why people act in certain ways or make certain decisions. Qualitative research may be conducted in focus groups, interviews, or observations. It typically involves asking open-ended questions and listening closely.

What Is The Difference Between Qualitative And Quantitative Market Research?

Qualitative market research methods are used to gather information about how people feel or what they think about a topic. Quantitative market research methods are used to gather quantitative data, such as numbers of consumers, purchasing habits, and so on.

What Are The Limitations Of Each Type Of Research?

Qualitative research does not provide enough information for statistical analysis, so it is not helpful when it comes to making decisions based on statistical significance.

Quantitative research can be expensive and time-consuming because it requires a large number of people to complete surveys or other forms of data collection.

Which Type Should I Use For My Business?

If your business is looking for patterns in consumer behavior or wants feedback from customers about products or services that have been introduced recently.

Then qualitative research may be best suited for this purpose since it provides detailed information without having to spend too much money on surveys or interviews with potential customers (which would be required by quantitative methods).

If you want more detailed information about your target audience demographics and psychographic characteristics.