How To Market Research Without Feeling Dumb

Market research is, by definition, the process of gathering information about a market or industry. 

But what does that mean exactly? And how do you go about doing it? If you don’t know much about market research for yourself or your clients, these questions can be intimidating. And if you’re new to the practice, they might seem downright overwhelming! 

To help answer them (and boost your confidence), we’ve put together this list of nine ways to conduct market research without feeling like an imposter:

Mark Ritson on what does and doesn’t matter in marketing
1. Market research is crucial for informed decision-making.
2. Break down marketing challenges into manageable steps.
3. Embrace a learning mindset to navigate complex tasks.
4. Market research uncovers hidden trends and opportunities.
5. Refine target audience using data-driven insights.
6. Both startups and established businesses benefit from research.
7. Overcoming marketing challenges builds confidence.

Do A Lot Of Research About Your Industry Before You Even Start

The first step to doing research is being sure you know what you’re looking for. Once you’ve established that, the rest is easy:

Read books. Read magazines and other sources of information about your industry in general, as well as the specific sub-industries that make up your industry. 

You can also talk to people who work in those industries (or similar ones) to see if they have any advice or experience they’d like to share with you. If not, talk to someone who doesn’t work at all but is interested in your topic they’ll have a fresh perspective on things!

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Expect To Get A Lot Of Information From People

As a market researcher, you will be getting a lot of information from people. This is one of the most important things to remember when conducting research. You will be given a lot of feedback, and it is your job to take note of it all.

You need to be prepared to take notes on everything that is said in the interviews. When people are talking and excited about their work or project.

They tend to talk quickly and jump around in their train of thought – which can make it hard for you as an interviewer/researcher if you don’t have a good way of keeping up with them! 

In this case, having pre-written questions ready can help keep things organized (you can always go back through them later if needed). It’s also important not only read over your list but to ask follow-up questions when needed as well – making sure not to miss anything important!

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Ask Lots Of Questions And Listen Intently

  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Be prepared to listen intently.
  • Do not interrupt! Wait for your interviewee to finish his or her thought before you ask another question, and resist the urge to give your own opinion until he or she has finished talking and given you a chance to digest what they said.
  • Ask for clarification on any points that are unclear or confusing, particularly if they relate to data that may be difficult for an outsider (like you) to understand on first hearing it.
  • Ask for examples when possible: “Could you describe how X would work?” Or “When was the last time this issue came up?”
  • If necessary, ask for opinions on various options: “What do we need from them in order of importance?” 

Or “Why did things go wrong here?” If a decision needs making at some point down the line based on input from multiple people involved in your study (this happens often).

Record all answers so that individual staff members don’t feel as though their views were dismissed because their advice wasn’t solicited early enough in the process

Be Prepared For Anything That Might Happen

The best marketing research experts know how to deal with any situation that comes their way. When they’re in the field, they are prepared to talk to people at all different levels of education and income and they know how to look for answers in places that you might not expect them. 

They also have a natural curiosity about what makes people tick, so they always seem interested in what you have to say.

If you want to be an expert at marketing research, then start by asking yourself these questions:

Are your questions open-ended? Are there multiple ways of answering them? If not, change them! Open-ended questions help us get real answers from real people instead of just giving us canned responses because we didn’t give them enough choice or enough detail.

Does your survey flow logically from one topic or question into another? Do all of your answers make sense together as part of one larger message? This helps both you and the respondent understand what is being asked and why it matters so much!

The last thing I want anyone who reads this article to do is to feel dumb when doing market research surveys online or offline because it doesn’t matter where exactly those surveys take place (as long as there’s still WiFi connectivity). 

The key here is being able to listen closely while talking with others so that even if something unexpected happens during a conversation with someone else; 

We can still keep our cool under pressure without panicking too much when faced with unforeseen events during these types situations.

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Know What A Complete Market Research Project Looks Like

You need to know what a complete market research project looks like. This will help you better understand the scope of the task and give you some context for your efforts.

A few things to know:

How to plan a market research project. This is important because it allows you to take on small projects one at a time, rather than trying to tackle the entire universe all at once (which can feel overwhelming). 

You can also use this time frame as an opportunity for practice before taking on larger projects or making decisions based on your findings.

How to write a market research report. The point of doing market research is not only for gathering data but also to report those findings in an effective way that helps influence business decisions down the line.

So make sure that you take time now and again during this process to get feedback from others who may be involved with your company so they can offer insight into how these reports might come across when shared with clients or other stakeholders within an organization.

How if possible and if appropriate you should present these findings in person as well as via written documents (which could include anything from emails updates sent out periodically throughout different phases throughout completion.)

Know-How You’re Going To Use The Results Or What Steps You’ll Follow To Obtain Them

Before you start, make sure you know what you’re looking for and how you’re going to use the results. Don’t just start asking questions without a plan. This can lead to wasted time and possibly a lot of frustration as well.

I like to think of this as knowing what steps I need to take to get my answers. If I’m doing some research on a new product idea, for example, then my first step will be writing down some questions about it. 

Next, I’ll come up with a list of possible resources where those answers might be found (i.e., books or articles). 

Finally, once all my sourcing options have been exhausted and my list is complete, I’ll look through everything that’s been gathered so that I can start putting together ideas and conclusions based on what’s out there already!

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Know-How To Properly Collect Data By Knowing Methods For Carrying Out Interviews And Other Forms Of Research

When it comes to market research, the best way to know whether your product is going to be successful is by understanding what your customers want and need. 

The only way you can get truly detailed information about their wants and needs is by interviewing them directly. There are many different ways of conducting interviews including focus groups, surveys, questionnaires, and more.

You can conduct an interview in person or via phone call or email depending on the type of information you need. When conducting an interview there are several things you should keep in mind:

Be clear about your objective before beginning the interview – this will help direct the conversation so that it goes in the direction necessary for gathering accurate data from respondents

Make sure someone else transcribes all responses – if this isn’t done then any inaccuracies could affect future analysis negatively

Ask open-ended questions where possible (i.e., “Tell me about…”) rather than closed-ended ones (“Do you like…”). Open-ended questions allow respondents’ answers to flow naturally without interruption from prompts or other details which may cause them difficulty when thinking up an answer quickly

Know-How To Correctly Analyze The Data Collected And Make Well-Reasoned Recommendations

The next step is to know how to correctly analyze the data collected and make well-reasoned recommendations. This is an important part of market research, as it’s what will help your company make informed decisions about how to proceed.

It’s easy for a market researcher to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data they’re working with, but they must take their time and do their best not only at analyzing that data but also in making well-reasoned recommendations. 

If you don’t take enough time in this process, there’s a chance that either you or someone else on your team may misinterpret or misread certain parts of the report.

Or worse yet, fail at understanding what needs changing within your organization because no one was able to put together a clear picture of where things stand right now.

For these kinds of mistakes not to happen again (or worse), here are some tips: First off: know how each kind of information relates into other areas within the marketing strategy itself – especially when it comes down to things like customer experience metrics; 

So if there are any correlations between those numbers being analyzed which need immediate attention then highlight them accordingly! Second off: always keep track while conducting surveys.

So they can look back upon later down the road when writing up reports based on trends generated over time – this makes sure nothing gets lost along those lines throughout crunching hours spent crunching numbers day after day . . . just kidding!

Work With Others In Your Organization To Learn More About Your Market Before You Even Start

Working with others is essential to developing a good marketing plan.

When you’re working on your own, it can be hard to tell if your ideas are any good. Working with others helps alleviate that problem, and can also give you access to more resources than you’d have working by yourself. 

The only requirement for getting involved in this process is that everyone involved has some expertise in what they’re doing – whether it’s marketing or something else entirely. 

You want people who understand how the world works and how different companies interact with one another (e.g., customers, competitors).

At the very least, try finding someone who understands how things work at an organizational level (e.g., high-level management) rather than just within their own company or industry niche; 

This will give them a bigger picture perspective on both your product/service and its place within its market landscape as a whole

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Recognize That Skills And Abilities Come In Many Different Forms And Can Be Learned With Practice And Practice Alone

Learn from others’ mistakes.

Learn from your own mistakes.

Learn from experiences you’ve gained through life or work, both good and bad experiences. If your job is going well, learn what you’re doing well so that you can do it even better next time! 

If a project didn’t go as planned, try to figure out why by identifying what went wrong (or right). There may not be a single “right” answer here – maybe everyone was working hard but things still went wrong somehow? 

Maybe one person wasn’t doing their part properly? Or maybe there were unexpected complications that no one could have anticipated?

Take It One Step At A Time And Work Hard With Each Project That Comes Along To Improve Your Market Research Skills As You Go

Every market researcher makes mistakes, and it’s important to learn from them. If you don’t take the time to reflect on what went wrong in your research projects, you won’t be able to improve as a researcher. 

Similarly, if you don’t analyze other people’s work, or even read about different research approaches, it may be very difficult for you to improve your skills.

If there are elements of your research that seem unclear or problematic now but were successful at the time they were completed (such as an idea that didn’t work out).

Look back at how those decisions were made and try to figure out why this happened and whether there are ways for future projects not only avoid similar problems but also capitalize on strengths of earlier efforts.


At the end of this article, I think it’s important to reiterate that marketing research is not something you just do. It’s a skill that requires time and effort to develop. 

It will help if you have people around who are also willing to learn about their industry as well as those who are willing to share what they know with others. 

This kind of collaboration will lead to successful marketing research projects for your company in the long run!

Further Reading

The Benefits of Market Research: Discover the advantages of integrating market research into your business strategy to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and industry trends.

Overcoming Marketing Challenges: Learn how to tackle the challenges that might make marketing feel daunting and develop strategies to overcome them with confidence.

Seizing Opportunities with Market Research: Explore how effective market research can uncover valuable opportunities and guide informed decision-making to drive business growth.

And here’s the “FAQs” section with semantic-based questions and answers:


What are the key benefits of incorporating market research?

Market research offers insights into consumer behavior, industry trends, and competition, aiding businesses in making informed decisions and refining their strategies.

How can I overcome the challenges that make marketing seem complex?

Overcoming marketing challenges involves breaking down complex tasks into manageable steps, seeking expert guidance, and embracing a learning mindset.

How does market research help in identifying valuable opportunities?

Market research uncovers hidden trends, unmet needs, and emerging markets, enabling businesses to identify and capitalize on valuable opportunities.

Can market research assist in refining a business’s target audience?

Yes, market research provides data-driven insights that help businesses define and refine their target audience, resulting in more effective and targeted marketing campaigns.

Is market research essential for both startups and established businesses?

Absolutely, market research is valuable for startups to understand their market and for established businesses to adapt to changing customer preferences and competitive landscapes.