Ten Marketing Research Methods That Don’t Use Surveys

As the main tool of market research, surveys are getting a bad rap these days. Of course, they’re still useful for measuring things like brand awareness and product satisfaction as well as understanding customer groups.

However, surveys aren’t ideal for uncovering more nuanced insights around behaviors and attitudes.

And according to some experts, surveys can never replace primary market research methods because surveys rely on self-reported data which is often inaccurate or untruthful as well as limited in depth and breadth. But that doesn’t mean you should ditch your survey tool altogether. 

In this blog post, we will cover the benefits of using marketing research methods that don’t use surveys and ten marketing research methods that don’t use surveys.

Market Research Methods – YouTube
1. Explore alternative methods for conducting marketing research without relying on surveys.
2. Consider leveraging social media data analysis to gain insights into consumer behavior and preferences.
3. Utilize web analytics tools to track user interactions on your website and understand their browsing patterns.
4. Engage in competitor analysis by monitoring their online presence and activities.
5. Explore ethnographic research to gain a deeper understanding of consumer behaviors in real-life contexts.
6. Experiment with eye-tracking technology to study visual attention and engagement with marketing materials.
7. Incorporate sentiment analysis to gauge public opinions and attitudes toward your brand or products.
8. Dive into content analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing messages and materials.
9. Consider neuromarketing techniques to uncover subconscious responses to marketing stimuli.
10. Explore observational research by directly observing consumer behaviors and interactions.
11. These methods offer diverse ways to gather valuable insights for informed marketing decisions.

Benefits Of Using Marketing Research Methods That Don’t Use Surveys

It can help you find out what people are saying about your business online.

It can help you find out what people are saying about your business online. In addition to the benefits of using other types of research methods, social media listening has many other perks. For example, you can use it to find out what people are saying about your business offline and online.

You can also use social listening to track what competitors are doing in the space and learn more about them (including their strengths, weaknesses, etc.). This is particularly useful if there’s some product or service in the market that could benefit from some additional features or changes you might not even have thought of them yet.

When it comes to exploring marketing research step by step, understanding the diverse methods available is crucial. Find insights on various approaches in the article What Marketing Research Is & How to Do It: Step by Step.

It can help you find out what customers think of your marketing materials

Marketing research methods that don’t use surveys can be used to conduct market research and gain valuable insights into your target audience’s perception of your business, marketing materials, and brand.

Some companies have found success with this method when it comes to understanding their consumers’ preferences for particular products or services.

It can help you understand how people feel about your brand

You might be surprised to learn that brand image is one of the most important factors for customers. It’s one of the most important factors for any company.

Brand image is important to the customer because it helps them make decisions about whether or not they want to purchase a product from a particular brand. It also determines whether or not someone would recommend that brand to other people, which can lead to more sales in the future.

Brand image is also very important for a company as well because it affects how investors view that company’s stock price and short-term profits (not just long-term profits). If people think negatively about your brand’s reputation.

They will likely avoid investing in that business altogether or selling off their current holdings at below market value since they don’t see much potential leftover time due to negative perceptions held by many potential buyers.

This could cause major issues down the road if too many people begin avoiding doing business with you simply because there wasn’t enough demand coming through before.

Looking to enhance your strategies for boosting conversion rates? Learn about effective clickthrough techniques in 15 Ways to Increase Conversion with Clickthrough Rates, and discover new ways to optimize your marketing efforts.

It can help you learn what people want in a product or service

Surveys can be helpful to gain insight into the thoughts and opinions of customers. However, they are not always the most effective method for learning what people want in a product or service.


  • These are impersonal, non-participatory methods of collecting data. Because they’re primarily conducted via phone and email, they don’t allow you to see how people react to your services in person.

If a survey says that customers prefer one type of pizza over another, there were likely no pizzas present when they answered the questions (or perhaps even any food at all). So how does this translate into something useful for your business?

  • May not provide enough context for understanding customer preferences, which could lead you astray when creating new products or services based on what people say they want from them.

You don’t have to tell people they’re being researched

While this may seem like a minor point, it’s one of the most important. You don’t have to tell people they’re being researched.

It’s true you don’t have to tell people that you’re doing market research on them.

And if you do not tell people, then there is no chance for them to refuse or decline your request for participation in a survey or study.

In addition, the results of your research will more accurately reflect how customers feel about particular products and services because you won’t be getting any false positives from customers who want to please the researcher by being nice about everything (even if they hate something).

It can uncover complaints or problems before they get worse

Marketing research methods that don’t use surveys can also uncover complaints or problems before they get worse.

For example, if you’re running focus groups with customers and one of them mentions that she’s had a bad experience with your product, you can follow up on her comment and ask about the details of her experience.

This way, the issue gets addressed before it becomes a widespread complaint or problem for other customers. Additionally, if you find out someone has an issue with your brand after they’ve already switched to another competitor’s product, this is another opportunity to reach out and figure out what went wrong so that you can fix it in the future.

Unlock the potential of your marketing research with a peek into the world of powerful yet lesser-known research tools. Dive into the details provided by The Top 10 Most Powerful Marketing Research Tools You Haven’t Heard Of to stay ahead in the game.

It can help you understand why and when customers leave

You can learn more about your customers by understanding their problem areas and what they need to feel satisfied with your product or service.

For example, if a significant number of customers are not satisfied with product quality after purchasing a particular item in bulk quantities, then it might be time to reassess whether or not that option should be offered as an option at all.

It can be used to uncover the values, beliefs, and norms of potential customers

It can be used to uncover the values, beliefs, and norms of potential customers. This type of research often involves asking people open-ended questions about how they feel about a certain topic or product.

Their responses can help you understand what they think about your brand and its communications with other brands in the same industry.

It’s important to note that this kind of research requires extra time because participants are likely to take longer than usual when answering questions like these due to their lengthiness and complexity.

It’s cost-effective

Even better, the cost of using a focus group or survey is substantially higher than other methods. Focus groups can cost up to $10,000 per session and surveys can reach six figures.

By comparison, you can use an intercept method for as little as $500, with an online survey costing less than $3 per respondent.

Marketing Research Methods That Don’t Use Surveys

There are more ways to do market research than surveys alone. The following methods are not surveys, but can be used in conjunction with a survey to provide further insight into your target market:

Direct Observation

Direct observation is a simple method that involves observing the customer’s behavior. It includes watching how they choose products, what they do with them, and how they react to what you’re selling.

  • Observe the customer’s behavior.
  • Watch how people behave when they come across your product or service in an environment (a store, online). Do they act interested? Do they become excited? Can you tell if there’s something about your offering that causes them to lose interest?
  • Observe their reactions to ads promoting your product or service online and off. If there are no ads for your offerings yet, ask friends and family members what kinds of ads would appeal most to them as potential customers (or survey other users of similar products).

Every business seeks a market with high demand for their products. Discover how one marketer found the market that had a demand for their product and learn valuable lessons in How I Found the Market That Had a Demand for My Product.

Focus Groups

Focus groups are a group of people who meet to discuss a topic. Companies use focus groups to get feedback on an idea or product or to find out what people think about a product or service.

Focus groups are also called qualitative research methods because they provide information in the form of words instead of numbers (quantitative). This means that focus groups can be more expensive than quantitative research methods and take longer to run.

However, they provide essential insights into customer problems that other methods don’t pick up on and this can help you develop solutions customers will love.

Observation Of Actual Product Use

Observing how people use your product is a powerful way to learn about the customer experience. You can observe how people use your product or service in an actual, uncontrolled environment, which can provide clues as to how they use it at home.

You might also want to observe how customers use it in a controlled environment (i.e., the lab) that mimics their natural habitat, so you get a better understanding of what problems are likely to occur when they’re not under observation.

Discussion Board/Forums

While surveys can be used for many things, one thing they’re not good for is collecting information. The problem with surveys is that people often don’t have the time to fill them out, or they don’t trust the information they will get from them. Surveys are also often too long, which turns people off from completing them.

Instead of using a survey as a way to collect information, consider setting up an online discussion board/forum where people can talk about your topic of interest and share their thoughts on it.

By setting up an online forum specifically around your topic of interest (for example: “My Website Is Not Getting Enough Traffic”), you’ll be able to reach out directly to individuals who are interested in learning more about it and these people will probably be more than happy to help you out.

Behavioral Testing

Behavioral testing is a popular method of marketing research. It allows you to see how people use your product or service, rather than asking them how they would use it. While this can be incredibly useful information, it has to be done correctly to provide value.

Behavioral testing involves using software that monitors what users do on your website or app and then compares those actions against demographic data about each user. This helps you understand how different types of people are interacting with your product or service so that you can improve the way it works for everyone involved.

One drawback of behavioral testing is its limited scope; because it only analyzes one thing at a time (in this case, user behavior), there might not always be enough data available to draw firm conclusions about specific problems encountered during testing or even whether there are any problems at all.

The best way around this problem is by combining multiple methods into one cohesive strategy: Only through careful analysis will we ever truly understand why our customers make certain purchasing decisions and which types of ads work best for us.

Customer Interviews

Customer interviews are a great way to get feedback on your products or services. You can use them to get a sense of the customer experience, or you can ask customers about your marketing campaigns.

For example, you might want to find out how customers feel about your product’s usability or its packaging. Or maybe you’d like an outsider’s perspective on how well your ads are resonating with people in general. Customer interviews allow you to hear directly from consumers, so use them.

Real-Time Analysis

Real-time analysis is the process of collecting and analyzing data as it happens, allowing you to respond quickly to customer trends and competitor activity. You can also use real-time analysis to detect and respond to news in your industry.

Real-time analysis is useful because of how quickly you can act on information that comes in. For example, if there’s a spike in negative reviews about a certain product or service, you’ll be able to address them right away instead of waiting until after the fact.

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring is an excellent way to get a pulse on your target market and gain valuable insight into what they’re saying about you, the competition, other companies in your industry, or any other hashtag or keyword you want to monitor.

Social media monitoring tools like Google Alerts allow you to set up alerts for any combination of websites (including blogs), keywords, authors, companies, and more that are associated with a specific topic or industry.

It’s also useful because it gives you access to information without having to sit through hours upon hours of reading every blog post on the Internet about every possible topic that could be relevant.

Social Media Participation

Social media can help you understand your customers better. You can gather insights by asking questions, monitoring conversations, and responding to comments. Social media can help you understand your brand better. You can monitor how people are talking about a product or service, or what they think of the company behind it.

Social media can help you understand your competitors better by following them on social networks such as Twitter and Instagram; also by searching for information online about them (e.g., their website). Social media provides insight into an industry’s general sentiment towards certain topics (e.g., products).

In the realm of research, consumer data plays a pivotal role. Delve into the perspective of not using consumer data and its implications in Why I Don’t Use Consumer Data for My Research, and reconsider the approaches you take in your research endeavors.

Online Implicit Association Test (Iat)

While it’s not technically a survey, this method can help you understand how your audience feels about certain topics. Implicit Association Tests (IAT) is used to reveal unconscious bias and preferences in what people like or dislike.

The difference between explicit and implicit association tests is that an explicit test asks someone to choose between two options, whereas an implicit test measures the speed at which they respond when presented with something they like versus something they don’t like.

The latter, called a reaction time task, happens without conscious deliberation as people decide whether or not they prefer one thing over another based on instinct rather than reflection.

Online IATs are becoming increasingly popular because they allow researchers to conduct studies from anywhere in the world with only minimal resources required (a laptop and internet connection).

They work by tracking how long it takes for users to click between two images that represent different concepts, for example, smiling faces vs frowning faces, and then use this information to show whether there is an underlying bias towards one group over another based on race/ethnicity or gender identity etcetera.

It’s important when conducting these tests online though; if participants know what category applies for each image beforehand then their results could skew towards false positives since their minds will already be made up before clicking.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to gather data on your customers besides simply asking them questions. Research methods like behavioral testing, customer interviews, and direct observation can provide way more insight than a simple survey.

You’ll get a better idea of how your products are being used and what improvements need to be made.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to further your understanding of different types of market research:

Typeform – Types of Market Research Learn about various types of market research methods and how to apply them effectively.

QuestionPro Blog – Exploring Types of Market Research Dive into an insightful blog post that discusses different types of market research strategies and their significance.

Miquido Blog – Comprehensive Guide to Market Research Methods Explore a comprehensive guide detailing different market research methods and their applications in real-world scenarios.


People Also Ask

How Can I Find Out If My Target Customers Are Using A Particular Product Or Service?

An unobtrusive observation is a good method for this. You can watch people use the product or service, and then ask them questions about it.

For example, you might be able to see if people are using a specific product at a store and then go up to them and ask if they like it. This method is useful for finding out about new products or services that are not yet well-known on the market.

How Can I Find Out What My Consumers Think About A Particular Product Or Service?

An interview is an excellent way to find out what your consumers think about your products or services. You can ask them questions about their experience with your product or service, including any problems they may have had in using it (if any).

This method is best used when there are only one or two specific products you want feedback on. If you have many different products, then focus groups would probably be more appropriate than interviews.

What’s The Difference Between Marketing Research And Market Research?

Marketing research is a larger umbrella that encompasses many different types of market research, including surveys and focus groups. Market research is a specific type of marketing research that involves gathering information about a specific market segment or geographic area.

What’s The Best Way To Conduct Market Research?

We recommend conducting primary research, which means you’re asking consumers questions directly instead of relying on secondary sources like articles or data from other companies. If you want to know what consumers think about your brand or product, there’s no substitute for getting in touch with them yourself.

How do I get started with marketing research?

Great question! The first thing we recommend is identifying what kind of information you need to gather. After that, it’s time to set up your survey or focus group accordingly.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Market Research Methods?

There are many different ways to conduct market research. The most common methods include:

  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires