Why You Need Market Research

A data-driven approach to marketing will help you get the best results. That’s why you need to perform research. Lots of research. More specifically, market research will give you a clear picture of your ideal customer.

What is market research?

Market research is the process of gathering and analyzing data about a market (or the space in which your organization operates), the services and products within that space, and past, present, and future customers relevant to that space.

Through the process of conducting market research, you’ll gather information on the spending habits, location, and interests for your customers, and other details that are vital to your brand.

There are two types of market research: primary and secondary research.

Primary Research

Primary research is research that you conduct. Some examples include:

  • Interviews – by phone or face-to-face
  • Surveys – online, in-person, or by mail
  • Focus groups
  • Reviewing past sales or donation data

Secondary Research

Secondary research is when you look into data that had been collected by other people. This might mean:

  • Reading published studies
  • Reviewing Census or other demographic data

You should perform both primary and secondary research to get the best possible data.

What Kind of Data Should I be gathering?

When you’re conducting market research, you may have to decide if you want to receive qualitative or quantitative data or a combination of the two. 

Qualitative data:

  • Gets answers from open-ended questions
  • Allows for smaller sample sizes
  • Broader responses with more detail and variation

Quantitative data:

  • Is numbers-based
  • Makes it easier to compare/contrast
  • Allows for larger sample sizes

The type of data that you want to gather depends on what kind of answers you want to receive from your research. If you’re looking to gather more in-depth answers from a smaller group, qualitative data may be right for you. If you want numbers-based answers from a large group, try gathering quantitative data. 

Common Research Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re starting out conducting market research, there are a few mistakes you want to avoid. Try your best not to:

  • Use secondary research only
  • Use only free web resources
  • Only survey people you know

Additionally, there are some questions to make sure you ask if doing your own research. These questions include:

  • What are your communication preferences? i.e. phone, email, direct mail, etc.
  • What social media sites do you use, and how often?
  • Where do you get your news, and from what media outlets? i.e.,TV, print, web, etc.
  • What are your favorite brands?

Tips and tricks for market research

Starting your own market research can be difficult. However, there are resources available for anyone starting out! For example:

  • Public Library databases have free access to journals, newspapers, etc.
  • Try site: .gov or site: .edu google searches to make sure you only get reputable results.
  • Look at state open data, for example, Colorado state data
  • Look at U.S. open data.
  • Get to know your local librarians! Business librarians can be a big help, and don’t cost anything – they’re there to help you! 
  • Ask your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for support or research advice.  They may know of other local resources specific to your area and offer free business consulting along with free and low-cost workshops and training.

Once you’ve defined your customers, market research will help you understand their habits. This can give you more insight on how to develop and create a successful marketing plan that’s right for your target demographic and that will actually work!

Need some professional assistance? We get super excited about graphs, spreadsheets, and talking to strangers about all sorts of things, then creating detailed reports with all the answers you seek, easily summarized. Contact us today to get started with market research help!

Thoughts or Questions?

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