Market research

Market research is a tool used by companies to obtain information about the market in which they operate or intend to operate. It serves both for an entrepreneur to test an idea and for companies that are already operating to evaluate the direction of their business  .

Among the main purposes of market research is the  identification of problems and new opportunities  . Also called marketing intelligence, it helps managers make informed decisions to achieve the success of their investment.

Essential in the formulation of the Business and Management Plan (PNG), market research allows defining and knowing the target audience of a certain brand or product and their preferences. It can be used for, for example:

  • Evaluate launch opportunities, identifying unmet market demands
  • Evaluate the acceptance of a product or service that is about to launch.
  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
  • Indicate if the company is on the right path, in the case of the products and services it already offers
  • Understand who the consumer market for a product is, allowing you to better target your marketing campaigns

Although the concept is more associated with research on consumer habits and opinions about products, brands and services, market research can also be used for other purposes, such as knowing a company’s suppliers and competitors.

Market research is one of the market analysis tools. The two expressions, however, are not synonymous. Although  the research presupposes a personalized study, limited in time and with the objective of obtaining specific and objective information  , the analysis is a continuous monitoring of trends in the sector, often using secondary sources, such as prepared statistics or news published by the press.

Types of research

There are two main types of market research:

Quantitative research:  This type of research allows a statistical analysis of the results. Therefore, the type of data collected should be measurable and comparable, to generate graphs, tables, and other analytical tools. Due to its peculiarities, quantitative research requires a large sample of respondents to be worked on.

Qualitative research:  This type of research works with a small number of respondents, but in more depth, to obtain the most detailed content possible. This type of research, however, does not allow statistical conclusions to be drawn.

How to do the research?

Specialized companies offer the service of conducting market research for those who want to open a business or obtain more precise information to make decisions about a company that is already underway. However, if the employer considers that the cost of hiring a specialized service is high, he can choose to carry out his own research.

Some sites allow you to carry out any type of survey, offering tools to assemble the questionnaires and even tabulate the answers. There are free and paid online platforms.

Forms of data collection

There is more than one method of collecting data in market research. Among the most common are:

  • Interviews:  An interviewer asks questions in the form of questions, in person or by phone.
  • Questionnaires:  Questions are presented in writing and can be done using a printed or online form.
  • Consumer panel or focus group:  The company selects a group that has the characteristics of its target audience to interact more deeply with it. Can be done in person or virtually

Selection of respondents

An important point to define the quality of the research results is sampling, that is, the selection of who will answer the questionnaire. It is important to ensure that the objectives of the study are people whose profile is that of a potential consumer of the brand. Poor sampling can lead to confusing results and lead to errors.

The entrepreneur should always avoid the temptation to interview friends, family, employees or other acquaintances. This is because the relationship between interviewer and interviewee can affect the sincerity of the answers and, consequently, lead to erroneous conclusions.

Social media helps in the job of distributing the questionnaire to potential clients. Groups and forums that bring Internet users together on topics related to the company’s focus are an easy way to locate people with the desired profile. However, it is advisable to first check the community rules and, if possible, request the authorization of the administrators before disclosing the research.

Please note that people have limited time and may not show interest in voluntarily participating in a survey. In this case, it is worth considering the possibility of distributing some type of gift or remuneration to those who participate.

Although more and more people have Internet access, this tool may not be useful depending on the type of business. If the product or service focuses on older consumers, who are less involved in social media, for example, it may be more appropriate to conduct research using printed questionnaires.

How to put together the questions?

There is no standard model for a questionnaire or interview, since they will depend on the objectives of the research being carried out. However, as a general rule, when preparing the questionnaire, it is important to ensure that the questions are written  in a short, direct and easy-to-understand way  , so as not to confuse the respondent.

The questionnaire can include two types of questions:

  • Closed questions: these  are multiple-choice questions, in which the interviewee must choose between previously written alternatives. This type of question facilitates the analysis of the answers and is crucial in quantitative research.
  • Open-ended questions:  Give the respondent space to answer as desired. Although it is difficult to convert it into statistics, this type of question allows obtaining information that the interviewer might not have previously thought, in addition to providing a more complete and in-depth view of the subject under investigation.

Examples of questions that can be asked in the questionnaire.

  • What do you consider when buying this product?
  • What do you think could be improved in this product?
  • What do you like and dislike about the brands that are already on the market?
  • How often do you usually buy this product?
  • How much would you pay for this product?