Reach the right audience at the right place and time with the right product – these four ingredients form the perfect recipe for business success. Even though at first, it may seem like something super easy to achieve, in reality, it’s challenging to create a product that checks all the boxes.
Think about it for a second: if it were that simple, almost all start-ups and newly founded companies would conquer the market in an instant and stay on the top for decades. But still, 90% of them come off the playing field defeated in the first year. Obviously, there may be hundreds of explanations for why some companies fail to succeed. But the ugly truth is that in many cases, this happens because they were wrongly targeted and tried to get into the overcrowded market filled with similar, better-strategised products.
More often than not, the failure could have been avoided if the companies had done thorough market research at the very beginning of their business journeys.
But how should one go through it to take out the most of their analysis? To make your market research way more structured and effective, I’m sharing a list of the most successful methods and techniques to take a deep dive into your market and take away the correct insights. With their help, you will explore market needs, meet user expectations and identify your niche. All this to find your sweet spot on the market.
It’s time to learn how to base your project on solid foundations and fill the market gap with your product!
Why is market research so important?
Before we jump to listing the most recommended market research methods and techniques, let’s stop here for a second and ask ourselves the most basic yet fundamental question: Do I really need to conduct market research?
The quick answer is this: YES, you should make it an integral part of your product ideation process.
But I’m sure you came here for something more than just short, quick answers, right? So let’s dig in a little deeper and learn how exactly your business can benefit from conducting in-depth market research:
- Customer-oriented approach: Thanks to market research, you gather valuable insights about your target audience, leading to a better understanding of their needs, expectations, and pain points. Simply put, you learn exactly what they need and how your product can improve their lives.
- More adequate business goals: During the market research process, you get actual data, so you don’t need to make plans in a vacuum. Instead, you get lots of data to back up your ideas and assumptions. This way, you can set feasible long-term business goals.
- Growth opportunities: Want to verify your product idea and discover whether it may potentially be a gold mine or a massive failure? Market research will give you the answers. Thanks to it, you avoid the risk of making hasty business decisions and investing your budget in a product that is bound to fail and won’t revolutionise the market.
- Well-informed data-driven decisions: When making impactful business decisions, trusting your gut feeling is never the right approach. Back up your choices by data instead. By following numbers, charts, and industry reports rather than your assumptions and personal beliefs, you have greater chances of making the right business decisions.
Primary vs secondary market research methods: What’s the difference?
There are two main types of research methods for market analysis: primary research and secondary research. The main difference between them comes down to who holds the data and conducts the research.
Simply put, in primary research, you look at the data gathered by yourself, your colleagues, or external partners hired to conduct research at your request. Primary research may include surveys, in-depth interviews, questionnaires, etc.
Secondary research, on the other hand, focuses on analysing the data published openly by third parties like other companies or public institutions. These include market reports and studies, competitor activities, and other commercial sources.
8 market research methods to consider
Ready to gather all the necessary information about the market? That’s perfect! Here, I’m introducing some proven qualitative and quantitative methods you should consider in your market research. Depending on your needs, choose at least some of them and start making data-driven and well-informed business decisions!
Let’s start with one of the most common and effective market research methods.
Surveys typically consist of open-ended or close-ended (or a mix of both) questions sent to a group of respondents. The main goal of surveys is to collect fundamental information about a specific topic or receive people’s feedback.
When conducting market research, you can use surveys to
- Measure brand awareness
- Set a pricing policy
- Market segmentation
- Check user satisfaction
Why are surveys so powerful? You can easily reach a large sample size with them, giving you reliable and actionable insights.
Keep in mind that surveys don’t necessarily need to be done online. In-person, e-mail or phone surveys can also be a great way to gather as much information as you need.
Want to back up your market research with even more qualitative data? Gather 6 to 9 carefully selected participants in one room and start a vibrant discussion with them.
In focus groups, you take on the role of a moderator and lead the discussion aimed at receiving people’s opinions, feedback, and personal observations. Depending on your goal, you can start a conversation about your brand communication, pricing, new products, or even soon-to-be-released advertisement campaigns.
What makes focus groups an excellent choice for market research? By choosing this qualitative method, you can
- Get a wide range of opinions and different points of view, all at once
- Confront your assumptions and personal beliefs
- Clarify your notions
- Develop ideas you might not have even considered before
If you want to receive solid market insights and get a better understanding of your target group, then in-depth interviews (IDIs) will do their job perfectly.
This market research technique involves conducting a series of one-on-one interviews with purposely-selected interviewees, during which you discuss product-related topics. Importantly, you can conduct in-depth interviews not only with your target audience’s members but also with industry leaders, making it possible for you to get expert knowledge.
In in-depth interviews, the approach to the respondent is more personal, allowing them to give more insightful and honest responses. By asking a series of open-ended questions, you can dig deeper instead of staying on the surface of the discussed issues.
IDIs are also often implemented in UX research. Check our list of 11 UX research methods and learn how to create a user-oriented product!
Collecting competitors’ benchmarks and analysing their activities also made it to the list of top market research methods. After all, to conquer the market, you need to know who you are competing against for the throne and who may potentially steal your audience.
So, take a closer look at the main activities of your primary and secondary competitors. Importantly, don’t limit gathering competitor benchmarks only to product analysis. You can also examine their multichannel marketing strategies (social media, SEO, ads, PR coverage, etc.) or compare their offerings, business models, and profits. All this is to discover their main weaknesses and strengths and how your product is positioned in the industry.
To make the competitive analysis a whole lot easier and more efficient, it’s a good idea to conduct a SWOT analysis.
This well-known strategic planning technique may help you align your business strategy and tech product to the market and review it in the context of 4 categories:
|Strengths||What’s our unique value proposition?|
What skills do we have that competitors lack?
What makes us stand out?
What positive things do customers say about us?
Is our brand well-known to the target audience?
Is our capital strong?
|Weaknesses||What should be improved?|
Are our actions or strategies outdated?
Do we face any particular problems or difficulties?
Are we struggling to reach the right audience?
|Opportunities||Are there expansion opportunities?|
Can our audience expand?
Can we take advantage of our competitors’ weaknesses?
Can we use new tech advancements to improve our product?
|Threats||Will market demand decrease over time?|
Can minor competitors grow in strength?
Can political or social changes harm our business?
Want to get the full picture of your current situation and identify other opportunities for growth? Take a careful look at your sales data and analyse it.
By checking your company’s sales data, you can:
- Analyse whether your marketing strategies bring the desired results and plan your spendings for further campaigns
- Identify customer trends
- Understand your target audience and their habits
However, keep in mind that analysing sales data brings the best results possible only when combined with other market research methods.
This list wouldn’t be complete without user observation. After all, it is to users that you address all your efforts. So any opportunity to learn more about them can give you lots of actionable insights.
This primary market research method consists of analysing how target customers interact with your digital product in their natural environment and how they behave when making purchase decisions.
Importantly, analysed customers shouldn’t be aware that they are being observed. Otherwise, they won’t behave in a natural manner, which may consequently lead to making the wrong conclusions. Remember that in this market research method, you can observe how people interact with your competitors’ products as well. This can also give you vital hints for improving your product.
Sometimes valuable data may be available at your fingertips. You just need to know where to look for it. And the internet can be an ideal place to search for all sorts of data that may support your market research. What’s more, such data can be reused or even redistributed. Entirely for free!
And which types of public data may prove helpful for your market research process? All sorts of data, actually. When digging into the internet, it’s wise to look for:
- Industry reports
- Polls conducted by research centres
- Government databases
- Data catalogues
- Statistics portals
- And so much more…
You wouldn’t believe how much data is available to the public. So have a little poke around online (or in libraries) looking for some reports and publications! Then, put this knowledge to good use in developing your business.
Social media are more powerful now than ever before which shouldn’t surprise anyone. However, not everyone knows that it can be used for business purposes and support market analysis.
How? You can, for instance, analyse user comments or posts on various platforms. Since people just love sharing their opinions on specific topics with others, you can make good use of it and check what exactly they’re saying about your product or company. What’s more, you have great social media monitoring tools (such as Brand24 or Sprout Social) at your disposal that will let you know each time someone mentions your brand or starts a vibrant discussion about your product.
All this makes social media an excellent tool for researchers who look for honest opinions and feedback. Since people are willing to take the time to share feedback about your weaknesses, you’ll find out exactly what needs improvement.
Build a better digital product supported by market research!
Market research is an integral part of developing a digital product strategy. What’s more, it should never be overlooked, especially at the product ideation stage. By conducting profound market research, you may gather lots of insightful data to help you make better decisions and, consequently, drive your business straight to success.
Above, I have presented 8 of the most common primary and secondary market research methods. You don’t necessarily need to select all of them for your research. Choose the ones that may address your needs and give you the answers to the most pressing business challenges.
Looking for a reliable partner that will develop a goal-oriented strategy for your digital product? Go with Miquido – by conducting customised product strategy workshops, competitive analysis, and gathering market insights, our experts will ensure your idea is on the right track!