A group of professionals examining sheets of data spread out on a table.

Market research is the foundation of success for any business venture. It’s the process of systematically collecting and analysing an abundance of information regarding existing and potential customers, as well as examining competitors and the wider industry. 

The importance of such research shouldn’t be underestimated. Regular market research is necessary for a comprehensive understanding of the target market, identifying consumer insights and pinpointing any difficulties. In an increasingly competitive economy, a thorough research process is integral to determining the viability of a business before committing to the venture. But why else should market research be implemented?

To create targeted marketing campaigns

Market research can help businesses to identify new opportunities. It also allows them to directly target consumers in the development of marketing campaigns, which can increase sales.

 To stay ahead of the competition

It’s always worth evaluating competitors and keeping up to date with their processes. Market research is a way of staying ahead of the curve by devising strategies to outmatch rivals.

To minimise loss

Extensive research can reduce the possibility of any losses. It helps to expose potential problems, allowing you to devise solutions to counteract them.  

What are the benefits of market research? 

 As well as the above points, market research will ultimately help a company, business or individual make better and well-informed decisions. Some additional benefits include: 

  • gain crucial knowledge to help businesses strengthen their position
  • minimise any risky ventures, especially where investment is involved
  • identify any opportunities as well as potential problems
  • uncover yours and your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses  
  • make informed decisions and facilitate planning
  • expose trends in the data to keep on top of emerging trends.

What is the purpose of market research? 

Market research ultimately helps businesses discover if their product or services are desired by their customer base and then use this research to guide future decisions. It can eliminate the guesswork from particular strategies and funnel resources into projects that the research has revealed to hold the most potential.

Businesses conduct market research for different purposes, including:

- to discover the feasibility of a new business. If the research suggests that there isn’t a demand for the service, it’s probably best to avoid the venture

- to identify and follow-up new markets

- to keep an eye on marketing trends and use this to develop new business strategies and insights, as well as adapting to the ever-changing market

- to provide clarity on whether it’s worth testing the demand for new products

- to ensure the best decisions are made around how, when and where a product should enter the market

- to boost the success of campaigns and strategies by understanding exactly what the customer is looking for

- to improve the business in general, such as identifying existing issues within the business and devising solutions early

What are the types of marketing research?   

There are various methods in market research that are used to gather data. These methods are broadly split into primary and secondary research. Secondary research describes the act of gathering data from existing research and data. It could be anything from social media data and consensus data through to journal articles - the sources available and accessed will depend on your project or business needs.

Comparatively, primary research is a direct approach to gathering your data by talking directly to customers. There are a number of ways to gather this information, including: 

  • One to one interviews conducted face to face or via the telephone
  • Online interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Observational research
  • Online communities

More specifically, these different ways of talking to customers can generate either qualitative and / or quantitative data. Qualitative data is exploratory and is used to gain emotional insights and a more in-depth understanding of various decisions, reasons and opinions. It’s often quite unstructured, relying on more natural discussion, using methods such as one to one interviews and focus groups. It is more pertinent when you want to dig deep into specific issues, for example, looking at what might bring about behavioral change in a specific group of customers.

Qualitative data is most effectively collected, for example, via focus groups, one to one interviews and observational research.

In contrast, quantitative data allows businesses to gather more robust numerical data, which can be statistically validated. It’s a way to quantify opinions, behaviors and other variables and form statistical results based on a generalised sample. This type of data is best collected via online interviews and larger scale online communities.

Bringing together the data from different elements of research and identifying key insights for our clients is crucial. This is an area where the skill of the market research agency is key. Multiple sources of different types of data must be pulled together, analysed and presented in an easy to access format, allowing our clients to make the key business decisions for which any research was designed.

Market research agencies work in partnership with their clients to ensure they reap the benefits of thorough research. Essentially, the more research that is conducted, the more prepared you will be to deal with problems and foster smart solutions and strategies.