What is market research and what are the important methods of market research?

Market research is a technique to understand the target market of a company. It’s a crucial part of business strategy wherein several research methods are used to understand the feasibility of the product and to understand who their target customers are. Market research plays an important role in shaping the company’s decision. This is because, through research, the businesses get to know about the likes and dislikes of the customers. The information is collected by the marketers and the research might include taking information from the new as well as the old customers. There are several market research methods that can be used for data collection. However, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to one particular research method. There are four types of methods – Personal interviews, surveys, customer observation, and focus groups. Depending on your business type, the method needs to be selected. It can be one method or a combination of two or three methods. Hence, the business should know what answers they are looking for. Each of the methods will reveal different information. Accordingly, you need to decide.

Top 4 market research methods:

  • Interviews– This is one of the most insightful methods that can be used. Personally interacting with your target customers gives better clues and understanding of their likes and dislikes. Their body language also speaks a lot. However, if you’re not able to meet them in person, you can opt for video conferencing. No matter how you’re conducting the interview, face-to-face interaction always helps in getting an in-depth understanding of the customers. Why interview is considered one of the insightful market research methods? With direct interaction, you gain a greater understanding of their experience.
  • Surveys– There are two methods of conducting research- quantitative and qualitative. Surveys fall under the qualitative research method which includes a series of questions to be asked. It can be taken either through the questionnaire method or through emails. The advantages of such market research methods include- cost-effective, easy to conduct, and the possibility to gather a large amount of information. Also, the answers are quite straightforward because customers have to choose any one of the points. So you can easily categorize the answers.
  • Focus groups– Focus groups are small target groups that fit the company’s target market. A trained researcher asks the questions regarding a product or service to the focus groups to have a deeper understanding of the customer’s likes and dislikes. A new market researcher should always start with focus groups. The method is quite expensive and is highly prone to errors if not done in the right way. Such market research methods are considered dangerous as finding the right answer is difficult and also expensive. There are higher chances of biasness like- moderator style bias and dominance bias. Focus group data can give biased results.
  • Customer observation– This is one of the best and a powerful market research methods that you can use. During the observation session, the company will check the behavior of the user with the product. This is also a better choice than the focus group research method because there’s no biasness. You observe the customer in a natural setting where he/she is not at all influenced by anyone. However, the only negative side is that you cannot get inside their heads to understand what’s on their mind.

From the above discussion, it’s quite visible that the surveying and interviewing method is the best of all the other market research methods. Interviews and surveys give a better insight into what the customers like and what not. Businesses can benefit a lot from interview and survey data.