Back to Blog

What are the different Market Research Methods?

March 2, 2023

What are the different Market Research Methods?
Market Research Methods

Information may lay the groundwork for effective company models and initiatives. You may better understand your target market, address any loopholes in your market, study your rivals, and spend your resources more effectively by conducting comprehensive market research. Market research fills this need by providing a means for companies and researchers to get data from target markets and consumers.

You can employ various market research methods that aid in gathering crucial information, giving you a strategic edge in the marketplace. You may get the data you need to have an advantage in the market using various market research techniques.

You don't have to stick with just one research technique; you may use various methods to gather consumer data and do market research.

Here, we define market research and outline the various approaches you may use to maximise its effectiveness.

Market Research can be divided into two separate categories :

  1. Primary Market Research
  2. Secondary Market Research

Each approach to market research fits into one of those groups. The primary and secondary market research goals are the same, but the methods used to get the data to vary.

Primary vs Secondary Market Research

Engaging in primary research involves reaching out to the source, typically made up of customers and potential customers within your targeted market. This method requires you to pose specific questions and collect information directly from them by conducting the research yourself or enlisting someone else's services.

Companies perform primary market research to address requirements as they occur. Therefore it has the benefit of being more recent and specific. Often, it involves posing a range of questions to participants and documenting their replies. Primary market research must be planned, carried out, and used with great care.

Primary Research cases include :

1. Interviews (telephone or face-to-face)

2. Surveys (online or mail)

3. Survey Questionnaires (online or postal) (online or mail)

4. Observational studies

5. On-person Visits

The two main types of data that are commonly acquired during primary research are:

1. Exploratory - This study's general and unrestricted nature often entails in-depth interviews with a single person or a small group.

2. Specific - This study is more detailed and aims to address an issue brought up in the earlier study. More formal, systematic interviews are conducted.

Secondary market research is available and conducted by another business or organisation. Journals and freely available online sites frequently publish-secondary research. It may not precisely meet your research demands because it depends on questions that other people have developed and that you would adapt to your unique study settings. But, conducting your market research is helpful if you are on a tight budget.

You may find a lot of secondary research online by typing in key terms and phrases that describe the material you're searching for.

A referenced library visit, reading articles in periodicals, trade magazines, and industry publications, as well as contacting trade groups or organisations, are other options for getting secondary research.

Government organisations are a great place to find secondary research data, frequently available for free. On the other hand, accessing data made available by commercial firms may require your consent and may include a price.

Methods of Market Research


Interviews include direct communication between the interviewer and the subject. This market research technique is more suited for open-ended inquiries since it is more intimate and allows for conversation and explanation. Interviews will also enable the interviewer to dig further and go beyond the obvious answers. Although discussions take more time and additional assets to conduct, they can yield a deep understanding of the values and priorities of customers.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a collection of participants in a facilitated conversation. Companies assemble people who are representative of a customer demographic, pose questions, and then collect the replies. Because the participants reflect a more significant population, their answers might illuminate what customers want in a brand or product. Focus groups benefit from surveys because they permit more participant engagement time. Focus groups may be used by businesses when they are creating a new product or service and want to ask or get answers to issues that are challenging.

For instance, if a new product is being discussed, the corporation can have the participants use it first before asking questions about it. The focus group setting enables participants to become familiar with the product, ensuring their replies are based on their first experience.


Companies contact survey participants to ask them questions. They can conduct the survey using a variety of techniques, such as:

  • Phone: Business personnel cold phone potential customers and ask them to answer pre-written questions.
  • Mail: The business mails the prepared questions to respondents' addresses.
  • Online: The business contacts individuals via email or by providing an URL for a web-based form they may complete.
  • Face-to-face: The business converses with individuals it contacts in busy locations. Participants in in-person surveys are given a chance to try out goods or services.

Collecting essential data for analysis can be accomplished economically through surveys. Moreover, written surveys have the added benefit of encouraging honest responses as they provide a private forum for participants to express their opinions.

Observation-Based Research

Regarding market research, observation examines consumer behaviours as they shop. This practice often involves recording shoppers in a retail setting like a store and scrutinising their shopping patterns and habits. The benefit of this method lies in the fact that if shoppers need to be made aware of the observation, it can capture their natural behaviour instead of what they might assume is expected of them. For instance, researchers can gauge how shoppers react to store stimuli, what products are most appealing, and how much packaging and displays impact their purchasing decisions.

Monitoring social media

Social media has advanced to the point that it is ingrained in every aspect of our lives. Also, individuals freely share their ideas, thoughts, and heated opinions on social media since it is a virtual version of themselves. Social media is a goldmine for market research because of how much stuff is shared there and how quickly it is done. There is a lot of data available to analyse. A business may look for mentions of its main product to see what customers think. They can collect information regarding significant advantages, disadvantages, and possible growth areas in this way. Because the opinions were not requested, the data is more likely to reflect genuine, unadulterated viewpoints.

In-field tests

Field studies are conducted in the participants' surroundings. They depend on the independent and dependent variables, with the independent variable being controlled by the researcher to see how it affects the dependent variable. The important thing is to determine if there is causality at play here.

Different field trials may be used depending on the research question and the study's design. Some instances of field tests include:

  • evaluating a new agricultural product's efficacy in a farmer's field
  • assessing a new teaching strategy's success in a classroom
  • examining how a new drug affects individuals in a clinical or hospital environment
  • evaluating the performance of a new marketing initiative in a competitive market
  • testing the usability of new software or hardware in the environment where users would use it.

Thus, A business tests the market for a new product by putting it in a store.

The trial's objectives include:

  • Analysing how consumers respond to advertising.
  • Determining how enticing the product is to customers.
  • Providing a trial use before opinion research.

Comparative Research

Finding rivals in your business and learning about their various marketing methods is the process of doing comparative research, also known as competitive analysis. You may compare this data to your competitors to determine your company's advantages and disadvantages. You can do a high-level competition study or delve into a particular area of your rivals' industries.

From a marketing standpoint, it could involve the creation of content, SEO planning, media attention, and social media presence and interaction. A product viewpoint, including offers and price, is another possibility. It assesses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis).

Your position about your rivals may be determined by this information, as well as their strengths and shortcomings. Also, it may provide you with knowledge of viable company models and consumer preferences, enabling you to practise tactics with a higher chance of success.

Public Domain Data

A secondary market research technique called "public data" includes locating and examining publicly accessible market-related data. This research is frequently accessible for free online or in the library. These facts come from official databases, surveys, or research institutes. Moreover, APIs give programmatic access to apps to developers. This information is mainly free, which is a huge plus.

Businesses frequently use public data to enhance their in-depth market research to verify findings or compare them to other data.

Purchased Data

Businesses needing more time or funds to conduct market research might buy information from various sources. To access their research databases, several market research firms provide subscription services. The cost of a yearly membership, which gives you access to market research covering multiple sectors and nations, may reach $8,000. Small and medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to invest in the primary market research may find this alternative helpful.

Many studies are available for purchase on websites like Euromonitor, Mintel, and BCC Research, frequently with the choice of an individual user licence or a membership. This may save you a tonne of time and give you a better understanding of what you're receiving right away. Also, you'll logically receive all of your data, saving you the time and effort of organising and managing.

Examination of Sales Data

Sales data analysis is a supplementary market research method used with a competitive analysis to reveal the correlation between a business's strategies and sales. When combined with other market research data, sales data aid in researchers' understanding of cause and effect. Furthermore, it provides valuable information regarding consumer buying behaviours in your market, which can help you identify patterns and trends and have a proper digital marketing funnel.

It is worth noting that customer data will be the primary source of information, and its significance should be noticed. Even so, it is crucial to remember this data's restricted nature. Therefore, if you have yet to start tracking customer data, it is better to do so now than later.

Choosing the Best Market Research Technique

All techniques may not be suitable for your particular circumstances or enterprise. After reviewing the available options and selecting those of interest, conduct further research into each method.

Factors to consider include desired outcomes, required data, advantages and disadvantages of each approach, research costs, and analysis expenses.

However, investing time and energy into selecting the appropriate methods can result in valuable insights.

Examples of businesses that have effectively used the proper market research methods to inform their strategies and decision-making:


Zoom, the video conferencing platform, increased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The business conducted market research better to understand the requirements and preferences of its users to meet demand. For instance, Zoom conducted focus groups and surveys to get user input on its platform and pinpoint areas that needed development. The business also employed social media analytics to track customer feedback and immediately fix any problems.

Procter & Gamble (P&G)

P&G is a multinational consumer goods manufacturer. To learn about consumer preferences and create new products, P&G uses various market research techniques, including surveys, focus groups, and customer feedback. P&G employs a method known as "lead user research," which entails observing the actions of highly creative consumers to spot developing trends and develop fresh product ideas.

Beyond Meat

To better understand customer views about plant-based goods and create new items that fulfil their requirements, Beyond Meat, a firm that produces plant-based meat substitutes, conducts market research. The business uses user input to tweak the tastes and textures of its products, and it undertakes research to find new markets and product categories where it may grow its product range.


Nike, a leading worldwide athletic gear and footwear manufacturer, conducts market research to understand customer demand and preferences better and create new products and marketing strategies. The business uses various techniques to obtain information on customer behaviours and patterns, including surveys, focus groups, and web analytics.

Warby Parker

The eyeglasses manufacturer Warby Parker has embraced market research to understand consumer preferences better and develop a distinctive brand image. For instance, the business has employed surveys and focus groups to pinpoint significant eyewear trends and developing a product range that caters to its target market. Warby Parker also uses social media analytics to track client input and provide exciting content that connects with its audience.

More and more businesses are utilising market research techniques to enhance their comprehension of both their customers and the market they operate in to create products and services that cater to the specific needs of their target audience. Collecting data and insights from multiple sources allows these businesses to make informed decisions that give them a competitive edge.

Let's create measureable results

What are your business objectives?