Abbreviated as MR by abbreviationfinder, 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 already in operation 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 to define and know the target audience of a certain brand or product and their preferences. It can be used for, for example:
- Assess launch opportunities, identifying unmet market demands
- Assess acceptance of a product or service that is about to be launched
- Know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses
- Point out 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 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 to get to know a company’s suppliers and competitors.
Market research is one of the tools of market analysis. The two expressions, however, are not synonymous. While the research presupposes a personalized study, limited in time and aiming to obtain specific and objective information, the analysis is a continuous monitoring of the trends in the sector, often using secondary sources, such as ready-made 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 needs to be measurable and comparable, in order to generate graphs, tables and other analysis instruments. Due to their particularities, quantitative research requires that a large sample of respondents be worked on.
Qualitative research: this type of research works with a small number of respondents, but in a deeper way, in order to obtain the most detailed content possible. This type of research, however, does not allow drawing statistical conclusions.
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 accurate information to make decisions regarding an undertaking already underway. However, if the entrepreneur considers the cost of hiring a specialized service to be high, he may choose to conduct his research on his own.
Some sites allow any type of survey to be carried out, offering tools to assemble the questionnaires and even tabulating the answers. There are both paid and free online platforms.
Ways of data collection
There is more than one method for collecting data in market research. Among the most common are:
- Interviews: an interviewer asks questions in the form of questioning, in person or over the phone
- Questionnaires: questions are presented in writing, which can be done with a printed form or online
- 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 in defining 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 study targets are people whose profile is that of a potential consumer of the brand. Poor sampling can generate confusing results and lead to errors.
The entrepreneur must always avoid the temptation to interview friends, relatives, employees or other acquaintances. This is because the relationship between interviewer and interviewee can affect the sincerity of the answers and, consequently, lead to wrong conclusions.
Social networks help in the work of distributing the questionnaire among potential customers. Groups and forums that gather Internet users around topics related to the company’s focus are a simple way to locate people with the desired profile. However, it is advisable to check the community rules first and, if possible, request the authorization of the administrators before disclosing the research.
It is necessary to consider 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 access to the internet, this tool may not be useful depending on the type of business. If the product or service is focused on elderly consumers, who have less participation in social networks, for example, it may be more appropriate to conduct research using printed questionnaires.
How to assemble the questions?
There is no standard questionnaire or interview model, as they will depend on the objectives of the research being conducted. However, as a general rule, when designing the questionnaire, it is important to ensure that the questions are written in a short, direct and easy to understand manner, so as not to mislead 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 responses and is crucial in quantitative research.
- Open-ended questions: give the respondent space to respond as they wish. Although difficult to turn into statistics, this type of question allows obtaining information that may not have been previously thought by the interviewer, in addition to giving a more complete and profound view on the researched topic.
Examples of questions that can be asked in the questionnaire
- What do you take into consideration when purchasing this product?
- What do you think could be improved on this product?
- What do you like and dislike about the brands already on the market?
- How often do you usually buy this product?
- How much would you pay for this product?