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What Is Marketing Research, and How Do You Do It?

Marketing Research

In today’s article we will talk about what marketing research is and the different methods to execute this technique effectively. This way you will be able to know your target consumers and create the best strategies that allow you to attract them to your organization.

What is marketing research?

Marketing research is defined as any technique or set of techniques that companies use to gather information in order to better understand their target market.

Organizations use the collected data to improve their products and services, improve their UX, and offer customers an experience that exceeds their expectations and meets their needs.

Marketing research is used to find out what customers want and how they react to a brand’s products or features.

Advantages of Marketing Research

User experience (UX) research is a continuous improvement model that relies on quick and efficient research to understand customer needs and test new features.

Here are the advantages of marketing research:

  • Efficient: You get close and fast to your customers,
  • Profitable: There is no need to hire an expensive marketing company to get started.
  • Competitive: A quick and powerful vision can put your products at the forefront.

Methods for Conducting Marketing Research

The four most common marketing research methods are surveys, interviews, customer observation, and focus groups.

You can conduct your research in a number of ways, without limiting yourself to just one. Let’s dive deeper into each of these marketing research techniques.

Surveys

Researchers collect responses by deploying surveys and collecting data through online or offline surveys using a point-of-sale screen, in which users answer closed-ended and open-ended questions.

Online surveys are the most popular marketing research technique among organizations.

Why are online surveys popular?

Surveys are cheap, easy to set up, deploy, and collect responses. It’s easy to collect multiple responses from a tailored audience pool.

Researchers rely on quantitative data, and online surveys provide quick responses compared to more traditional offline methods. Large amounts of data can be collected in a matter of minutes from anywhere in the world.

Interviews

In-depth interviews are a more traditional way of doing marketing research. It is a slower and more expensive way to collect responses.

Organizations conducting large-scale marketing research do not prefer this method for collecting a large number of responses. Interviews are conducted both in person and by telephone (CATI).

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Why are interviews important?

Personal interviews may not be widely used, but they play an important role in understanding exactly what the respondent is feeling.

You can record more than verbal responses and better understand the customer. Often when two humans interact with each other, more information is shared because of the dialogue.

Personal interviews are useful in small-scale studies, where the researcher wants to interview a specific group of local respondents. Telephone interviews are useful when the participant base is broader.

Focus group

Traditional focus groups or online focus groups are used in marketing research to engage a number of respondents in discussions on a particular topic.

A researcher leads discussion groups to obtain richer information. The main purpose of a focus group is to hold a discussion among several people on a topic of particular interest.

Unlike interviews, focus group members are allowed to interact with and influence each other.

Why do focus groups have an impact?

It’s no secret that focus groups have a huge impact on decision making. Researchers gain a lot of information by organizing focus groups. Often, focus groups raise issues not anticipated by researchers.

Online or video focus groups have a wide reach and many organizations have started creating online research communities to improve respondent management and data collection.

Direct interaction has a positive effect on customers because they feel that their voices are heard.

Observation

Observation, although not popular and widely used, allows researchers to get an intuitive answer. 

Marketing research firms organize customer observation sessions to gather information about how the user engages with the product or service (or a similar competing product or service).

What makes observation so powerful?

Observation is a great alternative to the focus group. Not only is it less expensive, but you’ll see people interact with your product in a natural environment without influencing each other.

The only downside is that you can’t get inside their heads, so observation is not a substitute for customer surveys and interviews.

How to conduct marketing research?

Here’s a guide for you that will help you conduct effective marketing research and give you a solid understanding of who your customers are and what they want from a company like yours.

1. Create your user persona

The first step in conducting marketing research is to create a user persona, that is, a semi-fictional character based on demographic and psychographic data of people who use websites and products similar to yours.

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To obtain this information, use surveys and interviews on your website or send them by email to understand your users. To make sure you get it right, any survey/interview question you ask should answer the following: 

  • Who are they?
  • What is your main objective?
  • What is the main obstacle to achieving this goal?

2. Conduct Observational Research

The next step in conducting marketing research is to conduct an observational study, which involves taking notes while watching someone use your product (or a similar product).

open observation vs. covert

  • Open observation involves asking customers if they will let you see the use of your product.
  • Covert observation means studying users “in their nature” without their knowledge. This only works if you’re selling a type of product that people use regularly, but it provides the purest observation data because people often behave differently when they know they’re being observed.

3. Conduct individual interviews

Subsequently, to continue with the marketing research process, it is necessary to conduct interviews, individual conversations with members of your target audience. These allow you to really dig in and explore their concerns, which can lead to all kinds of revelations.

Tips to get it right:

  • Act as a journalist, not as a salesman. Instead of trying to talk about your company, ask people about their lives, their needs, their frustrations, and how a product like yours could help.
  • Listen more, talk less and be curious.
  • Ask “why?” in order to dig deeper. Go into the details and learn about his behavior in the past.
  • Record the conversation so you don’t have to take notes and can focus on the conversation. There are many services that will transcribe recorded conversations for a good price. 

4. Analyze the data

This technique is done in marketing research as it helps you understand the data without getting lost in it. Remember, the goal of market research is to find quick and practical ideas.

A flow model is a diagram that follows the flow of information within a system. By creating a simple visual representation of how users interact with your product and each other, you can better assess their needs.

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