Home Blog Customer experience How to conduct market research – A complete guide

How to conduct market research – A complete guide

Are your market research efforts falling flat? It’s a common problem. All that data – a sea of numbers and statistics – with nothing to bring it to life. No magic. No pizazz. No WOW factor.

But that doesn’t really matter, does it? Market research isn’t meant to be entertaining, right?

Perhaps not, but it does need to capture the attention of your audience – otherwise, what’s the point? You can have the most valuable insights in the world, but if people are skipping over them to get to the good bit (that never comes), your data is going nowhere.

So, what do you do about it?

Conduct market research effectively, of course.

Welcome to the modern world, a place of digital disruption and data-driven insights; of short attention spans and constant distractions. In all, a challenging landscape were standing out and capturing attention requires more effort than ever before.

Luckily, the field of market research has evolved to meet these challenges. Today, market research is about understanding customer behavior and weaving that understanding into a relatable narrative. It’s about valuing quality insights over quantity and becoming increasingly customer centric.

In this blog, we’ll explore what market research is, why it’s important, and how to conduct market research effectively. We’ll delve into different types of market research, including primary research and secondary research, and discuss popular methods for conducting market research, such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews. We’ll also talk about how to avoid bias in your research and how to make sense of your data.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the tools you need to conduct market research that captures the insights you’re craving. You can tap this wealth to make sure your product and services development and delivery are on target, as well make sure you’re stacking up against your competition.

What is market research?

Market research is the process of delving deep into the hearts and minds of your customers, like a detective searching for clues. It’s about uncovering the secrets of your market, discovering what drives your customers’ behavior, and using that knowledge to make informed decisions about your business. Think of it as a treasure map, leading you on a journey to uncover valuable insights and opportunities.

Why use market research?

Market research is a secret weapon for your business. With it, you can keep you place at the head of the pack and avoid any looming potholes in your industry landscape.

By understanding your target market, customers, and competition, you can make strategic decisions that will help your business thrive. It’s a powerful tool that can give you a competitive edge and help you power up your business.

Primary vs secondary research

Primary research is like digging for diamonds, it’s the process of collecting original data. Secondary research, on the other hand, is more like panning for gold, it’s the process of gathering data that has already been collected. Primary research is often more time-consuming and expensive, but it allows you to gather information that is specific to your needs. Secondary research is often quicker and cheaper, but it may not be as specific to your needs.

When conducting market research, it is important to consider both primary and secondary research methods. By combining the two, you can gather a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and make informed decisions. Primary research provides a deeper understanding of your target audience, while secondary research provides a broad understanding of the industry and market trends.

In conclusion, primary and secondary research methods are both important tools in the market researcher’s toolbox. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and by utilizing both, you can gather a well-rounded understanding of your target audience and make informed decisions. Always remember to keep your research goals and objectives in mind when deciding which research method to use.

Market research methods

There are many methods available to conduct market research, each with unique advantages and disadvantages.

One popular method is surveys, which can be conducted online, by phone, or in person. Surveys are a great way to gather a large amount of data quickly and relatively cheaply. However, they are not always the most effective way to really understand what customers say and do.

Another common method is focus groups, where a small group of people are brought together to discuss a specific topic or product. This method is particularly useful for getting in-depth feedback on a product or service, as participants can discuss their thoughts and experiences with others. However, focus groups can be expensive to organize and may not be representative of the broader population.

Interviewing individual customers is also an effective way to gain insight into customer behavior and attitudes. This method is particularly useful for gaining a deep understanding of a specific target market or customer segment. However, it can be time-consuming and costly to conduct many interviews.

Finally, observational research allows researchers to observe customers in their natural environment, without any interference. This method is useful for gaining insight into customer behavior and can help identify patterns and trends that may not be visible through other research methods.

No matter which method you choose, it is important to remember that market research is not just about gathering data, but also about understanding and interpreting that data.

By using storytelling to bring statistics to life, businesses can create powerful, data-driven customer stories that grab the attention of stakeholders, illustrate key findings, and contribute to customer-centric decisions. Without a compelling narrative, data can become dry and unengaging, leaving readers with fact-fatigue, and missing out on the meaningful takeaways.

How to conduct market research

Conducting market research can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by defining your research question, then choose the methods that will work best for your business. Then, gather and analyze the data, and use it to make informed decisions. Remember that market research is an ongoing process, so be sure to keep track of your findings and adjust as needed.

First up, define the research question. The more specific and focused you are, the easier it’ll be to design your research and analyze the results. For example, if you are a new clothing retailer, your research question might be “What are the most popular clothing styles among teenagers in our target market?”

You’ll need to choose of the many available research methods that work best for your business. There are many different methods of market research, including surveys, focus groups, interviews, and observational studies. Surveys are a popular method because they are relatively cheap and easy to administer. Focus groups are also a good option, as they provide valuable insights into consumer behavior and attitudes. Interviews can be more time-consuming, but they are useful for gaining in-depth information from a small number of participants. Observational studies involve observing consumers in their natural environment, which can provide valuable insights into consumer behavior.

After you have chosen your research methods, it is time to gather and analyze the data. Surveys, focus groups, and interviews should be designed with care, as the questions and format can greatly affect the quality of the data. For observational studies, be sure to have a clear plan for observing and recording consumer behavior. Once you’ve got the data, analyze it to find patterns and trends – using software or (unlikely!) by hand.

Of course, data is only worth what you can do with it – use the data to find what’s possible, what’s under threat, and where you can do better. For example, if your research shows that teens in your target market are really into utility jackets, you make sure you’ve got multiple options in your clothing line.

But you can’t rest on your laurels! Market research is ongoing and constant – keeping up with trends never stop and know that customers behaviors shift too. If you don’t keep up with the changes, you’ll lag your competitors.

You might feel swamped at the idea of doing effective market research, but if you take it step by step, with the right methods for your needs, it can be the key to unlocking growth and results.

Remember, keep your research question focused, choose the right methods, gather, and analyze data, and use the data to make informed decisions. Also, remember to keep track of your findings and adjust as needed. It is an ongoing process, so be prepared to adapt and evolve with the market.

15 common market research questions

When it comes to market research, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. Every business has unique needs and goals, but there are certain questions that are commonly asked in market research. Some of these questions include:

  1. Who is my target market?
  2. What are the needs and preferences of my target market?
  3. What are my competitors doing?
  4. How can I improve my product or service?
  5. How can I reach my target market more effectively?
  6. What are the current trends in my industry?
  7. How does my product or service compare to others in the market?
  8. What are the potential barriers to entry in my market?
  9. What is my product or service’s unique selling point?
  10. How can I increase brand awareness?
  11. What is my target market’s buying behavior?
  12. How can I increase customer loyalty?
  13. What is the potential market size for my product or service?
  14. How can I increase customer retention?
  15. What is the potential return on investment for my product or service?

Answering these questions through market research can help you gain a deeper understanding of your market and make more informed decisions. However, these questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to market research, and you should tailor your questions to your specific needs and goals.

Examples of market research

Are you feeling like Victor Frankenstein on a stormy night, tasked with bringing life to something dull on the surface but brimming with potential? That’s the challenge of market research. But why does it matter so much?

To truly understand your customers and gain valuable insights from your data, you need to dig deep and discover what drives their behavior. And once you have that understanding, you can craft a compelling story. By sharing powerful, data-driven customer stories with your stakeholders, you can grab their attention, illustrate key findings, and contribute to customer-centric decisions.

Because let’s face it, without stories to bring statistics to life, it’s easy for readers to tune out. Our brains relate best to characters, and by constructing characters in your market research, your content will have more impact. In fact, a study from McMaster University found that when stakeholders can see their customers in the story, they connect with the message.

To give you a better idea of how market research can be applied in the real world, let’s look at a couple of examples. In the retail industry, market research can be used to determine which products are in demand and what customers are looking for. A retail company may conduct a survey to gather data on customer preferences and use that information to inform their product development and market focus.

A popular example of market research in the retail industry is Walmart’s use of customer feedback and data analysis to optimize their product selection and improve their in-store experience. In the healthcare industry, market research can be used to understand patient needs and preferences, such as in a study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic to improve their patient satisfaction scores. In the technology industry, market research can be used to understand customer needs and preferences in product development, such as in a study conducted by Apple to improve the user experience of their products.

And let’s not forget successful market research campaigns. One that stands out is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. By conducting market research and understanding the importance of personalization, Coca-Cola was able to create a campaign that resonated with their target audience and increased sales. Another example is Netflix’s use of data analysis and customer feedback to inform their decision to create their own content, leading to the success of original series like Stranger Things and The Crown.

In summary, market research is essential for understanding your customers and making informed business decisions. From product development to marketing strategies, it can inform a wide range of decisions and lead to success. So, don’t be like Frankenstein on that stormy night, use market research to bring your ideas to life.

How can Forsta help?

At Forsta, we know that market research is a powerful tool for businesses, but it can be difficult to conduct effectively. That’s why we’ve developed a software specifically designed to make market research easier for businesses. Our market research survey software is packed with features that make conducting market research a breeze.

Discover the advantages of Forsta’s market research survey software: If you’re looking to take your market research to the next level, then take a look at our website and see how Forsta’s market research survey software can help your business conduct market research effectively.


The power of market research at your fingertips: Market research is crucial for any business that wants to stay competitive. It provides valuable information about your target market, customers, and competition, which can inform a wide range of business decisions. From product development to marketing strategies, market research is essential for the success of your business.

Ready to research? Let’s go.

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