Market Research: A Comprehensive Guide to Grow Your Business

As a business owner, you want to ensure your products or services reach the right audience. One way to achieve this is by conducting market research.

In today’s market, Knowledge is a huge benefit. Not just you know about every bit of change, but you stay alert and can take precautions beforehand. 

As you know, the business market keeps changing; if you are not updated, then you are far behind in the race. 

Market research is a tool for a small business that helps understand what’s going on in the market and what steps can be taken to attract more audiences. 

With market search, you can predict what will happen and how to protect your business from future risks. 

However, many small businesses or those new to this subject find market research a bit complex. 

ultimate market research guide

Surprisingly, you can easily do market research without any hassle. But to that, follow this guide to plan everything easily. 


What To Know About Market Research?

Image Source: Hotjar

Market research is a process where you collect information regarding your customers. It is based on their behavior,  preferences, trends, intelligence, etc. 

The business or organization mostly conducts the process for informing about product development.  

The valuable information is used for making planning, strategy, and taking decisions to drive most of the plus points from the market. 

Market research helps companies to get answers to questions like a market opportunity, their competitors, the demographic of services, and the best advertising campaign to target the right market. 

Types & Difference In Market Research 

Market researcher types are vast and can depend on the different lenses for viewing it. 

To know about the types in market research, here is a comparison including the benefits and reasons that are commonly used.

Primary Research & Secondary Research 

Fundamately, market research is divided into two major categories: Primary & Secondary Research.

Primary Research is the process of collecting the Prime or the first information. It focuses on collecting new data and conducting research that never happened before. 

pros using primary research infographic

Whereas Secondary Research is the process of collecting and summarization of already existing data in the market. 

pros using secondary research infographic

Quantitative Research & Qualitative Research 

Both types of research can be performed individually. Or, to get broader as well as deeper information, both searches can be done together. 

Well, Quantitative research gathers numerical data,  statistics analysis, etc. It can be on a larger scale along with larger numbers since it’s easy to get numerical results from summarising and aggregating. 

The Best Examples Of Quantitative Research 

pros using quantitative research

Qualitative Research mostly focuses on a particular topic to understand the users’ experiences, opinions, and thoughts.

The research explores and collects information in a structured form. It includes videos, audio, images, and text.  Qualitative research can be performed on different subjects; it can be 5 to 20 subjects since the size is smaller than others. 

The Best Examples Of Qualitative Research are 

  • Focus Groups 
  • In-Depth Interviews
  • Observation Research 
  • Surveys 
pros using qualitative research

DIY & Full Service 

When an organization needs to get information and perform a task they choose an option. Well, here you get DIY or Do It Yourself and a full-service firm. 

Both are good, but it depends on the scale you are planning to conduct your market research. 

DIY is self-service and performed using the tools that organizations already have on their own. The option is reliable and can be adjusted as per the situation. 

Full Service is a bit based on budget as you are hiring another company to perform the research on your behalf. 

They do the task including gathering information, researching new designs, analyzing, etc. It takes time, and also, for small businesses, it might be costly. 

Why Do Small Businesses Need Market Research?

Small businesses face most of the heat when the market changes.

 Not just you need to pay attention to the customer but focusing on what’s going on in the market plays a huge role in growth,

Well, business decisions should not purely depend on your guts.  But before that, you need information and data to choose the right and most suitable option for you. 

Business decisions come with risks; they can make or break your brand. Since no one has a brilliant vision for the future, information, and research give an idea and confidence.

As steve job says, it’s not the consumer’s job to know what they want. Market research gives you wide knowledge about what to choose and what to skip. 

Market Research Guide Your Strategy 

Market Research helps you in deciding and making the decision for your business. It also helps guide where to go, what to eliminate, and what to choose. 

From investments to choosing the trend, the business depends on your strategies. You will need deeper information on the market to make an effective and powerful strategy.

The market research assures you of the validation of moving forward. Also, it gives you the signals and warning bells to decide the direction. 

Market Research Helps Avoiding Costly Mistakes 

According to Clay Christensen, Harvard’s Business School Professor, there are almost 95% of product launches fail.

Launching a product not just costs you an idea and resources, but it includes money too. Failing a product launch can end up costing huge losses.

Market research can help pinpoint the data to ensure the 5% winning of your product. 

Market Research Decided What Next 

Business depends on ‘ innovate or die’; if you are not following the trend or adapting to new changes, you will mostly end up failing, 

The market research gives you in-depth information regarding what, how, where, etc in the market. You get the collected information and analyzed data to decide what to do next.

With this,  you can get an idea of your new product and how you can plan your product campaigns or launches. 

When Do You Need To Do Market Research?

Image Source: Activecampaign 

Market research is important. However, some of the company’s aspects, market research, become particularly useful. 

With the help of detailing and information collections, a small business can get an idea of the market and details related to its customers and demand. 

Also, market research is important for stages when- 

To Know If Idea is Viable Or Not 

In business, to start something new, you must know whether your idea is viable. The market keeps changing, and so do the ideas.

Your idea should be relevant and have something to offer. No matter if you plan something new to a product or service or even a new business. 

Market research helps you understand the requirements and needs of people. And what you can use for your benefit from it. Also, you can get inspiration to find a unique idea too.

To Know When To Switch 

In business, you must keep going, try new things, and switch to different techniques to stay relevant. 

However, timing is everything. To find when to switch so you can get the best out of it, marketing research is useful for small businesses. 

Before Launching Something New

Your product and services might be perfect, but launching at the wrong time can make it useless. 

The market depends on its demand and supply. You first need to find out what the customer demands and how you can help it. 

Before launching new products and services, Small businesses can do market research to find out the overall situation. 

Based on what you get, as a result, you can change your products and services according to that. This, will keep your brand relevant and useful to your buyers. 

Before Look For Funding 

Funding is important to keep the business going, especially the small business. To find out when the investors are at their peak and what makes them invest, the market search is a useful tool.

You can find the gap between the market and investors to get into the filling it 

Factors To Pay Attention For Better Market Research 

Marketing is important regardless of the type of business you have. Approaching wrong to the market can worsen your situation, and bad marketing can make people dislike you.

The study was done by Gardner’s CEB and shared on Harvard Business Review; the report says the 11% of the market depends on customer-related decisions. 

Since the data is important for business, you need to collect as much useful and decision-making information as possible.

For such results, Quantitative market research can be the method that helps in gathering actionable information and data. 

Well, before you launch the market research, here are some vital factors that drastically change the results. 

Goal Of Your Research 

Market research depends on defined and specific goals. If you know the goal before you launch the research, the result will be more focused and accurate. 

Eliminate the unnecessary questions, not just distract the people from answering the main thing, but the data you get is not useful either. 

Type Of Data You Need

Data depends on what you are looking for; it can be anything. So make sure you know what you are looking for and collect the information that helps you to achieve the goal. 

For example, The data can be about checking the Maximum difference scaling. The test helps determine how many similarities your and the competitor’s products are. 

By collecting useful data, you can make changes before you launch a product or can change the approach. So it won’t look repetitive or the same thing to your customers.

Budget & Time Investment 

Both determine the result of your research; market research can be costly if you don’t follow a certain budget. 

It includes how fast you need the results. The traditional approach takes months, and it’s expensive. In comparison, Online surveys are faster and cheaper.

Also, plan in detail, so you don’t leave loopholes for extra spending of your time and money.

Targeted Audience For Research 

The result can change depending on whom you are targeting. Even gender plays a vital role.

So when you launch the market research, you must define the audience in detail. Include gender, age,  marital status,  income, location, etc. 

It includes hobbies, personal traits, and many more. With this, you can get detailed and meaningful market research data for you.

Questions For Surveys 

Image Source: Qualtrics 

When you do writing surveys, takes time and thoughts. The questions should be precise, direct, and simple in understanding. 

The simple language will help your audience to answer it much faster and easier. Also, avoid adding abbreviations, slang, and jargon. 

Interpreting & Analyzing Data 

Here comes the tricky part, if you are not aware of how to use the market research data and where then the whole efforts are in vain. 

It doesn’t matter how well your data is. Not knowing the right way of interpreting and analyzing will make it useless. 

Here either you can hire an expert or use tools to do it. Make sure you know how to do it if you are choosing to do it on your own.

Deciding Next Step 

Data and information are for making decisions. If you are not using it for that, the point of doing market research is useless.

However, the results cannot be exactly what you predetermined in mind. Ignoring the data or not listening to it, it’s better not to perform market research.

One More Time 

Market research is not a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing process.  Before you launch the product or services or follow up with the customers, you will need market research. 

It helps you show your brand’s position and results instead of assuming them. 

How to Conduct Market Research Perfectly?

Marketing research steps can be different but systematic inquiry is common in all forms.  It helps while planning and conducting the investigation ideally,

Not most of the forms in market research do not have to follow the same sequence, but they are designed in similar patterns. 

Step 1 – Problem Identification & Defining In Details 

The process starts with identifying the real problem the company or brand faces. When the problem gets identified, it gets defined in detail to pinpoint the root and its overall effect. 

The step takes time and needs a much more focused head and energy. When you have a clear idea of the problem, you can plan your research’s objectives, techniques, and goals.

Step 2 – Stating The Objectives For Research 

Once the problem gets identified and defined, the next step is to make the statement for the research objective. 

The objectives can be stated in quantitative and qualitative terms. Also, it can be used as an attachment, question, or hypothesis.

For example, The statement can be expressed to find the affected results of the promotion, etc.  Whereas the hypothesis can be ‘ to check the results of certain things in sales’. It can be a change in packaging or something else. 

Step 3-  Research Designing & Planning 

Once the problem is located, and the statement is made, the next step includes designing the research. 

It will include a specific and detailed plan to design the procedure. Also, it focuses on analyzing the collected information and planning the framework. 

It’s important to ensure that collected data will stay relevant to its objectives.  This step helps the researcher to pick the source of information type, method, methodology, cost, etc. 

Step 4-  Sample Planning & Data Collection 

Sampling is the procedure for using the smallest amount of items on a certain part of the target audience. It includes questions like who you are targeting and decking the size. 

Next is to collect the information and data that can be used for solving the problem. Here you need to pick the right method. It can be secondary or depend on where you are using it. 

Step 5- Processing Data & Analyzing 

The collected data and information must convert and mold for the final solution.  The step includes the processing and formatting of the collected data. 

The data processing started with editing and coding data. Editing helps in constructing meaningful information. The data and information get formatted, omitted, and redesigned.

Codes are the data storage media where things are categorized, recorded, and transferred. 

Analyzing shows the logic and determines the pattern, detail summarization, etc. With this step, you get an overall idea of where the data will be used and how it will be useful. 

Step 6- The Conclusion & Report

Here comes the interpretation of your overall work and use it for making decisions.

The report should be clear, effective, and easy to communicate. Avoid adding complicated statements and make it simple to understand.  

Affordable & Effective Techniques For Market Research 

Market Research for small businesses is difficult, requiring detailing to avoid the extra cost.

The tactics list is long, and including everything in the budget of a small business is quite difficult. Since there are many options, you must look for an easy and less complicated model. 

Every technique has its place where you can use it to know more; here are some affordable but effective techniques you can use for small businesses. 

Use Quora 

Image Source: Activecampaign

Quora is a platform based on questions and answers. People submit their questions based on topics, and other users share their answers based on their expertise. 

Using Quora for market research is simple and easy. You get the prompt on which you can choose your area of interest.

Quora market research can be useful for collecting information based on points that customers offer. Also, it’s not costly so you can get direct public questions.

Pro Tip– Answer the questions that are asked on Quora; it will help in improving your strategy, reliability, and visuality of yours.

Use Amazon Book Reviews 

Image Source: Practicalecommerce

Well, amazon book reviews are not just unusual but the most underrated technique. Especially best for tight budgets and small companies to know about their customers. 

You can get a wealth of ideas, information, and related data from book reviews. It can be specific and extremely detailed too.

Since amazon reviews are out to the public, you can get a list of popular books based on your area and field. You can get an idea of what people are reading. 

Positive reviews can tell you about what’s benefiting and helpful for the buyers. Lukewarm and negative reviews can show problems and errors.

Pro Tip- Follow the most famous and listed books on amazon. 

Use Reddit

Image Source: Minttwist

Reddit is called The front page of the internet, whereas Alexa ranks it as the 8th website most trafficked worldwide. In the US, The ranking is 5th. 

Reddit is ideally famous for its wide range of community connections,  original content,  and reach for credibility. People make sightful and detailed conversations. 

For a small business, Reddit is nothing more than a gold mine for market research. Reddit is divided into subreddits that focus on individual and more specific topics.

Reddit can be helpful in narrowing down the segments and larger population niches. Well, navigating Reddit is tricky, but once you know how to do it, you can easily use it as a powerful tool. 

Use Survey For Better Insight 

Image Source: Venngage

Surveys are generally seen as something where you need to make lots of effort. But sometimes there are surveys where you don’t have to do too much work.

Surveys can help in understanding customer satisfaction and overall sales. It includes knowing the information regarding the factors that stop your buyers from buying. 

It doesn’t matter if you ask 10 or 2 questions; you will get something out of it. 

Pro Tip – Ask customers instead of suggesting; it will help in getting the direct question. 

Use Your Competitors 

You are not the only business; it can be your biggest benefit. The most popular companies and brands in the niche can help you guide. 

You can use a tool to do market research on what and how your competitor is appealing to their advice. Finding popular topics, content, and other points can be helpful. 

It’s not always important that your competitors get their market research done that deeply. But with that, you can get the popular niches. 

steps market research help of competitors

Do And Don’ts Before You Conduct The Market Research 

Market search helps small businesses in different ways; however, to know how to conduct market research successfully, you should know what to follow and what to not. 

Do Define Your Goals 

For any business,  knowing about your goals before you start market research can make your whole process much easier. 

Get a list of things and note down the questions you are expecting to get answers to at the end. 

The biggest benefit you can get from defining goals is knowing exactly where you are going. With this, you can direct your actions and plans according to that. 

Also, you can know which data you want and whether it’s already available in secondary research. You can reduce the hassle and extra effort when determining your goals. 

Don’t Dive Without Objectives 

Market researchers are always about specific objectives. If you don’t have one, it means you need to work more on its planning stage. 

Without knowing the objectives, you will always get unsatisfactory results.  Know where you will use market research, and keep it clear when you start.

If you have people in your business, ask them too. When you consult with your people, you can get a strong sense of where the direction of your business research should go. 

Do Consider The Type Of Research 

Market research comes with different types of techniques, methods, and options. Each of them is directed towards their specific place. You can get benefits when you know which one will fit your goals. 

You can choose the type based on your goals and objective.  You can choose a customer research solution if you are looking for in-depth information and detailed data. 

To know about trends,  developments, etc, in market qualitative research is recommended. 

Don’t’ Ignore The Help 

Market research can be done alone if you know about it. But if you are fresh and have no idea about this subject, then ask for help. 

The research can become expensive, complicated, and confusing if you are not seeking professional help. 

Before you look for a team and professional individual, always get the budget. You will know how much you are ready to pay and for what you are exceeding it. 

Never jump into market research without the budget. It will keep you guided, and you will know what steps to take so you can save money. 

There are options out there you can use without costing much. 

Pro Tips To Use For Doing Effective Market Research 

Market Research is helpful for small businesses in terms of starting new to launching the final product.

The tool can be useful to know about the customers, market response, and even about the competitors. 

With perfect research, you can plan your strategies, decide the objectives, and rearrange the goals to make them more relevant and achievable. 

Here are a few tips for using the tool for profit and brand improvement. 

Start Early As Possible 

Market research is a long process. You can start whenever you like, but it’s useful when you do it early. 

You can learn more about the market, customers, and competitors at every stage. It can give you much more than data. 

Using numbers, information, and collection of results, you can decide whether your planning is going the way you want or need adjustments. 

The early you start, the better grip you will get on what to do and what to not. It saves time later and reduces the chances of mistakes. 

Put A Limit To Budget 

Market research is costly and can be more if you don’t know how much to spend. 

Traditional offline marketing research is much more costly and takes time. But in the era of the internet and social media, it has become easier and cheaper. 

To choose the options, you should know which one is helpful for you. You don’t want to invest a lot in market research for a small business with limited capital. 

With surveys, groups, and social media, you can get quick and relevant results for yourself. 

Get The Available Data 

Image Source: reportwatch

There is always available data, maybe someone else did the research previously or the data is available to the public. 

Instead of jumping to start fresh market research, you can also get the benefits from already available data. 

The competitors have their data on websites, social media, and other platforms. To know about them, you can get information from such options too. 

You can get their brochures, flyers, and other marketing items to know how they approach and what they do to attract customers. 

The best you can do is get into their email marketing. Also, you can check out reviews, reports, articles, magazines, and other things. 

Pay Attention To Customers

Small businesses can get more about their customers through their customers.  Instead of paying on channels, you can directly ask your customers about their feedback. 

Also, the internet is helpful in knowing what potential customers are thinking. You can get the information through their blogs, reviews, and feedback. 

Use Youtube, and social media, and check the comment sections too. With this, you can get much detailed information and data about what customers are talking about. 

Make It About Them 

The market research should be personal; with this, you can get more genuine and confident results. 

Before you start the market search, first, know what you want to get from it. When you have the exact vision, you can direct your market research in that way. 

Also, the questions and surveys should be precise and easier to answer. It can help, and the customer can directly share their thoughts. 

Use Every Bit Of It 

Data and information are never useless if you know where to use them. 

Small businesses can get the best from their market research, but before, plan and detail everything, so the information you get is relevant and helpful. 

When you get the results, use it. If it says your product might not be relevant to the market now. Use market research to make the changes and other required actions. 

Mistakes You Must Avoid In Market Research 

Market research is a must whether expanding the business or launching a new product. 

To know where you are going and what you can expect, Market research gives you assurance and a sense of safety. 

With market research, you can better understand what your customers think about the brand. 

There are some common pitfalls that most business face. To avoid such situations, here is what you should avoid. 

 Only Using Secondary Research 

Market research is divided mainly into two forms, i.e., Primary & Secondary. 

Primary research is first-hand and direct information using survey-like techniques. At the same time, secondary is using the available reports and online information only.

Using secondary research is helpful in getting more information. But not when you are avoiding the primary research completely. 

Secondary research comes with a limit. Sometimes it’s relevant, or sometimes you get unnecessary information that is not needed. 

It can be outdated and not updated. That’s why primary research is recommended, along with the use of secondary research. 

Using primary research allows you to get much deeper and more detailed information that can not be possible through secondary research. 

Avoiding Because It’s Costly 

There is no doubt that market research can be costly. However, more options can help you in cutting the extra investments. 

Avoiding market research because you think it’s costly for your business can be the biggest mistake. 

You can hire professionals but can also do it independently if you have the knowledge and idea. 

Spend some time learning the basics and getting more information on performing better market research for your small business. 

Cut The Efforts Short In Halfway 

It’s a common problem for businesses to hit the wall and feel unmotivated midway. 

You started your market research with enthusiasm and confidence. But the more information you receive, the more complex it gets. It’s a common feeling to cut the effort and drop it.

No matter how small or large a scale you choose, waiting too long to apply the information can kill motivation and excitement. 

That’s why you can start with secondary market research to learn more about your industry. Also, start interacting with your customers to get used to the collected data you received. 

Since most of the companies and information are out to the public, it’s easier for you to get information through web searches. 

Conducting secondary searches using Google and Yahoo can save effort, money, and time.  You can use it but don’t get dependent on that. 

You can get other innovations through your local library, business center, etc. 

Starting Without Any Idea

Market research is successful when you know what questions you need to get answers. Don’t start without knowing what you are looking for. 

If you don’t know about it, you might be clueless, and there will be no base for your market research.  

The two important factors of market search are planning and detailing. If you skip both, there will be confused and baseless results you will get. 

Being Own Bias

Every individual has their own opinions and beliefs. They influence the information accordion to that. 

When you are running a small business, as an individual, you must know about your own bias. The beliefs and everything you as a person believes. 

Make sure you are not molding the information according to that. It does not just affect your data at the end; you will also not benefit from it. 

Taking References But the Wrong One 

Reputable sources are the key to successful market areas. Choosing references without a reputation or credit will not yield satisfying results. 

Also, the result will not be credible, and if it’s not reliable, you might invite some trouble for your company. 

Asking for Feedbacks From Friends 

Startups or small businesses sometimes depend on feedback that they get from their family and friends. 

Family ad friends can be helpful, but don’t do your market research about them.  Instead of relying on your family group, talk to real customers. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why is market research important for my business?

With market research, small businesses better understand the market and customers. It helps in boosting sales,  brand loyalty,  customer satisfaction, etc. 

The valuable information and data are used for strategies, planning, and important decision-making for small businesses.

What are the 4 types of techniques for market research?

The most common 4 types of market research techniques include interviews, focus studies, surveys, and customer observation. 

What is market research?

Market research is a tool that helps in assisting the business. With this, you collect information, data, and insights about the market and the market. It also includes monitoring trends,  buying patterns, customer behaviors, etc. 

How do I conduct market research?

The steps in conducting market research include defining the problem or objective, determining the research methodology, designing the research instrument, sampling, data collection, and data analysis.

What is the difference between primary and secondary research?

Primary research involves collecting new data, while secondary research involves analyzing existing data.

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