What Is Market Research?

Market research is a process where businesses collect and analyze data on specific markets, customers and consumers.

Written by Matthew Urwin
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is Market Research?
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Kate Heinz | Aug 11, 2022

With the goal of becoming a customer-focused company, organizations will follow research methods to gain a better understanding of their desired audiences and how to interact with them. Any information gathered provides insights into how companies can make their products more appealing to potential customers.  

What are the main purposes of market research?

  • Knowing what people want ahead of time enables companies to make more informed business decisions.

Releasing a product or service without knowing how it will perform presents a huge risk. Market research exists to gain more insight before going all-in on a new product. Companies conduct research to determine what problems their audiences face and how their products can resolve these issues. 

Understanding customer preferences has become crucial to saving companies time and money, making market research a key component of the product development process. Rather than just releasing products into the market, businesses take the time to determine how these products will perform. This approach enables companies to spend resources more efficiently while earning the trust of consumers with more relevant products.

What are the types of market research?

  • Different circumstances call for unique types of market research, which range from one-on-one interviews to focus group conversations.

Market research takes on many forms, so teams must determine the types of market research that best serve their needs. If a company wants to elicit feedback from larger samples, surveys and focus groups are ideal options. However, businesses should keep in mind that these practices deliver breadth at the expense of depth. 

Interviews cater more to companies that want to dive into specific details with customers. Unique value propositions may require these more intimate interactions as businesses pursue ways to improve customers’ experiences with their products. Observations and field tests also provide genuine customer reactions, but with a subtler approach. Companies can decide on the best method by defining the initial problem and goals for their research.

What are the steps in the marketing research process?

  • Before marketing teams undertake product launches, they need to gather extensive insights into audience preferences and general market trends.

To enhance a product or service, a company must gather plenty of information on its ideal customers and competitors. Defining a target audience allows teams to get a sense of what issues customers may face and how their products can address those concerns. In addition, conducting a competitor analysis lets teams know what companies in their market are doing and how they can help their product stand out from similar ones.  

Once marketing teams sort out these details, they can focus their attention on executing a research plan. Determining the sample size and desired outcome helps members decide what type of research methods they want to employ. By following these practices, companies can craft more minimum viable products, which customers will find better suited to their needs.

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