How to Do Market Research With 6 Guided Steps (With Types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 31, 2022

Published August 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses need up-to-date insight into their target audience to develop informed strategies and plans. They can gain this information through market research, which involves collecting and analyzing relevant market data. If you are a business owner, effectively conducting market-based research can help you stay competitive in your market. In this article, we provide steps for doing market research, explain the different types and methods of this research, and discuss its importance.

How to do market research

If you're interested in learning how to do market research for your company or organization, here are some steps you can follow:

1. Determine the purpose

In the early stages of market research, it is important to determine the purpose of your research. This may require you and your team to discuss what you want to learn from the findings. You can use market research to gain insight into:

  • Consumer purchasing habits

  • Customer satisfaction

  • Target audience brand perceptions

Understanding the focus of your research before you begin is important to ensure you design your process and stages of research efficiently. You might engage in discussions about what type of research can be more effective for the needs of your company or organization. You might also consider your available budget since it can influence the extent to which you perform your research.

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2. Create a user persona

Creating a user persona for your target audience may help you have a better understanding of who to address throughout your research. Typically, user personas include information like:

  • Background: This section of a user persona highlights general information about your customers such as name, age, location, and occupation. You may also include whether the user is a current customer or prospective customer.

  • Personality: Including personality scales in user personas is important to understand who your brand is speaking to, which might help you understand how to target them. These sections can outline traits such as introvert vs. extrovert, thinking vs. feeling, loyal vs. fickle, and judging vs. perceiving.

  • Frustrations: Adding information about frustrations to your user persona is useful for comprehending where your users might experience challenges and recognizing how you can further address their needs.

  • Motivations: This section of a user persona highlights the motivations that drive your users to make certain decisions. Some examples of motivations might be family, sustainability, or convenience.

  • Goals: This section in user personas features user goals that they are seeking to accomplish. For example, a facilities manager might have a goal to make informed and cost-efficient decisions while maintaining structural quality.

  • Brands: You can include relevant brands or organizations your users might subscribe to or enjoy in this section of your persona to help you understand their associations.

  • Channels: This section of a user persona shows where your users typically gain their information and the preferred spaces they use. Some examples of these channels are traditional media, digital media, or public relations.

3. Develop your protocols and plan

Once you've established the foundations of your research, you can begin developing your protocols and plan your process. Protocols articulate how you gather your participants and conduct your research. For example, if you are going to do a focus group, you might write a protocol to outline how you gather participants and the process you use to execute the research.

Your plan is typically the comprehensive document that discusses everything about your research from start to finish. This may mean your plan is incomplete until you're done with your research. Developing both your protocol and plan is important because you can use them to provide stakeholders or others in your organization with information about your results. When creating your protocol and plan, you may reference your user persona and online templates to help guide you.

4. Collect data

When you are ready to collect your data, you can implement your research plan. This may involve facilitating research sessions, sending out surveys, interviewing participants, or searching for information. The type of data collection method you use may depend on the questions you want to answer. Similarly, the time it takes for you to complete your data collection can vary on the number of sessions you conduct or the time you take to gather valuable insights.

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5. Analyze data

After you've finished your data collection process, you can begin analyzing your data to find answers to questions and identify insights into your market. To analyze your data, you may review your results to find trends or outliers. Identifying common sentiments throughout your customer base can help you understand their opinions and feelings, which inform their behaviours and whether they support your business.

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6. Share the results

You may need to share the results of your research after it is complete. This presentation might be for stakeholders, leaders, or other teams in your company or organization. If you need to give a presentation like this, you can use information from your protocols, plan, and the specific data you collected to share your results. You may also consider visually representing your data with tables, charts, or graphs.

Types and methods of market research

Here are some common types of market research you might engage in:

  • Primary: This is research that you collect yourself from the original source.

  • Secondary: Your research is secondary if you analyze and use someone else's research findings.

  • Quantitative: Research is quantitative when the process focuses on analyzing numerical values.

  • Qualitative: Unlike quantitative research, qualitative research focuses on analyzing detailed data without numerical values, like the meaning of words.

  • Mixed: This type of research combines both quantitative and qualitative, using words and numbers, to produce more detailed findings.

  • Descriptive: Your research is descriptive if you are seeking to discover what something is or how it functions.

  • Classification: You may use classification for your research type if you're interested in understanding different groups and their relationships.

  • Comparative: This research type refers to research examining the differences between items or groups and comparing them.

Here are different research methods you can use to collect your market research:

  • Surveys: You can use surveys to ask participants questions and collect the data from their answers. The length of the surveys depends on how many questions you want to ask.

  • Focus groups: You might use focus groups to observe your participants' reactions or perceptions of something in person. For example, you can ask participants what they think and how they feel about changes to your brand.

  • Empathy interviews: The use of empathy interviews can help you better understand the needs of your participants. This is useful if you want to learn more about how your company or organization can address its target audiences.

  • Ethnography: Using ethnography as your method of research requires you to immerse yourself in your target audience to view scenarios from their perspective and gain intimate insight.

  • Case study: You can create a case study to help your team understand complex issues or scenarios to learn how to best address them.

Read more: What Is Quantitative Analysis?

Importance of using market research

Market research is important because it can provide information about your company or organization's target audience and provides other benefits, including:

Strengthened communication

Market research can help strengthen your communication with your customers or clients because it can help you understand their preferred channels for gaining information. These channels might include email campaigns, social media, periodic newsletters, or physical mail. Identifying where your target audience primarily gathers information can help you contact them more effectively.

Increased growth

Effectively using market research may help your company or organization gain new customers and grow. For example, if you want to implement a marketing campaign to attract prospective customers, you might use target audience research to better understand them and execute a campaign that gains their attention and promotes the products or services of your company.

Decreased risk

By doing market research, you can also decrease your company or organization's level of risk of investing in irrelevant activities. For example, if you use market research to understand your target audiences, you may avoid investing in an opportunity that they find un-relatable. This can help save your company time and money from uninformed marketing decisions.

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