Market Research: What it is and How to Apply it in 7 steps

Market research
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Market research is an essential marketing tool, as it allows us to get to know the audience we are targeting better and get our campaigns right.

Launching a new product or brand, identifying problems with our strategy, getting ideas to improve our service… market research has a lot of useful applications, so let’s see what it is and how to use it with our brand.

What is market research?

We can define market research as the process through which companies systematically collect data about consumers in order to better understand the public they are targeting and thus make better decisions. In this way, it is possible to better manage the time and resources of the company.

Within market research we can distinguish two main types of techniques: quantitative and qualitative.

Examples of quantitative techniques

Surveys: this technique consists of asking consumers a series of closed-answer questions. In this way, a large amount of easily quantifiable information can be collected in a short time, especially if we use online surveys.

Interviews: the interviews consist of a series of questions with open answers that allow you to delve into a specific topic, such as product design, price or functionalities. Normally the interview is carried out orally, either by telephone, by videoconference or in person.

Mystery shopper: In this type of market research, a person poses as a brand customer to analyze the entire buying process. In order for the information to be quantifiable, the mystery shopper will need to fill out a pre-designed survey after their visit.

Analysis of social networks and social listening: this technique allows us to obtain objective information at a low cost about the consumption habits, opinions and lifestyle of our potential audience.

Examples of qualitative techniques

In-depth interview: in the previous section we have seen the interview as an example of a quantitative technique, but we can move on to the qualitative field through more extensive interviews and without previously prepared questions, so that a more natural dialogue between interviewer and consumer is established.

Focus group: this is one of the most popular research techniques since, although it is relatively expensive, it allows a large amount of valuable information to be obtained. It consists of bringing together a group of between 6 and 12 people who are part of the brand’s target to interview them and generate a debate on a topic of interest to the brand, such as a specific product, customer service, an advertising campaign , etc.

How to do market research in 7 steps

1) Define your goals

As always, before undertaking any marketing action, we have to stop and think about what we want to achieve with it.

Being clear about the objectives of your research will help you better focus the next steps and achieve satisfactory results.

Market research is a very versatile tool and, as such, it can help us achieve very different objectives: testing an idea for a new product, analyzing the success of an advertising campaign, improving an existing service, and much more.

2) Identify your target audience

Market research is based on studying your target audience, so in order to achieve good results, it is essential that it is well defined.

If you haven’t done it before, it’s time to sit down and define your buyer persona, a representation of the ideal client of your products or services. This buyer persona should not be limited to demographic data, but include in-depth information about their habits, needs and challenges.

3) Choose the sample and the method

In the previous section we saw some examples of quantitative and qualitative methods. Choosing one or the other will depend on the resources we have and the objectives we have set for market research.

It is also very important to select a representative sample of our target audience, either by random (random) or non-probabilistic sampling (selecting different types of profiles so that they are representative of the total population).

4) Collect the data

In order to collect data on our target audience, we have to design the instrument, for example, the structure and characteristics of the focus group or the survey questions.

Next, we will apply this instrument to our sample until we get the amount of data we are looking for. Depending on the technique used, this process will have a highly variable duration, from a few days to several months.

5) Study your competition

In addition to collecting data from our target audience, it is also a good idea to supplement our market research with information about the competition.

Luckily, there are many online tools that can help us in this task, such as:

Google Keyword Planner: to see the search volume of competitive keywords and analyze the terms that generate the most traffic for them.

SimilarTech: to find out the technologies used on competing websites.

SimilarWeb: to obtain information about the traffic and the audience of the competitor websites.

Buzzsumo: to analyze the performance of the campaigns and publications of the competition in social networks.

6) Complement the information with other sources

To get a more complete picture, in addition to studying the target audience and the competition, I recommend complementing your market research with some data about the market in general. To do this, you can rely on sources such as the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) or the studies and analysis on digital markets by Think With Google.

7) Analyze the data

Last but not least, you will have to analyze all the information that you have collected in your market research.

For the final report of your study to be really useful, remember to put the data in context, summarize the most outstanding information using graphs that are easy to understand at a glance and, above all, include a series of practical recommendations to apply everything you have learned.

Read more: 15 Uncommon Marketing Strategies that’ll Kick-Start Your Startup

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