Understanding Market Research: Everything You Need to Know About Market Research Methods

Appinio Research · 13.12.2022 · 19min read

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Conducting market research is the best way to ensure the success of your business idea, but it can seem daunting at times.Appinio got your back and came up with your ultimate guide for all the things market research, from the most common market research methodologies to how to identify the right method for your business case, everything you need to know is down below, keep reading.



What is market research?

Market research is the process of gathering information about consumers or markets. This information can be used to help businesses discover  more about their customers, determine what products or services to offer, and gauge customer interest in new products or services. There are different ways to do market research. Some common types of market research include primary research, secondary market research, market intelligence, market segmentation, market sizing or  market forecasting.Regardless of the method you use, market research helps you develop your products or services, and ensures that you are meeting the needs of your customers. 

If you are looking to conduct market research on your own, there are a variety of tools and resources available to help you get started. For example, online market research platforms can make it easy to gather information from large groups of people, while market data and analysis tools can help you to understand trends, market size, and competitor activity. Whether you choose to do market research on your own or work with a market research firm, the key to success is understanding the needs of your customers and adapting your products or services accordingly. With the right market research, tools and strategies, you can gain  valuable insights into your market and customers, helping you to achieve success with your business ideas. 


How is market research used?

Market research is used by businesses of all sizes to gain actionable insights into their target markets and customers. This information can be used to inform product development, help to identify new market opportunities, understand customer needs and preferences, and track competitor activity. Usually companies use market research to make well informed decisions, improve their products and services, uncover trends and opportunities, and understand consumer behavior.

Who can benefit from market research?

Any business can benefit from market research, whether they are a small startup or a large multinational corporation. Market research helps businesses to better understand their target customers, identify interesting opportunities, and gain insights into consumer behavior.Any company would benefit from knowing what their customers want, how they rank against their competitors or validate their business decisions.

How can companies profit from market research?

Conducting market research process means helping businesses to better understand their customers and trends, identifying new product or service ideas, determining the demand for existing products or services, optimizing marketing campaigns and messaging, understanding consumer behavior and preferences, tracking competitor activity and market share, and ultimately improving sales, customers’ loyalty and brand image overall.


How to conduct market research

So how does the market research process work? There are a variety of tools and techniques that you can leverage, including customer surveys, focus groups, market analysis, and online platforms. Whatever approach you choose, it is important to stay organized and ensure that your data is accurate and reliable. With the right market research strategy in place, you can gain actionable insights into your market and customers, helping to ensure that your business or business idea is positioned for success. Here are our tips for conducting your own market research project successfully including setting clear goals and objectives, choosing the right methodologies based on your market and budget constraints, leveraging online market research tools to gather information from large numbers of people quickly and easily, and analyzing and interpreting your market data to make well informed decisions for your business. With the right market research strategy and tools, you can gain valuable insights into your market and customers, helping you to build a strong foundation for your business decisions and future growth. 

Step one: define your research objectives

The first step in the market research process is to clearly define your goals and objectives. What do you want to know? Are you planning to launch a new product on the market or are you planning to launch your hero product in new unexplored markets? Depending on what you want to uncover you would need to include identifying market trends, market size, customer demographics and psychographics, competitor activity, and more.

Step two: choose the market research methods 

Once you define your research objectives, you need to pick the tools that are best suited to your needs. Are you testing a new logo or a new name? Then you may need quite a few people and the best way to reach them could be a survey. Do you want to know consumers attitudes around your existing products? Then face-to-face interviews could be the way to go.

Step three: collect and analyze 

Finally, you need to organize all the precious data into digestible data to provide actionable insights into your market and customers, usually in the form of a report and then you and your team will be able to use this information to make informed decisions, improve your business strategy and ultimately grow.



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Types of market research

There are quite a few types of market research but the first differentiation to make is between primary and secondary market research. Primary research is when a company collects information directly from its customers or market, while the latter involves gathering data that has already been collected by other companies or organizations. 


Primary research

Primary market research can include surveys, focus groups, market analysis tools such as SWOT or PESTLE analysis, and online platforms like Google Trends. The advantages of primary research can include a more direct understanding of customer needs and preferences, gaining market insights that are not available through secondary market research, and being able to collect specific data about the market that is most relevant to your business. The disadvantages entail time and resources spent on this type of research. Depending on the research method you may need quite some time to complete all data collection and it could also turn out to be quite costly in terms of money, as you need to invest in recruiting the people that will reply to your questions.

Secondary research

Secondary research methods, such as analyzing industry data that has already been collected by other companies or organizations, can be an efficient way to gain a broad overview of the market and identify trends, gaps in knowledge, and more. This is often easier and less expensive to conduct than primary market research. It also allows businesses to access a wealth of market data that has already been collected by other organizations and companies, which can be useful for benchmarking, identifying trends, and gaining key insights into market conditions and customer needs. However, since this information may not be relevant to your specific business needs, it is important to always triangulate your data by combining results from multiple sources.

Qualitative market research

Another important distinction is between qualitative and quantitative market research.Qualitative research is a qualitative approach to quantitatively analyzing your market and customers. It can give you great insights into customer needs and preferences, helping you to craft better products and services that meet the needs of your market. One of the main advantages of qualitative research is understanding deeply how consumers think and even being able to understand how they talk about your service and product on an everyday basis, being able to connect with your consumers on a deeper level by , quite literally, “speaking their language”.Examples of qualitative market research tools include interviews and focus groups, which can help you understand your customers' behaviors, preferences, and needs. Ethnographic studies, in-depth interviews and in general, explorative research can also be a useful tool for gaining a deeper understanding of your market and customers. 

Quantitative market research

Quantitative research is a systematic empirical investigation of quantifiable phenomena through the use of statistical, mathematical or computational techniques. In other words, quantitative research uses numbers and mathematical formulas to analyze data collected in order to understand a given problem or question. It is often used in the social sciences, business, and marketing research. This type of research has several advantages over other types of market research, including its ability to provide statistically significant results. This approach can involve gathering quantifiable data through techniques such as surveys, tracking customer activity with analytics tools, analyzing sales numbers and revenue trends, or testing new product ideas with pilot programs. Quantitative data can be used to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. One very common example of quantitative research in marketing is the use of surveys to measure customer satisfaction. Surveys can be used to ask customers about a variety of topics, such as how satisfied they are with a product or service, how likely they are to recommend it to others, and what changes they would like to see. Quantitative market research can be an effective way to gain valuable insights into your market, customers, and competitive landscape.No matter what type of market research you choose to conduct, it is important to always stay focused on your goals and business strategies. By understanding the current state of your market, you can make well informed decisions about how to grow and expand your business in the future.It is important to keep in mind that market research is a tool, not an endpoint. Always be sure to review your market research findings carefully and critically, and use them as a guide rather than as a definitive answer to your business questions. With the right approach, market research can be an incredibly powerful tool for success providing a competitive advantage in today's marketplace.

What different methodologies can be used? 


There are many different market research methodologies that can be used, depending on the specific business needs and goals. As we mentioned above, some of the most common market research techniques include surveys, focus groups, interviews, questionnaires, field experiments, ethnographic research, explorative research, market testing, market intelligence reports, and industry analysis. Each of these methods has its own advantages and benefits, so the market research approach that is most appropriate for your business will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of market you are targeting, your budget and timeline, and the specific information you hope to glean from market research. Ultimately, choosing the most effective market research methodology is an important decision that should be made carefully and strategically, in order to get the most value from your market research investment.

Most common market research methodologies

The field of market research is wide and the methodologies vary depending on your research objectives. Once you define what you want to find out, how you'll find it out is the next step, here is a rundown of the most common market research methods. 

Market research surveys

Surveys are a popular market research method, and can be used to gather information from both consumers' attitudes and businesses. Surveys typically involve sending out questionnaires or online surveys to large groups of people, often through email or social media platforms. They are an effective way to quickly gather large amounts of data in a relatively low-cost way.Market research surveys are a common way to gather information from customers. A survey can be administered in person, over the phone, or online. It typically includes a series of questions about the customer's needs, preferences, and buying habits.Surveys can be effective for understanding customer needs and preferences, determining market size and segmentation, and gauging customer interest in new products or services.

However, care should be taken to ensure that the questions are relevant and interesting to respondents, or they may not complete the survey. 


Interviews are a one-on-one meeting with potential customers or market segments. The interviewer asks questions about the customer's needs and preferences, as well as their purchasing habits and intentions. Interviews can be conducted in person, online or over the phone, and they offer a more personal interaction with customers than other market research methods as the interviewer (a.k.a.market researcher) and the interviewee can naturally discuss the topic of interest. You can choose to go for structured, semi-structured or unstructured interviews depending on the research objective, but the main advantage of interviews is the serendipity factor, even in the most structured of interviews, the interaction between interviewer and interviewee can take unexpected turns (in a good and a bad way!).Interviews can provide actionable insights into why customers make certain purchasing decisions, their needs and wants, what might persuade them to buy a particular product or service and uncover the unexpected. However, interviews are also more expensive and time consuming than other methods and they cannot provide statistically significant results.

Focus groups

A focus group involves a small group of people (typically 8-10) who are brought together to discuss a product or service. The focus group is usually moderated by market researchers, who ask questions and encourage discussion among the participants. The aim is to get feedback on what people like and don't like about the product or service, as well as their suggestions for improvement.A focus group can provide insights into how people feel about a product or service, what features they like and don't like, and what potential improvements they would like to see. However, it is important to note that focus groups cannot provide statistically significant results, so they should be used in conjunction with other market research methods. Other common market research practices include intercept interviews, mystery shopping, market scans, social listening, and online panels.

Most common use cases in market research


Target group analysis

One of the most common uses of market research is to segment customers or identify a specific market segment.

Market segmentation allows you to understand your target audience more deeply and identify specific groups who may be interested in your product or service. Examples of target group analysis might include identifying geographic, demographic, or psychographic profiles for different market segments.

Utility analysis / Feature Prioritization

Another common use of market research is utility analysis or feature prioritization. This method can be used to understand which features are most important to potential customers, and how different products or services stack up against each other in terms of their functionality and usability.

MaxDiff analysis

A popular method to identify features or services to prioritize is the MaxDiff analysis (Maximum Difference Scaling, also known as "Best Worst Scaling), which involves asking participants to rate different features or options, from which they are to select the best and worst alternative for them.

Based on the results, you can identify concrete preference or importance rankings. This information can then be used to inform product development decisions and prioritize features for your customer base.

TURF Analysis

The abbreviation TURF stands for Total Unduplicated Reach & Frequency.

To be precise, the TURF method is not a survey method per se, but can be applied to a variety of different question types — even after the survey is already done. The aim of the method is to determine which product portfolio, marketing mix or even product variants appeal to the highest number of customers and hence, expand the potential target group.

Conjoint Analysis 

Conjoint analysis is used to understand consumer preferences and purchasing behavior.

By quantifying the relative importance of different product features, the conjoint analysis provides insights into which features are most important to potential customers and how they compare different options against each other.

This information can then be used to inform product development and marketing decisions, as well as understand customer needs and preferences in more detail.One common approach to conducting a conjoint analysis is to create multiple "choice tasks" or versions of the product, each with different features and attributes. Participants are then asked to rate each version based on their preferences, which can be quantified using statistical techniques such as regression analysis. 


Kano analysis 

The Kano analysis helps businesses understand the factors that drive customer satisfaction. By quantifying different product features and their impact on your customers, the Kano analysis will help you identify which aspects of your product or service are most important to them, as well as features that consumers see as irrelevant, or unexpected sources of value that can help set you apart from your competitors. 

Driver Analysis

A driver analysis is a market research method that helps businesses identify the key factors driving customer behavior and purchasing decisions. By quantifying different product features and their impact on customers, the driver analysis can help businesses better understand which aspects of their products or services are most important to consumers, as well as any "drivers" or key variables that drive demand for their products.

Price analysis 

Price analysis is a market research tool that helps businesses understand customer preferences and purchasing behavior around different price points. By quantifying the relative importance of different price levels, price analysis can help businesses identify the optimal pricing strategy for their products or services, as well as better understand customer demand at different price tiers.Some of the benefits of conducting price analysis include better understanding of customer preferences, more effective pricing strategies, and enhanced market insights.There are a variety of approaches to conducting price analysis.

Gabor-Granger Price Analysis

The Gabor-Granger price analysis is a market research method that uses statistical data & techniques to understand how customers respond to different pricing strategies. By quantifying the impact of different price points on customer demand. The Gabor-Granger price analysis can help businesses better understand consumer preferences and optimize their pricing strategy for maximum profitability.Some of the key advantages of Gabor-Granger price analysis include enhanced market insights, improved pricing accuracy, and more effective marketing campaigns. By understanding how customers respond to different price points, businesses can develop more targeted marketing strategies that appeal to their specific needs and preferences. Additionally, the Gabor-Granger price analysis can help businesses better understand areas where they may be missing opportunities or overcharging customers, allowing them to make more informed pricing decisions that maximize profitability. 

Van Westendorp Pricing Analysis

The Van Westendorp pricing analysis is another market research methodology that helps companies and brands understand customer preferences around different price points. By quantifying the relative importance of different price levels, Van Westendorp pricing analysis can help businesses identify the optimal pricing strategy for their products or services and gain insights into customer behavior and purchasing decisions. 

Perception and Evaluation


Implicit testing

Implicit testing is another method for quantifying customer preferences and association. This technique involves asking participants to rate a set of products or services on various dimensions, such as quality, value, and desirability. The responses from these evaluations can then be quantified using statistical methods such as conjoint analysis and utility theory.

Best Online tools to conduct your market research project

Some of the best online tools to conduct your market research project and collect quantitative data include platforms like SurveyMonkey, Google Analytics, Qualtrics and Appinio. These tools make it easy to create an online survey, analyze data, and generate reports that can help you gain insights into your market segments.Disadvantages of market research online platforms include the potential for data bias and lower response rates from survey participants, which can impact the accuracy and reliability of your research results. Additionally, many market research platforms are subscription-based, so you will likely need to invest in a paid plan in order to take full advantage of their features and functionality. However, despite these disadvantages, online platforms offer a number of advantages that can make them a valuable tool for your market research project. First, they are often more affordable than traditional market research methods, such as focus groups and surveys. Additionally, they are quick and easy to use, and can help you generate results quickly. Finally, online platforms provide a wealth of data that you can use to analyze your target market and understand their needs and preferences.



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Recruitment panel partners

To conduct effective market research, you may need to work with a recruitment panel partner. Recruitment panels are groups of qualified individuals who have been selected based on specific criteria and can provide actionable insights into your target. Some of the key benefits of working with a recruitment panel partner include better understanding of your target market, more effective data collection strategies, and increased accuracy in quantifying customer preferences and behaviors as usually these partners have access to very big pools of consumers, and can often reach even very niche targets.Of course, there are also disadvantages when working with recruitment panels. One is the cost of contracting these partners, another is the potential sampling bias and other limitations that may impact the quality and reliability of your market research data, as you’re basically using a middle man to select your desired consumers.

Appinio, the all in one survey tool


If you're looking for a market research tool that can help you quickly and easily create online surveys, analyze and gather data, and generate reports, then Appinio is the perfect solution for you.Appinio is an all-in-one survey tool that makes it easy to collect data and generate beautiful charts and graphs. With Appinio, you can create surveys in minutes, and quickly analyze the results to get insights into your target market. Appinio also offers a number of handy features such as drag-and-drop question creation, automatic result analysis, and interactive graphs and charts.  One of the advantages of Appinio is that it has a large proprietary panel in more than 90 countries. This means that you can reach a large number of survey participants quickly and easily. Additionally, Appinio's panel is carefully recruited and includes only qualified individuals who can provide valuable insights into your specific market. Despite being an all-in-one platform that you can use on your own, Appinio also offers consulting services. Appinio research consultants will help you design your research, selecting the best method for your specific research needs and will guide you through the entire process.Whether you are looking to gain a better understanding of your customers' purchasing behaviors or need market sizing estimates for product positioning, Appinio has the tools and functionality you need to succeed.


So if you're ready to take your market research efforts to the next level, sign up for Appinio today!


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