Market research has long been an essential component of any successful marketing or advertising strategy. With customers becoming more and more empowered, brands are having to really get to know their markets, developing an understanding of who they are targeting and how best to go about engaging those members of the public. This article looks to define market research, discusses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and provides insight into how you can choose the best market research approach for your brand’s marketing and advertising strategy:
What’s market research?
Dictionary.com defines market research as follows:
“[Market research is] the gathering and studying of data relating to consumer preferences, purchasing power, etc., especially prior to introducing a product on the market.”
Market research usually comprises a blend of quantitative and qualitative data, looking at things like usage statistics alongside how customers feel and any improvements they might have in mind.
There are a number of choices in a market researcher’s arsenal, and these are broadly split into two categories:
This involves market research methods that pre-date the age of the Internet. Traditional market research is conducted in-person (e.g.: at a mall or at the respondent’s residence), through the post, and often via telephonic conversations.
With the rapid growth of the Internet came a plethora of capabilities for marketers in general. Digital market research is conducted through email, website landing pages, SMSs and instant messaging apps. Marketers can also video call respondents to facilitate ‘face-to-face’ research.
Preferred market research tools
With so many marketers constantly conducting research, and so many techniques available, it’s understandable that every researcher will have a different ‘ideal blend’ of research methods you should use. Here’s a list of the main techniques marketers deploy when tackling a market research project:
- Mobile surveys
- Webcam interviews
- Online community assessment
- Focus groups
- Social media analytics
- Customer observation
- In-person/telephonic interviews
- Email surveys
- Trial usage programmes
Choosing your ideal approach
The commercial world is saturated with core industries, niche markets, brands, and marketing agencies. The world of economics is ever-evolving, and consumers are changing the way they spend their money and align with organisations. There is no on-size-fits-all approach to market research – it requires the testing and measuring of the research methodologies mentioned above (including others) until an optimal recipe is discovered.
The digital era has drastically changed the way public relations, including market research, is done and the way PR work is measured.
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