This term “market research” refers to the process of gathering information about a particular target market. While there are several market research methods today, most businesses prefer a few primary and secondary market research methods.

Factors that they investigate through market research include trends in the market, segmentation of the market, market information, and effectiveness of marketing. The amount of money that business owners are willing to spend and the type of data that you want determine which market research methods to choose for their businesses.

6 Key Market Research Methods

Focus Groups

focus group, one of the best market research methods

This research method “focus groups’ is a major way through which businesses conduct primary market research. This involves getting a group of people in one place and asking them questions regarding products, their preferences, and other similar questions.

You can choose this method when you have limited time since one can conduct it at any location. With the advent of the Internet and smart devices, you can conduct focus groups virtually through video conferencing. The most important thing is that the group of people that you bring together must have something in common. They can belong to the same gender, age group, or religion and the selection process must depend on the product of the company or the targeted audience. This is one of the most used qualitative research methods. It helps businesses to know about market trends and customer preferences.

Trials and Experimentation

This is a quantitative type of market research method that involves scientific tests where the researcher is using variables and hypotheses. The researcher can control it out in the field or an enclosed environment. Businesses commonly use this technique when they want to test customer response under real-life selling conditions so as to be able to make product modifications, improve packaging, or adjust prices. Before using this method, business owners should first establish a good rapport with local owners and websites that can be of help to them.

Surveys and Questionnaires

taking a survey

Surveys cover many things like survey questionnaires, customer satisfaction cards, survey interviews, and survey forms. The feedback form given to customers after being served in a restaurant is a common example of this research method. This method helps you to know whether your customers are satisfied with your current services and products or the type of changes they would like to see. These days, it is also possible to conduct surveys in the form of web questionnaires to gather a lot of feedback and then analyze it for further administration.

In-depth Personal Interview

Personal interview method is like focus groups as it includes unstructured, open-ended questions. In most cases, both of them last approximately one hour and most marketers record them.
The in-depth personal interview is a qualitative primary market research method. This method takes into the kind of choices and preferences that customers have. Nonetheless, unlike focus groups, it involves interaction between one respondent and one moderator and numerous varieties of strategies and modes can be used at a go to gather information. Also, personal interviews may not be restricted to a particular set pattern of questions. You can choose to put it in the form of a conversation with a target audience or customer base.

Personal interviews often provide more subjective data than surveys and questionnaires. This is because they do not represent a significant segment of the population. This means they are sometimes not statistically reliable. Nonetheless, it can help to dig further into the wants of customers. Business owners can then analyze the responses to come up with practical solutions. Interviews can yield valuable insights into customer attitudes. It is an excellent way to uncover issues related to new service or product development.


Observation is useful for getting a more accurate picture of the usage habits of customers and their shopping patterns. While surveys and focus groups play a critical role in market research, the responses that people give are sometimes at odd with the real behavior of people. So, when you want to know your clients’ actual behavior, observation is the best method.

Secondary Market Research Method

primary and secondary market research sources

One mistake that most business owners do is to rely solely on the above primary market research methods. The opposite is also true. Some of them also err when they rely largely on secondary research methods. Business needs to rely on both. Secondary market research method focuses on collecting information from both internal and external sources.

Internal sources are market research sources that already exist and are available in the business’ database or file system. These types of information include those that the company has gathered using other methods and proves useful for future projects. Examples of these sources are balance sheets, sales figures, inventory records, and profit and loss statements. For some businesses, these internal sources are enough to make a decision. But it is advisable to consider external sources as well.

External sources present data that have been collected by other business owners, people, or agencies. They can be used if internal data does not prove adequate information. Internal sources are gathered from outside the environment of the business and incorporate multiple sources. These sources can be wide and varied, and therefore, you should follow a controlled approach to evaluating them before use. Examples of external data are government sources, research studies by universities and colleges, the Internet, and competitor data.

To Sum It All Up

Market research uses various analytical and statistical methods to collect and analyze data in an organized manner. The whole of this process involves social research and opinions. In the current competitive business environment, for businesses to be able to tap opportunities, minimize risks, and establish trends and market standing, they cannot just rely on feelings. They have to use primary and secondary research methods concurrently.

The choice of research market method depends mainly on the type of data that a business needs to gather and the amount of money available to spend on the research. Before using any of these market research methods, business owners must first identify their target audience and then focus their marketing efforts towards them. If you have ever used any of these market research methods, share your experiences to help others.