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What is Market Research And How To Do It?

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

25 April 2024

10 min read

Have you ever wondered what makes the big brands tick? How do they churn out products that fly off the shelf and campaigns that resonate with millions? It can’t be magic, right? It is the outcome of nuanced market research. 

But what is Market Research? And why is it essential for brands?  

If you’re a confused reader or someone here to brush up their knowledge, you have come to the right place. Don’t worry! We will keep things clear, concise, and engaging here.

Off we go!

What is Market Research?

Market research is one of the essential treasures of any business. It takes you closer to your customers by helping you understand them better. It is the process of collecting information about markets, customers, and competitors to help businesses make informed decisions. It involves understanding if new products or services will succeed, identifying target markets, and getting consumer feedback. 

There are two main types: primary and secondary research. Primary research involves gathering data directly from consumers through methods like surveys and focus groups, while secondary research uses existing information from sources like government statistics and market reports.

It is crucial to develop new products and services, enabling informed decision-making.

Let’s begin with this point, then…

Types of Market Research

It is important to understand the distinction between the two approaches as they act as the foundation of your study. Plus, they allow your business to gather comprehensive insights.

Let’s start with understanding…

What is Primary Market Research?

Primary research refers to getting information directly from the source. It’s like going straight to the customers or target audience to ask questions or observe their behavior.

This could involve surveys, interviews, focus groups, or watching how people use products or services. The aim is to gather firsthand insights to understand preferences, needs, and opinions.

Read More: How To Do Primary Research

i. Surveys

Surveys are a way to ask people questions to gather information or opinions. They can be done online, over the phone, through mail, or in person.

Surveys usually consist of a series of questions designed to understand specific topics or gather feedback. They can be multiple-choice, open-ended, or a combination of both. It is a popular method in market research because it allows researchers to collect data from many people quickly and efficiently. The data collected from surveys can then be analyzed to identify trends, preferences, or areas for improvement.

But again, how many of us take surveys regularly? According to a study by Gloria Mark, University of California, our attention span has shrunk immensely. The digital age has had a significant impact on the way we consume data. Everything is available in a capsule! Literally and figuratively. 

A long, boring survey would normally end up being abandoned. The only way to overcome this situation is to roll out engaging chat-like surveys. Conversational forms have a higher completion rate. Take the surveys created with SurveySparrow, for example. They have a 40% higher response rate as compared to traditional surveys.

Let me give you an example.

Product Market Research Survey Template

Wouldn’t you want to complete this form? That’s exactly what you should aim for when creating market research surveys.

If you like it, feel free to use this template and explore the many others in the library. 

Let’s move on to the next important type

ii. Interviews

Interviews involve direct conversations between a researcher and a participant or respondent. They are a method used in market research to gather in-depth information, opinions, and insights from individuals. Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video calls.

They allow a more personal and detailed understanding of the participant’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This information can provide valuable insights for businesses to make informed decisions.

Additionally, interviews can be tailored to specific target audiences. Researchers can gather information from particular demographic groups or individuals with specialized knowledge or expertise.

iv. Focus Group

It is a small, moderated discussion involving a group of individuals who share similar characteristics or experiences. These groups typically consist of 6 to 10 participants and are led by a moderator who guides the conversation. Focus groups are used in market research to gather insights, opinions, and perceptions about a product, service, or topic.

During a focus group, participants are encouraged to openly share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to the subject matter.

The moderator poses questions and prompts to stimulate discussion and elicit diverse perspectives. Moreover, the participants can react to ideas presented by others, share their viewpoints, and engage in group dynamics that can reveal deeper insights than individual interviews or surveys alone.

What is Secondary Market Research?

Secondary research involves the gathering and analysis of existing data and information that others have already collected. Unlike primary research, which involves gathering new data firsthand, secondary research relies on sources such as published reports, articles, databases, government publications, and other publicly available information.

It is important for:

  • Providing context
  • Understanding market trends
  • Benchmarking against competitors
  • Validating findings from primary research

Read more: 10 Best Market Research Tools [2024]

Why is Market Research Important?

When a brand falls from grace within the business world, what is the first thing that everyone blames? The new CEO? The current business strategy? Their products? Whatnot!

The real culprit is the lack of research!  

Let’s take a look at the reasons why it is important.

  • Understanding Customer Needs: A clear idea of your audience’s needs, preferences, and behaviors will help you tailor the products and services according to their interest. With this, you can easily meet customer demands.
  • Identifying Opportunities: By analyzing market trends and consumer behavior, you can identify new opportunities for growth, innovation, and expansion into new markets.
  • Competitive Advantage: We now exist in an extremely competitive world. Through market research, you can gain insights into the competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and market positioning. This knowledge helps them differentiate their offerings and develop competitive advantages.
  • Minimizing Risks: Avoid risks! By understanding market dynamics and consumer preferences, businesses can minimize risks associated with product launches, marketing campaigns, and business decisions. Make informed choices based on data rather than assumptions.
  • Product Testing: We can’t entirely predict the success of the product. But, with a proper understanding of the trends and recurring patterns, you can create the best strategies that resonate with your potential buyers.

Now that you know the basics, let’s go ahead and look at its application.

Conducting Market Research with an Online Survey 

Online surveys are an important part of market research. It lets you analyze your customers’ feelings about your products and services. If you want a clear idea about their characteristics, requirements, feedback, and expectations, market survey tools are the answer to all. 

Primary purpose:

  • Gain valuable customer information to retain your old customers and obtain new customers quickly.
  • Surveys will give you a clear understanding of consumer buying behavior. Whether they’ll buy a specific product from you? Will they spend a certain amount on your new product or not? What do they think about your app’s new feature? You will get answers to all these questions by using an online market survey. 
  • Another purpose of market surveys is to gain insightful data. Gathering market data is essential to make major business decisions. You can avoid business risk by making well-informed decisions and marketing strategies.
  • The most important purpose of market surveys is to get feedback and analyze your customer satisfaction levels. This will help you to keep your customers engaged and obtain loyal customers. 

How to Conduct a Market Research Survey


1. Define Your Objectives

Start by understanding why you’re conducting the survey and what you hope to learn from it. This will guide all your efforts.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Figure out who you want to hear from. Consider age, location, and interests to ensure you’re asking the right people.

3. Choose Survey Method

Decide how you’ll reach your audience – online, over the phone, or in person. Then, pick the tool or platform to create and manage the survey.

4. Design Your Survey

Create questions that are easy to understand and relevant to your goals. Make sure to use simple language and avoid any confusing jargon.

5. Test Your Survey

Before sending it out to everyone, test your survey with a small group to catch any mistakes or confusing parts.

6. Distribute Your Survey

Once you’re confident everything is working smoothly, send your survey to your target audience. Decide how you’ll reach them through email, social media, or your website.

7. Collect Responses

Keep an eye on responses as they come in and send reminders to encourage more people to participate if needed.

8. Analyze Data

Once you have enough responses, gather all the data and organize it. Look for patterns or trends that can give you insights into people’s thoughts.

9. Draw Conclusions

Based on your analysis, conclude what the data is telling you. Use these conclusions to make decisions or plan your next steps.

10. Take Action

Use the insights you’ve gained to make changes or improvements in your business. Let your audience know how their feedback is being used.

11 Follow Up

Finally, communicate your survey results to anyone who participated and share any actions you’ve taken as a result. Thank them for their input, and let them know you value their feedback.

Different Types of Market Research Surveys:

Companies use multiple types of market research surveys to gain insightful data. The information collected by market surveys will help you to identify new market trends, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, employee experience, competitors’ research, etc. 

As we mentioned earlier, companies use multiple types of market surveys. But here is the top five most valuable surveys you can run to ensure good profits. 

1. Market Segmentation Survey

You can determine the market size and segment your customers with online market research surveys. Segmented campaigns can increase revenue by 750%. By conducting such market research, you can get key information on market growth, competitive positioning, etc. You can also use this type of survey to explore your target market and gather information about audience demographics—age, family income, gender, etc. 

2. Purchase Process Tracking Survey

How do your customers decide to make a purchase? What factors transform product awareness into sales? You’ll get these answers from conducting a purchase process tracking survey. These surveys will teach you about market awareness, market information, inclination, etc. 

3. Customer Analysis Survey

Customer analysis surveys are essential for understanding customers’ expectations, attitudes, and loyalty. Also, you can measure customer loyalty and engagement based on these online surveys. 

4. New Product Analysis Survey

If you want to launch a new feature of your product in the market, a product analysis survey will ensure success. You can measure the likelihood of the new feature or product. This will help you in the feature development process.

5. Market Survey for Competitors Analysis

Competitors are always vital for any organization. When you maintain healthy competition with other businesses in your industry, you create growth opportunities.

Market surveys for competitor analysis will make you realize your market view relative to your competitors. In addition, you can gather information about their marketing strategist, strengths, and weaknesses. 

You can use SurveySparrow’s online survey software to conduct research smoothly. With SurveySparrow, you’ll get myriads of templates that will help you create engaging surveys based on your requirements. 

Benefits of Market Research

  • Strategic Decision-Making: Conducting a detailed study helps businesses make smart decisions based on facts about sales and profits.
  • Marketing Optimization: It improves marketing by refining messages, finding target audiences, and guiding budget decisions based on where customers and non-customers spend their time.
  • Risk Reduction: It lowers risks by showing if new products or services will work and spotting potential threats or opportunities.
  • Competitive Advantage: Good research gives businesses an edge by understanding customers better, engaging them more effectively than rivals, and knowing what competitors are up to.
  • Customer-Centric Approach: It focuses on understanding customers helping businesses create better experiences, leading to happier customers and more profits.

What is Market Analysis?

This is like taking a deep dive into a pool of data about a particular market.

It’s about understanding everything from how big the market is to who’s buying what and why. This helps businesses see where they fit in, stand out from the crowd, and minimize risks when trying out new ideas. Doing a market analysis is key for making smart decisions and coming up with successful marketing plans. It’s important to use market analysis tools to get a comprehensive view of your competitors.

Tools for conducting market research

Here, we’ve compiled a list of tools to conduct online and offline surveys. These simple yet powerful features of these tools are trendy among several businesses all over the globe. 

Engaging Survey Software

There’s nothing better than using engaging survey software to conduct your research efficiently. Surveys are one of the best methods to gather customer and employee information about your business services and products. 

Survey software is popular for creating personalized surveys and increasing brand awareness. With survey platforms, you can get Insights from your website, social media platforms, webinars, and emails. 

SurveySparrow’s survey software is a great Typeform alternative. It allows you to create engaging forms and surveys without a hassle. These surveys are conversational and easy to use. Most importantly, it offers features like multiple question types, a dashboard, customization, embedded surveys, recurring surveys, etc. So, if you are looking for ways to conduct hassle-free competition analysis, SurveySparrow is a great Typeform, Zoho, and Jotform alternative.

Chatbots for Website

Chatbots are the future! Several brands are implementing chatbots in every business task. From doing research to tracking employee service, chatbots are almost everywhere. 

A chatbot for a website has the power to make your customer journey or employee journey more enjoyable. It is an automated system that’ll guide your target audience via text and voice-based conversation. You can gather insights that deeply resemble a human employee using natural language processing and AI-programmed intelligence.

In addition, a chatbot will never feel tired of asking a follow-up question to your customers as your human employee. And it’s not a one-day work task! You have to make sure your research results are always up to date. That’s why you have to communicate with your target audience constantly. Chatbots are the best solution to engage with your customers without disturbing them frequently. 

SurveySparrow’s no-code feedbot is exclusively made to gather Insightful market data without any programming knowledge. Here, we can give you an example of Deloitte Digital. This San Francisco-based marketing and advertising company de-cluttered its data collection process using SurveySparrow’s chatbot feature. 

The company faced challenges while collecting market data with the traditional paper questionnaire. However, this chatbot’s chat-like experience and sleek UI helped them gather 804 survey responses out of 1200 surveyed people. That means a total of 67% completion rate. Profitable, isn’t it?

Let’s Wrap it Up!

All things said and done! Here, we’ve broken down the importance of market research. Also, we’ve shared our take on the importance of market surveys. From getting a more focused target audience to loyal customers, online and offline surveys are great approaches to collecting insights. Asking the right questions improves customer satisfaction and gives you authentic information. 

Keep surveying, and keep asking the right questions!

And, before you go, why don’t you give SurveySparrow a try? It won’t cost you a penny!


1. What is a market study?

Answer: A market study is an in-depth analysis of a specific market, including its size, trends, and consumer behavior.

2. What is online market research?

Answer: Online market research involves gathering data and insights about markets, customers, and competitors through internet-based methods such as surveys, social media analysis, and website analytics.

3. What is paid market research?

Answer: Paid market research involves compensating participants for their time and feedback in surveys, focus groups, or product testing, typically to gather valuable business insights.

4. What does a market researcher do?

Answer: A market researcher collects and analyzes data about markets, consumers, and competitors to help businesses make informed decisions and develop effective strategies.

5. What is competitor analysis?

Answer: Competitor analysis involves evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and performance of competitors in a market to identify opportunities and threats for a business.

Kate Williams

Product Marketing Manager at SurveySparrow

Excels in empowering visionary companies through storytelling and strategic go-to-market planning. With extensive experience in product marketing and customer experience management, she is an accomplished author, podcast host, and mentor, sharing her expertise across diverse platforms and audiences.

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