Market research plays a pivotal role in business success, offering valuable insights and enabling strategic decision-making.

Market research plays a crucial role in understanding your company's target audience and tailoring your marketing strategies, products, and offerings to meet their wants and needs. However, for many businesses, the idea of conducting market research can be daunting, time-consuming, and costly – often falling down the priority list. 

The good news is that in this digital age, market research doesn't have to be challenging. With the array of tech tools available in 2023, businesses can quickly and efficiently research their target markets without requiring advanced technical knowledge, data science skills, and on a budget. 

These cost-effective tools not only streamline market research but also provide valuable data to shape your marketing efforts, saving your business time while increasing effectiveness and efficiency.  

Explore the various types of market research that offer valuable insights for your business and discover the leading software tools of 2023 designed to facilitate data gathering, empowering you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions

Why is market research so important? 

Market research online or in-person is crucial for business success. It gathers and analyzes data on consumer behavior, market trends, and competitors. These insights inform strategic decisions, identify growth opportunities, and shape effective marketing strategies. 

By understanding the market and customer expectations, businesses can tailor their offerings to meet evolving demands. Here are the top 7 reasons why market research is important for your business:

  1. Identify new customers: By understanding consumer needs and preferences, market research helps businesses discover untapped customer segments and expand their reach.

  2. Get to know your existing customers: Market research allows businesses to gain a deeper understanding of their current customers, including their likes, dislikes, and purchasing behavior. This knowledge helps tailor products and services to better meet their needs.

  3. Set realistic targets for your business: Through market research, businesses can gather data on market trends, competition, and customer demands. This information aids in setting achievable goals and realistic growth targets.

  4. Develop new and effective strategies: Market research provides valuable insights into market dynamics and customer behavior, enabling businesses to develop effective marketing strategies, product innovations, and pricing strategies.

  5. Solve your biggest business challenges: By assessing market research data, businesses can identify and address their biggest challenges. Whether it's improving customer satisfaction, overcoming competitive barriers, or optimizing operations, market research provides the foundation for informed decision-making.

  6. Investigate expansion opportunities: Market research helps businesses identify potential expansion opportunities, whether it's exploring new geographic markets, diversifying product offerings, or targeting new customer segments.

  7. Identify how to expand your offering: By understanding customer needs and preferences, market research enables businesses to identify opportunities to expand their product or service offerings, ensuring they remain relevant and competitive in the market.

BONUS: A well-selected topic can attract a larger and more diverse pool of participants and higher responses, ensuring survey results are aligned with the specific objectives and research goals!

Types of market research

Companies employ diverse methodologies to conduct market research, aiming to extract valuable insights about their customer base. The choice of research method has a profound impact on the quality and relevancy of the gathered data. By carefully selecting the most appropriate approach, companies can ensure the accuracy and comprehensiveness of their findings, ultimately leading to more informed business decisions.

While there are a variety of market research types to consider, let’s talk about the most popular methods you can consider in gathering data for your organization. 

1. Surveys and feedback collection

Surveys are the primary method of collecting data and feedback from a wide target audience. This type of market research allows you to gather data in bulk, and while the quality or specificity of that data may be lower than the data from interviews or focus groups, it can help you identify important trends.

Further to this, you can use surveys and feedback collection for numerous case studies, like customer satisfaction, product or service improvement, and brand awareness to name a few. When conducting surveys for market research, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Define the problem you’re trying to solve or the goal you want to achieve before developing the survey. 
  • Present the survey to the right audience to avoid skewing your data
  • Keep the survey to a moderate length to avoid incompletion.
  • Incentivize surveys through gift cards or other motivating rewards.

2. Interviews

Interviews constitute another effective market research strategy. They allow you to learn in-depth information about specific customers’ or audiences’ opinions and experiences. 

During market research interviews, various types of questions can be asked to gain valuable insights from current customers. Some examples can include:

  1. How did you first hear about our product/service?
  2. What factors influenced your decision to purchase our product/service?
  3. Can you describe your overall satisfaction with our product/service?
  4. Have you tried any competing products/services? If yes, how do we compare?
  5. How does our product/service meet your specific need or solve your problem?
  6. Can you share any specific user experiences related to our product/service?

These example questions can help you gather valuable feedback and insights to improve your product or service, and better understand customer preferences, satisfaction, and where potential opportunities might exist. 

And, while interviews can be time-consuming or your target market may be less inclined to partake, the value provided by this type of market research can often be the most impactful. Additionally, it's important to note that there are various tech tools available to assist with administrative tasks, ultimately saving you valuable time and reducing costs.

Moreover, incorporating research incentives and using high-value gift cards can greatly enhance survey participation and ensure the collection of high-quality data.

Before you conduct a survey or interview, consider get the Checklist Every Incentive Survey Project Needs!

3. Focus groups

Focus groups are a powerful research tool that combines the benefits of surveys and interviews, offering a comprehensive understanding of multiple customer opinions in a single session. These sessions usually involve inviting individuals from both within and outside your target market, depending on the research objectives. 

By gathering a diverse group of participants, focus groups allow for a thorough examination of a product or service, facilitating the collection of valuable feedback in a collaborative setting. This approach not only provides insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your offering but also uncovers new perspectives and ideas.   

When should you use a Focus group? Typically they are utilized during the early stages of product or service development or when exploring new market segments, as they enable businesses to gain a deeper understanding of customer preferences, needs, and expectations. 

Leveraging the interactive nature of focus groups, companies can refine their strategies, improve their offerings, and make informed decisions that resonate with their target audience. Incentivizing focus groups with gift cards, such as providing a $100 Visa gift card to group participants, along with a free product, can encourage them to spend time sharing their opinions and greatly enhance the value of the feedback received.

4. Customer observation

Customer observation research is a versatile approach encompassing various methods to study and understand customer behavior. Unlike surveys, interviews, or focus groups, customer observation research involves directly observing customers in their natural environment, without relying on their self-reported opinions. It provides valuable insights into customer preferences, decision-making processes, and interactions with products or services.

There are different types of customer observation research that businesses can employ.

  • Shop-along research: This is where researchers accompany customers during their shopping experience to gain firsthand insights into their behaviors and reactions.
  • Eye-tracking research: This type uses specialized technology to track and analyze where customers focus their attention while interacting with a product or browsing a website.
  • Ethnographic research: This involves immersing researchers in the customer's environment to observe and understand their behaviors, needs, and challenges. It provides rich contextual insights that go beyond what can be captured through surveys or interviews alone, offering a unique perspective that complements other research methods.

Overall, by harnessing customer observation research methodologies, businesses can gather more authentic and unbiased information about customer preferences and experiences that helps uncover valuable insights that may not be obtained through traditional surveys or interviews. 
The team discussing market research and the tech tools to use.

Top software tools for market research

Incorporating software into your market research methods can help you gather valuable data faster and streamline your company’s growth. Numerous research tools are available across the market, each boasting unique features to aid your research strategy. 

For example, the following are some of the most popular survey creation and sharing tools: 

  • SurveyMonkey: A free online survey platform that makes creating and sharing user-friendly, professional surveys simple
  • Typeform: A simple survey tool that can send casual multiple-choice surveys directly to your target audience, potentially increasing engagement

You can also use online platforms to review research that other organizations have already performed into your target market, such as the following: 

  • Census Bureau: A free government resource that can help you learn more about your target demographic, providing information about age, location, income, family size, and other relevant data
  • Pew Research Center: A think tank that provides information and data about demographic trends, social issues, and public opinion
  • Answer the Public: A free research tool that lets you discover popular online search queries and understand the search intent for specific keywords and phrases 

Finally, the following are a few higher-level tools that can provide more tailored market research assistance: 

  • Tableau: A data visualization tool that can help you analyze the data you have collected through market research
  • Qualtrics Market Research panels: A tool that curates data for you to create representative samples of your target audience
  • BuzzSumo: A program that generates data about your target audience based on the types of social media posts they interact with

Spending time identifying market research tools that fit your business’s research processes and goals can save you significant time and resources. Your company will be able to dedicate attention to analyzing survey results and translating them into product changes rather than manually collecting data. 


Easy and cost-effective

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Essential integrations for market research

Integrating key tools into your market research process can streamline your data collection. At a minimum, your company should be using the following types of integrations within market research: 

Survey software

Even the simplest survey software can save you a significant amount of time with survey creation and distribution. You can simply input the questions and multiple-choice options you want to research, and the platform will curate them into a beautiful, user-friendly digital survey. 

Phone tools

Call tracking software can aid your customer observation strategies for market research. This type of software manages the inbound calls you receive and measures the impact specific phone calls have on your business. 

Digital gift card fulfillment

Offering market research incentives is crucial to encouraging participation and high-quality responses within your market research. Through a digital rewards integration program, you can automatically trigger gift card incentives as soon as participants submit their surveys or complete other desired actions.