Market Research Techniques- what works, what doesn’t


Whenever you ask anybody for some advice for your new venture, the phrase that you are 100% sure to come across is “do your research well”. Now, the phrase basically means that you should conduct a proper market research to understand the feasibility of your product. The term “market research” may sound like something too technical and complicated, but honestly in layman’s terms it is assessment of the product demand by understanding consumer’s likes and dislikes which eventually helps in the preparation of a list of “nice-to-haves” quality in the product. Hence, if the market research is done well then you are on the right path to make an informed decision about the venture. As such, in this article we will discuss some of the Dos and Don’ts that one should be aware of while conducting a thorough market research.

What works for a successful market research

In this section we will see what are the few mandatory Dos for a successful market research –

Define the goals of your market research

Prior to making any capital decision regarding starting a venture, you should decide what exactly you are aiming to achieve with the market research. Try to pin down the specific questions that you want to get answered. Then try to figure out if someone else has already conducted a similar research in the past. If you are lucky enough you might find that one of your friends or acquaintances have already worked on a similar research and as such has some of the information that you are looking for your venture, this could eventually help you refine your research and save you time and effort.

Determine the budget of your market research

The budget of a research is a very important aspect irrespective of the fact that whether you are a global corporation penetrating a new market or an entrepreneur beginning a new start-up. First of all, it is quintessential to decide on the overall budget for the entire project, and then allocate a certain percentage of that budget to the market research. For instance, if the overall project budget stands at $1,000,000, then you are just not expected to spend $900,000 on research work alone, while a research budget of $1,000 may prove to be too less for the project to be successful. As such, it is very important that an appropriate amount of budget is allocated for the market research. At times, organizations decide whether to conduct a primary market research or a secondary market research or a mix of both based on the research budget, given that a primary research is inherently costlier than a secondary research.

Decide the type of your research based on your requirement

While conducting a market research, as a researcher you are likely to come across several different research reports that are similar to yours and hold information relevant to your needs. However, in order to select the suitable report, you must determine whether a primary research or a secondary research or a mix of both will be required to fulfil the objectives of your market research. In case of primary market research, you will be required to conduct interviews (telephonic or face-to-face) and surveys with the industry experts and potential target market. On the other hand, a secondary market research is built from already available information such as journal articles. For people who are seeking qualitative information on market trends and developments, primary market research is the best possible option, whereas secondary market research is helpful for users who are seeking hard numbers and concrete data. If in case you are unable to get hold of the information from organised reports, then the other way out is exploring a more customized research solution that may include advanced techniques like competitive intelligence, in-depth interviewing or survey work.

Draft the questionnaire from a customer’s perspective

In case of primary market research, draft the questionnaire keeping in mind the key information that is needed through each particular question. It should be such that one question serves only one objective. Make sure that you create a survey that is comprehensive and easily understandable to the intended target audience.

What doesn’t work for a market research

In this section we will see what are the few Don’ts that one should try to avoid for a successful market research –

Don’t commit unless there is a clear objectives

There are several cases of failed research attempts due to lack of clarity of scope of the research because a research carried out in ambiguity results in frequent changes of the objective itself and as such the research never reaches any satisfying end point. Therefore, prior to committing to a research project, make sure you know the people who are the intended user of the market research and ensure that all the different stakeholders have the adequate understanding of the overall objectives of the entire project. Further, make sure that you gather input information from key players at the company, which will eventually give you a better sense of direction and you will be able to use the output of the market research in a more fruitful way.

Don’t forget about the profitability

Irrespective of the type of market research technique being employed, it is important to understand that the cost of each individual part of a research ultimately adds up to be the total research cost. So, it is essential that each penny is spent judiciously and ensure that the research cost remains within the budget so that the profitability of the company is not affected. For instance, a full time market research subscription will charge a significant fixed cost but it will provide unlimited access to a comprehensive repository of research reports of the highest quality. On the other hand, if your research work needs only a portion of a chapter from a report, then there are such websites also who cater to these requirements such that you have to pay only for the chapter you need and not for the entire research report. The bottom line is that the expenditure should be well thought out and as per the requirement of the research as well as the company’s profitability target.

Don’t go solo

Another very important factor that is often overlooked is that you should don’t try to go into a market research all on your own. Since, market research can be taxing, expensive and a complicated endeavor, you might seem to be getting consumed and lost with the extravagant information. At times, the amount of information available in a market research can be overwhelming. As such, it is advisable to seek support from friends or relatives or office colleagues in order to achieve the research objectives effectively and quickly.


Since, market research is a fairly powerful decision tool, it matters a lot that how it is conducted among the target audience. It is important that the researcher has a strategic approach in order to achieve the intended results. A well planned market research can ease off the business risks, help the business to stay ahead of the competition and precisely measure the trend in the market. Therefore, a market research equipped with the right business intelligence can lead any business to the success it deserves.