7 market research books for busy entrepreneurs

Market research requires a lot of learning and understanding of things you have never thought of before. One way to accelerate the process while minimizing mistakes is by having a mentor. As a business owner with several responsibilities, finding time to search for a mentor is a luxury.

So, a better way is to turn to books – an evergreen source of knowledge and a dependable mentor.

Many market research books are available online, but not all are relevant to early-stage entrepreneurs or small business owners. Most are technical and will confuse you more by the time you finish reading them. 

We have compiled this list to help you pick the right books with actionable tips to start market research.

The Market Research Toolbox: A Concise Guide for Beginners — Edward McQuarrie

This book is a classic when it comes to market research. Essentially, a primer for beginners, the book outlines different approaches for starting market research. You will discover the relationship between different types of market research and how they help decision-making. 

Who is it for? 

The book primarily focuses on the B2B industry and tech products but is equally helpful for early-stage entrepreneurs, product managers, sales teams, and small business owners. 

What is good about the book? 

You will find vital insights from the author’s actual experience in market research projects, which will give you a realistic idea of what to expect. Plus, it goes beyond the idea that market research is just an occasional survey or study. Instead, it offers a glimpse into how you can make the most of it. 

The author’s straightforward and practical tips, along with a simple writing style, make it an excellent read for someone who wants to learn without going much into theoretical concepts. 

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Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping–Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond — Paco Underhill

What We Buy is an essential business guide to help you understand what compels your customers to buy. It categorically enlists the various factors that persuade (or stop) a consumer from making a purchase. 

Written by Paco Underhill, this book has been revised multiple times to add new insights into modern consumer culture with examples from the most innovative retail stores and companies globally. 

Who is it for? 

The book is a gem for anyone working in the retail sector — online or offline. With hundreds of examples from real stores and brands, the book is definitely an idea mine for you if you are looking for new ways to attract, retain, and grow your customer base. 

What is good about the book? 

The author has validated all his claims and opinions within the book with real-life examples from around the world. Not only it makes the book a fun read, but gives you a solid perspective on the possibilities to entice your customers. For example, there are ample examples of improving the retail experience in the book, like the story of a departmental store in Sao Palo that offers personal shoppers or the case study about a ski slope in the Dubai Mall to attract more footfalls. 

This is a must-read if you are constantly looking for the ‘science’ behind conversions and want to get into your customer’s minds. 

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The Psychology of Survey Response by Roger Tourangea 

Market research activity cannot be completed without a survey. So, you need to have a strong understanding of how to conduct and benefit from surveys. This book focuses solely on market research surveys and will give you a comprehensive take on the psychology behind survey insights. 

The book analyzes various aspects of social psychology, cognitive psychology and survey methodology to understand what features (or quirks) affect survey responses. 

You will find useful information on survey questions, misreporting, struggles in getting appropriate responses, and the corrective steps you should take to improve results. If you are at a stage where you need to gather and analyze opinions and answers, do give this one a read. 

Who is it for? 

This book is a gold mine for market researchers, methodologists, statisticians and entrepreneurs who want to conduct a market research survey. This book will give you all the insights on writing practical survey questions and analyzing the responses to help you succeed with market research. 

What is good about the book? 

The book introduces a unique model based on four fundamental mental processes that go into answering a survey, which is powerful and time-tested. The take on how each element of a survey is (or can be) perceived by an audience is undoubtedly something you will love. Since the book was published years back, you should supplement reading this book with the latest take on market research survey questions and methodologies, too.  

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Market Segmentation: How to Do It and How to Profit from It — Malcolm McDonald 

Market segmentation is one of the most important goals you should consider while contemplating market research. You should always focus on finding who your customers are and the distinctive factors in their personality or behaviour. 

There is a lot of information on finding a relevant market segment and how to use it for decision-making across marketing, product development, pricing and business growth. Essentially, a textbook, this one has many processes, mind maps, and diagrams that you can use instantly to start segmenting your audience. 

Who is it for? 

If you are trying hard to get closer to your audience and want more insights on improving your marketing, you should read this book. The book has many insights to help you carve a value proposition your target audience needs and will even help you quantify a market opportunity. 

The book is handy for entrepreneurs who have just begun their journey and small business owners who want to stay relevant. 

What is good about the book? 

You will find a lot of information to quantify your market research insights that will help you segment your audience. 

Also, the book has many practical examples of why ‘high-end’ tech and concepts like CRM, Six Sigma, etc., fail, which will help you create a mindset to stay away from marketing jargon and focus on what is most important for your business. 

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Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy is a famous book that presents a fresh take on beating the competition. The authors share a unique approach to finding new opportunities and making your competition irrelevant. This book offers a new element to market research and aligns well with the goal of finding new opportunities. 

The book has many case studies, examples, and stories on how companies have found a ‘Blue Ocean’ — a completely competition-free sector to launch a new product or business line. In the context of market research, the book offers valuable insights into how to identify untapped market opportunities. 

Who is it for? 

Entrepreneurs vouch for this book’s insights on staying relevant and beating the competition by carving a new niche. So, no matter what industry you are working in, if you are building a business (or thinking about it), grab a copy of this book. When you finish reading this book, you will have a fresh perspective on your industry as well as your competition. 

What is good about the book? 

The book has practical advice on creating new markets for your business idea. The insights on how to beat imitators and copycats, topped with time-tested strategic moves for a business owner, is something you should re-read the book again and again. 

The book also has a lot of material on staying attractive to your customers even when new players are entering the market. 

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Strategic Market Research: A Guide to Conducting Research that Drives Businesses

Strategic Market Research preaches about the impact of market research on a business. The book illustrates how to improve business outcomes using effective market research tactics. See this book as a primer for creating goals, starting market research, and analyzing results. 

The book covers several concepts that will help you find strategic questions for your research, pick the right research techniques, and analyze the factors that impact responses. You will also find real-life examples illustrating how to link market research insights with strategic decision-making. 

Who is it for? 

The book is for beginners who want to start market research but are constantly overwhelmed with information overload. You will get crisp and practical advice that is easy to implement and will always positively impact your business. 

What is good about the book? 

The book is peppered with value nuggets from the author’s personal experience and many real-life references. The easy-going flow and storytelling within the book make it a light read for everyone who gets tired even by thinking about market research. You will learn a lot about perceiving non-verbal (or textual) cues like body language during market research when you read this book. 

Plus, the author’s inclination to make market research actionable is refreshing. 

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Continuous Discovery Habits by Terresa Torres 

Market research is not a one-time thing. Instead, it should be a continuous process. This book helps you create a constant discovery process for your business that will help you identify new opportunities. 

Terresa Torres is an authority when it comes to continuous discovery. The concept preaches spending your time and money on things that matter the most and creating constant value for your end customers. The book has everything you need to find opportunities to delight your customers. 

If you constantly question if you are building and promoting a product that customers want, you should have this book on your reading list. The book recommends a structured way to discover opportunities that will help you become a much-loved brand and stand out in a competitive ecosystem. 

Who is it for? 

If you are a product manager with the responsibility of finding a product-market fit, you should read this book. It will give you everything you need to get started, plus the ideas to succeed in the long run. 

What is good about the book? 

The book is clear, has lots of examples, and is filled with practical frameworks. There is a lot of pragmatic advice on how to link insights to ‘real’ work and decision-making, so you will not feel bored. You will find everything you need to plan and execute the concepts introduced in the book.

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Inspired enough to start market research? Try GapScout now 

Books have always inspired humans to stay ambitious and act towards a goal. If you have been planning to start market research, this list might be your motivator. So, why not begin market research to improve your business right away? 

If you think it takes a lot of time to follow a market research process, GapScout comes to your rescue. You can start market research using online reviews in minutes and get all the insights on a central dashboard. 

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Anmol Sachdeva
Anmol Sachdeva
Anmol is an independent content marketing consultant who loves to write actionable pieces on small business growth, marketing automation, market research, and growth as a solopreneur. Reach out on Twitter.

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