How to write effective market research questions

Every business owner wants to get into the head of their audience, as it makes a business successful. That is why primary data is valuable, and every blog you read suggests asking the right market research questions. 

The right questions will give you a way into the psyche of your customers, driving your business in the right direction, but how do you create the perfect market research questionnaire? 

In this article, we will share some interesting tips and examples of market research questions that would help you speed up your market research process.

Types of market research questions.

Market research is a tricky game for someone who is just beginning. There are many moving pieces and cogs to handle, which can sometimes get overwhelming. 

 While it is crucial for decision-making and should be prioritized, many people make the mistake of rushing the process. They forget that if they do not create a contextual market research questionnaire, it can make the insights inconclusive or confusing. 

A market research survey should have questions based on your market research goal. This will help you get qualitative insights from your audience. Here are the types of questions you can ask your audience: 

Multiple choice questions 

You must have tackled MCQ quizzes in your high school or college. When doing market research, these questions are useful when you need to cast a wide net and understand the different opinions (or options) a respondent has. For example, the types of credit cards they hold and use frequently. 

Source: QuestionPro

Single choice questions

Single-choice (or radio button) questions give users only one choice to select from a given list. These questions are suitable when you want to:

  • Segment your customers.
  • Discover critical pain points.
  • Qualify your respondents for the following survey segments.

You can also use these questions for product development or customer satisfaction surveys. For example, asking users which features they hate or like to see in future updates. 

Matrix grid questions 

A matrix question grid is usually seen in customer satisfaction surveys but can be used in market research questionnaires to shorten the surveys. 

Here’s an example of a matrix question: 

Source: SurveyLab

Ranking questions

Ranking questions ask the respondents to prioritize their opinions or choices in order of preference; for example, what is the most important criterion for you while booking a room in a hotel?

  1. Location 
  2. Amenities 
  3. Food
  4. Service
  5. Customer Ratings

Customers can rank their preferences by moving the options up and down. These questions help understand a respondent’s preferences and choices, which can be crucial for marketing campaign planning, copywriting, and creative decision-making. 

Open-ended questions

Open-ended questions are straightaway questions that ask respondents to write out their answers directly. These are free text responses that one can share to explain the reasons for their last response or freely share opinions. 

Such answers do not have a definitive structure and can be hard to analyze at scale. Many modern market research tools use sentiment analysis features to categorize open-ended responses. 

For example, GapScout can help you unearth trends and the general sentiments from online customer reviews. 

Market research questions for segmenting your audience.

Segmentation divides your target audience into categories to personalize marketing campaigns, improve the value proposition, or delight users with contextual information or offers.

Market research with segmentation as an objective should have questions that give you granular-level insights about your audience, their preferences, and their character traits.

Ideally, segmentation questions should aim to gather insights about demographics, psychographics, or behavioral characteristics. 

Before writing market research questions for segmenting audiences, you should find answers to questions like:  

  • What locations are the most popular among customers? 
  • What are our existing customers’ interests, preferences, fears, and aspirations? 
  • Do we have existing data on the demographics of our ideal target audience? 
  • Have we segmented our customers before? If yes, how is the current situation different from before? 
  • Are we expecting to prove any hypothesis regarding customer expectations, pain points, or aspirations? 
  • How do our customers find out about us? 

Once you write out the answers to the above questions, you will have ample ideas on how to structure your market research survey. If you are still clueless, here are a few questions to help you get inspired. 

Segmentation market research question examples: 

  • Are you open to trying new experiences, or love sticking to your regular brands? 
  • What is your hobby? What do you enjoy in your leisure time? 
  • What kind of food do you like? 
  • Where do you research before going for a big-ticket purchase? 
  • How much money do you usually spend on x (product)?
  • What is your primary source of information? 
  • Are you married? If yes, how many children do you have? 
  • Where do you shop for your monthly groceries? 

Market research questions for product development.

A lot of data goes into developing a new product. So, conducting market research for product development is essential, as it gives you enough information about what your customer wants to see in a new product. It also helps you understand the perception of your product over competitors and will also help you prioritize your product roadmap. 

When planning to conduct market research for product development, ask yourself: 

  • What products are currently available in the market? 
  • Are the users dissatisfied with existing offerings? 
  • How does your product compare to other products available in the market? 
  • What are the pain points no one is solving for customers? 
  • Do you have the resources to build a customer-centric roadmap and deliver a unique product? 
  • What value proposition can you offer? 
  • How to gather customer feedback from the existing users (of competitors)? 

You can use GapScout to conduct market research from existing product reviews of competitors to get deep insights into what users want. These insights will help you identify the opportunity gaps in the market that you can confirm by asking on-point questions in your market research questionnaire. 

Product development market research question examples:

  • Which features are most valuable to you when you use xxx (product)? 
  • What challenges do you face with XXXX ( your industry, for example, organic skincare brands)?
  • What do you wish XXXX (product/service) had that it currently does not?
  • What tools do you use at your job or in your daily life? 
  • What brand/company do you turn to when you have xxxx problem (your pain point)?
  • How often do you use a product/service during the day/week/month?

Market research questions for pricing strategy. 

An on-point pricing strategy is one of the most critical elements for the success of your business because this will drive revenues. Pricing market research to understand consumers’ interest in paying for something will ensure long-term success. 

Accurate pricing market research can help you stay profitable, attract more users, and keep growing through various business cycles. Before starting market research, ask yourself: 

  • Have your existing customers ever complained about your price? 
  • How do the competitors charge for their products, and what features do they offer? 
  • How is the perception of your current pricing plans in the eyes of customers compared to competitors? 
  • Do your products offer value for money for customers? 
  • How will restructuring the price affect the revenue or profit margins?
  • Is there any room for cross-selling or upselling among the existing customer group? 
  • Can we offer a free tier, plan or demo to attract more customers? 

The answers to the above questions will give your market research a clear direction about what to ask. For example, suppose you know your customers charge less than you and your customers feel cheated because of this. In that case, you can create a direct question about how disappointed they are and then take corrective actions to delight future users. 

Pricing market research question examples:

  • Would you purchase the product at xxx price? 
  • What do you think about the cost of xxx (category or product) in the market? Is it costly, cheap, or justifies its worth? 
  • What sort of customer service would you expect in return
  •  if you have to pay for a service or product every month? 
  • Are you confused about the pricing of xxx (competing product)? 

Market research questions for branding & marketing

Whether you are branding for a small business, startup, or enterprise, you will need detailed inputs and information about your target audience. Market research for branding and advertising helps you analyze the effectiveness of your current campaigns and provides inputs for future marketing strategies. 

A standard market research questionnaire would help you generate ideas, gather inspiration, and optimize your overall marketing/branding strategy. Here’s what you should keep in mind when you are planning market research for branding or marketing: 

  • What are our best-performing advertising and marketing channels currently? 
  • Do we have a brand recall or desired visibility? 
  • Do we achieve the desired ROI? If not, what is stopping us from attaining efficiency or effectiveness? 
  • Do our customers associate the brand with the value proposition we offer? 
  • Are our positioning and communication precise enough for customers to understand how we address their fear and apprehensions? 
  • Are our competitors performing better in terms of marketing? If yes, what channels are they most active on? 
  • Are we running A/B tests or conducting conversion optimization for our existing marketing efforts? 

Branding & marketing research question examples:

  • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘xxx’ (your brand name)? 
  • Where did you first hear about XXXX (your brand name)? 
  • If XXXX (name of your brand) was a person, how would you describe them? 
  • Will you pick xxx (the product) from an online store or an offline retailer? 
  • Look at the video clip. What do you think right after you finish seeing the video? (for perception analysis of a new video campaign) 
  • When you see it online, will you click on Banner A or Banner B? (linked with banner options) 

Best practices for writing market research questions.

  • Create multiple-choice questions with mutually exclusive options: Do not create overlapping options for MCQs. For example, if you are asking about the age, make sure to have exclusive options such as 10-17, 18-24, 25-34 and so on. This will make sure your data is not skewed. 
  • Calculate the required sample size beforehand: You should know how many respondents you need to gather conclusive findings. The best way is to use an online sample size calculator that helps you account for the margin of error and confidence level of respondents. This way, you will have desired data without wastage of resources. 
  • Keep questions straightforward: Every question should be written with the intention of gathering one clear insight. There should not be more than one question about the same issue. This will make your life easier and improve the quality of the data you gather. At the same time, do not add double-barreled questions to the survey that confuse a respondent. 

Save time with GapScout. 

Conducting a compelling and conclusive market research survey is time-consuming and costly — something not every entrepreneur can afford, especially at the early stages. Even with the most accurate questions to gather insights, human errors can lead to inconclusive results. 

A better way to conduct market research for your business is to use online customer reviews to gather insights. GapScout helps you scan real customer reviews in your industry and provide deep insights on customer pain points, expectations, need gaps, and opportunities in the market. 

Use GapScout to save time gathering insights and start optimizing your business plan and operations within hours. 

Also Read: 

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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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