The ultimate guide to market research for business

It’s finally here: the ultimate guide to market research for business!

Many business owners plan their quarters (and the year) during January and try to stay on track, and if you are eager to learn a new skill or experiment, there cannot be a better time. You are already refreshed after a cozy holiday, your brain is fresh, and you learn new things faster. So, why not improve your business by starting market research in 2023? 

In this exhaustive article, we will share all our resources, tricks and tips to help you get started with market research in the coming months.

What is market research? 

What is market research? Statue of the "the thinker.

You would have heard about market research on YouTube and podcasts and read about it in books, but you still need to figure it out. What exactly is market research? 

Well, it is not rocket science, but as simple as knowing your friend. It’s about having an insight into the market you are working in. Theoretically, it is the analysis of the audience, competition, industry, and market you are operating. This involves collecting information about your audience’s needs, wants, and desires and what is already available in the market. 

If you feel overwhelmed every time you hear about market research, we have covered a way to simplify the market research process as an entrepreneur. 

Also Read: 

Why is market research important?

"Info" written on the wall.

It is good to keep your eyes on the road while driving — the same is true with running a business. Market research helps you keep an eye on everything that helps you stay on track. 

One of the biggest benefits of market research is that it helps you gauge the market demand. This helps you build and promote the right thing. Also, market research gives you more understanding of the landscape, your customers, competitors, and more. All this helps you in: 

  • Becoming more customer-centric. 
  • Improve your brand positioning. 
  • Making data-driven marketing decisions. 
  • Identify viable growth opportunities. 
  • Lowering business risks. 

You already understand the importance of some or all of the above. If you are serious about your market research, you can find low-hanging fruits, identify business opportunities and beat the competition efficiently. 

Also Read: 

Types of market research. 

Man at computer, on a beanbag, doing market research for business.

Market research might happen in a million ways, but all kinds of market research activity are divided into two types — primary and secondary. 

While primary research involves your target group directly through surveys and interactions, secondary research is more indirect. Both types are essential for gathering insights and informed decision-making. 

Primary Market Research 

Primary market research involves interacting with users, the target audience, and your customer by conducting market research surveys. This type of market research is done by internal teams or directly hired consultants to get first-hand data by asking relevant market research questions, surveys, focus groups, and interviews. 

Such research brings out high-quality, contextual, and specific data for a company to analyze. However, being so focused and specific, this kind of research is costly and, most of the time, not affordable for a startup, small business owner, or early-stage entrepreneur. 

Secondary Market Research 

Secondary market research is a more cost-effective and speedy method to perform market research than primary research. You do not interview people directly but rely on existing resources — industry reports, statistics, research studies, market analytics, and even customer reviews to find out more about your audience. 

As you do not have to wait for anyone or set aside a specific budget for conducting interviews, secondary market research is picking the pace as a research methodology in the world of agile development. 

A great way to leverage secondary research is to use AI for market research by analyzing customer sentiment in online reviews. This provides real-time information about what customers want and helps you pivot faster. 

Also Read:

Starting with market research: 5 simple steps.

Red shoes of a person climbing blue steps.

We all have heard that market research needs in-depth insights, but that does not mean it has to be costly or complicated. There are a million ways to simplify market research for your business. 

For starters, you need to remember just five steps when you are beginning with your startup’s market research plan: 

  • Step 1: Define the goal, problem or opportunity — Write down what you want to know from your market research activity. 
  • Step 2: Develop your research plan — Document how you will start and execute your market research data. Also, write down how you will analyze your market research data. 
  • Step 3: Gather relevant information or data — Build a system or use a market research tool to gather relevant info or data for market research activity. 
  • Step 4: Analyze data and record insights — Use innovative techniques or visual aids to derive insights from your qualitative data, or use AI tools to unearth hidden opportunities. 
  • Step 5: Decide and Move Ahead — Use the newfound knowledge to make marketing, product development, branding, and other decisions across your company. 

Need to dig deeper? Here is our 5-Step Market Research Process to help you get started. 

Also Read:

Market research toolkit for smallbiz & startup owners.

toolbox with screwdrivers.

Conducting market research manually is a lot of hassle. Sometimes, so much so that most of us start ignoring it, among other things. That is natural and understandable for a business owner. 

Did you know you can do market research by spending 5 minutes every day? You can even start market research with Google. Here are eight more tools to help you set up a market research automation plan for your business: 

  • Hotjar — Use your website to analyze audience and visitor behavior. 
  • SEMRush — Leverage market explorer to gather insights and trends around a product or service. 
  • SurveyMonkey — Conduct market research surveys at scale. 
  • TalkWalker Alerts — Get alerts about brand mentions on blogs, forums, websites and even social media. 
  • ThinkwithGoogle — Discover valuable insights, market trends, and more using the power of Google. 
  • TypeForm — Create online surveys for your audience within minutes. 
  • Attest — Get real insights in record time through surveys using an existing audience pool.  
  • GapScout — Automate market research using online customer reviews.

These tools can save you a lot of time and start your very own market research engine for years to come. And here is a little secret — all these tools will help you eventually automate the process, so you will not despise spending time documenting lengthy survey responses within spreadsheets or PPT reports. 

Read More: 3 Ways to Do Market Research with Google 

Market research for businesses. 

Man looking at a dry-erase board.

If you have been searching about how to do market research for your startup, you are probably confused already. While there is a lot of information online, only some things are relevant to a business owner. 

Most market research content is too technical (or boring) that it dozes you off to sleep every time you start reading it. But you can still leverage market research for your small business, SaaS startup, digital marketing agency, or your next branding project. 

We have made it simple by creating actionable, no non-sense guides for startup owners and small businesses. Take a look: 

More on market research: books, examples, etc. 

pile of books

If you came here searching for references and examples of successful market research for business, you are in for some good luck. We covered the best market research branding examples from all over the internet so that you do not have to waste time. Here is a quick overview of these success stories: 

  1. NexOptic used market research before the brand launch. 
  2. Hello Bank! Used market research for repositioning. 
  3. Lidl repositioned itself based on market insights using market research. 
  4. Jewelers of America understood audience expectations and stayed relevant using market research. 
  5. Antwerp City planned a brand image refresh to attract tourists. 

Read More: Examples and Case Studies of Market Research

While this is a great starting point and inspiration to help early-stage entrepreneurs understand market research use cases, not everyone’s looking for such specific examples.

In that case, we have got some valuable books you can read. Go grab these market research books before you begin: 

  1. The Market Research Toolbox: A Concise Guide for Beginners — Edward McQuarrie
  2. Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping–Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond — Paco Underhill
  3. The Psychology of Survey Response by Roger 
  4. Market Segmentation: How to Do It and How to Profit from It — Malcolm McDonald 
  5. Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
  6. Strategic Market Research: A Guide to Conducting Research that Drives Businesses
  7. Continuous Discovery Habits by Terresa Torres 

Read More: Best Market Research Books for Busy Entrepreneurs 

Automate your market research.

Small robot toy representing automation of market research for business.

We know it is hard to start market research, and even harder to analyze market research data manually. But trust me, you need to start somewhere. 

New year is when everyone around you is busy planning a ‘new’ thing. It is best to not fall into the hype of a shiny new object and instead focus on fundamentals, like knowing your customers. 

Starting market research is not rocket science. You need to find ways to listen to your customers. And if you are confused about where to start with market research, give GapScout a shot. 

We provide AI-driven customer reviews analysis so that you do not have to analyze data for insights manually. The software can give you actionable insights in real-time and helps you make informed decisions.

Start a free trial today and see the wonders of automated market research for your business! 

Ready to Automate Your Market Research?
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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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