Back to Blogs

What Is Market Research: A Complete Guide

Guide to Market Research
Published on Jul 01, 2022

More than doubling in size from 2008 to 2021, the market research sector brought in over $76.4 (Statista) billion worldwide in 2021.  

What is Market Research?

Market research is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market, about the product or service to be offered for sale in that market. It is also about the previous, current, and potential customers for the product or service. 

Data collection, analysis, and interpretation are the three main steps in any successful market research project. The data could pertain to a certain demographic, general consumers, rival businesses, or the entire market. This is the cornerstone of any thriving business. The findings can be used for anything from discovering a fresh opportunity to entering the market to developing an entirely new product or service. 

Small business owners can benefit greatly from conducting market research. It can eliminate uncertainty in the creative process and direct energy and funding toward the most promising ideas and initiatives. Many types of market research are conducted by businesses at many different stages. 

Market Research for Small Businesses  

Accurate and comprehensive data gives a plethora of information on potential and existing customers, competitors, and the industry as a whole, making it the bedrock of any successful commercial endeavor. It helps entrepreneurs weigh the odds of success before sinking a lot of money into a new firm. 

Market Research Strategies 

An essential aspect of every successful business plan is conducting market research to gather data that can be used to address potential marketing obstacles. In reality, it is not viable to develop tactics like market segmentation (identifying distinct groups within a market) and product differentiation (establishing a unique selling proposition for a product or service that distinguishes it from the competition) without conducting market research. 

Types of Market Research  

1. Quantitative research 

The results of quantitative studies are typically presented using numerical and graphic representations. It's the gold standard for verifying or disproving hypotheses. It is possible to establish broad, overarching truths about a subject by conducting this kind of study. Experiments, numerically recorded observations, and surveys with a limited number of predetermined answer choices are all examples of common quantitative approaches. 

2. Qualitative research 

Words are the currency of qualitative inquiry. It's a tool for making sense of things like ideas and experiences. Using this method, you can learn more about a topic from every angle, which is very useful for researching controversial or poorly understood subjects. Open-ended interviews, written descriptions of observations, and in-depth analyses of the existing literature are all examples of common qualitative techniques. 

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research 

Quantitative research focuses on numerical and statistical facts, while qualitative research examines concepts and interpretations. Both are necessary to learn various things. Comparatively, qualitative research draws its conclusions from interviews and documents rather than statistics and reasoning. Quantitative studies typically report their findings numerically or graphically, while qualitative studies report their findings verbally. 

3. Primary Research 

Primary data refers to a study that seeks to collect firsthand information from real-world participants. Primary research is data collected by the researcher themselves through various techniques of approaching the target audience directly. You have full legal and ethical rights to the data set you to create. Primary research can be challenging due to the time, money, resources, and familiarity with the topic that it demands. 

4. Secondary Research 

Secondary research is a study that is done after primary research has already been conducted, and it consists of analyzing, interpreting, and summarizing the results of the primary research. A more precise definition of secondary research would be any study that makes use of publicly available data. When conducting secondary research, scholars refer to information that has already been gathered, processed, and made public (and therefore, you do not own this data). Since the accessible data has already been evaluated and interpreted, the researcher just needs to determine the data he wants to use, i.e., the data that is necessary for his project. 


Primary vs. Secondary Market Research

Research that involves the collection of new information, or "primary" research, is distinguished from secondary research by the fact that it is conducted for the first time on a particular topic. Instead, secondary research makes use of information that has previously been gathered through primary research. The fundamental dividing line between primary and secondary research is whether the research has been done before. 

5. Market Research 

Market research on branding can help a business develop, launch, and sustain its brand. This may involve the firm's ethos, branding, visuals, ideals, or very name. Interviews, focus groups, and surveys are all viable options for conducting research. 

6. Customer Research 

Market research on customers is learning what factors most strongly affect your demographic of interest and what adjustments may be made to better attract and retain them as paying customers. The objective of this study is to acquire an intimate understanding of your consumer base and their habits and preferences as they relate to your business. 

7. Competitor Research 

Conducting market research on your competitors entails learning about their businesses and assessing how they stack up against your own. Your competitive product in the market or how to break into a new market could also be a topic of discussion. The study's overarching goal is to help your company prepare for the future by identifying methods to set itself apart from competitors and by learning from customers' opinions and suggestions. 

8. Product Research 

Conducting market research on your items is essential to ensuring they will sell successfully once they hit the shelves. Finding out how people feel about your product and if they feel it's valuable and functioning properly is the goal of this study. The ability to think creatively about enhancements and new features is another benefit. 

Benefits of Market Research 

According to a survey, the market research business is expected to increase at a rate of 12-14% (The Economic Times) per year through FY26, at which point it would have surpassed the $4 billion mark. 

Benefits of Market Research 

The following is a list of the most important reasons and benefits of marketing research: 

  • It's a great tool for boosting companies' standing. The ability to think critically and act on that thinking is the key to success. You can keep your business one step ahead of the competition by conducting market research to expand your knowledge of your market or target audience. 

  • Reduces the potential for loss on an investment. This is a basic point to think about, but it is often crucial to the success of a firm. When starting a firm, it makes sense to spend what amounts to a negligible amount on research and testing the market, product, concept, or idea. 

  • Possible dangers and benefits are highlighted. Insurance against these two glaring pitfalls lies in both primary research (fieldwork) and secondary research (desk research). Opportunities or red flags may be uncovered through the combination of this with qualitative research for further investigation. 

  • You can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of your own business and of your competitors. To achieve entirely objective reporting, it is generally recommended to collaborate with a market research agency. Take advantage of what you've learned from study to improve in areas where you're weak and to gain an edge over the competition. 

  • Strategic preparation is helped by this. Where do you stand with the core principles of your company plan? If it's supported by data, and you've put in the time and effort to do your own (hopefully continuous) research, you can rest assured that you're giving yourself the best chance of success in your commercial endeavors. 

  • This aids in the identification of developing tendencies. Being the first, the best, or coming up with the idea that nobody else has is typically what it takes to stay ahead in business. Taking the pulse of your industry on a regular basis is an important habit. You can learn more about the tools available to you to identify and capitalize on these trends by consulting with a research firm or expert. 

  • Helpful for firms in keeping up with the competition. Being the best calls for an insatiable need for knowledge and a propensity to experiment. The key to success, and the ability to maintain that success, is knowing how to effectively apply the information gleaned from market research, audience research, and data research. 

  • It includes forecasts for future income. One of the most important parts of any market study is a forecast, which looks into the future and predicts the size, makeup, and trends of the market you're interested in. This allows for the categorization of prospective clients. You should prioritize the market that is the best fit for your business rather than the largest or fastest-growing. 

  • It's geared toward meeting the wants and desires of its patrons. Many things in business, including research, benefit from keeping clients front and center. By reaching out to individuals through online panels, web forums, telephone surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus groups, market researchers can learn where their business's ideas, services, and products can be strengthened. 

  • Using this method, one can measure the progress of one's company against predetermined standards. Utilize data gathered from the market to study the competition, gauge employee enthusiasm, identify knowledge or skill shortages, and identify development opportunities. This will allow you to consider novel approaches, ideas, and resources for boosting your company's efficiency. 

  • Product Research 

    Market Research Tools 

    In order to better understand your market and target audience, you need to use market research techniques. It's fundamental to every company's success, and in today's more crowded marketplace, a thorough familiarity with your target market is more important than ever. Good news: you don't have to be an "insights genius" to get started collecting the data you need, owing to the proliferation of market research tools. Some of the best and most widely-used methods of market research include: 

  • Answer the Public 
  • Attest 
  • Google Trends 
  • Social Mention 
  • Remesh 
  • Heartbeat Ai 
  • Think With Google 
  • Spyfu 
  • Latana 
  • BuzzSumo 
  • Statista 
  • Typeform 
  • Yelp 
  • How to Conduct Research for Your Business: Market Research Strategies 

    Despite their different objectives, market research and marketing research should use the same framework for gathering and analyzing information about your company's target audiences. These help in primary research as well as secondary research.  

    Clearly identify the problem at stake. Establish an initial research topic. Having a clear research question in mind will allow you to better organize your findings. 

    Start by figuring out your financial and time constraints. How much money do you have to put into your study? When do you anticipate finishing data collection? Research, like any other tactic for expanding your company, should be carried out within your means. Nonetheless, it may be worthwhile to spend more money to receive the most comprehensive results available, especially if the questions you are answering are time-sensitive. 

    Planning your approach and requirements. Find out what information needs to be gathered and figure out how to get it. Observation, surveys, phone calls, and focus groups are among the alternatives. Consult a professional research agency if you are unsure of how to organize your data collection. 

    Pick a way to sample the data. I need to know how you plan on picking people to take part in your study. You may require a cross-section of the consumer population at large, a subset of the population who share a particular characteristic of their way of life, or just the opinions of those who are already familiar with your brand. Develop a plan for tracking down and contacting the persons who will take part in your research. 

    Prepare a data analysis strategy. Think about the methods you'll use to examine the data. Do you require numbers for statistical analysis, or can you get a sense of things from qualitative, observable data? Spend some time learning about the many types of analysis so you can pick the one that will yield the most useful results for your study. 

    Gathering information. The next step is data collection, which may begin once you have settled on a research question and developed a strategy for answering it within the bounds of your time and money. Research is often outsourced to professional firms or consultants by many corporations. 

    Examining the information. It is important to apply certain methods of analysis to make sense of your data, no matter how simple it may appear at first. Which analytical techniques you employ are most suited to your data is a function of the information you've gathered. Also, this is the time to double-check for any mistakes that might have crept into your data gathering, analysis, or sampling. 


    Make the report you need. Concluding your research with a written report is the next to last stage. From formulating a problem statement to discussing the findings of your data study, your report should include it all. 

    Why is Market Research Important?

    Over 44,000 businesses across the United States provide some form of market research. Their total annual income is around $23 billion (QuestionPro).  

    The importance of Market Research is the following -  

    1. Identifies new products or services

    By conducting market research, a business can learn what consumers want and how to best meet their demands. Identifying the major challenges associated with creating a product or service can help you save money. It's useful for figuring out what customers value most and how to implement that into your product or service offering. 

    2. Identifies potential customers

    You may learn more about your clientele by analyzing demographic information like their gender, age, income, occupation, and interests. You'll have a better idea of who to target with your future advertising efforts if you have a clear picture of your current clientele. When a product is marketed to the wrong demographic, sales suffer. 

    3. Establishes viability of a product or service

    If your organization is considering introducing a novel product or service to consumers, you should find out if there is a need for it. Do people need this product? Do the people you plan to sell to actually want this product? Does it have any chance of succeeding, and does it even have a chance of being a viable trend? 

    4. Anticipates and discovers future market trends 

    If you are familiar with your market and the tendencies that are just beginning to emerge, you will be better prepared to build tactics to combat any negative tendencies that may threaten your company. As a result, you can use rising tendencies to your advantage and propel your company forward. 

    5. Keeps your company ahead of competitors

    Examining your company's performance in relation to that of its rivals is a prime use for comparative research. If they're much ahead of you, it's a fantastic chance to figure out what you're doing wrong. It is possible to devise business plans that will help you surpass the competition. 

    6. Decide the best marketing strategy

    Conducting research is helpful for pinpointing the optimal distribution platform for reaching your target audience. If you find out that a large portion of your audience prefers one form of communication over another, it makes sense to concentrate your efforts there. Because of the scarcity of these resources, it only makes sense to direct them toward endeavors with a high probability of success. 

    7. Reduces risk and increases profitability

    The ability to assess the value of potential risks in light of past performance and anticipated future market behavior is a crucial business skill. The success or failure of a business idea depends heavily on the results of market research. Understanding your consumers and their habits is another crucial step in risk reduction. Taking less risk leads to greater financial rewards. 

    8. Identifies threats and opportunities

    The SWOT analysis is likely familiar to many of you. The acronym SWOT refers to a company's "strengths," "weaknesses," and "All four of them can be figured out with the use of market research. While a lot of data can be collected through market research, not all of it needs to be used. Use only information that is directly related to your major objective (which you will have established in advance). 

    9. Helps to understand existing customers

    By conducting market research, you can learn more about your current clientele. Because of this complexity, you can't assume that you know what your clients require. If you want to be successful, you need to take the temperature of your clientele on a frequent basis. Satisfaction levels among customers can also be measured with the help of surveys. You can find out what is bothering them and make adjustments if necessary. If they are already rather high, you can examine the factors that led to this success and implement changes to maintain it. 

    10. Assists in realistic goal setting

    Goals that are more realistic can be established with the support of up-to-the-minute information on your market and customer base. Knowing what to expect and how to realistically expand growth over time is greatly aided by establishing a growth pattern throughout time. Setting objectives that are too lofty will cause you to waste time and energy trying to achieve something that is impossible. 

     importance of Market Research

    How Efficient is Market Research? 

    You should only invest time, energy, and money into market research if you expect to see a favorable return on that investment. Because it is so worthwhile, market research continues to play a significant role in the success of any organization. Market research won't ensure your company's success on its own, but it will arm you with the data you need to make the moves that will. 

    Many of the advantages of this type of study were examined, but the drawbacks were also taken into account. If you don't conduct market research, you run the danger of losing clients to the competition, missing out on growth prospects, being more susceptible to hazards, making bad business decisions, and more. Some companies succeed without first doing their homework, but those situations are unusual. To build your firm and avoid typical errors, conduct market research. 

    Market Research Methods  

    Although there are a variety of approaches to conducting market research, the majority of companies opt to utilize one of the following five fundamental approaches: surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials. Which strategies you decide to implement for your company will depend on the kinds of data you require as well as the amount of money you are ready to pay. Some of the major methods of market research are the following - 

    1. Surveys 

    Surveys ask participants questions. They can use numerous survey methods. Surveys are a cost-effective technique to collect data for the study. Written surveys may encourage truthful responses since participants feel like they're speaking privately. 

    2. Discussions 

    Focus groups are moderated discussions. Companies assemble consumers to conduct focus groups, pose questions, and record replies. Participants' replies may reveal what consumers want in a firm or a product because they represent a broad group. Focus groups offer longer participant interaction than surveys. 

    3. Interviews 

    An interview combines focus group and one-on-one survey aspects. It includes recording one participant's comments at a time. Open-ended questions elicit in-depth answers from the interviewee. Researchers can ask follow-up questions and let interviewees ask their own. 

    4. Social media listening 

    Social media users routinely discuss corporations and their products. Researchers can search for discussion topics and measure consumer sentiment through social media listening. 

    5. Observations 

    Observation in market research means studying how consumers shop. Filming shoppers in a store and studying their shopping habits is common. This strategy can reveal their natural selves if they are ignorant of the observation. 

    6. Experiments 

    In a field trial, a corporation lets participants use a product under typical conditions and collects data. Participants' feedback was used to improve the product. 

    7. Competitive analysis 

    Competitive analysis is a secondary market research process where companies acquire and analyze competition information. It entails identifying primary and secondary rivals and analyzing their offerings, revenues, and marketing methods. 

    8. Statistics 

    Public data entails seeking and evaluating public market data. This research is often free online or in libraries. Research centers, polls, or government databases may provide this information. Public data is often used to confirm or compare primary market research. 

    9. Purchased data 

    Companies without the time or resources to perform their own market research can buy it. Several market research companies sell database subscriptions. Small and medium-sized businesses that can't afford primary market research may benefit from this approach. 

    10. Analysis of sales data 

    Competition analysis is just one way that may be used in tandem with sales data analysis to show how different business tactics affect revenue. It can also reveal consumers' buying behavior and consumer trends. 

    Functions of Marketing Research  

    The following are the main functions of Marketing Research - 

    Description: Marketing research details customers. Age, sex, education, income, etc., are listed. It describes the market and competitors. This description helps marketing decision-makers and problem-solvers. 

    Evaluation: Marketing research evaluates firm performance. It evaluates production and marketing policies. It measures customer reactions to product quality, price, packaging, advertising, sales, and promotions. If consumers dislike the company's policies, they must alter them. It contrasts company and rival policies. 

    Functions of Marketing Research  

    Explanation: Marketing research answers all marketing questions. It explains why sales are declining, why retailers are unhappy, etc. It explains the problem's causes. It gives a solution. 

    Prediction: Marketing research forecasts. Predictions are future forecasts. It predicts sales, market prospects, dangers, marketing environment, customer behavior, etc. All predictions may be wrong. Predictions help the organization create plans and policies. It helps seize possibilities. It prevents future hazards. 

    Decision Making: Marketing research aids decision-makers. It gives decision-making data. Decision-making involves choosing between options. Decision-making requires accurate data. MR helps the marketer decide. It gives decision-making data. It offers alternatives. It compares each option's pros and cons. It helps marketing managers choose the right action. 


    The world's markets are changing at a dizzying rate, making it more important than ever for companies to adapt quickly enough to be competitive. One method is to conduct market research. The results of your market research and analysis will provide you with a thorough understanding of your target audience's wants and needs, as well as your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. 

    The key to making your business successful in the face of intense competition is identifying and fixing your deficiencies. The right market research tools will aid you in doing just that! The time to begin expanding your company is now.  

    With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.    

    A leader in Market research services, SG Analytics enables organizations to achieve actionable insights into products, technology, customers, competition, and the marketplace to make insight-driven decisions. Contact us today if you are an enterprise looking to make critical data-driven decisions to prompt accelerated growth and breakthrough performance.