How to Write a Marketing Research Objective

We all know the old adage: is marketing is an art or a science?

At Seer, we think it’s both. But not necessarily both at the same time. We believe the better question is: which comes first in marketing, art or science?

And if you ask us that question, we’d tell you it’s a science first.

"The science of marketing is all about using data and insights to drive your strategy. The art of marketing is how you express that strategy."

Now that we know we are starting with science, what does that mean exactly?

Well, remember when you were in school and you had to come up with your own science research experiment? Remember what came first? The objective. Why? Because without an objective, you don’t have a testable proposition. And without a testable proposition, you don’t have direction. And we all know that when research doesn’t have a direction, it typically doesn’t garner any groundbreaking takeaways.

So, what does your high school science experiment have to do with marketing research?

Similar to the traditional objective, a great marketing research plan starts with a strong objective. One that is focused, measurable, and effective. Without a clear objective, your marketing research will not be as successful. 

What is a Marketing Research Objective?

[TIP] By definition, a "Research Objective" is a statement of purpose that outlines a specific result to achieve within a dedicated time frame and available resources.

Applying this logic to marketing, a marketing research objective is a statement that outlines what you want to know about your customer. Clearly defining your objective at the beginning stages will help you avoid conflicting expectations or wasted collecting irrelevant data. 

How Do You Create a Marketing Research Objective?

Start at the end. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but if you start with the desired outcome, you will be able to create a more focused objective. What’s the one thing you want to be able to take away from this research? What do you plan to do with the information? What does success look like? Use this objective as your compass while you navigate your research and analysis. 

Typically, it’s easiest to do this in the form of a question. Here are a few examples.

  • Example 1: Which features in Product X are most important to our Enterprise customers? 

This question will give you a list of features, in order of importance, for your Enterprise customer. 

  • Example 2: What are the different search triggers amongst our four customer segments? 

This question will result in a list of common factors that result in users searching for Service Y. 

When you start seeing all the data points, behaviors, and survey responses - curiosity can set in.

An abundance of data can pull you in multiple directions because each finding is interesting in its own right. That’s when your objective comes in. Know the end result you are working toward and stay on that path.

Creating a Research Objective

Once you’ve got your desired outcome, you’ll want to create your objective. A few things to consider as you create your statement: 

  • Where does this fit into your marketing strategy? Where does this objective fit into your larger marketing strategy? Not only is this helpful when dispersing information internally or getting buy-in, it keeps the research team focused on the higher business objectives attached to this research. Is this part of your company’s focus on brand awareness? A new product launch? An analysis of competitors? These are all very different things. 
  • Include your target audience. Typically, it’s difficult to understand everything with every user segment so pick which segment you plan to analyze. Is it your Enterprise customers? Customers living in a specific region? A certain demographic segment? Including this in your objective will be a helpful gut check when choosing participants. 
  • What will you measure? You don’t need to list out all of the data points you plan to measure, but there should be some measurable element in your objective. Is it sentiment? Are you looking for frequencies? What about behavioral trends? Including this in your objective will ensure you pick the most appropriate research methodology to acquire that measurable element. 
  • A behavior. What is the behavior or action that we are going to be researching? Is navigating your website? Is it purchasing a product? Is it clicking on an ad? 

Let’s look at some examples: 

marketing research objective

Common Marketing Research Objective Pitfalls

While creating an objective may seem relatively straightforward, it can be easy to get wrong. Let’s go over some of the common pitfalls.

Objective is Too Broad

Now, if you follow the outline above, this shouldn’t be an issue because it forces you to get granular with your objective. 

  • Specific: As part of our rebranding, we are conducting a sentiment analysis with our recurring customers 
  • Broad: As part of our rebranding, we will ask customers how they feel about it

We want to avoid broad objectives because they can allow curiosity to get the best of us and a once seemingly clear research project can get muddied. 

More Than One Objective

Every research project should have one objective and one objective only. Again, while this may seem easy enough to manage, you’d be surprised just how easy it is to sneak those secondary and tertiary objectives into your statement. 

  • One objective: We aim to understand what questions our customers have when considering purchasing a car 
  • Two objectives: We aim to understand what questions our customers have when searching for and considering a car 

You see, the questions customers may have when searching for a car could be completely different than the questions they have when considering purchasing a car. 

Making Assumptions

Avoid making your objective into a hypothesis with absolute statements and assumptions. Your objective should be more of a question than a prediction. That comes later. 

  • Objective: Uncover the purchase journey of our target demographic
  • Assumption: Uncover what part search plays in the purchase journey of our target demographic

This looks unsuspecting, but in reality, we're already assuming that search plays a role in our audience's journey. That could sway the focus of the research.  

Once you’ve created your objective, let it (and only it) drive the beginning stages of your marketing research.

Write it on a post-it and stick it on your desk, write it on the whiteboard at every meeting you have, keep it top of mind as you continue your research. It will serve as a compass and help you avoid being led astray by interesting data, curious colleagues, and conflicting agendas. 

More Tips for Understanding Your Audience

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How to Do Market Research: The Complete Guide

Learn how to do market research with this step-by-step guide, complete with templates, tools and real-world examples.

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Market research is the systematic process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a specific market or industry.

What are your customers’ needs? How does your product compare to the competition? What are the emerging trends and opportunities in your industry? If these questions keep you up at night, it’s time to conduct market research.

Market research plays a pivotal role in your ability to stay competitive and relevant, helping you anticipate shifts in consumer behavior and industry dynamics. It involves gathering these insights using a wide range of techniques, from surveys and interviews to data analysis and observational studies.

In this guide, we’ll explore why market research is crucial, the various types of market research, the methods used in data collection, and how to effectively conduct market research to drive informed decision-making and success.

What is market research?

The purpose of market research is to offer valuable insight into the preferences and behaviors of your target audience, and anticipate shifts in market trends and the competitive landscape. This information helps you make data-driven decisions, develop effective strategies for your business, and maximize your chances of long-term growth.

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Why is market research important? 

By understanding the significance of market research, you can make sure you’re asking the right questions and using the process to your advantage. Some of the benefits of market research include:

  • Informed decision-making: Market research provides you with the data and insights you need to make smart decisions for your business. It helps you identify opportunities, assess risks and tailor your strategies to meet the demands of the market. Without market research, decisions are often based on assumptions or guesswork, leading to costly mistakes.
  • Customer-centric approach: A cornerstone of market research involves developing a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences. This gives you valuable insights into your target audience, helping you develop products, services and marketing campaigns that resonate with your customers.
  • Competitive advantage: By conducting market research, you’ll gain a competitive edge. You’ll be able to identify gaps in the market, analyze competitor strengths and weaknesses, and position your business strategically. This enables you to create unique value propositions, differentiate yourself from competitors, and seize opportunities that others may overlook.
  • Risk mitigation: Market research helps you anticipate market shifts and potential challenges. By identifying threats early, you can proactively adjust their strategies to mitigate risks and respond effectively to changing circumstances. This proactive approach is particularly valuable in volatile industries.
  • Resource optimization: Conducting market research allows organizations to allocate their time, money and resources more efficiently. It ensures that investments are made in areas with the highest potential return on investment, reducing wasted resources and improving overall business performance.
  • Adaptation to market trends: Markets evolve rapidly, driven by technological advancements, cultural shifts and changing consumer attitudes. Market research ensures that you stay ahead of these trends and adapt your offerings accordingly so you can avoid becoming obsolete. 

As you can see, market research empowers businesses to make data-driven decisions, cater to customer needs, outperform competitors, mitigate risks, optimize resources and stay agile in a dynamic marketplace. These benefits make it a huge industry; the global market research services market is expected to grow from $76.37 billion in 2021 to $108.57 billion in 2026 . Now, let’s dig into the different types of market research that can help you achieve these benefits.

Types of market research 

  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Exploratory research
  • Descriptive research
  • Causal research
  • Cross-sectional research
  • Longitudinal research

Despite its advantages, 23% of organizations don’t have a clear market research strategy. Part of developing a strategy involves choosing the right type of market research for your business goals. The most commonly used approaches include:

1. Qualitative research

Qualitative research focuses on understanding the underlying motivations, attitudes and perceptions of individuals or groups. It is typically conducted through techniques like in-depth interviews, focus groups and content analysis — methods we’ll discuss further in the sections below. Qualitative research provides rich, nuanced insights that can inform product development, marketing strategies and brand positioning.

2. Quantitative research

Quantitative research, in contrast to qualitative research, involves the collection and analysis of numerical data, often through surveys, experiments and structured questionnaires. This approach allows for statistical analysis and the measurement of trends, making it suitable for large-scale market studies and hypothesis testing. While it’s worthwhile using a mix of qualitative and quantitative research, most businesses prioritize the latter because it is scientific, measurable and easily replicated across different experiments.

3. Exploratory research

Whether you’re conducting qualitative or quantitative research or a mix of both, exploratory research is often the first step. Its primary goal is to help you understand a market or problem so you can gain insights and identify potential issues or opportunities. This type of market research is less structured and is typically conducted through open-ended interviews, focus groups or secondary data analysis. Exploratory research is valuable when entering new markets or exploring new product ideas.

4. Descriptive research

As its name implies, descriptive research seeks to describe a market, population or phenomenon in detail. It involves collecting and summarizing data to answer questions about audience demographics and behaviors, market size, and current trends. Surveys, observational studies and content analysis are common methods used in descriptive research. 

5. Causal research

Causal research aims to establish cause-and-effect relationships between variables. It investigates whether changes in one variable result in changes in another. Experimental designs, A/B testing and regression analysis are common causal research methods. This sheds light on how specific marketing strategies or product changes impact consumer behavior.

6. Cross-sectional research

Cross-sectional market research involves collecting data from a sample of the population at a single point in time. It is used to analyze differences, relationships or trends among various groups within a population. Cross-sectional studies are helpful for market segmentation, identifying target audiences and assessing market trends at a specific moment.

7. Longitudinal research

Longitudinal research, in contrast to cross-sectional research, collects data from the same subjects over an extended period. This allows for the analysis of trends, changes and developments over time. Longitudinal studies are useful for tracking long-term developments in consumer preferences, brand loyalty and market dynamics.

Each type of market research has its strengths and weaknesses, and the method you choose depends on your specific research goals and the depth of understanding you’re aiming to achieve. In the following sections, we’ll delve into primary and secondary research approaches and specific research methods.

Primary vs. secondary market research

Market research of all types can be broadly categorized into two main approaches: primary research and secondary research. By understanding the differences between these approaches, you can better determine the most appropriate research method for your specific goals.

Primary market research 

Primary research involves the collection of original data straight from the source. Typically, this involves communicating directly with your target audience — through surveys, interviews, focus groups and more — to gather information. Here are some key attributes of primary market research:

  • Customized data: Primary research provides data that is tailored to your research needs. You design a custom research study and gather information specific to your goals.
  • Up-to-date insights: Because primary research involves communicating with customers, the data you collect reflects the most current market conditions and consumer behaviors.
  • Time-consuming and resource-intensive: Despite its advantages, primary research can be labor-intensive and costly, especially when dealing with large sample sizes or complex study designs. Whether you hire a market research consultant, agency or use an in-house team, primary research studies consume a large amount of resources and time.

Secondary market research 

Secondary research, on the other hand, involves analyzing data that has already been compiled by third-party sources, such as online research tools, databases, news sites, industry reports and academic studies.

Build your project graphic

Here are the main characteristics of secondary market research:

  • Cost-effective: Secondary research is generally more cost-effective than primary research since it doesn’t require building a research plan from scratch. You and your team can look at databases, websites and publications on an ongoing basis, without needing to design a custom experiment or hire a consultant. 
  • Leverages multiple sources: Data tools and software extract data from multiple places across the web, and then consolidate that information within a single platform. This means you’ll get a greater amount of data and a wider scope from secondary research.
  • Quick to access: You can access a wide range of information rapidly — often in seconds — if you’re using online research tools and databases. Because of this, you can act on insights sooner, rather than taking the time to develop an experiment. 

So, when should you use primary vs. secondary research? In practice, many market research projects incorporate both primary and secondary research to take advantage of the strengths of each approach.

One rule of thumb is to focus on secondary research to obtain background information, market trends or industry benchmarks. It is especially valuable for conducting preliminary research, competitor analysis, or when time and budget constraints are tight. Then, if you still have knowledge gaps or need to answer specific questions unique to your business model, use primary research to create a custom experiment. 

Market research methods

  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Observational research
  • Online research tools
  • Experiments
  • Content analysis
  • Ethnographic research

How do primary and secondary research approaches translate into specific research methods? Let’s take a look at the different ways you can gather data: 

1. Surveys and questionnaires

Surveys and questionnaires are popular methods for collecting structured data from a large number of respondents. They involve a set of predetermined questions that participants answer. Surveys can be conducted through various channels, including online tools, telephone interviews and in-person or online questionnaires. They are useful for gathering quantitative data and assessing customer demographics, opinions, preferences and needs. On average, customer surveys have a 33% response rate , so keep that in mind as you consider your sample size.

2. Interviews

Interviews are in-depth conversations with individuals or groups to gather qualitative insights. They can be structured (with predefined questions) or unstructured (with open-ended discussions). Interviews are valuable for exploring complex topics, uncovering motivations and obtaining detailed feedback. 

3. Focus groups

The most common primary research methods are in-depth webcam interviews and focus groups. Focus groups are a small gathering of participants who discuss a specific topic or product under the guidance of a moderator. These discussions are valuable for primary market research because they reveal insights into consumer attitudes, perceptions and emotions. Focus groups are especially useful for idea generation, concept testing and understanding group dynamics within your target audience.

4. Observational research

Observational research involves observing and recording participant behavior in a natural setting. This method is particularly valuable when studying consumer behavior in physical spaces, such as retail stores or public places. In some types of observational research, participants are aware you’re watching them; in other cases, you discreetly watch consumers without their knowledge, as they use your product. Either way, observational research provides firsthand insights into how people interact with products or environments.

5. Online research tools

You and your team can do your own secondary market research using online tools. These tools include data prospecting platforms and databases, as well as online surveys, social media listening, web analytics and sentiment analysis platforms. They help you gather data from online sources, monitor industry trends, track competitors, understand consumer preferences and keep tabs on online behavior. We’ll talk more about choosing the right market research tools in the sections that follow.

6. Experiments

Market research experiments are controlled tests of variables to determine causal relationships. While experiments are often associated with scientific research, they are also used in market research to assess the impact of specific marketing strategies, product features, or pricing and packaging changes.

7. Content analysis

Content analysis involves the systematic examination of textual, visual or audio content to identify patterns, themes and trends. It’s commonly applied to customer reviews, social media posts and other forms of online content to analyze consumer opinions and sentiments.

8. Ethnographic research

Ethnographic research immerses researchers into the daily lives of consumers to understand their behavior and culture. This method is particularly valuable when studying niche markets or exploring the cultural context of consumer choices.

How to do market research

  • Set clear objectives
  • Identify your target audience
  • Choose your research methods
  • Use the right market research tools
  • Collect data
  • Analyze data 
  • Interpret your findings
  • Identify opportunities and challenges
  • Make informed business decisions
  • Monitor and adapt

Now that you have gained insights into the various market research methods at your disposal, let’s delve into the practical aspects of how to conduct market research effectively. Here’s a quick step-by-step overview, from defining objectives to monitoring market shifts.

1. Set clear objectives

When you set clear and specific goals, you’re essentially creating a compass to guide your research questions and methodology. Start by precisely defining what you want to achieve. Are you launching a new product and want to understand its viability in the market? Are you evaluating customer satisfaction with a product redesign? 

Start by creating SMART goals — objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Not only will this clarify your research focus from the outset, but it will also help you track progress and benchmark your success throughout the process. 

You should also consult with key stakeholders and team members to ensure alignment on your research objectives before diving into data collecting. This will help you gain diverse perspectives and insights that will shape your research approach.

2. Identify your target audience

Next, you’ll need to pinpoint your target audience to determine who should be included in your research. Begin by creating detailed buyer personas or stakeholder profiles. Consider demographic factors like age, gender, income and location, but also delve into psychographics, such as interests, values and pain points.

The more specific your target audience, the more accurate and actionable your research will be. Additionally, segment your audience if your research objectives involve studying different groups, such as current customers and potential leads.

If you already have existing customers, you can also hold conversations with them to better understand your target market. From there, you can refine your buyer personas and tailor your research methods accordingly.

3. Choose your research methods

Selecting the right research methods is crucial for gathering high-quality data. Start by considering the nature of your research objectives. If you’re exploring consumer preferences, surveys and interviews can provide valuable insights. For in-depth understanding, focus groups or observational research might be suitable. Consider using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to gain a well-rounded perspective. 

You’ll also need to consider your budget. Think about what you can realistically achieve using the time and resources available to you. If you have a fairly generous budget, you may want to try a mix of primary and secondary research approaches. If you’re doing market research for a startup , on the other hand, chances are your budget is somewhat limited. If that’s the case, try addressing your goals with secondary research tools before investing time and effort in a primary research study. 

4. Use the right market research tools

Whether you’re conducting primary or secondary research, you’ll need to choose the right tools. These can help you do anything from sending surveys to customers to monitoring trends and analyzing data. Here are some examples of popular market research tools:

  • Market research software: Crunchbase is a platform that provides best-in-class company data, making it valuable for market research on growing companies and industries. You can use Crunchbase to access trusted, first-party funding data, revenue data, news and firmographics, enabling you to monitor industry trends and understand customer needs.

Market Research Graphic Crunchbase

  • Survey and questionnaire tools: SurveyMonkey is a widely used online survey platform that allows you to create, distribute and analyze surveys. Google Forms is a free tool that lets you create surveys and collect responses through Google Drive.
  • Data analysis software: Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are useful for conducting statistical analyses. SPSS is a powerful statistical analysis software used for data processing, analysis and reporting.
  • Social listening tools: Brandwatch is a social listening and analytics platform that helps you monitor social media conversations, track sentiment and analyze trends. Mention is a media monitoring tool that allows you to track mentions of your brand, competitors and keywords across various online sources.
  • Data visualization platforms: Tableau is a data visualization tool that helps you create interactive and shareable dashboards and reports. Power BI by Microsoft is a business analytics tool for creating interactive visualizations and reports.

5. Collect data

There’s an infinite amount of data you could be collecting using these tools, so you’ll need to be intentional about going after the data that aligns with your research goals. Implement your chosen research methods, whether it’s distributing surveys, conducting interviews or pulling from secondary research platforms. Pay close attention to data quality and accuracy, and stick to a standardized process to streamline data capture and reduce errors. 

6. Analyze data

Once data is collected, you’ll need to analyze it systematically. Use statistical software or analysis tools to identify patterns, trends and correlations. For qualitative data, employ thematic analysis to extract common themes and insights. Visualize your findings with charts, graphs and tables to make complex data more understandable.

If you’re not proficient in data analysis, consider outsourcing or collaborating with a data analyst who can assist in processing and interpreting your data accurately.

Enrich your database graphic

7. Interpret your findings

Interpreting your market research findings involves understanding what the data means in the context of your objectives. Are there significant trends that uncover the answers to your initial research questions? Consider the implications of your findings on your business strategy. It’s essential to move beyond raw data and extract actionable insights that inform decision-making.

Hold a cross-functional meeting or workshop with relevant team members to collectively interpret the findings. Different perspectives can lead to more comprehensive insights and innovative solutions.

8. Identify opportunities and challenges

Use your research findings to identify potential growth opportunities and challenges within your market. What segments of your audience are underserved or overlooked? Are there emerging trends you can capitalize on? Conversely, what obstacles or competitors could hinder your progress?

Lay out this information in a clear and organized way by conducting a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Jot down notes for each of these areas to provide a structured overview of gaps and hurdles in the market.

9. Make informed business decisions

Market research is only valuable if it leads to informed decisions for your company. Based on your insights, devise actionable strategies and initiatives that align with your research objectives. Whether it’s refining your product, targeting new customer segments or adjusting pricing, ensure your decisions are rooted in the data.

At this point, it’s also crucial to keep your team aligned and accountable. Create an action plan that outlines specific steps, responsibilities and timelines for implementing the recommendations derived from your research. 

10. Monitor and adapt

Market research isn’t a one-time activity; it’s an ongoing process. Continuously monitor market conditions, customer behaviors and industry trends. Set up mechanisms to collect real-time data and feedback. As you gather new information, be prepared to adapt your strategies and tactics accordingly. Regularly revisiting your research ensures your business remains agile and reflects changing market dynamics and consumer preferences.

Online market research sources

As you go through the steps above, you’ll want to turn to trusted, reputable sources to gather your data. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Crunchbase: As mentioned above, Crunchbase is an online platform with an extensive dataset, allowing you to access in-depth insights on market trends, consumer behavior and competitive analysis. You can also customize your search options to tailor your research to specific industries, geographic regions or customer personas.

Product Image Advanced Search CRMConnected

  • Academic databases: Academic databases, such as ProQuest and JSTOR , are treasure troves of scholarly research papers, studies and academic journals. They offer in-depth analyses of various subjects, including market trends, consumer preferences and industry-specific insights. Researchers can access a wealth of peer-reviewed publications to gain a deeper understanding of their research topics.
  • Government and NGO databases: Government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other institutions frequently maintain databases containing valuable economic, demographic and industry-related data. These sources offer credible statistics and reports on a wide range of topics, making them essential for market researchers. Examples include the U.S. Census Bureau , the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Pew Research Center .
  • Industry reports: Industry reports and market studies are comprehensive documents prepared by research firms, industry associations and consulting companies. They provide in-depth insights into specific markets, including market size, trends, competitive analysis and consumer behavior. You can find this information by looking at relevant industry association databases; examples include the American Marketing Association and the National Retail Federation .
  • Social media and online communities: Social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter (X) , forums such as Reddit and Quora , and review platforms such as G2 can provide real-time insights into consumer sentiment, opinions and trends. 

Market research examples

At this point, you have market research tools and data sources — but how do you act on the data you gather? Let’s go over some real-world examples that illustrate the practical application of market research across various industries. These examples showcase how market research can lead to smart decision-making and successful business decisions.

Example 1: Apple’s iPhone launch

Apple ’s iconic iPhone launch in 2007 serves as a prime example of market research driving product innovation in tech. Before the iPhone’s release, Apple conducted extensive market research to understand consumer preferences, pain points and unmet needs in the mobile phone industry. This research led to the development of a touchscreen smartphone with a user-friendly interface, addressing consumer demands for a more intuitive and versatile device. The result was a revolutionary product that disrupted the market and redefined the smartphone industry.

Example 2: McDonald’s global expansion

McDonald’s successful global expansion strategy demonstrates the importance of market research when expanding into new territories. Before entering a new market, McDonald’s conducts thorough research to understand local tastes, preferences and cultural nuances. This research informs menu customization, marketing strategies and store design. For instance, in India, McDonald’s offers a menu tailored to local preferences, including vegetarian options. This market-specific approach has enabled McDonald’s to adapt and thrive in diverse global markets.

Example 3: Organic and sustainable farming

The shift toward organic and sustainable farming practices in the food industry is driven by market research that indicates increased consumer demand for healthier and environmentally friendly food options. As a result, food producers and retailers invest in sustainable sourcing and organic product lines — such as with these sustainable seafood startups — to align with this shift in consumer values. 

The bottom line? Market research has multiple use cases and is a critical practice for any industry. Whether it’s launching groundbreaking products, entering new markets or responding to changing consumer preferences, you can use market research to shape successful strategies and outcomes.

Market research templates

You finally have a strong understanding of how to do market research and apply it in the real world. Before we wrap up, here are some market research templates that you can use as a starting point for your projects:

  • Smartsheet competitive analysis templates : These spreadsheets can serve as a framework for gathering information about the competitive landscape and obtaining valuable lessons to apply to your business strategy.
  • SurveyMonkey product survey template : Customize the questions on this survey based on what you want to learn from your target customers.
  • HubSpot templates : HubSpot offers a wide range of free templates you can use for market research, business planning and more.
  • SCORE templates : SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides templates for business plans, market analysis and financial projections.
  • SBA.gov : The U.S. Small Business Administration offers templates for every aspect of your business, including market research, and is particularly valuable for new startups. 

Strengthen your business with market research

When conducted effectively, market research is like a guiding star. Equipped with the right tools and techniques, you can uncover valuable insights, stay competitive, foster innovation and navigate the complexities of your industry.

Throughout this guide, we’ve discussed the definition of market research, different research methods, and how to conduct it effectively. We’ve also explored various types of market research and shared practical insights and templates for getting started. 

Now, it’s time to start the research process. Trust in data, listen to the market and make informed decisions that guide your company toward lasting success.

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9 Key stages in your marketing research process

You can conduct your own marketing research. Follow these steps, add your own flair, knowledge and creativity, and you’ll have bespoke research to be proud of.

Marketing research is the term used to cover the concept, development, placement and evolution of your product or service, its growing customer base and its branding – starting with brand awareness , and progressing to (everyone hopes) brand equity . Like any research, it needs a robust process to be credible and useful.

Marketing research uses four essential key factors known as the ‘marketing mix’ , or the Four Ps of Marketing :

  • Product (goods or service)
  • Price ( how much the customer pays )
  • Place (where the product is marketed)
  • Promotion (such as advertising and PR)

These four factors need to work in harmony for a product or service to be successful in its marketplace.

The marketing research process – an overview

A typical marketing research process is as follows:

  • Identify an issue, discuss alternatives and set out research objectives
  • Develop a research program
  • Choose a sample
  • Gather information
  • Gather data
  • Organize and analyze information and data
  • Present findings
  • Make research-based decisions
  • Take action based on insights

Step 1: Defining the marketing research problem

Defining a problem is the first step in the research process. In many ways, research starts with a problem facing management. This problem needs to be understood, the cause diagnosed, and solutions developed.

However, most management problems are not always easy to research, so they must first be translated into research problems. Once you approach the problem from a research angle, you can find a solution. For example, “sales are not growing” is a management problem, but translated into a research problem, it becomes “ why are sales not growing?” We can look at the expectations and experiences of several groups : potential customers, first-time buyers, and repeat purchasers. We can question whether the lack of sales is due to:

  • Poor expectations that lead to a general lack of desire to buy, or
  • Poor performance experience and a lack of desire to repurchase.

This, then, is the difference between a management problem and a research problem. Solving management problems focuses on actions: Do we advertise more? Do we change our advertising message? Do we change an under-performing product configuration? And if so, how?

Defining research problems, on the other hand, focus on the whys and hows, providing the insights you need to solve your management problem.

Step 2: Developing a research program: method of inquiry

The scientific method is the standard for investigation. It provides an opportunity for you to use existing knowledge as a starting point, and proceed impartially.

The scientific method includes the following steps:

  • Define a problem
  • Develop a hypothesis
  • Make predictions based on the hypothesis
  • Devise a test of the hypothesis
  • Conduct the test
  • Analyze the results

This terminology is similar to the stages in the research process. However, there are subtle differences in the way the steps are performed:

  • the scientific research method is objective and fact-based, using quantitative research and impartial analysis
  • the marketing research process can be subjective, using opinion and qualitative research, as well as personal judgment as you collect and analyze data

Step 3: Developing a research program: research method

As well as selecting a method of inquiry (objective or subjective), you must select a research method . There are two primary methodologies that can be used to answer any research question:

  • Experimental research : gives you the advantage of controlling extraneous variables and manipulating one or more variables that influence the process being implemented.
  • Non-experimental research : allows observation but not intervention – all you do is observe and report on your findings.

Step 4: Developing a research program: research design

Research design is a plan or framework for conducting marketing research and collecting data. It is defined as the specific methods and procedures you use to get the information you need.

There are three core types of marketing research designs: exploratory, descriptive, and causal . A thorough marketing research process incorporates elements of all of them.

Exploratory marketing research

This is a starting point for research. It’s used to reveal facts and opinions about a particular topic, and gain insight into the main points of an issue. Exploratory research is too much of a blunt instrument to base conclusive business decisions on, but it gives the foundation for more targeted study. You can use secondary research materials such as trade publications, books, journals and magazines and primary research using qualitative metrics, that can include open text surveys, interviews and focus groups.

Descriptive marketing research

This helps define the business problem or issue so that companies can make decisions, take action and monitor progress. Descriptive research is naturally quantitative – it needs to be measured and analyzed statistically , using more targeted surveys and questionnaires. You can use it to capture demographic information , evaluate a product or service for market, and monitor a target audience’s opinion and behaviors. Insights from descriptive research can inform conclusions about the market landscape and the product’s place in it.

Causal marketing research

This is useful to explore the cause and effect relationship between two or more variables. Like descriptive research , it uses quantitative methods, but it doesn’t merely report findings; it uses experiments to predict and test theories about a product or market. For example, researchers may change product packaging design or material, and measure what happens to sales as a result.

Step 5: Choose your sample

Your marketing research project will rarely examine an entire population. It’s more practical to use a sample - a smaller but accurate representation of the greater population. To design your sample, you’ll need to answer these questions:

  • Which base population is the sample to be selected from? Once you’ve established who your relevant population is (your research design process will have revealed this), you have a base for your sample. This will allow you to make inferences about a larger population.
  • What is the method (process) for sample selection? There are two methods of selecting a sample from a population:

1. Probability sampling : This relies on a random sampling of everyone within the larger population.

2. Non-probability sampling : This is based in part on the investigator’s judgment, and often uses convenience samples, or by other sampling methods that do not rely on probability.

  • What is your sample size? This important step involves cost and accuracy decisions. Larger samples generally reduce sampling error and increase accuracy, but also increase costs. Find out your perfect sample size with our calculator .

Step 6: Gather data

Your research design will develop as you select techniques to use. There are many channels for collecting data, and it’s helpful to differentiate it into O-data (Operational) and X-data (Experience):

  • O-data is your business’s hard numbers like costs, accounting, and sales. It tells you what has happened, but not why.
  • X-data gives you insights into the thoughts and emotions of the people involved: employees, customers, brand advocates.

When you combine O-data with X-data, you’ll be able to build a more complete picture about success and failure - you’ll know why. Maybe you’ve seen a drop in sales (O-data) for a particular product. Maybe customer service was lacking, the product was out of stock, or advertisements weren’t impactful or different enough: X-data will reveal the reason why those sales dropped. So, while differentiating these two data sets is important, when they are combined, and work with each other, the insights become powerful.

With mobile technology, it has become easier than ever to collect data. Survey research has come a long way since market researchers conducted face-to-face, postal, or telephone surveys. You can run research through:

  • Social media ( polls and listening )

Another way to collect data is by observation. Observing a customer’s or company’s past or present behavior can predict future purchasing decisions. Data collection techniques for predicting past behavior can include market segmentation , customer journey mapping and brand tracking .

Regardless of how you collect data, the process introduces another essential element to your research project: the importance of clear and constant communication .

And of course, to analyze information from survey or observation techniques, you must record your results . Gone are the days of spreadsheets. Feedback from surveys and listening channels can automatically feed into AI-powered analytics engines and produce results, in real-time, on dashboards.

Step 7: Analysis and interpretation

The words ‘ statistical analysis methods ’ aren’t usually guaranteed to set a room alight with excitement, but when you understand what they can do, the problems they can solve and the insights they can uncover, they seem a whole lot more compelling.

Statistical tests and data processing tools can reveal:

  • Whether data trends you see are meaningful or are just chance results
  • Your results in the context of other information you have
  • Whether one thing affecting your business is more significant than others
  • What your next research area should be
  • Insights that lead to meaningful changes

There are several types of statistical analysis tools used for surveys. You should make sure that the ones you choose:

  • Work on any platform - mobile, desktop, tablet etc.
  • Integrate with your existing systems
  • Are easy to use with user-friendly interfaces, straightforward menus, and automated data analysis
  • Incorporate statistical analysis so you don’t just process and present your data, but refine it, and generate insights and predictions.

Here are some of the most common tools:

  • Benchmarking : a way of taking outside factors into account so that you can adjust the parameters of your research. It ‘levels the playing field’ – so that your data and results are more meaningful in context. And gives you a more precise understanding of what’s happening.
  • Regression analysis : this is used for working out the relationship between two (or more) variables. It is useful for identifying the precise impact of a change in an independent variable.
  • T-test is used for comparing two data groups which have different mean values. For example, do women and men have different mean heights?
  • Analysis of variance (ANOVA) Similar to the T-test, ANOVA is a way of testing the differences between three or more independent groups to see if they’re statistically significant.
  • Cluster analysis : This organizes items into groups, or clusters, based on how closely associated they are.
  • Factor analysis: This is a way of condensing many variables into just a few, so that your research data is less unwieldy to work with.
  • Conjoint analysis : this will help you understand and predict why people make the choices they do. It asks people to make trade-offs when making decisions, just as they do in the real world, then analyzes the results to give the most popular outcome.
  • Crosstab analysis : this is a quantitative market research tool used to analyze ‘categorical data’ - variables that are different and mutually exclusive, such as: ‘men’ and ‘women’, or ‘under 30’ and ‘over 30’.
  • Text analysis and sentiment analysis : Analyzing human language and emotions is a rapidly-developing form of data processing, assigning positive, negative or neutral sentiment to customer messages and feedback.

Stats IQ can perform the most complicated statistical tests at the touch of a button using our online survey software , or data from other sources. Learn more about Stats iQ now .

Step 8: The marketing research results

Your marketing research process culminates in the research results. These should provide all the information the stakeholders and decision-makers need to understand the project.

The results will include:

  • all your information
  • a description of your research process
  • the results
  • conclusions
  • recommended courses of action

They should also be presented in a form, language and graphics that are easy to understand, with a balance between completeness and conciseness, neither leaving important information out or allowing it to get so technical that it overwhelms the readers.

Traditionally, you would prepare two written reports:

  • a technical report , discussing the methods, underlying assumptions and the detailed findings of the research project
  • a summary report , that summarizes the research process and presents the findings and conclusions simply.

There are now more engaging ways to present your findings than the traditional PowerPoint presentations, graphs, and face-to-face reports:

  • Live, interactive dashboards for sharing the most important information, as well as tracking a project in real time.
  • Results-reports visualizations – tables or graphs with data visuals on a shareable slide deck
  • Online presentation technology, such as Prezi
  • Visual storytelling with infographics
  • A single-page executive summary with key insights
  • A single-page stat sheet with the top-line stats

You can also make these results shareable so that decision-makers have all the information at their fingertips.

Step 9 Turn your insights into action

Insights are one thing, but they’re worth very little unless they inform immediate, positive action. Here are a few examples of how you can do this:

  • Stop customers leaving – negative sentiment among VIP customers gets picked up; the customer service team contacts the customers, resolves their issues, and avoids churn .
  • Act on important employee concerns – you can set certain topics, such as safety, or diversity and inclusion to trigger an automated notification or Slack message to HR. They can rapidly act to rectify the issue.
  • Address product issues – maybe deliveries are late, maybe too many products are faulty. When product feedback gets picked up through Smart Conversations, messages can be triggered to the delivery or product teams to jump on the problems immediately.
  • Improve your marketing effectiveness - Understand how your marketing is being received by potential customers, so you can find ways to better meet their needs
  • Grow your brand - Understand exactly what consumers are looking for, so you can make sure that you’re meeting their expectations

Download now: 8 Innovations to Modernize Market Research

Scott Smith

Scott Smith, Ph.D. is a contributor to the Qualtrics blog.

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What Are Research Objectives and How To Write Them (with Examples)

What Are Research Objectives and How to Write Them (with Examples)

What Are Research Objectives and How To Write Them (with Examples)

Table of Contents

Introduction

Research is at the center of everything researchers do, and setting clear, well-defined research objectives plays a pivotal role in guiding scholars toward their desired outcomes. Research papers are essential instruments for researchers to effectively communicate their work. Among the many sections that constitute a research paper, the introduction plays a key role in providing a background and setting the context. 1 Research objectives, which define the aims of the study, are usually stated in the introduction. Every study has a research question that the authors are trying to answer, and the objective is an active statement about how the study will answer this research question. These objectives help guide the development and design of the study and steer the research in the appropriate direction; if this is not clearly defined, a project can fail!

Research studies have a research question, research hypothesis, and one or more research objectives. A research question is what a study aims to answer, and a research hypothesis is a predictive statement about the relationship between two or more variables, which the study sets out to prove or disprove. Objectives are specific, measurable goals that the study aims to achieve. The difference between these three is illustrated by the following example:

  • Research question : How does low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) compare with a placebo device in managing the symptoms of skeletally mature patients with patellar tendinopathy?
  • Research hypothesis : Pain levels are reduced in patients who receive daily active-LIPUS (treatment) for 12 weeks compared with individuals who receive inactive-LIPUS (placebo).
  • Research objective : To investigate the clinical efficacy of LIPUS in the management of patellar tendinopathy symptoms.

This article discusses the importance of clear, well-thought out objectives and suggests methods to write them clearly.

What is the introduction in research papers?

Research objectives are usually included in the introduction section. This section is the first that the readers will read so it is essential that it conveys the subject matter appropriately and is well written to create a good first impression. A good introduction sets the tone of the paper and clearly outlines the contents so that the readers get a quick snapshot of what to expect.

A good introduction should aim to: 2,3

  • Indicate the main subject area, its importance, and cite previous literature on the subject
  • Define the gap(s) in existing research, ask a research question, and state the objectives
  • Announce the present research and outline its novelty and significance
  • Avoid repeating the Abstract, providing unnecessary information, and claiming novelty without accurate supporting information.

Why are research objectives important?

Objectives can help you stay focused and steer your research in the required direction. They help define and limit the scope of your research, which is important to efficiently manage your resources and time. The objectives help to create and maintain the overall structure, and specify two main things—the variables and the methods of quantifying the variables.

A good research objective:

  • defines the scope of the study
  • gives direction to the research
  • helps maintain focus and avoid diversions from the topic
  • minimizes wastage of resources like time, money, and energy

Types of research objectives

Research objectives can be broadly classified into general and specific objectives . 4 General objectives state what the research expects to achieve overall while specific objectives break this down into smaller, logically connected parts, each of which addresses various parts of the research problem. General objectives are the main goals of the study and are usually fewer in number while specific objectives are more in number because they address several aspects of the research problem.

Example (general objective): To investigate the factors influencing the financial performance of firms listed in the New York Stock Exchange market.

Example (specific objective): To assess the influence of firm size on the financial performance of firms listed in the New York Stock Exchange market.

In addition to this broad classification, research objectives can be grouped into several categories depending on the research problem, as given in Table 1.

Table 1: Types of research objectives

Exploratory Explores a previously unstudied topic, issue, or phenomenon; aims to generate ideas or hypotheses
Descriptive Describes the characteristics and features of a particular population or group
Explanatory Explains the relationships between variables; seeks to identify cause-and-effect relationships
Predictive Predicts future outcomes or events based on existing data samples or trends
Diagnostic Identifies factors contributing to a particular problem
Comparative Compares two or more groups or phenomena to identify similarities and differences
Historical Examines past events and trends to understand their significance and impact
Methodological Develops and improves research methods and techniques
Theoretical Tests and refines existing theories or helps develop new theoretical perspectives

Characteristics of research objectives

Research objectives must start with the word “To” because this helps readers identify the objective in the absence of headings and appropriate sectioning in research papers. 5,6

  • A good objective is SMART (mostly applicable to specific objectives):
  • Specific—clear about the what, why, when, and how
  • Measurable—identifies the main variables of the study and quantifies the targets
  • Achievable—attainable using the available time and resources
  • Realistic—accurately addresses the scope of the problem
  • Time-bound—identifies the time in which each step will be completed
  • Research objectives clarify the purpose of research.
  • They help understand the relationship and dissimilarities between variables.
  • They provide a direction that helps the research to reach a definite conclusion.

How to write research objectives?

Research objectives can be written using the following steps: 7

  • State your main research question clearly and concisely.
  • Describe the ultimate goal of your study, which is similar to the research question but states the intended outcomes more definitively.
  • Divide this main goal into subcategories to develop your objectives.
  • Limit the number of objectives (1-2 general; 3-4 specific)
  • Assess each objective using the SMART
  • Start each objective with an action verb like assess, compare, determine, evaluate, etc., which makes the research appear more actionable.
  • Use specific language without making the sentence data heavy.
  • The most common section to add the objectives is the introduction and after the problem statement.
  • Add the objectives to the abstract (if there is one).
  • State the general objective first, followed by the specific objectives.

Formulating research objectives

Formulating research objectives has the following five steps, which could help researchers develop a clear objective: 8

  • Identify the research problem.
  • Review past studies on subjects similar to your problem statement, that is, studies that use similar methods, variables, etc.
  • Identify the research gaps the current study should cover based on your literature review. These gaps could be theoretical, methodological, or conceptual.
  • Define the research question(s) based on the gaps identified.
  • Revise/relate the research problem based on the defined research question and the gaps identified. This is to confirm that there is an actual need for a study on the subject based on the gaps in literature.
  • Identify and write the general and specific objectives.
  • Incorporate the objectives into the study.

Advantages of research objectives

Adding clear research objectives has the following advantages: 4,8

  • Maintains the focus and direction of the research
  • Optimizes allocation of resources with minimal wastage
  • Acts as a foundation for defining appropriate research questions and hypotheses
  • Provides measurable outcomes that can help evaluate the success of the research
  • Determines the feasibility of the research by helping to assess the availability of required resources
  • Ensures relevance of the study to the subject and its contribution to existing literature

Disadvantages of research objectives

Research objectives also have few disadvantages, as listed below: 8

  • Absence of clearly defined objectives can lead to ambiguity in the research process
  • Unintentional bias could affect the validity and accuracy of the research findings

Key takeaways

  • Research objectives are concise statements that describe what the research is aiming to achieve.
  • They define the scope and direction of the research and maintain focus.
  • The objectives should be SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
  • Clear research objectives help avoid collection of data or resources not required for the study.
  • Well-formulated specific objectives help develop the overall research methodology, including data collection, analysis, interpretation, and utilization.
  • Research objectives should cover all aspects of the problem statement in a coherent way.
  • They should be clearly stated using action verbs.

Frequently asked questions on research objectives

Q: what’s the difference between research objectives and aims 9.

A: Research aims are statements that reflect the broad goal(s) of the study and outline the general direction of the research. They are not specific but clearly define the focus of the study.

Example: This research aims to explore employee experiences of digital transformation in retail HR.

Research objectives focus on the action to be taken to achieve the aims. They make the aims more practical and should be specific and actionable.

Example: To observe the retail HR employees throughout the digital transformation.

Q: What are the examples of research objectives, both general and specific?

A: Here are a few examples of research objectives:

  • To identify the antiviral chemical constituents in Mumbukura gitoniensis (general)
  • To carry out solvent extraction of dried flowers of Mumbukura gitoniensis and isolate the constituents. (specific)
  • To determine the antiviral activity of each of the isolated compounds. (specific)
  • To examine the extent, range, and method of coral reef rehabilitation projects in five shallow reef areas adjacent to popular tourist destinations in the Philippines.
  • To investigate species richness of mammal communities in five protected areas over the past 20 years.
  • To evaluate the potential application of AI techniques for estimating best-corrected visual acuity from fundus photographs with and without ancillary information.
  • To investigate whether sport influences psychological parameters in the personality of asthmatic children.

Q: How do I develop research objectives?

A: Developing research objectives begins with defining the problem statement clearly, as illustrated by Figure 1. Objectives specify how the research question will be answered and they determine what is to be measured to test the hypothesis.

the market research objectives

Q: Are research objectives measurable?

A: The word “measurable” implies that something is quantifiable. In terms of research objectives, this means that the source and method of collecting data are identified and that all these aspects are feasible for the research. Some metrics can be created to measure your progress toward achieving your objectives.

Q: Can research objectives change during the study?

A: Revising research objectives during the study is acceptable in situations when the selected methodology is not progressing toward achieving the objective, or if there are challenges pertaining to resources, etc. One thing to keep in mind is the time and resources you would have to complete your research after revising the objectives. Thus, as long as your problem statement and hypotheses are unchanged, minor revisions to the research objectives are acceptable.

Q: What is the difference between research questions and research objectives? 10

Broad statement; guide the overall direction of the research Specific, measurable goals that the research aims to achieve
Identify the main problem Define the specific outcomes the study aims to achieve
Used to generate hypotheses or identify gaps in existing knowledge Used to establish clear and achievable targets for the research
Not mutually exclusive with research objectives Should be directly related to the research question
Example: Example:

Q: Are research objectives the same as hypotheses?

A: No, hypotheses are predictive theories that are expressed in general terms. Research objectives, which are more specific, are developed from hypotheses and aim to test them. A hypothesis can be tested using several methods and each method will have different objectives because the methodology to be used could be different. A hypothesis is developed based on observation and reasoning; it is a calculated prediction about why a particular phenomenon is occurring. To test this prediction, different research objectives are formulated. Here’s a simple example of both a research hypothesis and research objective.

Research hypothesis : Employees who arrive at work earlier are more productive.

Research objective : To assess whether employees who arrive at work earlier are more productive.

To summarize, research objectives are an important part of research studies and should be written clearly to effectively communicate your research. We hope this article has given you a brief insight into the importance of using clearly defined research objectives and how to formulate them.

  • Farrugia P, Petrisor BA, Farrokhyar F, Bhandari M. Practical tips for surgical research: Research questions, hypotheses and objectives. Can J Surg. 2010 Aug;53(4):278-81.
  • Abbadia J. How to write an introduction for a research paper. Mind the Graph website. Accessed June 14, 2023. https://mindthegraph.com/blog/how-to-write-an-introduction-for-a-research-paper/
  • Writing a scientific paper: Introduction. UCI libraries website. Accessed June 15, 2023. https://guides.lib.uci.edu/c.php?g=334338&p=2249903
  • Research objectives—Types, examples and writing guide. Researchmethod.net website. Accessed June 17, 2023. https://researchmethod.net/research-objectives/#:~:text=They%20provide%20a%20clear%20direction,track%20and%20achieve%20their%20goals .
  • Bartle P. SMART Characteristics of good objectives. Community empowerment collective website. Accessed June 16, 2023. https://cec.vcn.bc.ca/cmp/modules/pd-smar.htm
  • Research objectives. Studyprobe website. Accessed June 18, 2023. https://www.studyprobe.in/2022/08/research-objectives.html
  • Corredor F. How to write objectives in a research paper. wikiHow website. Accessed June 18, 2023. https://www.wikihow.com/Write-Objectives-in-a-Research-Proposal
  • Research objectives: Definition, types, characteristics, advantages. AccountingNest website. Accessed June 15, 2023. https://www.accountingnest.com/articles/research/research-objectives
  • Phair D., Shaeffer A. Research aims, objectives & questions. GradCoach website. Accessed June 20, 2023. https://gradcoach.com/research-aims-objectives-questions/
  • Understanding the difference between research questions and objectives. Accessed June 21, 2023. https://board.researchersjob.com/blog/research-questions-and-objectives

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Components of market research

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Market research is a cornerstone of all successful, strategic businesses. It can also be daunting for entrepreneurs looking to launch a startup or start a side hustle . What is market research, anyway? And how do you…do it?

We’ll walk you through absolutely everything you need to know about the market research process so that by the end of this guide, you’ll be an expert in market research too. And what’s more important: you’ll have actionable steps you can take to start collecting your own market research.

What Is Market Research?

Market research is the organized process of gathering information about your target customers and market. Market research can help you better understand customer behavior and competitor strengths and weaknesses, as well as provide insight for the best strategies in launching new businesses and products. There are different ways to approach market research, including primary and secondary research and qualitative and quantitative research. The strongest approaches will include a combination of all four.

“Virtually every business can benefit from conducting some market research,” says Niles Koenigsberg of Real FiG Advertising + Marketing . “Market research can help you piece together your [business’s] strengths and weaknesses, along with your prospective opportunities, so that you can understand where your unique differentiators may lie.” Well-honed market research will help your brand stand out from the competition and help you see what you need to do to lead the market. It can also do so much more.

The Purposes of Market Research

Why do market research? It can help you…

  • Pinpoint your target market, create buyer personas, and develop a more holistic understanding of your customer base and market.
  • Understand current market conditions to evaluate risks and anticipate how your product or service will perform.
  • Validate a concept prior to launch.
  • Identify gaps in the market that your competitors have created or overlooked.
  • Solve problems that have been left unresolved by the existing product/brand offerings.
  • Identify opportunities and solutions for new products or services.
  • Develop killer marketing strategies .

What Are the Benefits of Market Research?

Strong market research can help your business in many ways. It can…

  • Strengthen your market position.
  • Help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Help you identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Minimize risk.
  • Center your customers’ experience from the get-go.
  • Help you create a dynamic strategy based on market conditions and customer needs/demands.

What Are the Basic Methods of Market Research?

The basic methods of market research include surveys, personal interviews, customer observation, and the review of secondary research. In addition to these basic methods, a forward-thinking market research approach incorporates data from the digital landscape like social media analysis, SEO research, gathering feedback via forums, and more. Throughout this guide, we will cover each of the methods commonly used in market research to give you a comprehensive overview.

Primary vs. Secondary Market Research

Primary and secondary are the two main types of market research you can do. The latter relies on research conducted by others. Primary research, on the other hand, refers to the fact-finding efforts you conduct on your own.

This approach is limited, however. It’s likely that the research objectives of these secondary data points differ from your own, and it can be difficult to confirm the veracity of their findings.

Primary Market Research

Primary research is more labor intensive, but it generally yields data that is exponentially more actionable. It can be conducted through interviews, surveys, online research, and your own data collection. Every new business should engage in primary market research prior to launch. It will help you validate that your idea has traction, and it will give you the information you need to help minimize financial risk.

You can hire an agency to conduct this research on your behalf. This brings the benefit of expertise, as you’ll likely work with a market research analyst. The downside is that hiring an agency can be expensive—too expensive for many burgeoning entrepreneurs. That brings us to the second approach. You can also do the market research yourself, which substantially reduces the financial burden of starting a new business .

Secondary Market Research

Secondary research includes resources like government databases and industry-specific data and publications. It can be beneficial to start your market research with secondary sources because it’s widely available and often free-to-access. This information will help you gain a broad overview of the market conditions for your new business.

Identify Your Goals and Your Audience

Before you begin conducting interviews or sending out surveys, you need to set your market research goals. At the end of your market research process, you want to have a clear idea of who your target market is—including demographic information like age, gender, and where they live—but you also want to start with a rough idea of who your audience might be and what you’re trying to achieve with market research.

You can pinpoint your objectives by asking yourself a series of guiding questions:

  • What are you hoping to discover through your research?
  • Who are you hoping to serve better because of your findings?
  • What do you think your market is?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Are you testing the reception of a new product category or do you want to see if your product or service solves the problem left by a current gap in the market?
  • Are you just…testing the waters to get a sense of how people would react to a new brand?

Once you’ve narrowed down the “what” of your market research goals, you’re ready to move onto how you can best achieve them. Think of it like algebra. Many math problems start with “solve for x.” Once you know what you’re looking for, you can get to work trying to find it. It’s a heck of a lot easier to solve a problem when you know you’re looking for “x” than if you were to say “I’m gonna throw some numbers out there and see if I find a variable.”

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How to Do Market Research

This guide outlines every component of a comprehensive market research effort. Take into consideration the goals you have established for your market research, as they will influence which of these elements you’ll want to include in your market research strategy.

Secondary Data

Secondary data allows you to utilize pre-existing data to garner a sense of market conditions and opportunities. You can rely on published market studies, white papers, and public competitive information to start your market research journey.

Secondary data, while useful, is limited and cannot substitute your own primary data. It’s best used for quantitative data that can provide background to your more specific inquiries.

Find Your Customers Online

Once you’ve identified your target market, you can use online gathering spaces and forums to gain insights and give yourself a competitive advantage. Rebecca McCusker of The Creative Content Shop recommends internet recon as a vital tool for gaining a sense of customer needs and sentiment. “Read their posts and comments on forums, YouTube video comments, Facebook group [comments], and even Amazon/Goodreads book comments to get in their heads and see what people are saying.”

If you’re interested in engaging with your target demographic online, there are some general rules you should follow. First, secure the consent of any group moderators to ensure that you are acting within the group guidelines. Failure to do so could result in your eviction from the group.

Not all comments have the same research value. “Focus on the comments and posts with the most comments and highest engagement,” says McCusker. These high-engagement posts can give you a sense of what is already connecting and gaining traction within the group.

Social media can also be a great avenue for finding interview subjects. “LinkedIn is very useful if your [target customer] has a very specific job or works in a very specific industry or sector. It’s amazing the amount of people that will be willing to help,” explains Miguel González, a marketing executive at Dealers League . “My advice here is BE BRAVE, go to LinkedIn, or even to people you know and ask them, do quick interviews and ask real people that belong to that market and segment and get your buyer persona information first hand.”

Market research interviews can provide direct feedback on your brand, product, or service and give you a better understanding of consumer pain points and interests.

When organizing your market research interviews, you want to pay special attention to the sample group you’re selecting, as it will directly impact the information you receive. According to Tanya Zhang, the co-founder of Nimble Made , you want to first determine whether you want to choose a representative sample—for example, interviewing people who match each of the buyer persona/customer profiles you’ve developed—or a random sample.

“A sampling of your usual persona styles, for example, can validate details that you’ve already established about your product, while a random sampling may [help you] discover a new way people may use your product,” Zhang says.

Market Surveys

Market surveys solicit customer inclinations regarding your potential product or service through a series of open-ended questions. This direct outreach to your target audience can provide information on your customers’ preferences, attitudes, buying potential, and more.

Every expert we asked voiced unanimous support for market surveys as a powerful tool for market research. With the advent of various survey tools with accessible pricing—or free use—it’s never been easier to assemble, disseminate, and gather market surveys. While it should also be noted that surveys shouldn’t replace customer interviews , they can be used to supplement customer interviews to give you feedback from a broader audience.

Who to Include in Market Surveys

  • Current customers
  • Past customers
  • Your existing audience (such as social media/newsletter audiences)

Example Questions to Include in Market Surveys

While the exact questions will vary for each business, here are some common, helpful questions that you may want to consider for your market survey. Demographic Questions: the questions that help you understand, demographically, who your target customers are:

  • “What is your age?”
  • “Where do you live?”
  • “What is your gender identity?”
  • “What is your household income?”
  • “What is your household size?”
  • “What do you do for a living?”
  • “What is your highest level of education?”

Product-Based Questions: Whether you’re seeking feedback for an existing brand or an entirely new one, these questions will help you get a sense of how people feel about your business, product, or service:

  • “How well does/would our product/service meet your needs?”
  • “How does our product/service compare to similar products/services that you use?”
  • “How long have you been a customer?” or “What is the likelihood that you would be a customer of our brand?

Personal/Informative Questions: the deeper questions that help you understand how your audience thinks and what they care about.

  • “What are your biggest challenges?”
  • “What’s most important to you?”
  • “What do you do for fun (hobbies, interests, activities)?”
  • “Where do you seek new information when researching a new product?”
  • “How do you like to make purchases?”
  • “What is your preferred method for interacting with a brand?”

Survey Tools

Online survey tools make it easy to distribute surveys and collect responses. The best part is that there are many free tools available. If you’re making your own online survey, you may want to consider SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google Forms, or Zoho Survey.

Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis is a breakdown of how your business stacks up against the competition. There are many different ways to conduct this analysis. One of the most popular methods is a SWOT analysis, which stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.” This type of analysis is helpful because it gives you a more robust understanding of why a customer might choose a competitor over your business. Seeing how you stack up against the competition can give you the direction you need to carve out your place as a market leader.

Social Media Analysis

Social media has fundamentally changed the market research landscape, making it easier than ever to engage with a wide swath of consumers. Follow your current or potential competitors on social media to see what they’re posting and how their audience is engaging with it. Social media can also give you a lower cost opportunity for testing different messaging and brand positioning.

SEO Analysis and Opportunities

SEO analysis can help you identify the digital competition for getting the word out about your brand, product, or service. You won’t want to overlook this valuable information. Search listening tools offer a novel approach to understanding the market and generating the content strategy that will drive business. Tools like Google Trends and Awario can streamline this process.

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About Mary Kate Miller

Mary Kate Miller writes about small business, real estate, and finance. In addition to writing for Foundr, her work has been published by The Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Bustle, and more. She lives in Chicago.

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the market research objectives

Market research: Objectives and Importance

Market research is an essential tool for navigating the business world. It’s a compass that points you in the direction where opportunities lie and pitfalls to avoid. As a business owner, investor, or decision-maker, harnessing the power of market research can be the difference between success and setback.

At the focus of market research is how to understand customer behavior. What do they want? What do they need? How are their decisions influenced? When you can answer these questions, you’re better equipped to provide solutions that meet their needs and desires, ultimately driving your business towards growth and sustainability.

But market research isn’t just about understanding the customer. It’s also about understanding the wider market and your place within it. It’s about identifying trends, analyzing your competition, and leveraging your strengths. In essence, market research gives you a snapshot of the business ecosystem, helping you make informed decisions that can propel your business forward.

Understanding Market Research

Market research delves deep into the human psyche, seeking to understand behaviors, attitudes, and motivations. The market research services utilize various techniques such as interviews, focus groups, and observation to gather data.

These methods allow researchers to explore complex issues in depth, teasing out nuances that might otherwise be overlooked in a survey. For instance, an interview can reveal the emotional motivations behind a customer’s purchasing decision, something that a questionnaire might not capture.

When you employ market research, you’re not just gathering data. You’re gaining insights into your customers’ lives, their hopes, fears, and desires. This deep understanding can help you develop products and services that resonate with your audience, creating a strong and loyal customer base.

The Objectives of Market Research

The objectives of market research are as diverse as the businesses that employ them. However, they can be broadly categorized into understanding the market, understanding the customer, and understanding the competition. Here are some of the primary objectives of market research:

Understanding Customer Needs

Market research helps in identifying and understanding the needs, preferences, and behaviors of customers. This insight is crucial for developing products and services that meet customer demands effectively.

Assessing Market Opportunities

It helps in identifying potential market opportunities, including unmet needs, gaps in the market, and emerging trends. This allows businesses to capitalize on new opportunities for growth.

Market Segmentation

Market research enables businesses to segment their target audience based on demographics, psychographics, and other factors. This segmentation helps in tailoring marketing strategies to specific customer groups.

Competitive Analysis

It provides insights into competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, market share, pricing strategies, and product offerings. This information helps in developing competitive strategies and differentiating products and services

Product Development

Market research guides product development by providing feedback on product concepts, features, and design. It helps in creating products that align with customer preferences and market demand.

Pricing Strategy

Businesses can determine optimal pricing strategies through market research. It helps in setting competitive prices while maintaining profitability.

Marketing Effectiveness

Evaluating the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and channels is another objective of market research. It allows for the allocation of resources to the most productive marketing efforts.

Risk Mitigation

Market research can identify potential risks and challenges in entering new markets or launching new products. This information enables businesses to develop risk mitigation strategies.

Brand Perception

Understanding how consumers perceive a brand is vital for brand management. Market research helps in assessing brand reputation, loyalty, and awareness.

Sales Forecasting

Market research aids in forecasting sales and demand for products and services. Accurate forecasts are essential for inventory management and production planning.

The Importance of Market Research

Market research is the backbone of strategic decision making. It provides the information you need to make informed decisions, reducing risk and uncertainty. With the insights provided by market research, you can develop effective marketing strategies, improve your products and services, and increase your competitive advantage.

Moreover, market research fosters customer-centricity. By understanding your customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, you can create offerings that truly resonate with them. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also drives customer loyalty, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

Finally, market research can help you identify new business opportunities. Whether it’s an untapped market segment, an emerging trend, or a potential product innovation, market research can uncover opportunities for growth and expansion.

Choosing the Right Qualitative Market Research Agency

Choosing the right qualitative market research agency can be a daunting task. However, by considering factors such as expertise, reputation, and methodology, you can find an agency that can provide the insights you need to succeed.

Expertise is crucial. You want an agency that has experience in your industry and understands the unique challenges and opportunities it presents. They should also have a proven track record of delivering actionable insights and strategic recommendations.

Reputation matters. Look for an agency that has positive reviews and testimonials from past clients. This can give you an idea of their professionalism, reliability, and the quality of their work.

Finally, consider their methodology. How do they conduct their research? What tools and techniques do they use? A good agency will use a variety of methods to gather data and will be transparent about their process.

Benefits of Market Research

The Future of Market Research

The future of market research lies in its ability to adapt to a rapidly changing business landscape. As new technologies emerge, qualitative research for ecommerce and other sectors will need to evolve to keep pace.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning, for instance, are revolutionizing the way data is collected and analyzed. Meanwhile, the rise of social media and online communities is providing new platforms for gathering customer insights.

In this rapidly evolving landscape, the role of the qualitative market research agency is more crucial than ever. By combining traditional research methods with cutting-edge technology, these agencies can provide businesses with the deep, nuanced understanding they need to thrive in the 21st century.

Let the Experts Help You With Market Research

With the extensive knowledge and experience, we have established ourselves as a reputable qualitative market research agency in India . Insights Opinion possesses the capability to operate in over 60 different foreign languages, spanning across more than 100 countries. As a leading market research company in India, we take pride in our unwavering commitment to research excellence, delivering superior data analysis that empowers organizations to gain a competitive advantage. Our dedicated and highly skilled research team understands the pivotal role of high-quality data and is dedicated to ensuring that you maintain a competitive edge in your industry.

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A Basic Guide to Defining Your Market Research Goals

by Caitlin Stewart , on May 29, 2014

market research process, featured on www.blog.marketresearch.com

1. Define the problem or opportunity and state your objectives

When creating a new goal, it is important to recognize any current problems in a company. You should also work to see whether a problem can be molded into an opportunity. Basic marketing research courses explain that a management problem is any type of issue that needs managerial action in order to resolve the issue. However, a  marketing research problem is defined as a statement specifying the type of information needed by the decision maker to help solve the management problem and how that information can be obtained efficiently and effectively. To solve the market research problem, a research team can develop a marketing research objective, which is a goal defining the specific information needed to solve the marketing research problem.

Before you begin a project , make sure you clearly define your objectives and the outcomes you expect from the research that will be conducted. Having a clear and definitive goal is helpful because setting too many goals can dilute a project and increase the chance of having the research fail. By having reasonable goals, you can refer back to them during the project to distinguish whether the research is still keeping the original goals in mind.

2. Develop the research design to meet your objectives

The purpose of a well-developed research design is to confirm theories, measure brand loyalty, describe the population, build a customer profile, or to gain specific information. Based on what you are interested in, deciding whether a descriptive or causal study is needed to meet research objectives is key when starting your project.

Consider all potential issues that could arise during research so you and your research team can be prepared and aware if they occur. For example, if information being gathered is irrelevant to the company’s newly developed objectives, both time and money will be wasted on continuing with that specific research. If this ever occurs, reorganize and consider working with research specialists to help in making sure that the data you are observing is targeted at your specific needs.

3. Collect information relevant to your objectives

Once information and data is needed, sometimes the easiest step is to start looking at secondary data first. Utilizing data sets and examining organized marketing research reports have the potential to clarify your issues or even provide a solution to your research objectives. Secondary data can even alert researchers to other problems and is usually less expensive and faster to gather than primary data.

Once you review or purchase all your secondary data, your researchers can determine whether any further research through surveys or focus groups is necessary. Conducting that research and developing solutions from the information gathered will be required in drawing new conclusions.

4. Create a final report

Create a final report by analyzing all data and organizing it into a useful format for your company’s marketing team. Sorting through conclusions to relate potential solutions to your goals and objectives is central in ensuring your company can make use of the new information both effectively and beneficially.

5. Follow up

Once all findings are organized, you need to choose whether the information gathered is going to be put into use. You should use this stage to identify the areas where marketing techniques can be improved for future research projects. But once all is finished, evaluating whether the information gathered was able to help create solutions and meet your goals is vital. Upper management will need to determine whether the information gathered was a.) worth the cost, and b.) beneficial in meeting the outlined goals.

By knowing what your overall goals and objectives are before you begin a new project, you will help your company and yourself in making sure the research stays on task.

Interested in learning more about using business intelligence to achieve your research goals? Download our free white paper on How to Use Market Research to Launch Your Business.

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Caitlin Stewart Marketing Intern, MarketResearch.com

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Better Knowledge. Your Insight Is Sharper

Marketing Research: Objectives, Types, Steps, Methods

Updated: November 28, 2020 · Reviewed by: Ahmad Nasrudin

What’s it:  Marketing research is the efforts of systematically collecting and analyzing markets to support more effective marketing decision making. The stages usually include setting objectives, designing research and methods, collecting data, analyzing data, and reporting research results.

Why marketing research is important

Companies need accurate and current information about the marketing environment’s conditions to develop an effective marketing strategy. Demand and competition in the market continue to change from time to time, including about:

  • Trending tastes and needs of consumers  – for example, people are getting online and leaving conventional media such as print newspapers.
  • Changes in the macro-environment , be it political, economic, social, technological, environmental, or regulatory. For example, technology enables companies to explore more data about consumers. Or, COVID-19 can make the economy crash and reduce outdoor activities.
  • Competitive dynamics  – for example, globalization brings more fierce competition because companies are not only competing with local companies but also globally.

Such changes present both threats and opportunities. Competitive advantage can turn into a disadvantage because companies do not adapt to such changes. They need different strategies and tactics to support a sustainable competitive advantage.

Marketing research objectives

Marketing research aims to identify challenges and opportunities to achieve marketing goals. Companies process data, analyze data, and interpret relevant facts to provide valuable information about it.

Research results also help companies plan, evaluate, and develop marketing strategies and tactics. Management uses it in decision making related to exploiting opportunities, minimizing threats, designing alternative actions, and solving marketing problems.

Meanwhile, the specific objectives of marketing research are:

  • Understand what consumers need today  – as consumer tastes and preferences change, companies may need different marketing strategies.
  • Identifying market gaps  – the company may find opportunities to develop new products, which are not being served by products currently on the market.
  • Reducing product failure  – marketing research information is useful for developing the right marketing mix, so it is profitable and better than competitors.
  • Minimizing business risk  – companies use research results to anticipate and develop appropriate responses to address threats in their business environment.
  • Forecasting future trends  – the company anticipates future consumer needs, so it is one step ahead of competitors exploiting market opportunities.

Types of marketing research

Marketing research covers three research areas:

  • Market research : about the market, such as market size, profitability level, growth prospects, and competition intensity.
  • Product research : about the characteristics and attributes of the right product to satisfy customers
  • Consumer research : about consumer needs, tastes, preferences, attitudes, and behavior.

Marketing research can be causal, exploratory, or descriptive.

Causality research  is when companies are trying to understand the cause-and-effect relationship of a phenomenon. For example, how much does a company’s advertising affect customer perception?

Descriptive research  seeks to understand more about the nature or characteristics of the phenomenon itself. For example, companies try to understand the shopping habits of consumers when they go to the mall.

Exploratory research  seeks to understand phenomena more profoundly and is usually useful for developing new products. For example, a company explores the shopping experience to gain insight into what first-time consumers see when shopping, whether price, packaging, store atmosphere, or brand.

Marketing research steps

The marketing stages usually include:

First , determine the problem or research objective. Marketing research covers various aspects of the market, such as product, sales, promotion, distribution, buyer behavior, pricing, and packaging. You cannot investigate them all at once. Therefore, you must be selective and determine what problems you want to answer through research.

Second , determine the research design, whether you want to do exploratory, descriptive, or causality studies.

Third , determine the data collection method. In this section, you have to decide whether to use secondary data or primary data. If it is primary data, will you use surveys, observations, experiments, or consumer panels? Another task is to design data collection forms, questionnaires, and sampling.

Fourth , collect data. Data can be either qualitative or quantitative.

Data collection depends on the research method you use, whether it is primary or secondary research. For example, suppose you decide to use secondary data. In that case, you may have to collect some statistics or reports from government agencies, international agencies, research firms, competitors, or trade associations.

Fifth , analyze and interpret data. Your first task is usually to integrate data into a database. Also, you may need to clean it up, so it’s ready for analysis.

You can use several descriptive or inferential statistical methods to describe the data, depending on your needs. The statistical techniques commonly used for social research are regression analysis, t-test, cluster analysis, factor analysis, cross-tabulation, and conjoint analysis.

Sixth , preparing a research report. You draw conclusions from the results of the analysis and, perhaps, make recommendations. You may need to make a full report or just present your findings in a PowerPoint. 

Tables and charts are two tools for summarizing data so that it is easy to read. Both help you explain your findings and support the arguments for your recommendations.

Marketing research methods

Marketing research methods fall into two categories based on its data sources:

  • Primary research – you are the first to collect data. This is also known as field research.
  • Secondary research – you are second hand collecting data. Also known as desk research because you are collecting data from external sources.

Primary research

You are taking data from original sources, such as consumers. You can use various methods, such as surveys, observations, and focus groups, to collect data.

In a survey, you create a questionnaire containing several questions. You may do it yourself or hire a few people to help you. You then meet with respondents and ask questions in the questionnaire.

Questions may be closed questions for which you have provided alternative answers. Or, it is an open-ended question where you let the respondent answer according to their knowledge.

You can also do interviews without a questionnaire. You have some open-ended questions for you to ask respondents. Then, you record each answer. You can do this face-to-face, over the phone, or via online channels.

Then, you can also interview focus groups. In this case, you gather a few people, say, six to ten people. You then ask for their opinion on a particular topic. You listen to their views or record them.

Under observation, you observe people’s reactions, often without having to get into the conversation directly. If you’re researching shoppers, you’ll probably notice the first shelf they go to, the items they cart, and the items they end up buying at the checkout.

Secondary research

In this method, you rely on data from secondary sources. These sources can come from:

  • Publications from government institutions such as central statistical agencies.
  • Publications from international institutions such as the world bank and world trade center.
  • Publications from research companies like Nielsen.
  • Company or other stakeholder reports such as financial reports, annual reports, public presentations and press releases.
  • General media such as newspapers and magazines, both print and online.
  • Publications from business associations or trade journals.

Secondary research offers the convenience of collecting data, as well as being cheap. You can do it on the table without having to go out on the pitch.

However, unlike primary research, the accuracy of the data is a significant problem for secondary research. You depend on external parties for data quality. It can produce biased information and errors in making conclusions and decisions.

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About Ahmad Nasrudin

Introverted writer with a passion for storytelling. Leveraged analytical skills from financial background (equity research, credit risk) at a leading rating agency to enhance writing with a unique statistical and macroeconomic perspective. Learn more about me

Module 6: Marketing Information and Research

The marketing research process, learning objectives.

  • Identify the steps of conducting a marketing research project

A Standard Approach to Research Inquiries

Marketing research is a useful and necessary tool for helping marketers and an organization’s executive leadership make wise decisions. Carrying out marketing research can involve highly specialized skills that go deeper than the information outlined in this module. However, it is important for any marketer to be familiar with the basic procedures and techniques of marketing research.

It is very likely that at some point a marketing professional will need to supervise an internal marketing research activity or to work with an outside marketing research firm to conduct a research project. Managers who understand the research function can do a better job of framing the problem and critically appraising the proposals made by research specialists. They are also in a better position to evaluate their findings and recommendations.

Periodically marketers themselves need to find solutions to marketing problems without the assistance of marketing research specialists inside or outside the company. If you are familiar with the basic procedures of marketing research, you can supervise and even conduct a reasonably satisfactory search for the information needed.

Steps of the Marketing Research Process: 1. Identify the problem (this includes the problem to solve, project objectives, and research questions). 2. Develop the research plan (this includes information needed, research & sales methods). 3. Conduct research (this includes secondary data review, primary data collection, suitable methods and techniques. 4. Analyze and report findings (this includes data formatting and analysis, interpretation of results, reports and recommendations. 5. Take action (this includes thought and planning, evaluation of options, course adjustment and execution.

Step 1: Identify the Problem

The first step for any marketing research activity is to clearly identify and define the problem you are trying to solve. You start by stating the marketing or business problem you need to address and for which you need additional information to figure out a solution. Next, articulate the objectives for the research: What do you want to understand by the time the research project is completed? What specific information, guidance, or recommendations need to come out of the research in order to make it a worthwhile investment of the organization’s time and money?

It’s important to share the problem definition and research objectives with other team members to get their input and further refine your understanding of the problem and what is needed to solve it. At times, the problem you really need to solve is not the same problem that appears on the surface. Collaborating with other stakeholders helps refine your understanding of the problem, focus your thinking, and prioritize what you hope to learn from the research. Prioritizing your objectives is particularly helpful if you don’t have the time or resources to investigate everything you want.

To flesh out your understanding of the problem, it’s useful to begin brainstorming actual research questions you want to explore. What are the questions you need to answer in order to get to the research outcomes? What is the missing information that marketing research will help you find? The goal at this stage is to generate a set of preliminary, big-picture questions that will frame your research inquiry. You will revisit these research questions later in the process, but when you’re getting started, this exercise helps clarify the scope of the project, whom you need to talk to, what information may already be available, and where to look for the information you don’t yet have.

Applied Example: Marketing Research for Bookends

To illustrate the marketing research process, let’s return to Uncle Dan and his ailing bookstore, Bookends. You need a lot of information if you’re going to help Dan turn things around, so marketing research is a good idea. You begin by identifying the problem and then work to set down your research objectives and initial research questions:

Identifying Problems, Objectives, and Questions
Core business problem Dan needs to solve How to get more people to spend more money at Bookends
Research objectives 1) Identify promising target audiences for Bookends; 2) Identify strategies for rapidly increasing revenue from these target audiences
Initial research questions Who are Bookends’ current customers? How much do they spend? Why do they come to Bookends? What do they wish Bookends offered? Who isn’t coming to Bookends, and why?

Step 2: Develop a Research Plan

Once you have a problem definition, research objectives, and a preliminary set of research questions, the next step is to develop a research plan. Essential to this plan is identifying precisely what information you need to answer your questions and achieve your objectives. Do you need to understand customer opinions about something? Are you looking for a clearer picture of customer needs and related behaviors? Do you need sales, spending, or revenue data? Do you need information about competitors’ products, or insight about what will make prospective customers notice you? When do need the information, and what’s the time frame for getting it? What budget and resources are available?

Once you have clarified what kind of information you need and the timing and budget for your project, you can develop the research design. This details how you plan to collect and analyze the information you’re after. Some types of information are readily available through  secondary research and secondary data sources. Secondary research analyzes information that has already been collected for another purpose by a third party, such as a government agency, an industry association, or another company. Other types of information need to from talking directly to customers about your research questions. This is known as primary research , which collects primary data captured expressly for your research inquiry.   Marketing research projects may include secondary research, primary research, or both.

Depending on your objectives and budget, sometimes a small-scale project will be enough to get the insight and direction you need. At other times, in order to reach the level of certainty or detail required, you may need larger-scale research involving participation from hundreds or even thousands of individual consumers. The research plan lays out the information your project will capture—both primary and secondary data—and describes what you will do with it to get the answers you need. (Note: You’ll learn more about data collection methods and when to use them later in this module.)

Your data collection plan goes hand in hand with your analysis plan. Different types of analysis yield different types of results. The analysis plan should match the type of data you are collecting, as well as the outcomes your project is seeking and the resources at your disposal. Simpler research designs tend to require simpler analysis techniques. More complex research designs can yield powerful results, such as understanding causality and trade-offs in customer perceptions. However, these more sophisticated designs can require more time and money to execute effectively, both in terms of data collection and analytical expertise.

The research plan also specifies who will conduct the research activities, including data collection, analysis, interpretation, and reporting on results. At times a singlehanded marketing manager or research specialist runs the entire research project. At other times, a company may contract with a marketing research analyst or consulting firm to conduct the research. In this situation, the marketing manager provides supervisory oversight to ensure the research delivers on expectations.

Finally, the research plan indicates who will interpret the research findings and how the findings will be reported. This part of the research plan should consider the internal audience(s) for the research and what reporting format will be most helpful. Often, senior executives are primary stakeholders, and they’re anxious for marketing research to inform and validate their choices. When this is the case, getting their buy-in on the research plan is recommended to make sure that they are comfortable with the approach and receptive to the potential findings.

Applied Example: A Bookends Research Plan

You talk over the results of your problem identification work with Dan. He thinks you’re on the right track and wants to know what’s next. You explain that the next step is to put together a detailed plan for getting answers to the research questions.

Dan is enthusiastic, but he’s also short on money. You realize that such a financial constraint will limit what’s possible, but with Dan’s help you can do something worthwhile. Below is the research plan you sketch out:

Identifying Data Types, Timing and Budget, Data Collection Methods, Analysis, and Interpretation
Types of data needed 1) Demographics and attitudes of current Bookends customers; 2) current customers’ spending patterns; 3) metro area demographics (to determine types of people who aren’t coming to the store)
Timing & budget Complete project within 1 month; no out-of-pocket spending
Data collection methods 1) Current customer survey using free online survey tool, 2) store sales data mapped to customer survey results, 3) free U.S. census data on metro-area demographics, 4) 8–10 intercept (“man on the street”) interviews with non-customers
Analysis plan Use Excel or Google Sheets to tabulate data; Marina (statistician cousin) to assist in identifying data patterns that could become market segments
Interpretation and reporting You and Dan will work together to comb through the data and see what insights it produces. You’ll use PowerPoint to create a report that lays out significant results, key findings, and recommendations.

Step 3: Conduct the Research

Conducting research can be a fun and exciting part of the marketing research process. After struggling with the gaps in your knowledge of market dynamics—which led you to embark on a marketing research project in the first place—now things are about to change. Conducting research begins to generate information that helps answer your urgent marketing questions.

Typically data collection begins by reviewing any existing research and data that provide some information or insight about the problem. As a rule, this is secondary research. Prior research projects, internal data analyses, industry reports, customer-satisfaction survey results, and other information sources may be worthwhile to review. Even though these resources may not answer your research questions fully, they may further illuminate the problem you are trying to solve. Secondary research and data sources are nearly always cheaper than capturing new information on your own. Your marketing research project should benefit from prior work wherever possible.

After getting everything you can from secondary research, it’s time to shift attention to primary research, if this is part of your research plan. Primary research involves asking questions and then listening to and/or observing the behavior of the target audience you are studying. In order to generate reliable, accurate results, it is important to use proper scientific methods for primary research data collection and analysis. This includes identifying the right individuals and number of people to talk to, using carefully worded surveys or interview scripts, and capturing data accurately.

Without proper techniques, you may inadvertently get bad data or discover bias in the responses that distorts the results and points you in the wrong direction. The module on Marketing Research Techniques discusses these issues in further detail, since the procedures for getting reliable data vary by research method.

Applied Example: Getting the Data on Bookends

Dan is on board with the research plan, and he’s excited to dig into the project. You start with secondary data, getting a dump of Dan’s sales data from the past two years, along with related information: customer name, zip code, frequency of purchase, gender, date of purchase, and discounts/promotions (if any).

You visit the U.S. Census Bureau Web site to download demographic data about your metro area. The data show all zip codes in the area, along with population size, gender breakdown, age ranges, income, and education levels.

The next part of the project is customer-survey data. You work with Dan to put together a short survey about customer attitudes toward Bookends, how often and why they come, where else they spend money on books and entertainment, and why they go other places besides Bookends. Dan comes up with the great idea of offering a 5 percent discount coupon to anyone who completes the survey. Although it eats into his profits, this scheme gets more people to complete the survey and buy books, so it’s worth it.

Guy with a beard wearing a red hat pushes a stroller while a woman checks the child and talks on her cell phone. Two young people in the background. Seattle hipsters.

For a couple of days, you and Dan take turns doing “man on the street” interviews (you interview the guy in the red hat, for instance). You find people who say they’ve never been to Bookends and ask them a few questions about why they haven’t visited the store, where else they buy books and other entertainment, and what might get them interested in visiting Bookends sometime. This is all a lot of work, but for a zero-budget project, it’s coming together pretty well.

Step 4: Analyze and Report Findings

Analyzing the data obtained in a market survey involves transforming the primary and/or secondary data into useful information and insights that answer the research questions. This information is condensed into a format to be used by managers—usually a presentation or detailed report.

Analysis starts with formatting, cleaning, and editing the data to make sure that it’s suitable for whatever analytical techniques are being used. Next, data are tabulated to show what’s happening: What do customers actually think? What’s happening with purchasing or other behaviors? How do revenue figures actually add up? Whatever the research questions, the analysis takes source data and applies analytical techniques to provide a clearer picture of what’s going on. This process may involve simple or sophisticated techniques, depending on the research outcomes required. Common analytical techniques include regression analysis to determine correlations between factors; conjoint analysis to determine trade-offs and priorities; predictive modeling to anticipate patterns and causality; and analysis of unstructured data such as Internet search terms or social media posts to provide context and meaning around what people say and do.

Good analysis is important because the interpretation of research data—the “so what?” factor—depends on it. The analysis combs through data to paint a picture of what’s going on. The interpretation goes further to explain what the research data mean and make recommendations about what managers need to know and do based on the research results. For example, what is the short list of key findings and takeaways that managers should remember from the research? What are the market segments you’ve identified, and which ones should you target?  What are the primary reasons your customers choose your competitor’s product over yours, and what does this mean for future improvements to your product?

Individuals with a good working knowledge of the business should be involved in interpreting the data because they are in the best position to identify significant insights and make recommendations from the research findings. Marketing research reports incorporate both analysis and interpretation of data to address the project objectives.

The final report for a marketing research project may be in written form or slide-presentation format, depending on organizational culture and management preferences. Often a slide presentation is the preferred format for initially sharing research results with internal stakeholders. Particularly for large, complex projects, a written report may be a better format for discussing detailed findings and nuances in the data, which managers can study and reference in the future.

Applied Example: Analysis and Insights for Bookends

Getting the data was a bit of a hassle, but now you’ve got it, and you’re excited to see what it reveals. Your statistician cousin, Marina, turns out to be a whiz with both the sales data and the census data. She identified several demographic profiles in the metro area that looked a lot like lifestyle segments. Then she mapped Bookends’ sales data into those segments to show who is and isn’t visiting Bookends. After matching customer-survey data to the sales data, she broke down the segments further based on their spending levels and reasons they visit Bookends.

Gradually a clearer picture of Bookends’ customers is beginning to emerge: who they are, why they come, why they don’t come, and what role Bookends plays in their lives. Right away, a couple of higher-priority segments—based on their spending levels, proximity, and loyalty to Bookends—stand out. You and your uncle are definitely seeing some possibilities for making the bookstore a more prominent part of their lives. You capture these insights as “recommendations to be considered” while you evaluate the right marketing mix for each of the new segments you’d like to focus on.

Step 5: Take Action

Once the report is complete, the presentation is delivered, and the recommendations are made, the marketing research project is over, right? Wrong.

What comes next is arguably the most important step of all: taking action based on your research results.

If your project has done a good job interpreting the findings and translating them into recommendations for the marketing team and other areas of the business, this step may seem relatively straightforward. When the research results validate a path the organization is already on, the “take action” step can galvanize the team to move further and faster in that same direction.

Things are not so simple when the research results indicate a new direction or a significant shift is advisable. In these cases, it’s worthwhile to spend time helping managers understand the research, explain why it is wise to shift course, and explain how the business will benefit from the new path. As with any important business decision, managers must think deeply about the new approach and carefully map strategies, tactics, and available resources to plan effectively. By making the results available and accessible to managers and their execution teams, the marketing research project can serve as an ongoing guide and touchstone to help the organization plan, execute, and adjust course as it works toward desired goals and outcomes.

It is worth mentioning that many marketing research projects are never translated into management action. Sometimes this is because the report is too technical and difficult to understand. In other cases, the research conclusions fail to provide useful insights or solutions to the problem, or the report writer fails to offer specific suggestions for translating the research findings into management strategy. These pitfalls can be avoided by paying due attention to the research objectives throughout the project and allocating sufficient time and resources to do a good job interpreting research results for those who will need to act on them.

Applied Example: Bookends’ New Customer Campaign

Your research findings and recommendations identified three segments for Bookends to focus on. Based on the demographics, lifestyle, and spending patterns found during your marketing research, you’re able to name them: 1) Bored Empty-Nesters, 2) Busy Families, and 3) Hipster Wannabes. Dan has a decent-sized clientele across all three groups, and they are pretty good spenders when they come in. But until now he hasn’t done much to purposely attract any of them.

With newly identified segments in focus, you and Dan begin brainstorming about a marketing mix to target each group. What types of books and other products would appeal to each one? What activities or events would bring them into the store? Are there promotions or particular messages that would induce them to buy at Bookends instead of Amazon or another bookseller? How will Dan reach and communicate with each group? And what can you do to bring more new customers into the store within these target groups?

Even though Bookends is a real-life project with serious consequences for your uncle Dan, it’s also a fun laboratory where you can test out some of the principles you’re learning in your marketing class. You’re figuring out quickly what it’s like to be a marketer.

Well done, rookie!

Check Your Understanding

Answer the question(s) below to see how well you understand the topics covered in this outcome. This short quiz does  not  count toward your grade in the class, and you can retake it an unlimited number of times.

Use this quiz to check your understanding and decide whether to (1) study the previous section further or (2) move on to the next section.

  • Revision and Adaptation. Authored by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Chapter 3: Marketing Research: An Aid to Decision Making, from Introducing Marketing. Authored by : John Burnett. Provided by : Global Text. Located at : http://solr.bccampus.ca:8001/bcc/file/ddbe3343-9796-4801-a0cb-7af7b02e3191/1/Core%20Concepts%20of%20Marketing.pdf . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Urban life (Version 2.0). Authored by : Ian D. Keating. Located at : https://www.flickr.com/photos/ian-arlett/19313315520/ . License : CC BY: Attribution

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Market research objectives

Market Research Objectives

Market research objectives are specific, measurable, and achievable goals that organizations set when conducting research to gather information about their target markets, customers, competitors, and industry trends. These objectives serve as a roadmap, guiding the research process and ensuring that efforts are focused and results are relevant to the organization’s needs.

Table of Contents

Key Characteristics of Market Research Objectives

Market research objectives possess several key characteristics:

  • Specific: Objectives should be clearly defined and specific in terms of what information is sought, who the target audience is, and what the research aims to achieve.
  • Measurable: Objectives should be quantifiable, allowing for the measurement of progress and success.
  • Achievable: Objectives should be realistic and attainable within the constraints of available resources, such as time and budget.
  • Relevant: Objectives should align with the organization’s overall goals and be relevant to its current situation or challenges.

Importance of Market Research Objectives

Market research objectives play a pivotal role in the success of businesses and organizations for several reasons:

1. Focus and Direction:

  • They provide a clear sense of purpose and direction for the research effort, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently.

2. Alignment with Business Goals:

  • Objectives help align market research with broader business goals, ensuring that the insights gained contribute to strategic decision-making.

3. Measurement of Success:

  • Objectives serve as benchmarks for success, allowing organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of their research efforts.

4. Resource Optimization:

  • By defining specific objectives, organizations can allocate resources, such as time and budget, more effectively to achieve their research goals.

5. Competitive Advantage:

  • Well-defined research objectives enable organizations to gain a competitive advantage by making informed, data-driven decisions.

Types of Market Research Objectives

Market research objectives can vary based on the specific needs and goals of an organization. Some common types of market research objectives include:

1. Exploratory Objectives:

  • These objectives aim to gain a deeper understanding of a market, its dynamics, and potential opportunities or challenges.

2. Descriptive Objectives:

  • Descriptive objectives seek to provide a comprehensive overview of a market’s characteristics, such as demographics, preferences, and behaviors.

3. Causal Objectives:

  • Causal objectives focus on understanding cause-and-effect relationships, such as how changes in pricing impact consumer purchasing decisions.

4. Predictive Objectives:

  • Predictive objectives aim to forecast future market trends, allowing organizations to proactively respond to changing conditions.

5. Diagnostic Objectives:

  • Diagnostic objectives seek to identify the root causes of specific issues or challenges within a market.

Setting Market Research Objectives

The process of setting market research objectives.

Setting effective market research objectives involves a systematic process:

  • Identify Information Needs:
  • Begin by identifying the specific information needs of the organization. What questions or challenges does the research aim to address?
  • Define Clear Objectives:
  • Transform information needs into clear and specific objectives. Objectives should answer the “what,” “who,” and “why” of the research.
  • Prioritize Objectives:
  • Prioritize objectives based on their importance and relevance to the organization’s goals and decision-making processes.
  • Specify Metrics and Measurements:
  • Determine how each objective will be measured and what metrics or data points are relevant to assess success.
  • Consider Constraints:
  • Account for constraints, such as budget and timeline, when setting objectives to ensure feasibility.
  • Align with Stakeholders:
  • Collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure that objectives align with their expectations and needs.
  • Document Objectives:
  • Document the objectives in a clear and concise manner, ensuring that they are accessible to all involved in the research process.

Real-World Examples of Market Research Objectives

To better understand how market research objectives are applied in practice, here are some real-world examples:

Example 1: Product Launch

Objective: To determine the market demand and potential acceptance of a new smartphone model among consumers aged 18-34 in the United States.

Metrics: Measure the projected sales volume, customer feedback on product features, and brand perception among the target demographic.

Example 2: Competitive Analysis

Objective: To assess the competitive landscape in the fast-food industry within a specific region and identify opportunities for market entry.

Metrics: Analyze market share data, conduct mystery shopping evaluations, and assess consumer preferences for various fast-food chains.

Example 3: Customer Satisfaction

Objective: To evaluate customer satisfaction with the company’s recent customer service initiatives and identify areas for improvement.

Metrics: Collect and analyze customer feedback through surveys, assess customer retention rates, and track changes in Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Example 4: Market Expansion

Objective: To explore the feasibility of expanding into international markets and identify potential entry strategies.

Metrics: Analyze market size, assess regulatory barriers, and conduct competitor analysis in selected international markets.

Best Practices for Market Research Objectives

Setting effective market research objectives requires careful consideration and planning. Here are some best practices to follow:

1. Start with Clear Information Needs:

  • Ensure that objectives are driven by specific questions or challenges that the organization needs to address.

2. Make Objectives SMART:

  • Follow the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to create well-defined objectives.

3. Prioritize Objectives:

  • Recognize that not all objectives are of equal importance. Focus on the most critical ones that will have the greatest impact.

4. Involve Stakeholders:

5. document objectives:.

  • Clearly document objectives in a format that is accessible to all involved in the research process.

6. Review and Update Objectives:

  • Regularly review and update objectives as the research progresses to account for changing circumstances or emerging insights.

Market research objectives are the cornerstone of any successful research effort. They provide clarity, focus, and direction to organizations seeking to gain insights into their target markets, customers, and competitors. By setting clear and well-defined objectives that align with their goals, businesses can make informed decisions, stay competitive, and thrive in dynamic market environments. Whether it’s launching a new product, assessing customer satisfaction, or expanding into new markets, effective market research objectives are the compass that guides organizations toward success.

Key Highlights:

  • Market research objectives provide direction and focus to research efforts, ensuring relevance and alignment with organizational goals.
  • Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant to the organization’s needs.
  • They help in focusing efforts, aligning with business goals, measuring success, optimizing resources, and gaining a competitive advantage.
  • Exploratory, descriptive, causal, predictive, and diagnostic objectives cater to different research needs and goals.
  • The process involves identifying information needs, defining clear objectives, prioritizing, specifying metrics, considering constraints, aligning with stakeholders, and documenting objectives.
  • Examples include assessing demand for a new product, analyzing the competitive landscape, evaluating customer satisfaction, and exploring market expansion opportunities.
  • Start with clear information needs, make objectives SMART, prioritize, involve stakeholders, document objectives, and review/update as needed.
  • Market research objectives serve as a roadmap for organizations, guiding research efforts to yield valuable insights that drive informed decision-making and strategic planning.

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the market research objectives

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How to Set Marketing Research Goals and Objectives

Marketing research goals.

How to Set Marketing Research Goals and Objectives

Begin with the END

Instead of setting your goals and objectives from where you are NOW, imagine yourself ALREADY having achieved your goal – then work backwards and document HOW YOU GOT THERE.

The reason for this is very simple.  If you set your goal based on where you are now – there is a good chance that you will get caught up in fixing a problem that is actually irrelevant in getting your business to where you want it to be.

Set your goals and objectives based on your vision for where you want your company to BE and not where it is NOW.

An Example:

If the vision and mission of your business is to help your customers be successful in their business — then imagine your customers being successful and then imagine in what ways you are helping them do that.  This may include things you are currently doing — or NOT.  And this is the key to creating marketing research goals and objectives that will help you measure the potential market opportunity, the target audience for your products and how they buy.

(I know that this sounds a little way out.  But if you’re wondering how some of the successful businesses you see out there got that way — this is IT)

Take Clate Mask and Scott Martineau from InfusionSoft as an example.  InfusionSoft is an email marketing intelligence software that automates your sales and marketing process.  It’s a high-end software and it isn’t cheap.  Clate and Scott found out that their customers really didn’t know how to put marketing messages together — and hence, the software didn’t appear to be “working.”

They quickly realized that if their customers knew what to put INTO the software – the customers would make more than enough money to pay the fee for the software and also refer the software to their friends and colleagues. As a result, they set a goal to have their entire client base double their sales within a 12 month period.

Having set this goal and objective — they were not only fired up and inspired about what was possible for their business.  But their customers bought into the very same goal. Suddenly finding out what their customers needed or wanted that would help them grow and prosper was easy.

And what do you think happened to their response rates?  Of course, every time they asked their customers what they wanted — these customers were eager to tell them.

So How is this Relevant to YOU?

If you’ve not been successful collecting feedback from your community or if the research you’ve done hasn’t delivered on results — you might want to look at the goals and objectives that you’ve set.

Are these goals and objectives more focused on solving a problem you have today?  If so, that problem might be relevant to YOU but not your customer.

Use Social Media Chatter to Help You Find a Meaningful Goal

Enough of the heady stuff.  Let’s get to the meat of how you can set these kinds of goals and objectives.

If you don’t already, set up several social media communication channels that include the following:

  • Facebook Fan Page
  • LinkedIn Company Profile
  • LinkedIn Industry Group
  • Twitter Account

The next thing you want to do is  start posting articles on your blog that focus on your vision and how you are helping you customers be successful.  Get active on industry community sites and spaces, ask questions, answer questions and participate.  Then, TELL your customers, suppliers, industry experts to participate as well.

If you keep participating and reminding your audience to visit these sites – you will see conversations, get data and start forming relevant, success based goals and objectives.

Trying this backwards strategy of setting goals and objectives might identify new and exciting opportunities for your business.

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  • Research Objectives | Definition & Examples

Research Objectives | Definition & Examples

Published on July 12, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan . Revised on November 20, 2023.

Research objectives describe what your research is trying to achieve and explain why you are pursuing it. They summarize the approach and purpose of your project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement . They should:

  • Establish the scope and depth of your project
  • Contribute to your research design
  • Indicate how your project will contribute to existing knowledge

Table of contents

What is a research objective, why are research objectives important, how to write research aims and objectives, smart research objectives, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research objectives.

Research objectives describe what your research project intends to accomplish. They should guide every step of the research process , including how you collect data , build your argument , and develop your conclusions .

Your research objectives may evolve slightly as your research progresses, but they should always line up with the research carried out and the actual content of your paper.

Research aims

A distinction is often made between research objectives and research aims.

A research aim typically refers to a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear at the end of your problem statement, before your research objectives.

Your research objectives are more specific than your research aim and indicate the particular focus and approach of your project. Though you will only have one research aim, you will likely have several research objectives.

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Research objectives are important because they:

  • Establish the scope and depth of your project: This helps you avoid unnecessary research. It also means that your research methods and conclusions can easily be evaluated .
  • Contribute to your research design: When you know what your objectives are, you have a clearer idea of what methods are most appropriate for your research.
  • Indicate how your project will contribute to extant research: They allow you to display your knowledge of up-to-date research, employ or build on current research methods, and attempt to contribute to recent debates.

Once you’ve established a research problem you want to address, you need to decide how you will address it. This is where your research aim and objectives come in.

Step 1: Decide on a general aim

Your research aim should reflect your research problem and should be relatively broad.

Step 2: Decide on specific objectives

Break down your aim into a limited number of steps that will help you resolve your research problem. What specific aspects of the problem do you want to examine or understand?

Step 3: Formulate your aims and objectives

Once you’ve established your research aim and objectives, you need to explain them clearly and concisely to the reader.

You’ll lay out your aims and objectives at the end of your problem statement, which appears in your introduction. Frame them as clear declarative statements, and use appropriate verbs to accurately characterize the work that you will carry out.

The acronym “SMART” is commonly used in relation to research objectives. It states that your objectives should be:

  • Specific: Make sure your objectives aren’t overly vague. Your research needs to be clearly defined in order to get useful results.
  • Measurable: Know how you’ll measure whether your objectives have been achieved.
  • Achievable: Your objectives may be challenging, but they should be feasible. Make sure that relevant groundwork has been done on your topic or that relevant primary or secondary sources exist. Also ensure that you have access to relevant research facilities (labs, library resources , research databases , etc.).
  • Relevant: Make sure that they directly address the research problem you want to work on and that they contribute to the current state of research in your field.
  • Time-based: Set clear deadlines for objectives to ensure that the project stays on track.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Research objectives describe what you intend your research project to accomplish.

They summarize the approach and purpose of the project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement .

Your research objectives indicate how you’ll try to address your research problem and should be specific:

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

Scope of research is determined at the beginning of your research process , prior to the data collection stage. Sometimes called “scope of study,” your scope delineates what will and will not be covered in your project. It helps you focus your work and your time, ensuring that you’ll be able to achieve your goals and outcomes.

Defining a scope can be very useful in any research project, from a research proposal to a thesis or dissertation . A scope is needed for all types of research: quantitative , qualitative , and mixed methods .

To define your scope of research, consider the following:

  • Budget constraints or any specifics of grant funding
  • Your proposed timeline and duration
  • Specifics about your population of study, your proposed sample size , and the research methodology you’ll pursue
  • Any inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Any anticipated control , extraneous , or confounding variables that could bias your research if not accounted for properly.

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Global business

2023 Guide to Market Research: Key Strategies and Best Practices

the market research objectives

When Steve Sasson—a Kodak engineer—invented the first digital camera in 1975, a breakthrough in photography was born. However, Kodak wasn’t interested—it was a film company, and Sasson’s digital camera threatened to disrupt its core business. Despite an extensive market research effort confirming the imminent shift from film to digital, Kodak continued to double down on its film business until it filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

The moral of the story is that strategic decisions need to be based on accurate market research in order to avoid costly mistakes, especially when they entail reinvention. Kodak is just one example—another common scenario in which a company might need to reinvent itself is when it’s looking to expand into new markets . Be it a new or adapted product or service, a new target audience, or new business models—changing tack to cater to a new market can be a make-or-break moment for businesses.

That’s why, if you’re looking to take your product global, conducting market research should be a key part of your strategy. Venturing into unfamiliar markets armed with solid market intelligence can help you make the most of opportunities and avoid pitfalls. In this article, we will discuss best practices for market research as a key component of a global expansion , and how you can make the most of it.

What is market research?

Market research is the process of collecting and analyzing data about a target market to understand consumer preferences and purchasing decisions. Companies can use this information to better inform their business strategies, such as what products or services to develop, how to adapt them to different market conditions, or what factors can affect demand.

When a company operates globally or is trying to enter new markets, market research becomes even more important. This is because culture and geography can have a big impact on consumer behavior. To be successful, you need to understand the nuances of each market and tailor your products and marketing strategies accordingly.

Market research vs marketing research

It’s common to see the terms “market research” and “marketing research” used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different things.

Market research is a broad category that includes all types of data collection and analysis related to a target market. The aim is to understand the market, including the needs of consumers and the dynamics of competition.

Marketing research, on the other hand, is more specific and refers to the process of collecting and analyzing data to assess and identify the changing elements of the marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion).

For example, if you want to launch a new product in the Spanish market, you would first conduct market research to assess whether there is a demand for it, what the market size, what market trends are, and what the competition looks like.

Once you have this information, you can then move on to marketing research for concept testing and to determine how to market the product , what channels to use for distribution, and what kind of marketing campaigns will be most effective.

Both activities do share some similarities, though: They may use the same data sources and methods, and the line between them can sometimes be blurry. Ultimately, the goal of both is to generate insights that can be used to make better business decisions.

Market vs marketing research graph | Phrase

Why is market research important?

There are many reasons why market research is important, but perhaps the most important is that it helps you reduce risk. When you have a clear understanding of your target market and what they want, you are much less likely to make costly mistakes.

In the context of globalization , market research can help you assess the potential of new markets and make informed decisions about where to allocate resources. It can also help you develop strategies for entering new markets, such as identifying the most effective channels for marketing and distribution.

When you’re expanding your business into new markets informed by market research, you’re much more likely to:

  • Develop successful products and services: By understanding your customers’ needs , you can develop products and services that they will actually want to buy.
  • Increase sales: By understanding your target market’s buying habits, pain points, and motivators, you can develop marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate and result in sales.
  • Improve customer satisfaction: If you know what your customers want, you can deliver it to them, resulting in happier customers who are more likely to continue doing business with you.
  • Reduce costs by avoiding duplicate effort: Market intelligence allows you to allocate resources strategically and get it right the first time. For example, you can avoid spending money on conventional translation for marketing campaigns that require more creative adaptation to be effective in a new market.
  • Get localization right: A good localization strategy is a key to success in any new market. But without market intelligence, it can be difficult to know how to adapt your products and marketing materials for a new culture. For example, you might not realize that certain colors have different connotations in different cultures, or that video content gives you a higher return on investment in one market but not another.

Arming yourself with nothing but assumptions can lead to less-than-optimal results—and this is especially true when expanding into new markets. When legal systems, consumer preferences, and business practices differ from country to country, the risks are even greater, and so should your commitment to market research.

Market research steps in global expansion graph | Phrase

Market analytics vs market research

A common misconception is that market research and analytics mean the same. In reality, they’re two distinct ways of doing consumer investigation, and they serve different purposes.

Market analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing data to unveil patterns and trends. This data can come from a variety of sources, including surveys, social media, transactional data, and web analytics. For example, you might use market analytics to track how often certain foreign-language keywords are being searched for on Google or to understand which demographics are most likely to purchase your product outside your home market.

Market research, on the other hand, captures data to answer specific questions. For example, a company might want to know what factors influence its customers’ purchase decisions in a particular market, or what the barriers to entry are for a new product.

Market analytics can help generate hypotheses that you can then test through market research. You can think of analytics as the inward-looking “what” (What happens? What are the trends?) and market research as the outward-looking “why” (Why does it happen? Why do people want this?).

When you leverage market analytics and market research together, you can get a well-rounded view of your target market and what they want. This, in turn, helps you make better business decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

Market analysis vs market research graph | Phrase

What types of market research are there?

There are several types of market research depending on the questions you want to answer, the type of data you need, the resources that you have available, and the timeline that you are working with.

Primary market research vs secondary market research

Primary research is the first-hand research that you conduct yourself. This could involve surveys, interviews, focus groups, or any other type of research method where you directly interact with consumers.

Secondary research is the intelligence that someone else has already gathered and published. This includes data from government reports, trade associations, industry journals, commercial data providers, and other published sources.

The first-hand research that you conduct yourself.  The intelligence that someone else has already gathered and published. 
This could involve surveys, interviews, focus groups, or any other type of research method where you directly interact with consumers. This includes data from government reports, trade associations, industry journals, commercial data providers, and other published sources.

Quantitative market research vs qualitative market research

Quantitative research focuses on numbers and statistics. For example, if you want what percentage of people in a certain age group prefer your product over a competitor’s, you would use quantitative research. Polls, surveys, desk research, web statistics, and consumer panels are all quantitative research methods.

Qualitative research, on the other hand, focuses on understanding people’s opinions, motivations, and behaviors. Multilingual sentiment analysis, ethnography, and in-depth interviews are all qualitative research methods.

Exploratory market research vs conclusive market research

You use exploratory research to generate hypotheses and identify key variables. This type of research is frequent at the beginning of a project to get a better understanding of the problem. For example, if you want to know why customers are leaving your website in a foreign market, you might use exploratory research to generate hypotheses that you can then test through further market research.

Conclusive research is used to test hypotheses and measure relationships. This type of research usually comes after exploratory research. For example, if your exploratory research suggests that customers are leaving your website because the current user experience isn’t considering their cultural preferences—think things like imagery or payment methods—you could use conclusive research to measure the impact of a new user interface that takes these cultural preferences into account.

Branding research

Branding research helps you create, manage, and measure the success of your brand. This type of research can help you understand how customers perceive your brand, what associations they have with it, and how well your brand is positioned in the market.

When expanding globally, branding research can help you strike the right balance between global brand consistency and local brand relevance. It can also help you understand how to adapt your brand messaging and identity to different cultures.

Product development research

Product development research helps you establish if there is a market for your product or service and what features or benefits customers are looking for. This type of research can help you understand the viability of your product, optimize its characteristics, and ensure it performs well before taking it to market.

Most global companies adapt their product offering to local markets. Product development research can help you understand what features or benefits are most important to customers in different countries so you can out-compete local companies.

Customer research

Customer research is a type of market research that can serve different purposes, from segmenting your customer base to measuring customer satisfaction. In the context of international operations, customer research can help you understand how to appeal to different customer segments in different countries.

For example, when you know that 64% of Asian-Pacific customers are willing to share personal data for a tailored online experience, you can use this information to improve your website design and user experience in the region.

The main types of customer research are:

  • Customer satisfaction research: Also known as customer experience research, this type of research helps you understand how customers feel about your product or service. This includes understanding what they like and don’t like, their unmet needs, and how likely they are to recommend your product or service to others.
  • Customer segmentation research: Segmentation research helps you understand how to divide your customer base into smaller groups with shared characteristics. This type of research can help you better target your marketing efforts and create more personalized experiences for your customers.
  • Consumer insights: Consumer insights are actionable, research-based observations about your customers. They go beyond demographic information to include things like customer values, preferences, and behaviors. For example, if you want to understand why customers in a certain market are choosing your competitor’s product over yours, consumer insights research could help you uncover the reasons.

Competitive market research

Competitive market research helps you understand what your competitors are doing. This can include things like their marketing strategies, product offerings, pricing, and distribution channels. Understanding your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses can help you make informed decisions about how to position your own product or service in the market.

How to do market research?

Like every complex process, you can break market research down into smaller, more manageable steps. Here’s a high-level overview of how to do market research:

Identify your target audience

The first step in any market research project is to identify your target audience. This will help you focus your research efforts and ensure that you’re gathering information that’s relevant to your business. For example, if you’re planning an expansion to the Brazilian market, an example of a target audience you might identify would be “Brazilian upper-middle-class women ages 25-40.”

Define your research objectives

Identify an issue, problem, or opportunity that you want to understand better. For example: “I want to understand what payment methods Brazilian upper-middle-class women ages 25-40 prefer when shopping online so we can optimize our checkout process.”

Select your research methods

Once you’ve identified your target audience and objectives, you’ll need to select the research methods that will help you gather the data you need. There are many different market research methods, some of which are quantitative and some of which are qualitative. In the case above, to find out the preferred payment methods of Brazilian shoppers, you might conduct a survey.

Develop your research plan

Once you’ve selected your methods, you move on to developing your research plan. This should include a detailed description of how you’ll execute your project, including timelines, budgets, and any risks or challenges you anticipate. For example, if you’re planning to conduct interviews in Brazil, you’ll need to consider things like language barriers and cultural differences.

Collect and analyze your data

Once you’ve executed your research plan, it’s time to collect and analyze your data. This can be a complex process, depending on the methods you’ve used and the type of data you’ve gathered. In the case of a survey, you might use statistical software to analyze your results.

Present your findings

After you’ve analyzed your data, you’ll need to present your findings in a way that’s easy for others to understand. The stakeholders in your business will use these findings to make decisions about things like product development, marketing, and expansion plans. How you present your findings will depend on the type of data you’ve collected and the objectives of your research. For example, if you’re presenting the results of a survey, you might create a report or presentation that includes charts and graphs.

The above steps are a high-level overview of the market research process. In practice, each project will be unique, and you’ll need to tailor your approach to fit the specific needs of your business.

How to do market research step-by-step overview | Phrase

What are some key market research methods? 

We’ve briefly touched on some of the most common market research methods, but let’s take a closer look at each one:

Surveys involve collecting data from a target audience through questions administered either in person, by phone, or online. They can be used to gather data about a wide range of topics, including consumer behavior, preferences, and opinions.

  • Surveys are relatively easy and inexpensive to administer.
  • They can provide a great deal of immediate information.
  • Their extensive reach gives you insights about a large number of people.
  • Analyzing survey data is typically straightforward.
  • Surveys can be time-consuming to administer and analyze.
  • It can be difficult to find people who are willing to participate.
  • Survey results can be skewed by the way you word questions or by the order in which you ask them .

How to do it right:

  • Avoid asking too many questions so as not to overwhelm respondents
  • Make sure your questions are clear and concise
  • Try to ask neutral questions that don’t lead respondents to a particular answer
  • Include open-ended questions to encourage respondents to give more detailed answers.

Interviews are a type of market research that involve conducting in-depth conversations with individuals from a target audience. They can be used to gather data about a wide range of topics, including attitudes, beliefs, and motivations.

  • Interviews can provide a great deal of rich, detailed information about a small number of people.
  • You can conduct them online if needed.
  • They allow you to build empathy with your audience.
  • The resources required to administer interviews (e.g., time, money, personnel) can be significant.
  • It can be challenging to find people who are willing to participate (incentives might be necessary to encourage participation).
  • They don’t reach an audience as extensive as surveys do.
  • Choose the most appropriate format for your interview—e.g., in-person, phone, video chat, etc.
  • Make sure to explain to the respondent what the interview will entail and how you will use their responses.
  • Build rapport by repeating back what the respondent says and showing empathy
  • Leave time for follow-up questions.

Focus groups

Many companies choose to bring together a group of potential customers to discuss a product or service before it’s launched. This type of market research is called a focus group, and it can be used to gather data about things like reactions, perceptions, and opinions.

  • Focus groups can provide rich, detailed information about a small number of people.
  • They can provide insights into the purchase decision-making process.
  • You can easily measure customer reactions to a product’s design, packaging, price and message.
  • They aren’t as in-depth as interviews.
  • They can be expensive to conduct.
  • They can be biased by the moderator’s questions or the group dynamics—like a dominant personality in the group who steers everyone’s opinions.
  • People might not give honest feedback if you’re paying them to participate.
  • Ensure the recruiting process is well-designed so you end up with a diverse and representative group of participants.
  • Use skilled and experienced moderators who know how to keep the discussion on track.
  • Pay attention to the nonverbal cues of participants—e.g., body language.
  • Establish ground rules at the beginning of the session.
  • Consider and pre-empty potential intercultural communication issues.

Observational research

When you observe people, you’re looking at their behavior in a natural setting. This type of market research can be used to gather data about a wide range of topics, including shopping habits, use of public spaces, and interactions with technology. There’s both overt and covert observational research, depending on whether or not participants are aware that they’re being watched.

  • Observational research is relatively easy and inexpensive to conduct.
  • Natural surroundings can provide insights that would be difficult or impossible to glean from other types of market research.
  • The researcher’s own biases can skew the data.
  • It can be time-consuming to observe people for extended periods of time.
  • People might not behave naturally if they’re aware that someone’s watching them.
  • When conducting covert observational research, be sure to follow all ethical guidelines.
  • When conducting overt observational research, make sure to get the consent of participants.
  • Always capture context.
  • Try to avoid bias by maintaining a detached and objective attitude.
  • Be sure to take detailed notes or record videos of the behavior you’re observing.
  • Complete debriefing notes as soon as possible after the observation so the data is fresh in your mind.

What are some best practices for market research?

For any market research project, it’s important to keep the following best practices in mind:

Define your scope and objectives clearly

Unless you know what you’re trying to learn, it will be difficult to design an effective market research project. Based on your product offering, target market, and expansion goals, you should be able to define the scope and objectives of your project. These will help guide the rest of your decisions.

Get input from stakeholders early on

People whom the results of the market research will affect—e.g., marketing, sales, leadership—should be involved from the outset to help shape the project. Their input will ensure that the objectives of the market research are aligned with the company’s goals, and it will help ensure buy-in for the project from key stakeholders.

Consider cultural differences

If you’re expanding into new markets, it’s important to be aware of cultural differences that could affect your market research. For example, some cultures might consider it impolite to ask certain types of questions, or the interpretation of body language might be different. Working with local market research partners can help you navigate these differences.

Choose the right method

While it’s tempting to assume that any research method will eventually get you the information you need, that’s often not the case. For example, if you’re trying to learn about the associations that your content is getting in a foreign market to spot and fix any cultural missteps, a multiple-choice survey with predefined answers might not be the most optimal method.

Pilot-test your methods

Before you launch a full-scale market research project, it’s important to pilot-test your methods to make sure they’re effective. This will help you identify any potential problems so that you can fix them before they impact your data.

Analyze your results carefully

All the data in the world won’t be of any use if you don’t take the time to analyze it carefully. When reviewing your results, look for both quantitative and qualitative trends, and try to identify any potential sources of bias. Moreover, if you’ve conducted the research in a language other than your own, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of professional localizers who can help you interpret the results—they’ll be familiar with the nuances of the language and culture that you might not be.

Communicate your findings effectively

Communication can be a challenge when dealing with market research since you’re often dealing with complex data sets. However, presenting your findings in a way that’s clear and actionable for stakeholders is crucial if you want your research to have an impact.

Follow up with respondents

If you’ve collected data from respondents, it’s important to follow up with them after the fact. This shows that you value their input. Moreover, if you’ve acted on any of their feedback, be sure to let them know the results—e.g., a feature they suggested was added to the product, their feedback helped shape a new marketing campaign, etc. This can make a big impression and solidify your relationship with respondents.

Effective market research must be systematic

When done right, market research is a powerful tool that can help companies make informed decisions about their expansion strategies. However, a lack of planning and foresight can lead to wasted effort and resources.

By following a systematic process and keeping best practices in mind, you can ensure that your market research is effective and informative. The result is a stronger market expansion strategy and a better chance of success in new markets.

Last updated on August 11, 2023.

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  • Defining Research Objectives: How To  Write Them

Moradeke Owa

Almost all industries use research for growth and development. Research objectives are how researchers ensure that their study has direction and makes a significant contribution to growing an industry or niche.

Research objectives provide a clear and concise statement of what the researcher wants to find out. As a researcher, you need to clearly outline and define research objectives to guide the research process and ensure that the study is relevant and generates the impact you want.

In this article, we will explore research objectives and how to leverage them to achieve successful research studies.

What Are Research Objectives?

Research objectives are what you want to achieve through your research study. They guide your research process and help you focus on the most important aspects of your topic.

You can also define the scope of your study and set realistic and attainable study goals with research objectives. For example, with clear research objectives, your study focuses on the specific goals you want to achieve and prevents you from spending time and resources collecting unnecessary data.

However, sticking to research objectives isn’t always easy, especially in broad or unconventional research. This is why most researchers follow the SMART criteria when defining their research objectives.

Understanding SMART Criteria in Research

Think of research objectives as a roadmap to achieving your research goals, with the SMART criteria as your navigator on the map.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These criteria help you ensure that your research objectives are clear, specific, realistic, meaningful, and time-bound.

Here’s a breakdown of the SMART Criteria:

Specific : Your research objectives should be clear: what do you want to achieve, why do you want to achieve it, and how do you plan to achieve it? Avoid vague or broad statements that don’t provide enough direction for your research.

Measurable : Your research objectives should have metrics that help you track your progress and measure your results. Also, ensure the metrics are measurable with data to verify them.

Achievable : Your research objectives should be within your research scope, timeframe, and budget. Also, set goals that are challenging but not impossible.

Relevant: Your research objectives should be in line with the goal and significance of your study. Also, ensure that the objectives address a specific issue or knowledge gap that is interesting and relevant to your industry or niche.

Time-bound : Your research objectives should have a specific deadline or timeframe for completion. This will help you carefully set a schedule for your research activities and milestones and monitor your study progress.

Characteristics of Effective Research Objectives

Clarity : Your objectives should be clear and unambiguous so that anyone who reads them can understand what you intend to do. Avoid vague or general terms that could be taken out of context.

Specificity : Your objectives should be specific and address the research questions that you have formulated. Do not use broad or narrow objectives as they may restrict your field of research or make your research irrelevant.

Measurability : Define your metrics with indicators or metrics that help you determine if you’ve accomplished your goals or not. This will ensure you are tracking the research progress and making interventions when needed.

Also, do use objectives that are subjective or based on personal opinions, as they may be difficult to accurately verify and measure.

Achievability : Your objectives should be realistic and attainable, given the resources and time available for your research project. You should set objectives that match your skills and capabilities, they can be difficult but not so hard that they are realistically unachievable.

For example, setting very difficult make you lose confidence, and abandon your research. Also, setting very simple objectives could demotivate you and prevent you from closing the knowledge gap or making significant contributions to your field with your research.

Relevance : Your objectives should be relevant to your research topic and contribute to the existing knowledge in your field. Avoid objectives that are unrelated or insignificant, as they may waste your time or resources.

Time-bound : Your objectives should be time-bound and specify when you will complete them. Have a realistic and flexible timeframe for achieving your objectives, and track your progress with it. 

Steps to Writing Research Objectives

Identify the research questions.

The first step in writing effective research objectives is to identify the research questions that you are trying to answer. Research questions help you narrow down your topic and identify the gaps or problems that you want to address with your research.

For example, if you are interested in the impact of technology on children’s development, your research questions could be:

  • What is the relationship between technology use and academic performance among children?
  • Are children who use technology more likely to do better in school than those who do not?
  • What is the social and psychological impact of technology use on children?

Brainstorm Objectives

Once you have your research questions, you can brainstorm possible objectives that relate to them. Objectives are more specific than research questions, and they tell you what you want to achieve or learn in your research.

You can use verbs such as analyze, compare, evaluate, explore, investigate, etc. to express your objectives. Also, try to generate as many objectives as possible, without worrying about their quality or feasibility at this stage.

Prioritize Objectives

Once you’ve brainstormed your objectives, you’ll need to prioritize them based on their relevance and feasibility. Relevance is how relevant the objective is to your research topic and how well it fits into your overall research objective.

Feasibility is how realistic and feasible the objective is compared to the time, money, and expertise you have. You can create a matrix or ranking system to organize your objectives and pick the ones that matter the most.

Refine Objectives

The next step is to refine and revise your objectives to ensure clarity and specificity. Start by ensuring that your objectives are consistent and coherent with each other and with your research questions. 

Make Objectives SMART

A useful way to refine your objectives is to make them SMART, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

  • Specific : Objectives should clearly state what you hope to achieve.
  • Measurable : They should be able to be quantified or evaluated.
  • Achievable : realistic and within the scope of the research study.
  • Relevant : They should be directly related to the research questions.
  • Time-bound : specific timeframe for research completion.

Review and Finalize Objectives

The final step is to review your objectives for coherence and alignment with your research questions and aim. Ensure your objectives are logically connected and consistent with each other and with the purpose of your study.

You also need to check that your objectives are not too broad or too narrow, too easy or too hard, too many or too few. You can use a checklist or a rubric to evaluate your objectives and make modifications.

Examples of Well-Written Research Objectives

Example 1- Psychology

Research question: What are the effects of social media use on teenagers’ mental health?

Objective : To determine the relationship between the amount of time teenagers in the US spend on social media and their levels of anxiety and depression before and after using social media.

What Makes the Research Objective SMART?

The research objective is specific because it clearly states what the researcher hopes to achieve. It is measurable because it can be quantified by measuring the levels of anxiety and depression in teenagers. 

Also, the objective is achievable because the researcher can collect enough data to answer the research question. It is relevant because it is directly related to the research question. It is time-bound because it has a specific deadline for completion.

Example 2- Marketing

Research question : How can a company increase its brand awareness by 10%?

Objective : To develop a marketing strategy that will increase the company’s sales by 10% within the next quarter.

How Is this Research Objective SMART?

The research states what the researcher hopes to achieve ( Specific ). You can also measure the company’s reach before and after the marketing plan is implemented ( Measurable ).

The research objective is also achievable because you can develop a marketing plan that will increase awareness by 10% within the timeframe. The objective is directly related to the research question ( Relevant ). It is also time-bound because it has a specific deadline for completion.

Research objectives are a well-designed roadmap to completing and achieving your overall research goal. 

However, research goals are only effective if they are well-defined and backed up with the best practices such as the SMART criteria. Properly defining research objectives will help you plan and conduct your research project effectively and efficiently.

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  • research goals
  • research objectives
  • research roadmap
  • smart goals
  • SMART research objectives
  • Moradeke Owa

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10.2 Steps in the Marketing Research Process

Learning objective.

  • Describe the basic steps in the marketing research process and the purpose of each step.

The basic steps used to conduct marketing research are shown in Figure 10.6 “Steps in the Marketing Research Process” . Next, we discuss each step.

Figure 10.6 Steps in the Marketing Research Process

Steps in the Marketing Research Process.

Step 1: Define the Problem (or Opportunity)

There’s a saying in marketing research that a problem half defined is a problem half solved. Defining the “problem” of the research sounds simple, doesn’t it? Suppose your product is tutoring other students in a subject you’re a whiz at. You have been tutoring for a while, and people have begun to realize you’re darned good at it. Then, suddenly, your business drops off. Or it explodes, and you can’t cope with the number of students you’re being asked help. If the business has exploded, should you try to expand your services? Perhaps you should subcontract with some other “whiz” students. You would send them students to be tutored, and they would give you a cut of their pay for each student you referred to them.

Both of these scenarios would be a problem for you, wouldn’t they? They are problems insofar as they cause you headaches. But are they really the problem? Or are they the symptoms of something bigger? For example, maybe your business has dropped off because your school is experiencing financial trouble and has lowered the number of scholarships given to incoming freshmen. Consequently, there are fewer total students on campus who need your services. Conversely, if you’re swamped with people who want you to tutor them, perhaps your school awarded more scholarships than usual, so there are a greater number of students who need your services. Alternately, perhaps you ran an ad in your school’s college newspaper, and that led to the influx of students wanting you to tutor them.

Businesses are in the same boat you are as a tutor. They take a look at symptoms and try to drill down to the potential causes. If you approach a marketing research company with either scenario—either too much or too little business—the firm will seek more information from you such as the following:

  • In what semester(s) did your tutoring revenues fall (or rise)?
  • In what subject areas did your tutoring revenues fall (or rise)?
  • In what sales channels did revenues fall (or rise): Were there fewer (or more) referrals from professors or other students? Did the ad you ran result in fewer (or more) referrals this month than in the past months?
  • Among what demographic groups did your revenues fall (or rise)—women or men, people with certain majors, or first-year, second-, third-, or fourth-year students?

The key is to look at all potential causes so as to narrow the parameters of the study to the information you actually need to make a good decision about how to fix your business if revenues have dropped or whether or not to expand it if your revenues have exploded.

The next task for the researcher is to put into writing the research objective. The research objective is the goal(s) the research is supposed to accomplish. The marketing research objective for your tutoring business might read as follows:

To survey college professors who teach 100- and 200-level math courses to determine why the number of students referred for tutoring dropped in the second semester.

This is admittedly a simple example designed to help you understand the basic concept. If you take a marketing research course, you will learn that research objectives get a lot more complicated than this. The following is an example:

“To gather information from a sample representative of the U.S. population among those who are ‘very likely’ to purchase an automobile within the next 6 months, which assesses preferences (measured on a 1–5 scale ranging from ‘very likely to buy’ to ‘not likely at all to buy’) for the model diesel at three different price levels. Such data would serve as input into a forecasting model that would forecast unit sales, by geographic regions of the country, for each combination of the model’s different prices and fuel configurations (Burns & Bush, 2010).”

Now do you understand why defining the problem is complicated and half the battle? Many a marketing research effort is doomed from the start because the problem was improperly defined. Coke’s ill-fated decision to change the formula of Coca-Cola in 1985 is a case in point: Pepsi had been creeping up on Coke in terms of market share over the years as well as running a successful promotional campaign called the “Pepsi Challenge,” in which consumers were encouraged to do a blind taste test to see if they agreed that Pepsi was better. Coke spent four years researching “the problem.” Indeed, people seemed to like the taste of Pepsi better in blind taste tests. Thus, the formula for Coke was changed. But the outcry among the public was so great that the new formula didn’t last long—a matter of months—before the old formula was reinstated. Some marketing experts believe Coke incorrectly defined the problem as “How can we beat Pepsi in taste tests?” instead of “How can we gain market share against Pepsi?” (Burns & Bush, 2010)

New Coke Is It! 1985

(click to see video)

This video documents the Coca-Cola Company’s ill-fated launch of New Coke in 1985.

1985 Pepsi Commercial—“They Changed My Coke”

This video shows how Pepsi tried to capitalize on the blunder.

Step 2: Design the Research

The next step in the marketing research process is to do a research design. The research design is your “plan of attack.” It outlines what data you are going to gather and from whom, how and when you will collect the data, and how you will analyze it once it’s been obtained. Let’s look at the data you’re going to gather first.

There are two basic types of data you can gather. The first is primary data. Primary data is information you collect yourself, using hands-on tools such as interviews or surveys, specifically for the research project you’re conducting. Secondary data is data that has already been collected by someone else, or data you have already collected for another purpose. Collecting primary data is more time consuming, work intensive, and expensive than collecting secondary data. Consequently, you should always try to collect secondary data first to solve your research problem, if you can. A great deal of research on a wide variety of topics already exists. If this research contains the answer to your question, there is no need for you to replicate it. Why reinvent the wheel?

Sources of Secondary Data

Your company’s internal records are a source of secondary data. So are any data you collect as part of your marketing intelligence gathering efforts. You can also purchase syndicated research. Syndicated research is primary data that marketing research firms collect on a regular basis and sell to other companies. J.D. Power & Associates is a provider of syndicated research. The company conducts independent, unbiased surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for various industries. The company is best known for its research in the automobile sector. One of the best-known sellers of syndicated research is the Nielsen Company, which produces the Nielsen ratings. The Nielsen ratings measure the size of television, radio, and newspaper audiences in various markets. You have probably read or heard about TV shows that get the highest (Nielsen) ratings. (Arbitron does the same thing for radio ratings.) Nielsen, along with its main competitor, Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), also sells businesses scanner-based research . Scanner-based research is information collected by scanners at checkout stands in stores. Each week Nielsen and IRI collect information on the millions of purchases made at stores. The companies then compile the information and sell it to firms in various industries that subscribe to their services. The Nielsen Company has also recently teamed up with Facebook to collect marketing research information. Via Facebook, users will see surveys in some of the spaces in which they used to see online ads (Rappeport, Gelles, 2009).

By contrast, MarketResearch.com is an example of a marketing research aggregator. A marketing research aggregator is a marketing research company that doesn’t conduct its own research and sell it. Instead, it buys research reports from other marketing research companies and then sells the reports in their entirety or in pieces to other firms. Check out MarketResearch.com’s Web site. As you will see there are a huge number of studies in every category imaginable that you can buy for relatively small amounts of money.

Figure 10.7

A screen shot of Market Research's website

Market research aggregators buy research reports from other marketing research companies and then resell them in part or in whole to other companies so they don’t have to gather primary data.

Source: http://www.marketresearch.com .

Your local library is a good place to gather free secondary data. It has searchable databases as well as handbooks, dictionaries, and books, some of which you can access online. Government agencies also collect and report information on demographics, economic and employment data, health information, and balance-of-trade statistics, among a lot of other information. The U.S. Census Bureau collects census data every ten years to gather information about who lives where. Basic demographic information about sex, age, race, and types of housing in which people live in each U.S. state, metropolitan area, and rural area is gathered so that population shifts can be tracked for various purposes, including determining the number of legislators each state should have in the U.S. House of Representatives. For the U.S. government, this is primary data. For marketing managers it is an important source of secondary data.

The Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan also conducts periodic surveys and publishes information about trends in the United States. One research study the center continually conducts is called the “Changing Lives of American Families” ( http://www.isr.umich.edu/home/news/research-update/2007-01.pdf ). This is important research data for marketing managers monitoring consumer trends in the marketplace. The World Bank and the United Nations are two international organizations that collect a great deal of information. Their Web sites contain many free research studies and data related to global markets. Table 10.1 “Examples of Primary Data Sources versus Secondary Data Sources” shows some examples of primary versus secondary data sources.

Table 10.1 Examples of Primary Data Sources versus Secondary Data Sources

Primary Data Sources Secondary Data Sources
Interviews Census data
Surveys Web sites
Publications
Trade associations
Syndicated research and market aggregators

Gauging the Quality of Secondary Data

When you are gathering secondary information, it’s always good to be a little skeptical of it. Sometimes studies are commissioned to produce the result a client wants to hear—or wants the public to hear. For example, throughout the twentieth century, numerous studies found that smoking was good for people’s health. The problem was the studies were commissioned by the tobacco industry. Web research can also pose certain hazards. There are many biased sites that try to fool people that they are providing good data. Often the data is favorable to the products they are trying to sell. Beware of product reviews as well. Unscrupulous sellers sometimes get online and create bogus ratings for products. See below for questions you can ask to help gauge the credibility of secondary information.

Gauging the Credibility of Secondary Data: Questions to Ask

  • Who gathered this information?
  • For what purpose?
  • What does the person or organization that gathered the information have to gain by doing so?
  • Was the information gathered and reported in a systematic manner?
  • Is the source of the information accepted as an authority by other experts in the field?
  • Does the article provide objective evidence to support the position presented?

Types of Research Design

Now let’s look specifically at the types of research designs that are utilized. By understanding different types of research designs, a researcher can solve a client’s problems more quickly and efficiently without jumping through more hoops than necessary. Research designs fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Exploratory research design
  • Descriptive research design
  • Causal research design (experiments)

An exploratory research design is useful when you are initially investigating a problem but you haven’t defined it well enough to do an in-depth study of it. Perhaps via your regular market intelligence, you have spotted what appears to be a new opportunity in the marketplace. You would then do exploratory research to investigate it further and “get your feet wet,” as the saying goes. Exploratory research is less structured than other types of research, and secondary data is often utilized.

One form of exploratory research is qualitative research. Qualitative research is any form of research that includes gathering data that is not quantitative, and often involves exploring questions such as why as much as what or how much . Different forms, such as depth interviews and focus group interviews, are common in marketing research.

The depth interview —engaging in detailed, one-on-one, question-and-answer sessions with potential buyers—is an exploratory research technique. However, unlike surveys, the people being interviewed aren’t asked a series of standard questions. Instead the interviewer is armed with some general topics and asks questions that are open ended, meaning that they allow the interviewee to elaborate. “How did you feel about the product after you purchased it?” is an example of a question that might be asked. A depth interview also allows a researcher to ask logical follow-up questions such as “Can you tell me what you mean when you say you felt uncomfortable using the service?” or “Can you give me some examples?” to help dig further and shed additional light on the research problem. Depth interviews can be conducted in person or over the phone. The interviewer either takes notes or records the interview.

Focus groups and case studies are often utilized for exploratory research as well. A focus group is a group of potential buyers who are brought together to discuss a marketing research topic with one another. A moderator is used to focus the discussion, the sessions are recorded, and the main points of consensus are later summarized by the market researcher. Textbook publishers often gather groups of professors at educational conferences to participate in focus groups. However, focus groups can also be conducted on the telephone, in online chat rooms, or both, using meeting software like WebEx. The basic steps of conducting a focus group are outlined below.

The Basic Steps of Conducting a Focus Group

  • Establish the objectives of the focus group. What is its purpose?
  • Identify the people who will participate in the focus group. What makes them qualified to participate? How many of them will you need and what they will be paid?
  • Obtain contact information for the participants and send out invitations (usually e-mails are most efficient).
  • Develop a list of questions.
  • Choose a facilitator.
  • Choose a location in which to hold the focus group and the method by which it will be recorded.
  • Conduct the focus group. If the focus group is not conducted electronically, include name tags for the participants, pens and notepads, any materials the participants need to see, and refreshments. Record participants’ responses.
  • Summarize the notes from the focus group and write a report for management.

A case study looks at how another company solved the problem that’s being researched. Sometimes multiple cases, or companies, are used in a study. Case studies nonetheless have a mixed reputation. Some researchers believe it’s hard to generalize, or apply, the results of a case study to other companies. Nonetheless, collecting information about companies that encountered the same problems your firm is facing can give you a certain amount of insight about what direction you should take. In fact, one way to begin a research project is to carefully study a successful product or service.

Two other types of qualitative data used for exploratory research are ethnographies and projective techniques. In an ethnography , researchers interview, observe, and often videotape people while they work, live, shop, and play. The Walt Disney Company has recently begun using ethnographers to uncover the likes and dislikes of boys aged six to fourteen, a financially attractive market segment for Disney, but one in which the company has been losing market share. The ethnographers visit the homes of boys, observe the things they have in their rooms to get a sense of their hobbies, and accompany them and their mothers when they shop to see where they go, what the boys are interested in, and what they ultimately buy. (The children get seventy-five dollars out of the deal, incidentally.) (Barnes, 2009)

Projective techniques are used to reveal information research respondents might not reveal by being asked directly. Asking a person to complete sentences such as the following is one technique:

People who buy Coach handbags __________.

(Will he or she reply with “are cool,” “are affluent,” or “are pretentious,” for example?)

KFC’s grilled chicken is ______.

Or the person might be asked to finish a story that presents a certain scenario. Word associations are also used to discern people’s underlying attitudes toward goods and services. Using a word-association technique, a market researcher asks a person to say or write the first word that comes to his or her mind in response to another word. If the initial word is “fast food,” what word does the person associate it with or respond with? Is it “McDonald’s”? If many people reply that way, and you’re conducting research for Burger King, that could indicate Burger King has a problem. However, if the research is being conducted for Wendy’s, which recently began running an advertising campaign to the effect that Wendy’s offerings are “better than fast food,” it could indicate that the campaign is working.

Completing cartoons is yet another type of projective technique. It’s similar to finishing a sentence or story, only with the pictures. People are asked to look at a cartoon such as the one shown in Figure 10.8 “Example of a Cartoon-Completion Projective Technique” . One of the characters in the picture will have made a statement, and the person is asked to fill in the empty cartoon “bubble” with how they think the second character will respond.

Figure 10.8 Example of a Cartoon-Completion Projective Technique

A cartoon of a man shaking a woman's hand saying

In some cases, your research might end with exploratory research. Perhaps you have discovered your organization lacks the resources needed to produce the product. In other cases, you might decide you need more in-depth, quantitative research such as descriptive research or causal research, which are discussed next. Most marketing research professionals advise using both types of research, if it’s feasible. On the one hand, the qualitative-type research used in exploratory research is often considered too “lightweight.” Remember earlier in the chapter when we discussed telephone answering machines and the hit TV sitcom Seinfeld ? Both product ideas were initially rejected by focus groups. On the other hand, relying solely on quantitative information often results in market research that lacks ideas.

The Stone Wheel—What One Focus Group Said

Watch the video to see a funny spoof on the usefulness—or lack of usefulness—of focus groups.

Descriptive Research

Anything that can be observed and counted falls into the category of descriptive research design. A study using a descriptive research design involves gathering hard numbers, often via surveys, to describe or measure a phenomenon so as to answer the questions of who , what , where , when , and how . “On a scale of 1–5, how satisfied were you with your service?” is a question that illustrates the information a descriptive research design is supposed to capture.

Physiological measurements also fall into the category of descriptive design. Physiological measurements measure people’s involuntary physical responses to marketing stimuli, such as an advertisement. Elsewhere, we explained that researchers have gone so far as to scan the brains of consumers to see what they really think about products versus what they say about them. Eye tracking is another cutting-edge type of physiological measurement. It involves recording the movements of a person’s eyes when they look at some sort of stimulus, such as a banner ad or a Web page. The Walt Disney Company has a research facility in Austin, Texas, that it uses to take physical measurements of viewers when they see Disney programs and advertisements. The facility measures three types of responses: people’s heart rates, skin changes, and eye movements (eye tracking) (Spangler, 2009).

Figure 10.9

A pair of google glass

A woman shows off her headgear for an eye-tracking study. The gear’s not exactly a fashion statement but . . .

lawrencegs – Google Glass – CC BY 2.0.

A strictly descriptive research design instrument—a survey, for example—can tell you how satisfied your customers are. It can’t, however, tell you why. Nor can an eye-tracking study tell you why people’s eyes tend to dwell on certain types of banner ads—only that they do. To answer “why” questions an exploratory research design or causal research design is needed (Wagner, 2007).

Causal Research

Causal research design examines cause-and-effect relationships. Using a causal research design allows researchers to answer “what if” types of questions. In other words, if a firm changes X (say, a product’s price, design, placement, or advertising), what will happen to Y (say, sales or customer loyalty)? To conduct causal research, the researcher designs an experiment that “controls,” or holds constant, all of a product’s marketing elements except one (or using advanced techniques of research, a few elements can be studied at the same time). The one variable is changed, and the effect is then measured. Sometimes the experiments are conducted in a laboratory using a simulated setting designed to replicate the conditions buyers would experience. Or the experiments may be conducted in a virtual computer setting.

You might think setting up an experiment in a virtual world such as the online game Second Life would be a viable way to conduct controlled marketing research. Some companies have tried to use Second Life for this purpose, but the results have been somewhat mixed as to whether or not it is a good medium for marketing research. The German marketing research firm Komjuniti was one of the first “real-world” companies to set up an “island” in Second Life upon which it could conduct marketing research. However, with so many other attractive fantasy islands in which to play, the company found it difficult to get Second Life residents, or players, to voluntarily visit the island and stay long enough so meaningful research could be conducted. (Plus, the “residents,” or players, in Second Life have been known to protest corporations invading their world. When the German firm Komjuniti created an island in Second Life to conduct marketing research, the residents showed up waving signs and threatening to boycott the island.) (Wagner, 2007)

Why is being able to control the setting so important? Let’s say you are an American flag manufacturer and you are working with Walmart to conduct an experiment to see where in its stores American flags should be placed so as to increase their sales. Then the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occur. In the days afterward, sales skyrocketed—people bought flags no matter where they were displayed. Obviously, the terrorist attacks in the United States would have skewed the experiment’s data.

An experiment conducted in a natural setting such as a store is referred to as a field experiment . Companies sometimes do field experiments either because it is more convenient or because they want to see if buyers will behave the same way in the “real world” as in a laboratory or on a computer. The place the experiment is conducted or the demographic group of people the experiment is administered to is considered the test market . Before a large company rolls out a product to the entire marketplace, it will often place the offering in a test market to see how well it will be received. For example, to compete with MillerCoors’ sixty-four-calorie beer MGD 64, Anheuser-Busch recently began testing its Select 55 beer in certain cities around the country (McWilliams, 2009).

Figure 10.10

Beer in a glass

Select 55 beer: Coming soon to a test market near you? (If you’re on a diet, you have to hope so!)

Martine – Le champagne – CC BY-NC 2.0.

Many companies use experiments to test all of their marketing communications. For example, the online discount retailer O.co (formerly called Overstock.com) carefully tests all of its marketing offers and tracks the results of each one. One study the company conducted combined twenty-six different variables related to offers e-mailed to several thousand customers. The study resulted in a decision to send a group of e-mails to different segments. The company then tracked the results of the sales generated to see if they were in line with the earlier experiment it had conducted that led it to make the offer.

Step 3: Design the Data-Collection Forms

If the behavior of buyers is being formally observed, and a number of different researchers are conducting observations, the data obviously need to be recorded on a standardized data-collection form that’s either paper or electronic. Otherwise, the data collected will not be comparable. The items on the form could include a shopper’s sex; his or her approximate age; whether the person seemed hurried, moderately hurried, or unhurried; and whether or not he or she read the label on products, used coupons, and so forth.

The same is true when it comes to surveying people with questionnaires. Surveying people is one of the most commonly used techniques to collect quantitative data. Surveys are popular because they can be easily administered to large numbers of people fairly quickly. However, to produce the best results, the questionnaire for the survey needs to be carefully designed.

Questionnaire Design

Most questionnaires follow a similar format: They begin with an introduction describing what the study is for, followed by instructions for completing the questionnaire and, if necessary, returning it to the market researcher. The first few questions that appear on the questionnaire are usually basic, warm-up type of questions the respondent can readily answer, such as the respondent’s age, level of education, place of residence, and so forth. The warm-up questions are then followed by a logical progression of more detailed, in-depth questions that get to the heart of the question being researched. Lastly, the questionnaire wraps up with a statement that thanks the respondent for participating in the survey and information and explains when and how they will be paid for participating. To see some examples of questionnaires and how they are laid out, click on the following link: http://cas.uah.edu/wrenb/mkt343/Project/Sample%20Questionnaires.htm .

How the questions themselves are worded is extremely important. It’s human nature for respondents to want to provide the “correct” answers to the person administering the survey, so as to seem agreeable. Therefore, there is always a hazard that people will try to tell you what you want to hear on a survey. Consequently, care needs to be taken that the survey questions are written in an unbiased, neutral way. In other words, they shouldn’t lead a person taking the questionnaire to answer a question one way or another by virtue of the way you have worded it. The following is an example of a leading question.

Don’t you agree that teachers should be paid more ?

The questions also need to be clear and unambiguous. Consider the following question:

Which brand of toothpaste do you use ?

The question sounds clear enough, but is it really? What if the respondent recently switched brands? What if she uses Crest at home, but while away from home or traveling, she uses Colgate’s Wisp portable toothpaste-and-brush product? How will the respondent answer the question? Rewording the question as follows so it’s more specific will help make the question clearer:

Which brand of toothpaste have you used at home in the past six months? If you have used more than one brand, please list each of them 1 .

Sensitive questions have to be asked carefully. For example, asking a respondent, “Do you consider yourself a light, moderate, or heavy drinker?” can be tricky. Few people want to admit to being heavy drinkers. You can “soften” the question by including a range of answers, as the following example shows:

How many alcoholic beverages do you consume in a week ?

  • __0–5 alcoholic beverages
  • __5–10 alcoholic beverages
  • __10–15 alcoholic beverages

Many people don’t like to answer questions about their income levels. Asking them to specify income ranges rather than divulge their actual incomes can help.

Other research question “don’ts” include using jargon and acronyms that could confuse people. “How often do you IM?” is an example. Also, don’t muddy the waters by asking two questions in the same question, something researchers refer to as a double-barreled question . “Do you think parents should spend more time with their children and/or their teachers?” is an example of a double-barreled question.

Open-ended questions , or questions that ask respondents to elaborate, can be included. However, they are harder to tabulate than closed-ended questions , or questions that limit a respondent’s answers. Multiple-choice and yes-and-no questions are examples of closed-ended questions.

Testing the Questionnaire

You have probably heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out.” If the questions are bad, the information gathered will be bad, too. One way to make sure you don’t end up with garbage is to test the questionnaire before sending it out to find out if there are any problems with it. Is there enough space for people to elaborate on open-ended questions? Is the font readable? To test the questionnaire, marketing research professionals first administer it to a number of respondents face to face. This gives the respondents the chance to ask the researcher about questions or instructions that are unclear or don’t make sense to them. The researcher then administers the questionnaire to a small subset of respondents in the actual way the survey is going to be disseminated, whether it’s delivered via phone, in person, by mail, or online.

Getting people to participate and complete questionnaires can be difficult. If the questionnaire is too long or hard to read, many people won’t complete it. So, by all means, eliminate any questions that aren’t necessary. Of course, including some sort of monetary incentive for completing the survey can increase the number of completed questionnaires a market researcher will receive.

Step 4: Specify the Sample

Once you have created your questionnaire or other marketing study, how do you figure out who should participate in it? Obviously, you can’t survey or observe all potential buyers in the marketplace. Instead, you must choose a sample. A sample is a subset of potential buyers that are representative of your entire target market, or population being studied. Sometimes market researchers refer to the population as the universe to reflect the fact that it includes the entire target market, whether it consists of a million people, a hundred thousand, a few hundred, or a dozen. “All unmarried people over the age of eighteen who purchased Dirt Devil steam cleaners in the United States during 2011” is an example of a population that has been defined.

Obviously, the population has to be defined correctly. Otherwise, you will be studying the wrong group of people. Not defining the population correctly can result in flawed research, or sampling error. A sampling error is any type of marketing research mistake that results because a sample was utilized. One criticism of Internet surveys is that the people who take these surveys don’t really represent the overall population. On average, Internet survey takers tend to be more educated and tech savvy. Consequently, if they solely constitute your population, even if you screen them for certain criteria, the data you collect could end up being skewed.

The next step is to put together the sampling frame , which is the list from which the sample is drawn. The sampling frame can be put together using a directory, customer list, or membership roster (Wrenn et. al., 2007). Keep in mind that the sampling frame won’t perfectly match the population. Some people will be included on the list who shouldn’t be. Other people who should be included will be inadvertently omitted. It’s no different than if you were to conduct a survey of, say, 25 percent of your friends, using friends’ names you have in your cell phone. Most of your friends’ names are likely to be programmed into your phone, but not all of them. As a result, a certain degree of sampling error always occurs.

There are two main categories of samples in terms of how they are drawn: probability samples and nonprobability samples. A probability sample is one in which each would-be participant has a known and equal chance of being selected. The chance is known because the total number of people in the sampling frame is known. For example, if every other person from the sampling frame were chosen, each person would have a 50 percent chance of being selected.

A nonprobability sample is any type of sample that’s not drawn in a systematic way. So the chances of each would-be participant being selected can’t be known. A convenience sample is one type of nonprobability sample. It is a sample a researcher draws because it’s readily available and convenient to do so. Surveying people on the street as they pass by is an example of a convenience sample. The question is, are these people representative of the target market?

For example, suppose a grocery store needed to quickly conduct some research on shoppers to get ready for an upcoming promotion. Now suppose that the researcher assigned to the project showed up between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on a weekday and surveyed as many shoppers as possible. The problem is that the shoppers wouldn’t be representative of the store’s entire target market. What about commuters who stop at the store before and after work? Their views wouldn’t be represented. Neither would people who work the night shift or shop at odd hours. As a result, there would be a lot of room for sampling error in this study. For this reason, studies that use nonprobability samples aren’t considered as accurate as studies that use probability samples. Nonprobability samples are more often used in exploratory research.

Lastly, the size of the sample has an effect on the amount of sampling error. Larger samples generally produce more accurate results. The larger your sample is, the more data you will have, which will give you a more complete picture of what you’re studying. However, the more people surveyed or studied, the more costly the research becomes.

Statistics can be used to determine a sample’s optimal size. If you take a marketing research or statistics class, you will learn more about how to determine the optimal size.

Of course, if you hire a marketing research company, much of this work will be taken care of for you. Many marketing research companies, like ResearchNow, maintain panels of prescreened people they draw upon for samples. In addition, the marketing research firm will be responsible for collecting the data or contracting with a company that specializes in data collection. Data collection is discussed next.

Step 5: Collect the Data

As we have explained, primary marketing research data can be gathered in a number of ways. Surveys, taking physical measurements, and observing people are just three of the ways we discussed. If you’re observing customers as part of gathering the data, keep in mind that if shoppers are aware of the fact, it can have an effect on their behavior. For example, if a customer shopping for feminine hygiene products in a supermarket aisle realizes she is being watched, she could become embarrassed and leave the aisle, which would adversely affect your data. To get around problems such as these, some companies set up cameras or two-way mirrors to observe customers. Organizations also hire mystery shoppers to work around the problem. A mystery shopper is someone who is paid to shop at a firm’s establishment or one of its competitors to observe the level of service, cleanliness of the facility, and so forth, and report his or her findings to the firm.

Make Extra Money as a Mystery Shopper

Watch the YouTube video to get an idea of how mystery shopping works.

Survey data can be collected in many different ways and combinations of ways. The following are the basic methods used:

  • Face-to-face (can be computer aided)
  • Telephone (can be computer aided or completely automated)
  • Mail and hand delivery
  • E-mail and the Web

A face-to-face survey is, of course, administered by a person. The surveys are conducted in public places such as in shopping malls, on the street, or in people’s homes if they have agreed to it. In years past, it was common for researchers in the United States to knock on people’s doors to gather survey data. However, randomly collected door-to-door interviews are less common today, partly because people are afraid of crime and are reluctant to give information to strangers (McDaniel & Gates, 1998).

Nonetheless, “beating the streets” is still a legitimate way questionnaire data is collected. When the U.S. Census Bureau collects data on the nation’s population, it hand delivers questionnaires to rural households that do not have street-name and house-number addresses. And Census Bureau workers personally survey the homeless to collect information about their numbers. Face-to-face surveys are also commonly used in third world countries to collect information from people who cannot read or lack phones and computers.

A plus of face-to-face surveys is that they allow researchers to ask lengthier, more complex questions because the people being surveyed can see and read the questionnaires. The same is true when a computer is utilized. For example, the researcher might ask the respondent to look at a list of ten retail stores and rank the stores from best to worst. The same question wouldn’t work so well over the telephone because the person couldn’t see the list. The question would have to be rewritten. Another drawback with telephone surveys is that even though federal and state “do not call” laws generally don’t prohibit companies from gathering survey information over the phone, people often screen such calls using answering machines and caller ID.

Probably the biggest drawback of both surveys conducted face-to-face and administered over the phone by a person is that they are labor intensive and therefore costly. Mailing out questionnaires is costly, too, and the response rates can be rather low. Think about why that might be so: if you receive a questionnaire in the mail, it is easy to throw it in the trash; it’s harder to tell a market researcher who approaches you on the street that you don’t want to be interviewed.

By contrast, gathering survey data collected by a computer, either over the telephone or on the Internet, can be very cost-effective and in some cases free. SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang are two Web sites that will allow you to create online questionnaires, e-mail them to up to one hundred people for free, and view the responses in real time as they come in. For larger surveys, you have to pay a subscription price of a few hundred dollars. But that still can be extremely cost-effective. The two Web sites also have a host of other features such as online-survey templates you can use to create your questionnaire, a way to set up automatic reminders sent to people who haven’t yet completed their surveys, and tools you can use to create graphics to put in your final research report. To see how easy it is to put together a survey in SurveyMonkey, click on the following link: http://help.surveymonkey.com/app/tutorials/detail/a_id/423 .

Like a face-to-face survey, an Internet survey can enable you to show buyers different visuals such as ads, pictures, and videos of products and their packaging. Web surveys are also fast, which is a major plus. Whereas face-to-face and mailed surveys often take weeks to collect, you can conduct a Web survey in a matter of days or even hours. And, of course, because the information is electronically gathered it can be automatically tabulated. You can also potentially reach a broader geographic group than you could if you had to personally interview people. The Zoomerang Web site allows you to create surveys in forty different languages.

Another plus for Web and computer surveys (and electronic phone surveys) is that there is less room for human error because the surveys are administered electronically. For instance, there’s no risk that the interviewer will ask a question wrong or use a tone of voice that could mislead the respondents. Respondents are also likely to feel more comfortable inputting the information into a computer if a question is sensitive than they would divulging the information to another person face-to-face or over the phone. Given all of these advantages, it’s not surprising that the Internet is quickly becoming the top way to collect primary data. However, like mail surveys, surveys sent to people over the Internet are easy to ignore.

Lastly, before the data collection process begins, the surveyors and observers need to be trained to look for the same things, ask questions the same way, and so forth. If they are using rankings or rating scales, they need to be “on the same page,” so to speak, as to what constitutes a high ranking or a low ranking. As an analogy, you have probably had some teachers grade your college papers harder than others. The goal of training is to avoid a wide disparity between how different observers and interviewers record the data.

Figure 10.11

Satisfaction Survey

Training people so they know what constitutes different ratings when they are collecting data will improve the quality of the information gathered in a marketing research study.

Ricardo Rodriquez – Satisfaction survey – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

For example, if an observation form asks the observers to describe whether a shopper’s behavior is hurried, moderately hurried, or unhurried, they should be given an idea of what defines each rating. Does it depend on how much time the person spends in the store or in the individual aisles? How fast they walk? In other words, the criteria and ratings need to be spelled out.

Collecting International Marketing Research Data

Gathering marketing research data in foreign countries poses special challenges. However, that doesn’t stop firms from doing so. Marketing research companies are located all across the globe, in fact. Eight of the ten largest marketing research companies in the world are headquartered in the United States. However, five of these eight firms earn more of their revenues abroad than they do in the United States. There’s a reason for this: many U.S. markets were saturated, or tapped out, long ago in terms of the amount that they can grow. Coke is an example. As you learned earlier in the book, most of the Coca-Cola Company’s revenues are earned in markets abroad. To be sure, the United States is still a huge market when it comes to the revenues marketing research firms generate by conducting research in the country: in terms of their spending, American consumers fuel the world’s economic engine. Still, emerging countries with growing middle classes, such as China, India, and Brazil, are hot new markets companies want to tap.

What kind of challenges do firms face when trying to conduct marketing research abroad? As we explained, face-to-face surveys are commonly used in third world countries to collect information from people who cannot read or lack phones and computers. However, face-to-face surveys are also common in Europe, despite the fact that phones and computers are readily available. In-home surveys are also common in parts of Europe. By contrast, in some countries, including many Asian countries, it’s considered taboo or rude to try to gather information from strangers either face-to-face or over the phone. In many Muslim countries, women are forbidden to talk to strangers.

And how do you figure out whom to research in foreign countries? That in itself is a problem. In the United States, researchers often ask if they can talk to the heads of households to conduct marketing research. But in countries in which domestic servants or employees are common, the heads of households aren’t necessarily the principal shoppers; their domestic employees are (Malhotra).

Translating surveys is also an issue. Have you ever watched the TV comedians Jay Leno and David Letterman make fun of the English translations found on ethnic menus and products? Research tools such as surveys can suffer from the same problem. Hiring someone who is bilingual to translate a survey into another language can be a disaster if the person isn’t a native speaker of the language to which the survey is being translated.

One way companies try to deal with translation problems is by using back translation. When back translation is used, a native speaker translates the survey into the foreign language and then translates it back again to the original language to determine if there were gaps in meaning—that is, if anything was lost in translation. And it’s not just the language that’s an issue. If the research involves any visual images, they, too, could be a point of confusion. Certain colors, shapes, and symbols can have negative connotations in other countries. For example, the color white represents purity in many Western cultures, but in China, it is the color of death and mourning (Zouhali-Worrall, 2008). Also, look back at the cartoon-completion exercise in Figure 10.8 “Example of a Cartoon-Completion Projective Technique” . What would women in Muslim countries who aren’t allowed to converse with male sellers think of it? Chances are, the cartoon wouldn’t provide you with the information you’re seeking if Muslim women in some countries were asked to complete it.

One way marketing research companies are dealing with the complexities of global research is by merging with or acquiring marketing research companies abroad. The Nielsen Company is the largest marketing research company in the world. The firm operates in more than a hundred countries and employs more than forty thousand people. Many of its expansions have been the result of acquisitions and mergers.

Step 6: Analyze the Data

Step 6 involves analyzing the data to ensure it’s as accurate as possible. If the research is collected by hand using a pen and pencil, it’s entered into a computer. Or respondents might have already entered the information directly into a computer. For example, when Toyota goes to an event such as a car show, the automaker’s marketing personnel ask would-be buyers to complete questionnaires directly on computers. Companies are also beginning to experiment with software that can be used to collect data using mobile phones.

Once all the data is collected, the researchers begin the data cleaning , which is the process of removing data that have accidentally been duplicated (entered twice into the computer) or correcting data that have obviously been recorded wrong. A program such as Microsoft Excel or a statistical program such as Predictive Analytics Software (PASW, which was formerly known as SPSS) is then used to tabulate, or calculate, the basic results of the research, such as the total number of participants and how collectively they answered various questions. The programs can also be used to calculate averages, such as the average age of respondents, their average satisfaction, and so forth. The same can done for percentages, and other values you learned about, or will learn about, in a statistics course, such as the standard deviation, mean, and median for each question.

The information generated by the programs can be used to draw conclusions, such as what all customers might like or not like about an offering based on what the sample group liked or did not like. The information can also be used to spot differences among groups of people. For example, the research might show that people in one area of the country like the product better than people in another area. Trends to predict what might happen in the future can also be spotted.

If there are any open-ended questions respondents have elaborated upon—for example, “Explain why you like the current brand you use better than any other brand”—the answers to each are pasted together, one on top of another, so researchers can compare and summarize the information. As we have explained, qualitative information such as this can give you a fuller picture of the results of the research.

Part of analyzing the data is to see if it seems sound. Does the way in which the research was conducted seem sound? Was the sample size large enough? Are the conclusions that become apparent from it reasonable?

The two most commonly used criteria used to test the soundness of a study are (1) validity and (2) reliability. A study is valid if it actually tested what it was designed to test. For example, did the experiment you ran in Second Life test what it was designed to test? Did it reflect what could really happen in the real world? If not, the research isn’t valid. If you were to repeat the study, and get the same results (or nearly the same results), the research is said to be reliable . If you get a drastically different result if you repeat the study, it’s not reliable. The data collected, or at least some it, can also be compared to, or reconciled with, similar data from other sources either gathered by your firm or by another organization to see if the information seems on target.

Stage 7: Write the Research Report and Present Its Findings

If you end up becoming a marketing professional and conducting a research study after you graduate, hopefully you will do a great job putting the study together. You will have defined the problem correctly, chosen the right sample, collected the data accurately, analyzed it, and your findings will be sound. At that point, you will be required to write the research report and perhaps present it to an audience of decision makers. You will do so via a written report and, in some cases, a slide or PowerPoint presentation based on your written report.

The six basic elements of a research report are as follows.

  • Title Page . The title page explains what the report is about, when it was conducted and by whom, and who requested it.
  • Table of Contents . The table of contents outlines the major parts of the report, as well as any graphs and charts, and the page numbers on which they can be found.
  • Executive Summary . The executive summary summarizes all the details in the report in a very quick way. Many people who receive the report—both executives and nonexecutives—won’t have time to read the entire report. Instead, they will rely on the executive summary to quickly get an idea of the study’s results and what to do about those results.

Methodology and Limitations . The methodology section of the report explains the technical details of how the research was designed and conducted. The section explains, for example, how the data was collected and by whom, the size of the sample, how it was chosen, and whom or what it consisted of (e.g., the number of women versus men or children versus adults). It also includes information about the statistical techniques used to analyze the data.

Every study has errors—sampling errors, interviewer errors, and so forth. The methodology section should explain these details, so decision makers can consider their overall impact. The margin of error is the overall tendency of the study to be off kilter—that is, how far it could have gone wrong in either direction. Remember how newscasters present the presidential polls before an election? They always say, “This candidate is ahead 48 to 44 percent, plus or minus 2 percent.” That “plus or minus” is the margin of error. The larger the margin of error is, the less likely the results of the study are accurate. The margin of error needs to be included in the methodology section.

  • Findings . The findings section is a longer, fleshed-out version of the executive summary that goes into more detail about the statistics uncovered by the research that bolster the study’s findings. If you have related research or secondary data on hand that back up the findings, it can be included to help show the study did what it was designed to do.
  • Recommendations . The recommendations section should outline the course of action you think should be taken based on the findings of the research and the purpose of the project. For example, if you conducted a global market research study to identify new locations for stores, make a recommendation for the locations (Mersdorf, 2009).

As we have said, these are the basic sections of a marketing research report. However, additional sections can be added as needed. For example, you might need to add a section on the competition and each firm’s market share. If you’re trying to decide on different supply chain options, you will need to include a section on that topic.

As you write the research report, keep your audience in mind. Don’t use technical jargon decision makers and other people reading the report won’t understand. If technical terms must be used, explain them. Also, proofread the document to ferret out any grammatical errors and typos, and ask a couple of other people to proofread behind you to catch any mistakes you might have missed. If your research report is riddled with errors, its credibility will be undermined, even if the findings and recommendations you make are extremely accurate.

Many research reports are presented via PowerPoint. If you’re asked to create a slideshow presentation from the report, don’t try to include every detail in the report on the slides. The information will be too long and tedious for people attending the presentation to read through. And if they do go to the trouble of reading all the information, they probably won’t be listening to the speaker who is making the presentation.

Instead of including all the information from the study in the slides, boil each section of the report down to key points and add some “talking points” only the presenter will see. After or during the presentation, you can give the attendees the longer, paper version of the report so they can read the details at a convenient time, if they choose to.

Key Takeaway

Step 1 in the marketing research process is to define the problem. Businesses take a look at what they believe are symptoms and try to drill down to the potential causes so as to precisely define the problem. The next task for the researcher is to put into writing the research objective, or goal, the research is supposed to accomplish. Step 2 in the process is to design the research. The research design is the “plan of attack.” It outlines what data you are going to gather, from whom, how, and when, and how you’re going to analyze it once it has been obtained. Step 3 is to design the data-collection forms, which need to be standardized so the information gathered on each is comparable. Surveys are a popular way to gather data because they can be easily administered to large numbers of people fairly quickly. However, to produce the best results, survey questionnaires need to be carefully designed and pretested before they are used. Step 4 is drawing the sample, or a subset of potential buyers who are representative of your entire target market. If the sample is not correctly selected, the research will be flawed. Step 5 is to actually collect the data, whether it’s collected by a person face-to-face, over the phone, or with the help of computers or the Internet. The data-collection process is often different in foreign countries. Step 6 is to analyze the data collected for any obvious errors, tabulate the data, and then draw conclusions from it based on the results. The last step in the process, Step 7, is writing the research report and presenting the findings to decision makers.

Review Questions

  • Explain why it’s important to carefully define the problem or opportunity a marketing research study is designed to investigate.
  • Describe the different types of problems that can occur when marketing research professionals develop questions for surveys.
  • How does a probability sample differ from a nonprobability sample?
  • What makes a marketing research study valid? What makes a marketing research study reliable?
  • What sections should be included in a marketing research report? What is each section designed to do?

1 “Questionnaire Design,” QuickMBA , http://www.quickmba.com/marketing/research/qdesign (accessed December 14, 2009).

Barnes, B., “Disney Expert Uses Science to Draw Boy Viewers,” New York Times , April 15, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/arts/television/14boys.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1 (accessed December 14, 2009).

Burns A. and Ronald Bush, Marketing Research , 6th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010), 85.

Malhotra, N., Marketing Research: An Applied Approach , 6th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall), 764.

McDaniel, C. D. and Roger H. Gates, Marketing Research Essentials , 2nd ed. (Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing, 1998), 61.

McWilliams, J., “A-B Puts Super-Low-Calorie Beer in Ring with Miller,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch , August 16, 2009, http://www.stltoday.com/business/next-matchup-light-weights-a-b-puts-super-low-calorie/article_47511bfe-18ca-5979-bdb9-0526c97d4edf.html (accessed April 13, 2012).

Mersdorf, S., “How to Organize Your Next Survey Report,” Cvent , August 24, 2009, http://survey.cvent.com/blog/cvent-survey/0/0/how-to-organize-your-next-survey-report (accessed December 14, 2009).

Rappeport A. and David Gelles, “Facebook to Form Alliance with Nielsen,” Financial Times , September 23, 2009, 16.

Spangler, T., “Disney Lab Tracks Feelings,” Multichannel News 30, no. 30 (August 3, 2009): 26.

Wagner, J., “Marketing in Second Life Doesn’t Work…Here Is Why!” GigaOM , April 4, 2007, http://gigaom.com/2007/04/04/3-reasons-why-marketing-in-second-life-doesnt-work (accessed December 14, 2009).

Wrenn, B., Robert E. Stevens, and David L. Loudon, Marketing Research: Text and Cases , 2nd ed. (Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 2007), 180.

Zouhali-Worrall, M., “Found in Translation: Avoiding Multilingual Gaffes,” CNNMoney.com , July 14, 2008, http://money.cnn.com/2008/07/07/smallbusiness/language_translation.fsb/index.htm (accessed December 14, 2009).

Principles of Marketing Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Marketing Research – Meaning, Scope, Objectives & Process

Meaning of marketing research.

Marketing research is a process of analyzing and conducting research about the market to understand market trends. It involves proper collection, analysis and interpretation of information regarding market conditions. Marketing research is mainly conducted to identify changes in preferences and behaviour of customers arising from the change in market mix elements viz. promotion, place, price and product. It may be defined as the mechanism which helps in linking the customers, producers and several other end users to the marketer and help in finding and communicating of all required information.

Scope of Marketing Research

Scope of Marketing Research

Determines Customer Behaviour

Provide valuable data.

Effective decision making of any organisation depends entirely on the quality of information available with it. Marketing research supplies all important information about the market to the management team. It keeps organisation aware of market factors like demand, supply, competition, technological changes, consumer behaviour etc. All this information is vital for strategic decision making. Managers frame all their organisation policies in accordance with data supplied by marketing research.

Helps in Sales Forecasting

Lower business risk.

Marketing research plays an important role in reducing business risk and raising the revenue of the business organisation. It helps businesses in carrying on their operations in accordance with market requirements. The business acquires all current data and generalized information about market trends. All decisions are taken in order to focus on the customer’s current demands and thereby producing the right product. This results in avoiding resources of organisation and lowering risk.

Evaluate Market Performance

Facilitates introduction of new products.

Marketing research enables the business to examine and introduce their new products in the market. It enables to conduct testing of new products in small or local markets initially and studies consumer reaction towards it. This helps the business in understanding the deficiencies and problem in their product. They can accordingly overcome these issues and develops an efficient marketing mix for their product. All these helps in minimising the risk involved in the launching of a new product. 

Choose Best Promotion Techniques

Objectives of marketing research.

Objectives of Marketing Research

Identify Customer Needs And Expectations

Marketing research helps business in understanding the needs and wants of customers. Proper knowledge of what customer want is necessary to deliver the products as per their expectations. Marketing research involves reaching out to customers and interacting with them to understand their demands. It helps in developing the right product as per customer requirements.

Minimise Marketing Costs

Setting up proper price policy, finds target market and new opportunities.

Identifying potential customers and new opportunities are important for grabbing the market. Marketing research explores the wide and large market and find out the opportunities for new products by recognising the unfulfilled needs of customers.

Recognise Deficiencies In Product

These suggestions and feedback from customer help the customers in improving their product quality. Marketing research also informs of any technological changes in market to business so that accordingly changes can be made timely.

Product Positioning In Market

Process of marketing research, problem identification.

The first and foremost step in the marketing research process. The identification of problems. For which the research is to be conducted. Unless and until the problem is recognized clearly. No clear cut plan can be formed leading to wastage of resources.

Research Plan Formulation

Acquiring and gathering information, interpretation of information.

The successful collection of all required information. A systematic and proper study is to be done. To conduct a successful analysis of all collected information. To get details in accordance with the research plan.

Result Presentation

Decision making.

Marketing research plays an important role in studying consumer behaviour. It is very efficient tool for the marketers to understand the trends of the market that mainly consists of information relating to new product launch in the market, trends in consumer demand, pricing strategy of the competitor and available close substitutes of the product.

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What is the objective of market research?

June 12, 2023 | By Hitesh Bhasin | Filed Under: Marketing

Market research is the practice of researching people’s thoughts, opinions, and behaviors concerning a given product or service. It’s typically conducted by contacting customers to learn what they think about a new product or service before it hits the market.

Market research is a process of identifying important factors in a marketplace. Its purpose is to provide insight that allows a company to make better business decisions and increase profitability.

Table of Contents

10 Objectives of Market Research

10 Objectives of Market Research

Research companies conduct marketing research to optimize marketing effectiveness. Some of the objectives that it serves are –

1) To Know the Target Customers & Bring in New Business

Marketing involves understanding the people who are interested in purchasing a firm’s products or services. This involves gathering information about buyer variables, such as the number of buyers, how frequently they buy, their geographical location, social category, and other relevant factors.

Example –

A company that sells personal care products can conduct market research to identify the target buyers and their needs.

2) To identify a new target audience that they want to pursue based on their last sales figures

In addition to its other purposes, market research is also utilized to discover individuals who could be potential customers but are currently unaware of the company’s products and services. Firms make use of this research to evaluate whether there are any unexplored markets or customer groups that haven’t been targeted yet.

A restaurant may conduct market research to identify potential customers in new neighborhoods.

3) To Measure the Marketing Performance & Impact of Promotional Efforts

In today’s dynamic marketing environment , companies often use various strategies to promote their products or services. The communication mix, which includes advertising , personal selling, and sales promotion , plays a significant role in this regard. Researching the effectiveness of different components of the promotion mix will help the researcher assess their strengths and weaknesses. You can utilize the findings to implement necessary changes that would enhance the outcome.

A company may measure the impact of its promotional efforts by assessing the level of engagement and response across different platforms.

4) To Know the Consumer Response

Market researchers aim to comprehend how consumers respond to their products and services. To achieve this, they collect information about buyers’ preferences, opinions, behaviors, and attitudes . The insights derived from market research will assist researchers in determining what aspects of their offering appeal to customers and what do not.

A tourism company may ask consumers’ opinions about its services to better understand customers’ opinions about its offerings.

5) To Know Market Costs and Profits

There is growing concern worldwide that marketing costs have increased so much that companies are struggling to maximize their profits. Marketing cost reflects the resources a company invests in its marketing efforts and is a key performance indicator. Studying the breakdown of total marketing expenses can help evaluate which marketing strategies are not cost-effective and do not yield satisfactory results.

A food-processing plant may analyze the cost of its marketing activities to determine if they are generating sufficient returns on investment.

6) To Master the External Forces

The company’s policies and strategies are subject to change based on controllable internal factors and uncontrollable external factors.

Companies need precise data about their competitors’ activities, their market share , modifications in foreign markets, government policies, consumer income and expenses, technological advancements, new product substitutes, environmental factors, etc. Firms must continuously adapt to the changing forces in their environment through research. By conducting research, firms can become more innovative and increase their chances of successful survival.

A manufacturing company may conduct research on the impact of rising raw material costs and changes in economic policies to design strategies to overcome this challenge.

7) To Design and Implement Marketing Control

The role of marketing control is to monitor and provide feedback on how well the marketing plan is performing compared to the pre-set standards. Its purpose is to identify and correct deviations and provide data to revise the plan.

Market research can determine whether different messages are resonating more with target customers in different regions. It can also identify areas of the plan that need to be adjusted or improved to meet the company’s objectives.

8) Identifying market gaps

By using market research, you can identify gaps in the market. Companies with limited resources may be unable to go after every opportunity, so understanding what the competition is doing and identifying areas where there is untapped potential gives companies an advantage.

A company may use marketing research to find out what products and services are popular in a certain region. With that information, they can determine if there is an opportunity to expand into that market.

9) Reducing product failure & minimizing business risk

Using marketing research information can help develop a successful marketing mix , leading to profitability and an advantage over competitors. Businesses utilize research findings to predict and prepare suitable measures to deal with potential risks in their operational surroundings.

Market research can help companies identify potential product failures before they launch and adjust their strategy accordingly. It can also provide information on customer preferences that could help them develop new products or services.

10) Forecasting future trends

You will stay ahead of competitors by anticipating future consumer needs and taking advantage of market opportunities by using marketing research. Forecasting can help companies make better decisions on which markets and products to focus on and anticipate changes in consumer preferences.

Market research can supply information about the latest developments in a specific market like the rise in demand for certain products or the increase in interest of specific consumer groups towards particular services. Companies can utilize this data to design more focused marketing campaigns and stay competitive with others in the industry.

Why Marketing Research is Important?

Market research is beneficial for businesses because it enables them to discover customer needs and preferences, gain deeper insights into their intended audience, and make informed decisions regarding product creation, pricing , distribution , and marketing tactics.

  • Understanding consumer behavior enables companies to gain insights into their competitors’ strategies and respond appropriately. Additionally, it can aid companies in making business decisions.
  • Conducting marketing research is crucial for businesses to achieve success. By analyzing reliable data, companies can gain insights into their target customers and make well-informed decisions.
  • By conducting marketing research, businesses can find out what their customers want and like, evaluate how satisfied their customers are, gauge the competition’s performance, and discover new trends in the industry.

Types of Market Research

Mainly two types of market research help a consumer-oriented company in doing effective marketing research and marketing management . Let’s go through both of them right away-

1. Primary Research

Primary research is a method in which a business either directly communicates with its consumers or hires a third party to conduct qualitative research or quantitative research to gather numerical or non-numerical data. It can be done in so many ways to do primary data collection such as –

  • Focus Groups
  • One-to-One Interviews
  • Ethnographic Research
  • Customer Surveys
  • Questionnaires

2. Secondary Research

Secondary marketing research aims at secondary data and involves analyzing data and insights obtained from sources other than your primary research. This includes both qualitative and quantitative research . The data collected can be useful in determining how to position the product and in making decisions. Some of the ways of doing secondary research are –

  • Public Sources
  • Commercial Sources
  • Company Web Sites
  • Other Sources like published market studies, analyst reports, customer emails, customer surveys, recorded meetings, interviews, books, etc

How to Create a Market Research Objective

How to Create a Market Research Objective

Some of the steps you need to follow to create an effective marketing research process objective are –

1) Start with a research question –

To create an objective, start by identifying the key questions that your market research needs to answer. Gathering relevant data and information to help reach your desired outcome will be easier if you have a clear focus.

2) Set measurable goals –

For your market research project to succeed, it’s crucial to set specific and achievable goals that can be measured. This involves outlining your objectives and methods for achieving them, so you can monitor progress and assess results.

3) Identify resources –

To reach your goals, it is important to pinpoint helpful resources that can assist you in achieving the desired results. One of these resources includes finding pertinent sources of information , such as surveys and interviews, that are necessary for conducting marketing research.

4) Develop a plan of action –

To achieve your goal, you must create an actionable plan that identifies needed resources and measurable objectives and outlines the steps you will take to collect and use data.

To make sure your marketing research is effective and helps you achieve your desired outcome, follow the steps to create a tailored market research objective for your project. This will ensure that your time and effort spent on market research is not wasted and leads to successful results.

What Questions your Marketing Research Objectives should Answer?

Your marketing research report should answer the following questions to address different scenarios, so you can optimize your marketing strategy for collecting data and solving marketing problems effectively –

1) What strategies can we use to increase sales of our products to our existing customers?

By setting marketing research objectives to determine customer satisfaction levels, such as conducting customer satisfaction surveys, analyzing Net Promoter Score, and retention and churn figures, companies can discover potential strategies to enhance satisfaction and retain customer loyalty .

2) What strategies can we use to attract new customers?

To create different marketing strategies that meet the needs of potential customers and reach them better, companies should set market research objectives to analyze the demographics and geographic location of their target market . They can also use this data to identify the most suitable distribution channels .

3) Is it advisable to create new products for our existing customers?

Businesses may need to address how they can encourage their current customers to try other products or services they offer. Companies can save money by cross-selling to existing customers instead of constantly trying to attract new customers. By providing helpful and convenient solutions through cross-selling, companies can also increase loyalty and satisfaction.

4) Is it advisable to create new products for a new customer base?

Developing new types of products and services for new types of customers is a risky endeavor that companies can embark on. To fully understand market threats and opportunities, companies need to use a comprehensive research plan with specific marketing research objectives.

Conclusion!

To conclude, the objectives of marketing research can be summarized in the following points-

  • To identify and comprehend the target audiences, specifically the customers
  • To evaluate the purchasing habits of current and potential customers
  • To help in determining the preferences and requirements of customers
  • To gauge and track the effectiveness of current marketing strategies
  • To gain an understanding of the offerings, pricing, and promotional activities of our competitors
  • To identify opportunities for market growth and develop new markets
  • To predict upcoming market trends, it suggests the steps that you should take

Liked this post? Check out the complete series on Market research

Related posts:

  • What is Research Design? Type of Research Designs
  • How to Write Research Proposal? Research Proposal Format
  • 7 Key Differences between Research Method and Research Methodology
  • Qualitative Research: Meaning, and Features of Qualitative Research
  • Research Ethics – Importance and Principles of Ethics in Research
  • What is Primary Market Research? Types & Examples
  • Quantitative Market Research
  • How to collect primary data for Market research?
  • What is Sampling plan and its application in Market research?
  • 11 Types Of Quantitative Research options that exist for Market Researchers

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Examples of Actionable Marketing Objectives

By Joe Weller | June 25, 2024

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We break down how to achieve your marketing goals by creating step-by-step objectives that are specific and measurable. We outline unique examples of potential marketing objectives, based on each type of marketing goal, and provide advice from marketing pros. 

Included in this article, you’ll find the following:

  • Over 50 examples of marketing objectives based on popular marketing goals
  • Marketing goals cheat sheet
  • How to set marketing objectives 

What Are Marketing Objectives?

Marketing objectives are specific and measurable outcomes that a marketing plan aims to achieve within a set time frame. Examples include expanding market share by 20 percent in a year and increasing brand awareness in the 20-25 age demographic within six months.

Marketing Objective vs. Marketing Goals

Marketing goals are the broader aims that a business wishes to achieve. Marketing objectives are the specific outcomes within a goal that a business will need to execute in order to achieve the goal.

For example, if your broader marketing goal is to improve customer experience, a marketing objective would be to increase customer retention by 5 percent by the end of the year. Discover more  examples of business goals .

marketing objective versus marketing goal

View this  chart to see the difference between goals and objectives .

Examples of Marketing Objectives

We have listed below different types of marketing goals with examples of specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound (SMART) marketing objectives. Use these examples as benchmarks for your own marketing plan.

Digital Marketing Objective Examples

When it comes to digital marketing, it’s important to think about the entirety of your web presence and target different facets of how people interact with it. These objectives focus on tactics to improve digital marketing efforts.

  • Hire a contract designer to make your website more efficient and user friendly in three months for improved customer experience.
  • Increase social media impressions by 15 percent by the end of two quarters.
  • Create a YouTube platform for your company, and produce a slate of at least three relevant videos by the end of the year.
  • Boost customer conversion rate by 20 percent through targeted email campaigns in the next quarter.
  • Expand email subscriber list by 25 percent by the end of this quarter.
  • Increase organic search traffic by 30 percent by the end of the year.

Marcom Objective Examples

These examples represent the focus on branding and industry relationships when setting marketing communication objectives.

  • Conduct market research for one month, and develop a strategy to communicate with that market by the end of the quarter.
  • Set up relationships with five new industry influencers by the end of Q3, and sign promotional contracts with them.
  • Build a positive brand image by placing at least five new instances of press coverage for the company or a product by the end of the year.
  • Increase brand awareness by 15 percent with your target audience within 10 months.
  • Use webinars to improve product awareness by 30 percent by the end of the quarter.
  • Increase lead generation 20 percent with email campaigns in six months.

Marketing Plan Objective Examples

When creating marketing plan objectives, consider the larger goals you want to achieve and how to create objectives in concert with them.

  • Increase revenue by 10 percent by the end of the fiscal year.
  • Generate new leads by creating five new, branded content relationships by the end of Q2.
  • Increase brand awareness and brand recall by 20 percent with a new brand campaign by the end of the quarter.
  • Increase market share 10 percent by the end of the fiscal year.
  • Launch a new product and achieve a 30 percent revenue increase by the end of the year.
  • Increase market share by 15 percent by the end of the fiscal year.

New Business Marketing Objectives

New business marketing objectives should focus on collecting research to set the game plan for crafting brand identity.

  • Conduct market research on your company’s target customers and competitors by the end of the quarter and use that data to craft a positioning statement.
  • Build brand identity and brand reputation by allocating 15 percent more of the annual marketing budget to brand partnerships and influencer partnerships.
  • Improve customer advocacy by increasing your customer service workforce by 10 percent by the end of the quarter and investing revenue into monthly customer service training sessions.
  • Generate 200 leads through a targeted social media marketing campaign in the first six months after the launch of the business.
  • Establish a brand presence on two major social media platforms and gain 5,000 followers total within the first six months.
  • Attract 1,000 website visitors a month by the third month of the business launch.

New Product Marketing Objectives

For new product objectives, the aim should be expanding brand awareness to new markets while satisfying your current customer base. 

Carmen Williams

  • Reach new markets and obtain new customers by conducting marketing research on three new markets by the end of the quarter that you think would find the product meaningful.
  • Expand brand awareness by increasing click-through rate on social media ads 5 percent within three months of completing marketing research.
  • Increase sales revenue by 5 percent in the first three months after the product launch.
  • Generate 500 leads pre-launch with email sign-ups and social media engagement six months prior to the product’s release.
  • Secure partnerships with three key retailers to ensure product availability in at least 100 stores nationwide within the first six months.

Marketing Campaign Objective Examples

Marketing campaign objectives need to have a wider scope than regular marketing objectives.

  • Increase conversions of people in the prospect pipeline to customers by 10 percent in the first three months after your marketing campaign.
  • Create more brand awareness by targeting your campaign to three new markets or demographics by the end of the year.
  • Increase reach and click-through rate by 15 percent on all forms of ads by the end of Q3.
  • Increase sales revenue 30 percent by the end of the campaign.
  • Grow subscriber base email list by 20 percent by two months after the campaign.
  • Increase total social media followers by 15 percent by the end of the campaign.

digital marketing campaign report template

Download a Marketing Campaign Report Template for Microsoft Excel  | Google Sheets

Use this marketing campaign report template to track the performance of your social media platforms by campaign. Use that information to determine overall marketing reach and channel growth. Note: This template uses different data examples than the examples listed above.

Long-Term Marketing Objective Examples

Long-term marketing objectives should focus on big vision scope such as sales, return on investment (ROI), and staffing planning. 

  • Improve ROI by 10 percent upselling and focusing on high-value customers by the end of the year.
  • Increase ad revenue by 20 percent by Q4.
  • Hire a marketing manager in Q1 to set business and marketing goals for the current fiscal year.
  • Improve search engine ranking to be in the top three search results for relevant keywords within the next six months by utilizing SEO strategies and deploying website optimization.
  • Expand market share 15 percent in the next three years by capturing new markets and demographics with product and distribution channel diversification.
  • Improve customer retention rate by 25 percent within the next 18 months by bolstering post-purchase support.

example marketing and sales goals template

Download a Blank Marketing and Sales Goals Template for Excel  |  Microsoft Word  |  Adobe PDF

This template can help you ideate long-term goals and consider potential strategies, resources, and obstacles. Once complete, use that information to think about how to measure the success of the goal.

Short-Term Marketing Objective Examples

Short-term marketing objectives detail smaller steps that are designed to further larger goals.

  • Increase lead generation by 30 percent by offering a downloadable service for free by the end of Q2.
  • Promote a 20 percent discount on a product to attract and potentially retain new customers this quarter.
  • Develop a loyalty program to increase customer retention by 15 percent in six months.
  • Improve brand awareness by securing coverage in at least two industry-relevant online publications in the next three months via PR outreach.
  • Engage with followers regularly and create more interactive content to increase social media engagement by 15 percent by the end of the quarter.
  • Increase web traffic by 20 percent by the end of Q2 by implementing SEO informed content marketing strategy.

Digital Channel Objectives

Digital channel objectives entail improving the entirety of your digital footprint.

  • Double the click rate from Google Ads by targeting better keywords by the end of the year.
  • Increase SEO capture by 25 percent in two quarters by improving keyword targeting.
  • Gain 30 percent more social media followers by the end of the fiscal year with targeted advertising campaigns and influencer partnerships.
  • Increase email database by 10 percent this quarter by optimizing the email sign-up process.
  • Improve social media advertising ROI by reducing cost per acquisition by 15 percent over the next two quarters through audience targeting refinement and performance analysis.
  • Increase the click-through rate of email campaigns by 20 percent within the next 3 months through A/B testing subject lines.   

integrated marketing campaign media plan template

Download the Integrated Digital Marketing Campaign Media Plan Template for Excel

This template is a useful tool for managing all the moving elements of a digital marketing campaign. When you enter data such as total impressions, the sheet will auto-populate rows, making it easy to track your campaign’s effectiveness.

For other marketing tools to help you manage your efforts and meet company goals, check out this  collection of digital marketing campaign templates .

SMART Marketing Goals Template

smart marketing goals template

Download a SMART Marketing Goals Template for Excel  |   Microsoft Word  |   Adobe PDF

Use this template to write SMART marketing goals. Once those are set, you can start to identify objectives to reach those marketing goals.

SMART Objectives Worksheet

smart objectives worksheet

Download a SMART Objectives Worksheet for Microsoft Word  |  Adobe PDF

This worksheet helps map out your marketing objectives and make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Separating out these components will keep your objectives useful and effective. 

How to Set Marketing Objectives

Setting marketing objectives starts with taking stock of current objectives and the methods you’re using to achieve them. Once you analyze the efficacy of your current or past objectives, you will be able to start crafting, implementing, and measuring new ones.

“Marketing objectives need to be reasonable and attainable but also push you,” advises Williams, author of  Evolve for Growth: Leading Innovation with an Evolutionary Approach .

Joelle Palmer

  • Analyze Data Metrics Spend time ascertaining what has and has not worked so far with your marketing efforts. Compare marketing metrics from the last quarter (such as email campaigns) and how it moved the needle on company metrics (such as sales). If one webinar had more downloads and led to more sales or email sign-ups, you know to put more resources into reproducing that as opposed to an email campaign with low click-through rate.
  • Ideate Goal Metrics for Objectives Based on Review of Past Efforts Think about what are realistic objectives and goals based on the data you have collected. “You need to know how marketing metrics contribute to the company metrics,” explains Palmer. Using measurable metrics, develop objectives that are in line with your marketing goals and are informed by your review of what has and hasn’t worked last quarter.
  • Make and Implement a Marketing Plan After collecting the necessary data, you can build your new plan of forward motion. Make a plan for how you will execute and achieve your marketing objectives, based on what you know to be useful from your last quarterly review. If you haven’t done one before, follow this tutorial on  how to write a marketing plan .
  • Measure Results Keep track of the data and metrics you will need to be able to assess whether your marketing objectives hit their target by the specified time.

Download Marketing Goals Cheat Sheet

marketing objectives and goals cheat sheet

Download the Marketing Goals Cheat Sheet for Adobe PDF

This cheat sheet shows popular marketing goals alongside a list of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely marketing objectives. Use this document as inspiration for creating useful marketing objectives for your own marketing goals.

Using SMART Marketing Objectives

SMART objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound to your marketing goals. Once you have a marketing goal in mind, set the objective by picking a specific action outcome that you want to measure that will set you up to achieve your goal.

Make sure the action outcome is measurable by metrics that you can review. Then assess whether the objective is achievable with the teams available to work on it. Think about if this objective will be relevant to achieving a specific larger goal. Set a reasonable time limit that you will aim to achieve the outcome that you have set.

Learn  how to write SMART goals and turn them into objectives.

Track Your Marketing Objectives and Goals in Smartsheet

The best marketing teams know the importance of effective campaign management, consistent creative operations, and powerful event logistics -- and Smartsheet helps you deliver on all three so you can be more effective and achieve more. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Improve your marketing efforts and deliver best-in-class campaigns.

Your Article Library

Objectives of marketing research (6 objectives).

the market research objectives

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Every human activity has purpose behind and marketing research as a deliberate intellectual activity has certain objectives. Distinguished scholars or modern marketing experts such as P.D. Converse, Esmond Pears, E.S. Moulton, P.E. Green and D. S. Tull and others have outlined good many objectives in their own way.

Based on these, there can be six clear-cut objectives of marketing research:

1. To Know the Buyers:

Marketing is to do with people, product and process of transfer. Each firm is eager to know about all those persons who are willing to pay for the firm’s products or services. This knowledge pertains to buyer variables such as number of buyer’s frequency of buying regional location social category and so on. Useful information may emerge if above based basic data are made available.

Thus, the data may indicate that in some areas sales are highly concentrated while in some sporadic and widespread. If such useful information is made available for several years, growth rate can be found out; variance can be traced and enquired into so that market potential is made known.

2. To Measure the Impact of Promotional Efforts:

In modern days of changing marketing conditions, it is quite likely that a company may follow different strategies to promote a product of a service. Promotion-mix or the communication-mix today is consisting of three major elements, namely, advertising, personal selling and sales-promotion.

Each element has sub elements. It is quite possible that some promotional strategies are strikingly appealing and some are total flop.

Though some are successful, the overall analysis gives unexpected poor results. Research in these areas of promotion mix effectiveness will enable the researcher to gauge the strength and weakness of the mix components so that it can be suitably changed to better the results.

It reduces to a very great extent in detecting the point of satisfaction and contribution of a medium or a vehicle in a medium. In effect, it helps in cutting the dead-weight to restore the sound health.

3. To Know Consumer Response:

Any consumer oriented company cannot remain contended if it ‘somehow’ makes it possible to reach the target sales. It is more keen on knowing consumer response for its efforts of delivering the products.

Study of consumer response can also be known market-product testing. An alert company monitors the consumer reactions to the product so released in the market.

In other words, the company is eager to know consumer opinion about the degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction that the product has generated or caused. Such clues pave the way for product improvement in terms of quality, design, size, colour, appearance, packing, packaging materials, distribution methods and so on. Thus, market product testing helps in sound product planning and improved product development to meet the much desired consumer needs.

4. To Know Market Costs and Profits:

There has been a hue and cry all over the world that marketing costs have escalated to such an extent that optimisation of profit has become a big problem. Marketing cost is an input employed by a company to execute its marketing programme and is used as a standard measure of performance.

Research relating to total marketing costs and their break-up helps in appraising and indicating these marketing policies and procedures whose cost is not commensurate with the results.

It makes marketing management cost conscious Research has the objective of cost control and reduction so that the consumers are given reduction in prices and a rise in profit to the marketers.

Cost analysis leads to profit analysis that gives profit performance by regions, products, and customers. These findings of cost behaviour impel certain changes of adjustments in promotion, pricing and distribution.

5. To Master the External Forces:

The firm’s policies and strategies undergo change as warranted by the internal controllable factors and external uncontrollable forces. Each company needs reliable information about competitor’s moves, the company’s share in the market, and developments in foreign markets, governmental policies, technological changes, ecological variations, consumer incomes, consumer spending, new products substitutes and the like.

These are the forces that keep on changing themselves and making the firms to change accordingly. Research in these areas is a must to survive and survive successfully. Research makes firm adaptive as it gets innovative.

6. To Design and Implement Marketing Control:

Marketing control is the final or terminal job in the marketing management. It is the task of monitoring and feeding back the marketing performance and its measurement and evaluation against the planned performance standards so as to identify deviations, correct them as they occur and provide input for plan revision.

Marketing planning or sales forecasting leads to development of marketing control process. Plans have no meaning unless they are materialized. Control decides whether the actual efforts are in tune with planned course.

If there is any derailment, corrective actions are taken. Certain precautionary measures can be taken because research prevents the bad events from their happening.

Related Articles:

  • Sub-Division of Marketing Strategy: Marketing Objective, Marketing Mix
  • Marketing Research: Meaning, Definition and Objectives– Explained!

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6 Market Research Methods & What They Reveal About Your Audience

Market research, when it’s done well, makes sure that you step into any market with your eyes wide open and a strong understanding of what your target customers will best respond to.

But how do you get market research right? What methods should you use, and how can you entice your target market to talk to you?

Today, we’re going to go through everything you need to know about market research, from why it’s important, to the best methods for your brand.

Table of Contents

Why marketers should care about market research

Qualitative vs quantitative research method, 1. consumer behavior observation, 2. market and competitive analysis, social media listening and analytics with keyhole, 4. surveys and online polls, 5. focus groups and market testing, hashtag analytics and tracking with keyhole, final thoughts, 1. what are primary and secondary research methods, 2. what are paid market research surveys, 3. what is the difference between market and user research, 4. what are common mistakes to avoid in market research.

Market research is vital for everything from pitching your marketing messaging to building customer loyalty. Some benefits of good market research include:

  • Helping your brand to give customers exactly what they want.
  • Strengthening your position in the market.
  • Minimizes investment risk by helping to inform decisions.
  • Identifies threats to avoid and opportunities to grab.
  • Gives insight into competitor strengths and weaknesses.

Qualitative research has qualifiers. Qualifiers are markers of confident uncertainty. Qualifiers are necessary when data is opinion-based, or isn’t underpinned by numerical data.

So, qualitative research tends to deal in opinions and descriptions. In market research terms, qualitative data tends to come in the form of customer opinions and feedback. It’s gathered using open-ended questions such as “What do you like about our product?”.

Qualitative data is very useful for understanding nuances that can’t be revealed by numerical data. That being said, it can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming both to gather and to analyze.

Quantitative data, by contrast, deals in quantities. Quantitative data is all about numbers. Numerical data based on metrical analysis forms the backbone of quantitative market research. Quantitative customer surveys will use answer formats that can easily be entered into a graph or chart, such as “Yes/No” answers or “Rate X on a scale of 1 to 5”.

the market research objectives

6 Market research methods to gather audience insights

The best market research will combine qualitative and quantitative methods for a complete, nuanced, and easily understandable picture of their target market and its needs.

When done well, consumer behavior observation takes a ‘fly on the wall’ approach to consumers. As the name suggests, it involves monitoring consumers to see how they behave in natural settings. 

If you run a bricks and mortar shop, consumer observation would involve watching how your customers behave in your store. You might note down things like the displays that catch their eye, which products they linger over, the route they take around the store, how they respond to atmospheric features like scent, lighting, and music. After a while, behavioral patterns will emerge which will help you to arrange your store and products for best effect.

In an online context, consumer behavior observation will rely more on behavioral analytics. For example, you might look for patterns in page traffic, bounce rates, purchasing behavior, and so on. This will yield valuable insights into the pages and products that catch consumers’ eyes, elements of your website they find frustrating, and so on.

Market and competitive analysis involves looking at your wider market context and taking a peek at how your competitors are faring.

Competitive analysis is a very strategic way to improve your position. Learning more about your competitors and the ways that they engage your primary market helps you to gain a competitive advantage, both by utilizing their more successful strategies (but better!) and differentiating yourself so that you stand out.

In order to analyze your competitors, you need to understand your market. So, before you start, define your primary and secondary markets, including the products you’re pitching at them, the consumers that occupy them, and the competitors also in that space. 

Then, you can start competitor analysis. This can involve everything from signing up to competitor marketing materials to reading their case studies, looking up their publically-available metrics, and monitoring their brand mentions.

Less glamorous brands that struggle to make a splash on social media can benefit a lot from market and competitive analysis, especially when it comes to things like SEO. For example, smaller SaaS brands are unlikely to get a statistically significant amount of brand mentions on platforms like Facebook. But they could benefit from reading a relevant SaaS SEO case study.

3. Social media listening

Social media listening is a powerful way to gain deeper insights about your brand and how your target audience thinks about you. Put very simply, social media listening involves monitoring social platforms for mentions of your brands, engagement with your brand materials, and so on. 

Social media is a very qualitative market, so it’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of what you hear will be opinion. Rather than taking everything you learn personally, look for broad patterns in your brand mentions. For example, if a lot of people are raving about a certain feature of your product, build on that in your next marketing campaign.

real time social media monitoring

Social media listening is where Keyhole comes into its own. Keyhole’s Social Listening Analytics Suite will constantly comb the internet and log all mentions of your brand. You can use this to easily see how widespread your brand mentions are, and to take the temperature of discourse about your brand.

Keyhole will also alert you if something changes in your brand mentions. For example, if you suddenly get a spike in mentions and coverage, Keyhole will let you know.

This allows you to take action quickly. If you’re getting traction for good reasons, you can leap on the opportunity. If it’s for bad reasons, you can quickly dive into damage limitation mode and save your brand from a PR disaster.

Social listening is one of the very best ways to understand how your brand is perceived by your audience. With Keyhole, you won’t miss a single mention.

Online surveys and polls are a good way to gain nuanced consumer insights and get a read on general customer satisfaction. There are various different types of surveys, designed for both qualitative and quantitative research.

Many brands use popups to offer quick surveys to customers based on their experience of the product, site etc. Popup surveys are usually quick and easy for customers to complete, and they’re a good way to get a lot of data very quickly. That being said, some consumers find popup surveys frustrating, and they do add an extra layer of friction to your site experience.

the market research objectives

Longer-form questions and surveys allow you to get detailed information from your target customers on a wide range of things. However, it’s harder to get responses to these surveys as they take up more time. In order to encourage people to take more detailed surveys, some brands offer incentives like gift cards or entry into a prize draw.

the market research objectives

This method involves bringing people who fit your target audience profile together and holding in-depth interviews and discussions about your product, your marketing messages, your competitors, and so on.

Focus group discussions can be very productive. People will reveal personal insights about your product/service and what they’re looking for that would be hard to glean through other market research techniques.

Market testing is a form of market research that sometimes occurs in focus group settings. This involves handing out product samples to your focus group and asking for feedback. It could also involve showing your customers different types of marketing content and asking them to rate or comment on them.

Market testing in a focus group context gives you the opportunity to observe how customers interact with your product or content, and draw insights that might not otherwise be possible. For example, you can observe non-verbal cues like frowning or enthusiastically grabbing a product. These cues might indicate discomfort or delight in ways that a survey can’t express.

6. Online market monitoring

Online market monitoring involves things like following market trends, perusing publically available sales data, watching follower counts, observing fluctuations in customer behavior, and so on.

Online market monitoring is particularly useful for quickly spotting and grabbing trends and opportunities. For example, many successful B2B SEO strategies involve closely monitoring the B2B market and taking advantage of keyword trends as soon as they appear. As B2B SEO is hard to achieve through means like focus groups and online surveys, online market monitoring is crucial to nail this tricky market.

real time social media monitoring

You need a tool like Keyhole to get online market monitoring right. Keyhole’s hashtag analytics and tracking helps you to effortlessly measure every campaign you’re running, across every social platform. It will tell you what’s working, what isn’t, and what trends you could take advantage of.

And that’s not all. Keyhole can generate great-looking reports on your online monitoring with just a few clicks. This is great for seeing success trends at a glance and sharing them with stakeholders.

A good understanding of the market gives you a huge competitive advantage. But understanding doesn’t happen automatically. In order to gain the actionable insights you need, market research is a must.

Keeping track of your market, your target customers, and the ever-changing trends you could use to your advantage. It’s important to conduct regular market research. It’s also a good idea to monitor markets on an ongoing basis.

This is where tools like Keyhole come in. With Keyhole, you can keep close tabs on everything from social media engagement to brand mentions. It’s perfect for social listening and audience analytics. Why not get in touch today and find out what Keyhole can do for you?

Related Articles

Best Practices For Integrating Email Marketing & Social Media Analytics 

How To Use User Generated Content To Bring More Customers 

Frequently Asked Questions

Primary research involves getting data directly from the originator. For example, surveys and focus groups are primary research methods because they involve asking people directly for their own opinions and experiences. Secondary research takes data from a third party source. For example, online market monitoring is usually secondary research, because it uses pre-existing data and analytics gathered by digital platforms.

Paid market research involves rewarding people for completing market research surveys. Monetary incentives are a great way to encourage people to take market research surveys. It also allows you to create longer, more detailed surveys: people are more likely to spend time and effort on a survey they're getting paid for.

Market research studies a broad swathe of consumer behaviors, trends, and needs. User research is more focused on the specific needs and behaviors of product users.

Common market research mistakes include: -Not having clear research goals from the outset. -Asking the wrong questions. -Speaking to the wrong people. -Picking the wrong consumer sample. -Not analyzing your results properly. -Presenting your findings poorly.

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Effwa Infra and Research IPO is a book built issue of Rs 51.27 crores. The issue is a combination of fresh issue of 53.17 lakh shares aggregating to Rs 43.60 crores and offer for sale of 9.36 lakh shares aggregating to Rs 7.68 crores.

Effwa Infra and Research IPO bidding opened for subscription on July 5, 2024 and will close on July 9, 2024. The allotment for the Effwa Infra and Research IPO is expected to be finalized on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. Effwa Infra and Research IPO will list on NSE SME with tentative listing date fixed as Friday, July 12, 2024.

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Listing At NSE SME
Share holding pre issue17,830,367
Share holding post issue23,147,167
Market Maker portion324,800 shares

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Reservation

Effwa Infra and Research IPO offers 6,252,800 shares. 1,168,000 (18.68%) to QIB, 920,000 (14.71%) to NII, 2,091,200 (33.44%) to RII and 1,748,800 (27.97%) to Anchor investors.

Investor Category Shares Offered
Anchor Investor Shares Offered1,748,800 (27.97%)
Market Maker Shares Offered324,800 (5.19%)
QIB Shares Offered1,168,000 (18.68%)
NII (HNI) Shares Offered920,000 (14.71%)
Retail Shares Offered2,091,200 (33.44%)
Total Shares Offered6,252,800 (100%)

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Anchor Investors Details

Effwa Infra and Research IPO raises Rs 14.34 crore from anchor investors. Effwa Infra and Research IPO Anchor bid date is July 4, 2024. Effwa Infra and Research IPO Anchor Investors list

Bid Date July 4, 2024
Shares Offered 1,748,800
Anchor Portion Size (In Cr.) 14.34
Anchor lock-in period end date for 50% shares (30 Days) August 9, 2024
Anchor lock-in period end date for remaining shares (90 Days) October 8, 2024

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Timeline (Tentative Schedule)

Effwa Infra and Research IPO opens on July 5, 2024, and closes on July 9, 2024.

IPO Open Date Friday, July 5, 2024
IPO Close Date Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Basis of Allotment Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Initiation of Refunds Thursday, July 11, 2024
Credit of Shares to Demat Thursday, July 11, 2024
Listing Date Friday, July 12, 2024
Cut-off time for UPI mandate confirmation 5 PM on July 9, 2024

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Lot Size

Investors can bid for a minimum of 1600 shares and in multiples thereof. The below table depicts the minimum and maximum investment by retail investors and HNI in terms of shares and amount.

Application Lots Shares Amount
Retail (Min) 1 1600 ₹131,200
Retail (Max) 1 1600 ₹131,200
HNI (Min) 2 3,200 ₹262,400

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Promoter Holding

Dr. Varsha Subhash Kamal and Mr. Subhash Ramavtar Kamal are the company's promoters.

Share Holding Pre Issue 99.99%
Share Holding Post Issue 72.99%

About Effwa Infra & Research Limited

Effwa Infra & Research Limited was founded in 2014 and provides engineering, consulting, procurement, construction and integrated project management services in the field of water pollution control, covering wastewater and industrial effluent treatment, solid waste treatment and disposal, aeration systems, hazardous waste management and water treatment plants.

In addition, the company offers project organization, management, procurement, financing, and implementation as a consultant and expert. The focus is on ensuring environmentally friendly waste processing practices, including the management of Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP), Sewage Treatment and Remediation (STP), Water Treatment and Distribution (WTP) and Hazardous Waste Management.

Infrastructure for the water management project includes design of the project, construction and procurement of raw materials including installation of wells including pump houses, laying of pipelines, electro-mechanical works, execution on site with overall project management till commissioning of the projects.

The company offers its services in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as well as in the Special Economic Zone, which includes Adani Ports, and in the international market.

As of March 31, 2024, the company has successfully completed over 45 water management infrastructure projects for public sector undertakings, municipal corporations, states, and private companies.

As of March 31, 2024, the company employed over 118 people, including 12 engineers in the areas of planning, design, and construction of wastewater treatment and recycling systems with a focus on zero discharge systems with transport systems for secondary treated wastewater and fresh water and 76 engineers in the areas of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, instrumentation and automation, piping and safety and quality control.

Effwa Infra & Research Limited Financial Information (Restated)

Effwa Infra & Research Limited's revenue increased by 26.08% and profit after tax (PAT) rose by 169% between the financial year ending with March 31, 2024 and March 31, 2023.

Period Ended31 Mar 202431 Mar 202331 Mar 2022
Assets8,302.836,478.544,648.21
Revenue14,551.4611,541.3610,461.67
Profit After Tax1,380.06513.04459.99
Net Worth3,715.052,355.891,842.85
Reserves and Surplus1,932.012,123.321,610.28
Total Borrowing1,406.441,623.011,026.11

Key Performance Indicator

The market capitalization of Effwa Infra and Research IPO is Rs 189.81 Cr.

KPI as of March 31, 2024.

KPI Values
ROE45.46%
ROCE40.99%
Debt/Equity0.38
RoNW37.15%
P/BV3.93
PAT Margin (%)9.51
Pre IPO Post IPO
EPS (Rs) 7.745.96
P/E (x) 10.5913.75
  • The Pre IPO EPS is calculated based on Pre issue shareholding as on date of RHP and the latest FY earnings as of March 31, 2024 that is available in RHP.
  • The Post Issue EPS is calculated based on the Post issue shareholding and annualized FY earnings of March 31, 2024 that is available in RHP.

Objects of the Issue (Effwa Infra and Research IPO Objectives)

The Company proposes to utilize the Net Proceeds from the Fresh Offer towards funding the following objects:

  • Funding working capital requirements of the company;
  • Funding of capital expenditure requirements of the company towards the purchase of new office Equipment; and
  • General corporate purposes.

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Review (May apply)

[Dilip Davda]   EIRL is engaged in EPC, and project management works related to water pollution and sewage related services. The segment is highly competitive and fragmented. The sudden boost in bottom lines for FY24 raise eyebrows and concern over its sustainability. Based on such super earnings of FY24, the issue appears fully priced. Well-informed investors may park moderate funds for the medium term rewards. Read detail review...

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Prospectus

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Effwa Infra and Research IPO Rating

Effwa infra & research limited contact details.

Effwa Infra & Research Limited G. No. 7, Vardhman Industrial Complex, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, Gokul Nagar, Thane West, Thane – 400601 Phone : + 91 9833850052 Email : [email protected] Website : https://www.effwa.co.in/

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Registrar

Bigshare Services Pvt Ltd Phone : +91-22-6263 8200 Email : [email protected] Website : https://ipo.bigshareonline.com/ipo_status.html

Effwa Infra and Research IPO - Buy or Not

Effwa Infra and Research IPO Recommendation Summary

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Effwa Infra and Research IPO Lead Manager(s)

  • Shreni Shares Limited ( Past IPO Performance )

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What is Effwa Infra and Research IPO?

Effwa Infra and Research IPO is a SME IPO of 6,252,800 equity shares of the face value of ₹10 aggregating up to ₹51.27 Crores. The issue is priced at ₹78 to ₹82 per share. The minimum order quantity is 1600 Shares.

The IPO opens on July 5, 2024 , and closes on July 9, 2024 .

Bigshare Services Pvt Ltd is the registrar for the IPO. The shares are proposed to be listed on NSE SME.

How to apply in Effwa Infra and Research IPO through Zerodha?

Zerodha customers can apply online in Effwa Infra and Research IPO using UPI as a payment gateway. Zerodha customers can apply in Effwa Infra and Research IPO by login into Zerodha Console (back office) and submitting an IPO application form.

Steps to apply in Effwa Infra and Research IPO through Zerodha

  • Visit the Zerodha website and login to Console.
  • Go to Portfolio and click the IPOs link.
  • Go to the 'Effwa Infra and Research IPO' row and click the 'Bid' button.
  • Enter your UPI ID, Quantity, and Price.
  • ‘Submit’ IPO application form.
  • Visit the UPI App (net banking or BHIM) to approve the mandate.

Visit Zerodha IPO Application Process Review for more detail.

When Effwa Infra and Research IPO will open?

The Effwa Infra and Research IPO opens on July 5, 2024 and closes on July 9, 2024.

What is the lot size of Effwa Infra and Research IPO?

How to apply for effwa infra and research ipo.

You can apply in Effwa Infra and Research IPO online using either UPI or ASBA as payment method. ASBA IPO application is available in the net banking of your bank account. UPI IPO application is offered by brokers who don't offer banking services. Read more detail about apply IPO online through Zerodha , Upstox , 5Paisa , Nuvama , ICICI Bank , HDFC Bank and SBI Bank .

When is Effwa Infra and Research IPO allotment?

The finalization of Basis of Allotment for Effwa Infra and Research IPO will be done on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, and the allotted shares will be credited to your demat account by Thursday, July 11, 2024. Check the Effwa Infra and Research IPO allotment status .

When is Effwa Infra and Research IPO listing date?

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Agriculture and fisheries

OECD work on agriculture, food and fisheries helps governments assess the performance of their sectors, anticipate market trends, and evaluate and design policies to address the challenges they face in their transition towards sustainable and resilient food systems. The OECD facilitates dialogue through expert networks, funds international research cooperation efforts, and maintains international standards facilitating trade in seeds, produce and tractors.

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Policy issues.

  • Agricultural policy monitoring Well-designed agricultural policies can help farmers meet increasing global demand for safe and nutritious food in a sustainable way. However, some current policies can have negative consequences for food security, markets, the environment, at both the domestic and global levels. The OECD’s regular monitoring of agricultural policies across 54 countries representing three-quarters of global agricultural value-added provides a comprehensive understanding of their nature, implementation and impact, with a view to helping guide governments towards more effective and efficient policy making. Learn more
  • Agricultural productivity and innovation Achieving resilient, sustainable and productive agriculture and food systems will require innovation. Innovation in agriculture means learning to do things differently, to do different things, and to do more and better with less. It is an opportunity for food systems to deliver on challenging new demands, while ensuring the sustainable use of scarce natural resources. The OECD is helping support countries in developing better policies for productive, sustainable and resilient agriculture through work to benchmark the performance of agriculture and food systems, assess countries' policies and provide tailored policy advice. A focus of this work is how governments and the private sector can work together to strengthen agricultural innovation systems and foster innovative practices that increase productivity and sustainability. Learn more
  • Agricultural trade and markets Agricultural trade plays a crucial role in providing livelihoods for farmers and people employed along the food supply chain and contributes to reducing global food insecurity. A growing share of agro-food trade involves global value chains (GVCs), where the different stages of agricultural and food production processes are spread over several countries. Learn more
  • Agriculture and sustainability The agriculture sector faces the triple challenge of providing sufficient and nutritious food for an increasing global population, while at the same time preserving the environment and natural resources for future generations and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in rural areas. Policies have a key role to play in tackling these challenges, while addressing mounting pressures from climate change and other risk factors. Learn more
  • Fisheries and aquaculture Fisheries and aquaculture provide food for billions of people and play an important role in the local economy and cultural life of coastal communities around the world. Fish products are among the most traded foods and their exports are essential for food security. But fish stocks and ecosystems are under stress from climate change, illegal fishing, excessive fishing pressure and pollution. Learn more
  • Food systems Food systems worldwide face a “triple challenge”: to provide food security and nutrition for a growing population, to contribute to the livelihoods of millions of people working along the food supply chain, and to do so in an environmentally sustainable way. Moreover, food systems need to become more resilient across those dimensions. Learn more
  • OECD standards for agriculture The OECD Codes and Schemes aim to facilitate and streamline international trade by simplifying procedures, enhancing transparency, reducing non-tariff barriers to trade, promoting harmonisation of standards, and enhancing environmental protection. They help to strengthen market confidence by assuring quality control, providing for inspections, and improving product traceability. Learn more

Programmes of work

  • Co-operative Research Programme: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems The OECD's Co-operative Research Programme: Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems (CRP) exists to strengthen scientific knowledge and provide relevant scientific information and advice that will inform future policy decisions related to the sustainability of agriculture, food, fisheries and forests. It does this through facilitating international co-operation among research scientists and institutions, by sponsoring international events (conferences, workshops) and individual research fellowships, placing a policy emphasis on all the activities it funds. It focuses on global issues such as food security, climate change, and the inter-connectedness of economies through trade and scientific co-operation. Learn more

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