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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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?

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

Business intelligence insight graphic with hand showing a lightbulb with $ sign in it

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.
  • : 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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How to do Market Analysis in 6 Easy Steps

How to do Market Analysis in 6 Easy Steps

Knowing how to do market analysis is pivotal for many roles, benefiting any organization, regardless of its size, scope, or sector.

Regular market analysis levels up your individual ability to spot potential opportunities, stay on top of current trends, and gives you insights into the competitive landscape .

This article will cover why you need to analyze a market frequently and shows you how to do a basic market analysis in 6 straightforward steps.

What is a market analysis?

Market analysis is the process of gathering data about a target market . It examines the competitive landscape, consumers, and conditions that impact the marketplace.

Market analysis definition

The benefits of market analysis

Here are eight reasons why a regular market analysis is beneficial:

  • Understand the competitive landscape
  • Spot trends in your market
  • Uncover opportunities for growth or diversification
  • Reduce either risk or cost for launching new products or services
  • Develop a deeper understanding of a target audience
  • Enhance marketing efforts or discover ways to change
  • Analyze business performance within a market
  • Identify new segments of a market to target

Why you should conduct a market analysis

Aside from the benefits we’ve already listed, reviewing and redoing your market analysis regularly is important . Here’s why.

  • Markets shift
  • Consumer behaviors change
  • New players enter existing markets
  • Disruptive technologies and enhancements to rival offerings can shift the landscape
  • External events impact market conditions that drive changes

If you already know how to do market analysis, ask yourself how frequently you undertake the task: is it annually or quarterly? And consider the time it takes and the tools you used to obtain your information.

With this in mind, we’ll walk you through the most effective market analysis methods. Showing you the steps to take, with market analysis examples, to bring these steps to life.

How to conduct a market analysis

These six steps break down how to analyze a market into easy-to-follow, digestible stages.

Before you start: Use a framework to record your findings. There are plenty of visualization tools, but a basic excel sheet will be fine if you want to keep it simple. Why? Because when you return to review this analysis and repeat this exercise, you’ll want to have everything recorded in a single place. It will save you time and make any future comparisons easier.

Step 1 – Market segmentation

What: Whether you want to enter a new market , launch a new product, or simply assess opportunities for an existing business, this first step in the market analysis process is crucial yet often overlooked.

Why: Market segmentation helps you identify the core segments of a market to target. By identifying the portion of a market your products will be suitable for, you can accurately define the market size and better understand your potential customers’ specific needs and preferences.

How: There are multiple ways you can segment a market, and the right approach will depend on your product, its customers, and its target profiles.

Here, we can see how a segment is built using Similarweb’s website segment feature. I specifically want to view the credit card sector in the US, a market made up of pure players (think Amex or Visa ) and individual players with credit card lines as one of their segments (think Wells Fargo or USAA ). By splitting up a market like this, I can analyze the areas of business I care about more for my market analysis.

So, instead of viewing data that encompasses the other lines of business the likes of Wells Fargo and the USAA handle, such as loans, I get to hone in on their credit card segments only.

This is just one example of market segmentation. You can also segment a market based on consumer needs, ideal consumer profiles, regions, and other demographic data.

Step 2 – Market sizing

What: Market sizing determines your target market’s potential volume or sales revenue. It’s an essential component of market analysis that uses either secondary or primary research to explore the actual size of the market you are in or wish to enter. 

Total Addressable Market (TAM) – This gives you the complete value of the overall market and the first step in the market sizing process . Let’s say we want to analyze the US credit card market, the TAM would account for the whole of this market. Service Addressable Market (SAM) looks at potential audience volumes for a product or service in a target region. Sticking with the credit card sector example, this could be the total value of the credit card business that specifically targets the ‘poor credit rating’ segment of this market. Share of Market (SOM) – Also known as ‘service addressable market,’ it represents the proportion of your SAM that you are likely to achieve. SOM is always lower than SAM, taking a range of estimates based on the previous year’s performance or current market share + project growth to arrive at this figure.

Market sizing calculations

Why: Market sizing helps businesses understand the size of their opportunity. By understanding the size and scope of a market, companies can better assess the potential profitability of the market. Tracking market share over time can also show who wins or loses at any given time.

Power-up Your Market Analysis with Similarweb Today

Market analysis example: market sizing.

Using a metric known as traffic share , we can estimate the potential market size by showing the total reachable audience you have or could have with a product or service.

Market sizing for market analysis

Using Similarweb Industry Analysis , I can see a real-time snapshot of my market’s performance. With it, I can see the total number of people in a market (unique visitors) and establish how much of that share I have or will target this year.

When sizing a market, it’s easy to fall into the habit of analyzing the market quarterly or annually. But often, the best insights are dynamic in nature. They appear to show shifts, sometimes unexpectedly or can indicate growth and changing behaviors as the year progresses. This is why we place a high emphasis on continuing a market analysis throughout the year.

traffic share changes over time using Similarweb’s market trends

Here, we’re looking at traffic share changes over time using Similarweb’s market trends. You can see the impact of Snychrony’s growth (in green) as they gain traction, along with USAA (purple). At the start of the year, these two players had no impact on the market. By the end of 2022, they’re showing gains and would be two key competitors to track when you reach step 4 of the market analysis process.

Those analyzing a market annually would miss out on key insights that show the rise of these two emerging players. At the end of the year, they’ve already grabbed a chunk of the market and, if they continue on the same trajectory, will continue to do so in 2023.

With the right tools, you get a dynamic view of the market data you need, allowing you to change tactics when markets shift.

Step 3 – Market trends

What: Reviewing current trends is key to any good market analysis. As we all know, trends can rise and fall at a moment’s notice. This is why this activity, in particular, is one you should routinely perform.

Why: Keeping a finger on the pulse can help you adapt and flex, at the right time, in the right way. Market trends give you insights into the current market situation and potential opportunities and challenges. Doing so can help you identify areas for growth, spot potential risks, and plan effective strategies. Market trends can also provide valuable information about customer preferences, competition, and economic and technological developments. By monitoring these trends, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and make informed decisions that will benefit their bottom line.

You may have heard about ChatGPT in the press ; this is an example of a highly-disruptive technology that has the potential to completely shift an entire market; many, in fact. It managed to gain over 1 million users within its first week on the market. And it’s a great example of why regular market trends analysis should occur.

market trends analysis

How: There are lots of ways new market trends can surface. Consumer behavior, economic trends, technological advancements, and the competitive landscape can impact how markets behave. Legal and regulatory changes can also influence trends and changes too.

Staying up to date with industry news and legislation changes is useful. But it takes time, and it’s not always the most effective way to know when consumer sentiment changes.

Market research surveys are one way to understand customer attitudes and needs and how they shift over time. However, it’s not the most effective way to inform your market analysis. Particularly when you want real-time market intel.

Market analysis example: trend detection 

Similarweb analyzes billions of data signals daily to deliver game-changing insights about any market, region, or individual company. So, as we look at how to do market analysis, I wanted to share a practical example of how clients use Similarweb to spot trends in a market.

Wonderbly , a global business, provides personalized books, serving over 6 million customers. To grow its business, it conducts regular market analysis. As part of this process, they analyzed seasonal trending keywords within Similarweb. Let’s look at what it found out and how it impacted the business.

Keyword seasonality

Wonderbly was able to spot an emerging category (anniversaries and weddings) that was not currently catered for within its own product set. In addition to being able to capitalize on seasonal trends in its market, it achieved a 69% revenue in books purchased by a more mature demographic and a completely new audience for its business.

Read more: Wonderbly’s market analysis success story .

Step 4 – Competitive analysis

What: A competitive analysis involves collecting and reviewing data about key industry players, rivals, or emerging stars in your market. It unpacks and tracks their activities and successes, letting you see what’s working, how they go to market and the various marketing strategies they use to attract and retain customers.

Why: Regardless of your size or scope, understanding the competitive landscape is key. Your target audience knows your competitors and will likely size up the pros and cons of buying from thesm before considering whether to do business with you. A robust competitive analysis can help you refine your own offerings, make informed pricing decisions, show where you can beat out your rivals, and identify areas for improvement or diversification.

How: A tried and trusted tool for this process is the well-known SWOT analysis . It lets you map and view what and how each competitor takes its products to market. Considering things like pricing, positioning, marketing, services, and more. A competitive matrix is another tool used to visualize data about rivals in a market.

To do it, download our free competitive analysis framework . Then, pick five competitors in your market to track. Complete each section, and analyze the results to discover your biggest opportunities.

Step 5 – Develop strategies

What: Use the results of your market analysis to make data-driven decisions .

Why: When you read a post about how to do market analysis, the chances are you’ve got a goal in mind. Perhaps you want to explore a new market before deciding if it’s ripe for entry. You may want to introduce a new product or service or acquire an existing company. Whatever your goal is, ensure you put the insights and data you’ve obtained to good use.

How: Create a list of potential opportunities, then build strategies around each. Here, you might evaluate potential ideas based on project costs or timeframes. Once you’ve clearly mapped out each opportunity, and understand the potential impact it will have, along with associated costs and timeframes, you can think strategically about which ideas to move forward with from both a short and long-term perspective.

Pro Tip: Use a framework to record, capture, and review the data you’ve collected about market segmentation, size, trends, and key competitors. You can draw inspiration from our downloadable competitive analysis frameworks. However, what’s key is that you systematically record your findings and review them regularly.

Step 6 – Monitor the market

What: Keep track of your market and its key players; monitor changes over time.

Why: We know markets shift, whether they’re impacted by consumer behaviors, external factors, or something else. So, it’s important to monitor changes over time.

How: We may be a little biased, but Similarweb gives you a real-time bird-eye view of your market. Letting you dive into the details and unpick changes and tactics whenever you need. With it, you can track key growth metrics, marketing channels, emerging players, trending topics , and much more.

Using the Industry Analysis tab in Similarweb Research Intelligence , I can identify the market leaders and rising stars quickly. Here, I immediately see a company to track, Synchrony . As an emerging player showing exponential growth (2700%), I’ll take my market analysis a step further by investigating their successes later.

Similarweb shows me key insights, such as website traffic , the marketing channels it’s getting traffic from, audience demographics , geography , organic search insights, and more. As part of any good market analysis, the ability to spot rising players and unpack their successes can be crucial, particularly when they’re showing such growth.

Analyzing a market: Conclusions

Learning how to do market analysis is the first step. Aside from analyzing the results and making key strategic decisions, the ability to track changes over time is key. Similarweb makes it easy to segment, size, and analyze a market fast. With it, you can spot opportunities, benchmark your performance, and monitor shifts and changes as they happen, not a month or quarter later.

What are the 4 types of market analysis?

The four types of market analysis are market segmentation, market sizing, market trends, and competitive analysis.

What are the five components of market analysis?

The five components of market analysis are: customer segmentation, customer needs and trends, competitors, market size and trend, and pricing.

What makes a good market analysis?

A good market analysis should include accurate, up-to-date data, clear objectives, and a thorough market and customer needs analysis.

Is market analysis the same as a SWOT analysis?

No, market analysis and SWOT analysis are not the same. While a SWOT analysis evaluates an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, a market analysis focuses on the external environment, such as customer needs, market trends, and competitors.

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How to do market research: The complete guide for your brand

Written by by Jacqueline Zote

Published on  April 13, 2023

Reading time  10 minutes

Blindly putting out content or products and hoping for the best is a thing of the past. Not only is it a waste of time and energy, but you’re wasting valuable marketing dollars in the process. Now you have a wealth of tools and data at your disposal, allowing you to develop data-driven marketing strategies . That’s where market research comes in, allowing you to uncover valuable insights to inform your business decisions.

Conducting market research not only helps you better understand how to sell to customers but also stand out from your competition. In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about market research and how doing your homework can help you grow your business.

Table of contents:

What is market research?

Why is market research important, types of market research, where to conduct market research.

  • Steps for conducting market research
  • Tools to use for market research

Market research is the process of gathering information surrounding your business opportunities. It identifies key information to better understand your audience. This includes insights related to customer personas and even trends shaping your industry.

Taking time out of your schedule to conduct research is crucial for your brand health. Here are some of the key benefits of market research:

Understand your customers’ motivations and pain points

Most marketers are out of touch with what their customers want. Moreover, these marketers are missing key information on what products their audience wants to buy.

Simply put, you can’t run a business if you don’t know what motivates your customers.

And spoiler alert: Your customers’ wants and needs change. Your customers’ behaviors today might be night and day from what they were a few years ago.

Market research holds the key to understanding your customers better. It helps you uncover their key pain points and motivations and understand how they shape their interests and behavior.

Figure out how to position your brand

Positioning is becoming increasingly important as more and more brands enter the marketplace. Market research enables you to spot opportunities to define yourself against your competitors.

Maybe you’re able to emphasize a lower price point. Perhaps your product has a feature that’s one of a kind. Finding those opportunities goes hand in hand with researching your market.

Maintain a strong pulse on your industry at large

Today’s marketing world evolves at a rate that’s difficult to keep up with.

Fresh products. Up-and-coming brands. New marketing tools. Consumers get bombarded with sales messages from all angles. This can be confusing and overwhelming.

By monitoring market trends, you can figure out the best tactics for reaching your target audience.

Not everyone conducts market research for the same reason. While some may want to understand their audience better, others may want to see how their competitors are doing. As such, there are different types of market research you can conduct depending on your goal.

Interview-based market research allows for one-on-one interactions. This helps the conversation to flow naturally, making it easier to add context. Whether this takes place in person or virtually, it enables you to gather more in-depth qualitative data.

Buyer persona research

Buyer persona research lets you take a closer look at the people who make up your target audience. You can discover the needs, challenges and pain points of each buyer persona to understand what they need from your business. This will then allow you to craft products or campaigns to resonate better with each persona.

Pricing research

In this type of research, brands compare similar products or services with a particular focus on pricing. They look at how much those products or services typically sell for so they can get more competitive with their pricing strategy.

Competitive analysis research

Competitor analysis gives you a realistic understanding of where you stand in the market and how your competitors are doing. You can use this analysis to find out what’s working in your industry and which competitors to watch out for. It even gives you an idea of how well those competitors are meeting consumer needs.

Depending on the competitor analysis tool you use, you can get as granular as you need with your research. For instance, Sprout Social lets you analyze your competitors’ social strategies. You can see what types of content they’re posting and even benchmark your growth against theirs.

Dashboard showing Facebook competitors report on Sprout Social

Brand awareness research

Conducting brand awareness research allows you to assess your brand’s standing in the market. It tells you how well-known your brand is among your target audience and what they associate with it. This can help you gauge people’s sentiments toward your brand and whether you need to rebrand or reposition.

If you don’t know where to start with your research, you’re in the right place.

There’s no shortage of market research methods out there. In this section, we’ve highlighted research channels for small and big businesses alike.

Considering that Google sees a staggering 8.5 billion searches each day, there’s perhaps no better place to start.

A quick Google search is a potential goldmine for all sorts of questions to kick off your market research. Who’s ranking for keywords related to your industry? Which products and pieces of content are the hottest right now? Who’s running ads related to your business?

For example, Google Product Listing Ads can help highlight all of the above for B2C brands.

row of product listing ads on Google for the search term "baby carrier"

The same applies to B2B brands looking to keep tabs on who’s running industry-related ads and ranking for keyword terms too.

list of sponsored results for the search term "email marketing tool"

There’s no denying that email represents both an aggressive and effective marketing channel for marketers today. Case in point, 44% of online shoppers consider email as the most influential channel in their buying decisions.

Looking through industry and competitor emails is a brilliant way to learn more about your market. For example, what types of offers and deals are your competitors running? How often are they sending emails?

list of promotional emails from different companies including ASOS and Dropbox

Email is also invaluable for gathering information directly from your customers. This survey message from Asana is a great example of how to pick your customers’ brains to figure out how you can improve your quality of service.

email from asana asking users to take a survey

Industry journals, reports and blogs

Don’t neglect the importance of big-picture market research when it comes to tactics and marketing channels to explore. Look to marketing resources such as reports and blogs as well as industry journals

Keeping your ear to the ground on new trends and technologies is a smart move for any business. Sites such as Statista, Marketing Charts, AdWeek and Emarketer are treasure troves of up-to-date data and news for marketers.

And of course, there’s the  Sprout Insights blog . And invaluable resources like The Sprout Social Index™  can keep you updated on the latest social trends.

Social media

If you want to learn more about your target market, look no further than social media. Social offers a place to discover what your customers want to see in future products or which brands are killin’ it. In fact, social media is become more important for businesses than ever with the level of data available.

It represents a massive repository of real-time data and insights that are instantly accessible. Brand monitoring and social listening are effective ways to conduct social media research . You can even be more direct with your approach. Ask questions directly or even poll your audience to understand their needs and preferences.

twitter poll from canva asking people about their color preferences for the brand logo

The 5 steps for how to do market research

Now that we’ve covered the why and where, it’s time to get into the practical aspects of market research. Here are five essential steps on how to do market research effectively.

Step 1: Identify your research topic

First off, what are you researching about? What do you want to find out? Narrow down on a specific research topic so you can start with a clear idea of what to look for.

For example, you may want to learn more about how well your product features are satisfying the needs of existing users. This might potentially lead to feature updates and improvements. Or it might even result in new feature introductions.

Similarly, your research topic may be related to your product or service launch or customer experience. Or you may want to conduct research for an upcoming marketing campaign.

Step 2: Choose a buyer persona to engage

If you’re planning to focus your research on a specific type of audience, decide which buyer persona you want to engage. This persona group will serve as a representative sample of your target audience.

Engaging a specific group of audience lets you streamline your research efforts. As such, it can be a much more effective and organized approach than researching thousands (if not millions) of individuals.

You may be directing your research toward existing users of your product. To get even more granular, you may want to focus on users who have been familiar with the product for at least a year, for example.

Step 3: Start collecting data

The next step is one of the most critical as it involves collecting the data you need for your research. Before you begin, make sure you’ve chosen the right research methods that will uncover the type of data you need. This largely depends on your research topic and goals.

Remember that you don’t necessarily have to stick to one research method. You may use a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. So for example, you could use interviews to supplement the data from your surveys. Or you may stick to insights from your social listening efforts.

To keep things consistent, let’s look at this in the context of the example from earlier. Perhaps you can send out a survey to your existing users asking them a bunch of questions. This might include questions like which features they use the most and how often they use them. You can get them to choose an answer from one to five and collect quantitative data.

Plus, for qualitative insights, you could even include a few open-ended questions with the option to write their answers. For instance, you might ask them if there’s any improvement they wish to see in your product.

Step 4: Analyze results

Once you have all the data you need, it’s time to analyze it keeping your research topic in mind. This involves trying to interpret the data to look for a wider meaning, particularly in relation to your research goal.

So let’s say a large percentage of responses were four or five in the satisfaction rating. This means your existing users are mostly satisfied with your current product features. On the other hand, if the responses were mostly ones and twos, you may look for opportunities to improve. The responses to your open-ended questions can give you further context as to why people are disappointed.

Step 5: Make decisions for your business

Now it’s time to take your findings and turn them into actionable insights for your business. In this final step, you need to decide how you want to move forward with your new market insight.

What did you find in your research that would require action? How can you put those findings to good use?

The market research tools you should be using

To wrap things up, let’s talk about the various tools available to conduct speedy, in-depth market research. These tools are essential for conducting market research faster and more efficiently.

Social listening and analytics

Social analytics tools like Sprout can help you keep track of engagement across social media. This goes beyond your own engagement data but also includes that of your competitors. Considering how quickly social media moves, using a third-party analytics tool is ideal. It allows you to make sense of your social data at a glance and ensure that you’re never missing out on important trends.

cross channel profile performance on Sprout Social

Email marketing research tools

Keeping track of brand emails is a good idea for any brand looking to stand out in its audience’s inbox.

Tools such as MailCharts ,  Really Good Emails  and  Milled  can show you how different brands run their email campaigns.

Meanwhile, tools like  Owletter  allow you to monitor metrics such as frequency and send-timing. These metrics can help you understand email marketing strategies among competing brands.

Content marketing research

If you’re looking to conduct research on content marketing, tools such as  BuzzSumo  can be of great help. This tool shows you the top-performing industry content based on keywords. Here you can see relevant industry sites and influencers as well as which brands in your industry are scoring the most buzz. It shows you exactly which pieces of content are ranking well in terms of engagements and shares and on which social networks.

content analysis report on buzzsumo

SEO and keyword tracking

Monitoring industry keywords is a great way to uncover competitors. It can also help you discover opportunities to advertise your products via organic search. Tools such as  Ahrefs  provide a comprehensive keyword report to help you see how your search efforts stack up against the competition.

organic traffic and keywords report on ahrefs

Competitor comparison template

For the sake of organizing your market research, consider creating a competitive matrix. The idea is to highlight how you stack up side-by-side against others in your market. Use a  social media competitive analysis template  to track your competitors’ social presence. That way, you can easily compare tactics, messaging and performance. Once you understand your strengths and weaknesses next to your competitors, you’ll find opportunities as well.

Customer persona creator

Finally, customer personas represent a place where all of your market research comes together. You’d need to create a profile of your ideal customer that you can easily refer to. Tools like  Xtensio  can help in outlining your customer motivations and demographics as you zero in on your target market.

user persona example template on xtensio

Build a solid market research strategy

Having a deeper understanding of the market gives you leverage in a sea of competitors. Use the steps and market research tools we shared above to build an effective market research strategy.

But keep in mind that the accuracy of your research findings depends on the quality of data collected. Turn to Sprout’s social media analytics tools to uncover heaps of high-quality data across social networks.

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What Is Market Research?

  • How It Works
  • Primary vs. Secondary
  • How to Conduct Research

The Bottom Line

  • Marketing Essentials

How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example

how to do market research and analysis

Joules Garcia / Investopedia

Market research examines consumer behavior and trends in the economy to help a business develop and fine-tune its business idea and strategy. It helps a business understand its target market by gathering and analyzing data.

Market research is the process of evaluating the viability of a new service or product through research conducted directly with potential customers. It allows a company to define its target market and get opinions and other feedback from consumers about their interest in a product or service.

Research may be conducted in-house or by a third party that specializes in market research. It can be done through surveys and focus groups, among other ways. Test subjects are usually compensated with product samples or a small stipend for their time.

Key Takeaways

  • Companies conduct market research before introducing new products to determine their appeal to potential customers.
  • Tools include focus groups, telephone interviews, and questionnaires.
  • The results of market research inform the final design of the product and determine how it will be positioned in the marketplace.
  • Market research usually combines primary information, gathered directly from consumers, and secondary information, which is data available from external sources.

Market Research

How market research works.

Market research is used to determine the viability of a new product or service. The results may be used to revise the product design and fine-tune the strategy for introducing it to the public. This can include information gathered for the purpose of determining market segmentation . It also informs product differentiation , which is used to tailor advertising.

A business engages in various tasks to complete the market research process. It gathers information based on the market sector being targeted by the product. This information is then analyzed and relevant data points are interpreted to draw conclusions about how the product may be optimally designed and marketed to the market segment for which it is intended.

It is a critical component in the research and development (R&D) phase of a new product or service introduction. Market research can be conducted in many different ways, including surveys, product testing, interviews, and focus groups.

Market research is a critical tool that companies use to understand what consumers want, develop products that those consumers will use, and maintain a competitive advantage over other companies in their industry.

Primary Market Research vs. Secondary Market Research

Market research usually consists of a combination of:

  • Primary research, gathered by the company or by an outside company that it hires
  • Secondary research, which draws on external sources of data

Primary Market Research

Primary research generally falls into two categories: exploratory and specific research.

  • Exploratory research is less structured and functions via open-ended questions. The questions may be posed in a focus group setting, telephone interviews, or questionnaires. It results in questions or issues that the company needs to address about a product that it has under development.
  • Specific research delves more deeply into the problems or issues identified in exploratory research.

Secondary Market Research

All market research is informed by the findings of other researchers about the needs and wants of consumers. Today, much of this research can be found online.

Secondary research can include population information from government census data , trade association research reports , polling results, and research from other businesses operating in the same market sector.

History of Market Research

Formal market research began in Germany during the 1920s. In the United States, it soon took off with the advent of the Golden Age of Radio.

Companies that created advertisements for this new entertainment medium began to look at the demographics of the audiences who listened to each of the radio plays, music programs, and comedy skits that were presented.

They had once tried to reach the widest possible audience by placing their messages on billboards or in the most popular magazines. With radio programming, they had the chance to target rural or urban consumers, teenagers or families, and judge the results by the sales numbers that followed.

Types of Market Research

Face-to-face interviews.

From their earliest days, market research companies would interview people on the street about the newspapers and magazines that they read regularly and ask whether they recalled any of the ads or brands that were published in them. Data collected from these interviews were compared to the circulation of the publication to determine the effectiveness of those ads.

Market research and surveys were adapted from these early techniques.

To get a strong understanding of your market, it’s essential to understand demand, market size, economic indicators, location, market saturation, and pricing.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a small number of representative consumers chosen to try a product or watch an advertisement.

Afterward, the group is asked for feedback on their perceptions of the product, the company’s brand, or competing products. The company then takes that information and makes decisions about what to do with the product or service, whether that's releasing it, making changes, or abandoning it altogether.

Phone Research

The man-on-the-street interview technique soon gave way to the telephone interview. A telephone interviewer could collect information in a more efficient and cost-effective fashion.

Telephone research was a preferred tactic of market researchers for many years. It has become much more difficult in recent years as landline phone service dwindles and is replaced by less accessible mobile phones.

Survey Research

As an alternative to focus groups, surveys represent a cost-effective way to determine consumer attitudes without having to interview anyone in person. Consumers are sent surveys in the mail, usually with a coupon or voucher to incentivize participation. These surveys help determine how consumers feel about the product, brand, and price point.

Online Market Research

With people spending more time online, market research activities have shifted online as well. Data collection still uses a survey-style form. But instead of companies actively seeking participants by finding them on the street or cold calling them on the phone, people can choose to sign up, take surveys, and offer opinions when they have time.

This makes the process far less intrusive and less rushed, since people can participate on their own time and of their own volition.

How to Conduct Market Research

The first step to effective market research is to determine the goals of the study. Each study should seek to answer a clear, well-defined problem. For example, a company might seek to identify consumer preferences, brand recognition, or the comparative effectiveness of different types of ad campaigns.

After that, the next step is to determine who will be included in the research. Market research is an expensive process, and a company cannot waste resources collecting unnecessary data. The firm should decide in advance which types of consumers will be included in the research, and how the data will be collected. They should also account for the probability of statistical errors or sampling bias .

The next step is to collect the data and analyze the results. If the two previous steps have been completed accurately, this should be straightforward. The researchers will collect the results of their study, keeping track of the ages, gender, and other relevant data of each respondent. This is then analyzed in a marketing report that explains the results of their research.

The last step is for company executives to use their market research to make business decisions. Depending on the results of their research, they may choose to target a different group of consumers, or they may change their price point or some product features.

The results of these changes may eventually be measured in further market research, and the process will begin all over again.

Benefits of Market Research

Market research is essential for developing brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. Since it is unlikely for a product to appeal equally to every consumer, a strong market research program can help identify the key demographics and market segments that are most likely to use a given product.

Market research is also important for developing a company’s advertising efforts. For example, if a company’s market research determines that its consumers are more likely to use Facebook than X (formerly Twitter), it can then target its advertisements to one platform instead of another. Or, if they determine that their target market is value-sensitive rather than price-sensitive, they can work on improving the product rather than reducing their prices.

Market research only works when subjects are honest and open to participating.

Example of Market Research

Many companies use market research to test new products or get information from consumers about what kinds of products or services they need and don’t currently have.

For example, a company that’s considering starting a business might conduct market research to test the viability of its product or service. If the market research confirms consumer interest, the business can proceed confidently with its business plan . If not, the company can use the results of the market research to make adjustments to the product to bring it in line with customer desires.

What Are the Main Types of Market Research?

The main types of market research are primary research and secondary research. Primary research includes focus groups, polls, and surveys. Secondary research includes academic articles, infographics, and white papers.

Qualitative research gives insights into how customers feel and think. Quantitative research uses data and statistics such as website views, social media engagement, and subscriber numbers.

What Is Online Market Research?

Online market research uses the same strategies and techniques as traditional primary and secondary market research, but it is conducted on the Internet. Potential customers may be asked to participate in a survey or give feedback on a product. The responses may help the researchers create a profile of the likely customer for a new product.

What Are Paid Market Research Surveys?

Paid market research involves rewarding individuals who agree to participate in a study. They may be offered a small payment for their time or a discount coupon in return for filling out a questionnaire or participating in a focus group.

What Is a Market Study?

A market study is an analysis of consumer demand for a product or service. It looks at all of the factors that influence demand for a product or service. These include the product’s price, location, competition, and substitutes as well as general economic factors that could influence the new product’s adoption, for better or worse.

Market research is a key component of a company’s research and development (R&D) stage. It helps companies understand in advance the viability of a new product that they have in development and to see how it might perform in the real world.

Britannica Money. “ Market Research .”

U.S. Small Business Administration. “ Market Research and Competitive Analysis .”

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Market Research: A How-To Guide and Template

Discover the different types of market research, how to conduct your own market research, and use a free template to help you along the way.



5 Research and Planning Templates + a Free Guide on How to Use Them in Your Market Research


Updated: 02/21/24

Published: 02/21/24

Today's consumers have a lot of power. As a business, you must have a deep understanding of who your buyers are and what influences their purchase decisions.

Enter: Market Research.

→ Download Now: Market Research Templates [Free Kit]

Whether you're new to market research or not, I created this guide to help you conduct a thorough study of your market, target audience, competition, and more. Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

What is market research?

Primary vs. secondary research, types of market research, how to do market research, market research report template, market research examples.

Market research is the process of gathering information about your target market and customers to verify the success of a new product, help your team iterate on an existing product, or understand brand perception to ensure your team is effectively communicating your company's value effectively.

Market research can answer various questions about the state of an industry. But if you ask me, it's hardly a crystal ball that marketers can rely on for insights on their customers.

Market researchers investigate several areas of the market, and it can take weeks or even months to paint an accurate picture of the business landscape.

However, researching just one of those areas can make you more intuitive to who your buyers are and how to deliver value that no other business is offering them right now.

How? Consider these two things:

  • Your competitors also have experienced individuals in the industry and a customer base. It‘s very possible that your immediate resources are, in many ways, equal to those of your competition’s immediate resources. Seeking a larger sample size for answers can provide a better edge.
  • Your customers don't represent the attitudes of an entire market. They represent the attitudes of the part of the market that is already drawn to your brand.

The market research services market is growing rapidly, which signifies a strong interest in market research as we enter 2024. The market is expected to grow from roughly $75 billion in 2021 to $90.79 billion in 2025 .

how to do market research and analysis

Free Market Research Kit

  • SWOT Analysis Template
  • Survey Template
  • Focus Group Template

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Why do market research?

Market research allows you to meet your buyer where they are.

As our world becomes louder and demands more of our attention, this proves invaluable.

By understanding your buyer's problems, pain points, and desired solutions, you can aptly craft your product or service to naturally appeal to them.

Market research also provides insight into the following:

  • Where your target audience and current customers conduct their product or service research
  • Which of your competitors your target audience looks to for information, options, or purchases
  • What's trending in your industry and in the eyes of your buyer
  • Who makes up your market and what their challenges are
  • What influences purchases and conversions among your target audience
  • Consumer attitudes about a particular topic, pain, product, or brand
  • Whether there‘s demand for the business initiatives you’re investing in
  • Unaddressed or underserved customer needs that can be flipped into selling opportunity
  • Attitudes about pricing for a particular product or service

Ultimately, market research allows you to get information from a larger sample size of your target audience, eliminating bias and assumptions so that you can get to the heart of consumer attitudes.

As a result, you can make better business decisions.

To give you an idea of how extensive market research can get , consider that it can either be qualitative or quantitative in nature — depending on the studies you conduct and what you're trying to learn about your industry.

Qualitative research is concerned with public opinion, and explores how the market feels about the products currently available in that market.

Quantitative research is concerned with data, and looks for relevant trends in the information that's gathered from public records.

That said, there are two main types of market research that your business can conduct to collect actionable information on your products: primary research and secondary research.

Primary Research

Primary research is the pursuit of first-hand information about your market and the customers within your market.

It's useful when segmenting your market and establishing your buyer personas.

Primary market research tends to fall into one of two buckets:

  • Exploratory Primary Research: This kind of primary market research normally takes place as a first step — before any specific research has been performed — and may involve open-ended interviews or surveys with small numbers of people.
  • Specific Primary Research: This type of research often follows exploratory research. In specific research, you take a smaller or more precise segment of your audience and ask questions aimed at solving a suspected problem.

Secondary Research

Secondary research is all the data and public records you have at your disposal to draw conclusions from (e.g. trend reports, market statistics, industry content, and sales data you already have on your business).

Secondary research is particularly useful for analyzing your competitors . The main buckets your secondary market research will fall into include:

  • Public Sources: These sources are your first and most-accessible layer of material when conducting secondary market research. They're often free to find and review — like government statistics (e.g., from the U.S. Census Bureau ).
  • Commercial Sources: These sources often come in the form of pay-to-access market reports, consisting of industry insight compiled by a research agency like Pew , Gartner , or Forrester .
  • Internal Sources: This is the market data your organization already has like average revenue per sale, customer retention rates, and other historical data that can help you draw conclusions on buyer needs.
  • Focus Groups
  • Product/ Service Use Research
  • Observation-Based Research
  • Buyer Persona Research
  • Market Segmentation Research
  • Pricing Research
  • Competitive Analysis Research
  • Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research
  • Brand Awareness Research
  • Campaign Research

1. Interviews

Interviews allow for face-to-face discussions so you can allow for a natural flow of conversation. Your interviewees can answer questions about themselves to help you design your buyer personas and shape your entire marketing strategy.

2. Focus Groups

Focus groups provide you with a handful of carefully-selected people that can test out your product and provide feedback. This type of market research can give you ideas for product differentiation.

3. Product/Service Use Research

Product or service use research offers insight into how and why your audience uses your product or service. This type of market research also gives you an idea of the product or service's usability for your target audience.

4. Observation-Based Research

Observation-based research allows you to sit back and watch the ways in which your target audience members go about using your product or service, what works well in terms of UX , and which aspects of it could be improved.

5. Buyer Persona Research

Buyer persona research gives you a realistic look at who makes up your target audience, what their challenges are, why they want your product or service, and what they need from your business or brand.

6. Market Segmentation Research

Market segmentation research allows you to categorize your target audience into different groups (or segments) based on specific and defining characteristics. This way, you can determine effective ways to meet their needs.

7. Pricing Research

Pricing research helps you define your pricing strategy . It gives you an idea of what similar products or services in your market sell for and what your target audience is willing to pay.

8. Competitive Analysis

Competitive analyses give you a deep understanding of the competition in your market and industry. You can learn about what's doing well in your industry and how you can separate yourself from the competition .

9. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research

Customer satisfaction and loyalty research gives you a look into how you can get current customers to return for more business and what will motivate them to do so (e.g., loyalty programs , rewards, remarkable customer service).

10. Brand Awareness Research

Brand awareness research tells you what your target audience knows about and recognizes from your brand. It tells you about the associations people make when they think about your business.

11. Campaign Research

Campaign research entails looking into your past campaigns and analyzing their success among your target audience and current customers. The goal is to use these learnings to inform future campaigns.

  • Define your buyer persona.
  • Identify a persona group to engage.
  • Prepare research questions for your market research participants.
  • List your primary competitors.
  • Summarize your findings.

1. Define your buyer persona.

You have to understand who your customers are and how customers in your industry make buying decisions.

This is where your buyer personas come in handy. Buyer personas — sometimes referred to as marketing personas — are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

Use a free tool to create a buyer persona that your entire company can use to market, sell, and serve better.

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How to do market research in 4 steps: a lean approach to marketing research

From pinpointing your target audience and assessing your competitive advantage, to ongoing product development and customer satisfaction efforts, market research is a practice your business can only benefit from.

Learn how to conduct quick and effective market research using a lean approach in this article full of strategies and practical examples. 

how to do market research and analysis

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how to do market research and analysis

A comprehensive (and successful) business strategy is not complete without some form of market research—you can’t make informed and profitable business decisions without truly understanding your customer base and the current market trends that drive your business.

In this article, you’ll learn how to conduct quick, effective market research  using an approach called 'lean market research'. It’s easier than you might think, and it can be done at any stage in a product’s lifecycle.

How to conduct lean market research in 4 steps

What is market research, why is market research so valuable, advantages of lean market research, 4 common market research methods, 5 common market research questions, market research faqs.

We’ll jump right into our 4-step approach to lean market research. To show you how it’s done in the real world, each step includes a practical example from Smallpdf , a Swiss company that used lean market research to reduce their tool’s error rate by 75% and boost their Net Promoter Score® (NPS) by 1%.

Research your market the lean way...

From on-page surveys to user interviews, Hotjar has the tools to help you scope out your market and get to know your customers—without breaking the bank.

The following four steps and practical examples will give you a solid market research plan for understanding who your users are and what they want from a company like yours.

1. Create simple user personas

A user persona is a semi-fictional character based on psychographic and demographic data from people who use websites and products similar to your own. Start by defining broad user categories, then elaborate on them later to further segment your customer base and determine your ideal customer profile .

How to get the data: use on-page or emailed surveys and interviews to understand your users and what drives them to your business.

How to do it right: whatever survey or interview questions you ask, they should answer the following questions about the customer:

Who are they?

What is their main goal?

What is their main barrier to achieving this goal?

Pitfalls to avoid:

Don’t ask too many questions! Keep it to five or less, otherwise you’ll inundate them and they’ll stop answering thoughtfully.

Don’t worry too much about typical demographic questions like age or background. Instead, focus on the role these people play (as it relates to your product) and their goals.

How Smallpdf did it: Smallpdf ran an on-page survey for a couple of weeks and received 1,000 replies. They learned that many of their users were administrative assistants, students, and teachers.

#One of the five survey questions Smallpdf asked their users

Next, they used the survey results to create simple user personas like this one for admins:

Who are they? Administrative Assistants.

What is their main goal? Creating Word documents from a scanned, hard-copy document or a PDF where the source file was lost.

What is their main barrier to achieving it? Converting a scanned PDF doc to a Word file.

💡Pro tip: Smallpdf used Hotjar Surveys to run their user persona survey. Our survey tool helped them avoid the pitfalls of guesswork and find out who their users really are, in their own words. 

You can design a survey and start running it in minutes with our easy-to-use drag and drop builder. Customize your survey to fit your needs, from a sleek one-question pop-up survey to a fully branded questionnaire sent via email. 

We've also created 40+ free survey templates that you can start collecting data with, including a user persona survey like the one Smallpdf used.

2. Conduct observational research

Observational research involves taking notes while watching someone use your product (or a similar product).

Overt vs. covert observation

Overt observation involves asking customers if they’ll let you watch them use your product. This method is often used for user testing and it provides a great opportunity for collecting live product or customer feedback .

Covert observation means studying users ‘in the wild’ without them knowing. This method works well if you sell a type of product that people use regularly, and it offers the purest observational data because people often behave differently when they know they’re being watched. 

Tips to do it right:

Record an entry in your field notes, along with a timestamp, each time an action or event occurs.

Make note of the users' workflow, capturing the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘for whom’ of each action.

#Sample of field notes taken by Smallpdf

Don’t record identifiable video or audio data without consent. If recording people using your product is helpful for achieving your research goal, make sure all participants are informed and agree to the terms.

Don’t forget to explain why you’d like to observe them (for overt observation). People are more likely to cooperate if you tell them you want to improve the product.

💡Pro tip: while conducting field research out in the wild can wield rewarding results, you can also conduct observational research remotely. Hotjar Recordings is a tool that lets you capture anonymized user sessions of real people interacting with your website. 

Observe how customers navigate your pages and products to gain an inside look into their user behavior . This method is great for conducting exploratory research with the purpose of identifying more specific issues to investigate further, like pain points along the customer journey and opportunities for optimizing conversion .

With Hotjar Recordings you can observe real people using your site without capturing their sensitive information

How Smallpdf did it: here’s how Smallpdf observed two different user personas both covertly and overtly.

Observing students (covert): Kristina Wagner, Principle Product Manager at Smallpdf, went to cafes and libraries at two local universities and waited until she saw students doing PDF-related activities. Then she watched and took notes from a distance. One thing that struck her was the difference between how students self-reported their activities vs. how they behaved (i.e, the self-reporting bias). Students, she found, spent hours talking, listening to music, or simply staring at a blank screen rather than working. When she did find students who were working, she recorded the task they were performing and the software they were using (if she recognized it).

Observing administrative assistants (overt): Kristina sent emails to admins explaining that she’d like to observe them at work, and she asked those who agreed to try to batch their PDF work for her observation day. While watching admins work, she learned that they frequently needed to scan documents into PDF-format and then convert those PDFs into Word docs. By observing the challenges admins faced, Smallpdf knew which products to target for improvement.

“Data is really good for discovery and validation, but there is a bit in the middle where you have to go and find the human.”

3. Conduct individual interviews

Interviews are one-on-one conversations with members of your target market. They allow you to dig deep and explore their concerns, which can lead to all sorts of revelations.

Listen more, talk less. Be curious.

Act like a journalist, not a salesperson. Rather than trying to talk your company up, ask people about their lives, their needs, their frustrations, and how a product like yours could help.

Ask "why?" so you can dig deeper. Get into the specifics and learn about their past behavior.

Record the conversation. Focus on the conversation and avoid relying solely on notes by recording the interview. There are plenty of services that will transcribe recorded conversations for a good price (including Hotjar!).

Avoid asking leading questions , which reveal bias on your part and pushes respondents to answer in a certain direction (e.g. “Have you taken advantage of the amazing new features we just released?).

Don't ask loaded questions , which sneak in an assumption which, if untrue, would make it impossible to answer honestly. For example, we can’t ask you, “What did you find most useful about this article?” without asking whether you found the article useful in the first place.

Be cautious when asking opinions about the future (or predictions of future behavior). Studies suggest that people aren’t very good at predicting their future behavior. This is due to several cognitive biases, from the misguided exceptionalism bias (we’re good at guessing what others will do, but we somehow think we’re different), to the optimism bias (which makes us see things with rose-colored glasses), to the ‘illusion of control’ (which makes us forget the role of randomness in future events).

How Smallpdf did it: Kristina explored her teacher user persona by speaking with university professors at a local graduate school. She learned that the school was mostly paperless and rarely used PDFs, so for the sake of time, she moved on to the admins.

A bit of a letdown? Sure. But this story highlights an important lesson: sometimes you follow a lead and come up short, so you have to make adjustments on the fly. Lean market research is about getting solid, actionable insights quickly so you can tweak things and see what works.

💡Pro tip: to save even more time, conduct remote interviews using an online user research service like Hotjar Engage , which automates the entire interview process, from recruitment and scheduling to hosting and recording.

You can interview your own customers or connect with people from our diverse pool of 200,000+ participants from 130+ countries and 25 industries. And no need to fret about taking meticulous notes—Engage will automatically transcribe the interview for you.

4. Analyze the data (without drowning in it)

The following techniques will help you wrap your head around the market data you collect without losing yourself in it. Remember, the point of lean market research is to find quick, actionable insights.

A flow model is a diagram that tracks the flow of information within a system. By creating a simple visual representation of how users interact with your product and each other, you can better assess their needs.

#Example of a flow model designed by Smallpdf

You’ll notice that admins are at the center of Smallpdf’s flow model, which represents the flow of PDF-related documents throughout a school. This flow model shows the challenges that admins face as they work to satisfy their own internal and external customers.

Affinity diagram

An affinity diagram is a way of sorting large amounts of data into groups to better understand the big picture. For example, if you ask your users about their profession, you’ll notice some general themes start to form, even though the individual responses differ. Depending on your needs, you could group them by profession, or more generally by industry.


We wrote a guide about how to analyze open-ended questions to help you sort through and categorize large volumes of response data. You can also do this by hand by clipping up survey responses or interview notes and grouping them (which is what Kristina does).

“For an interview, you will have somewhere between 30 and 60 notes, and those notes are usually direct phrases. And when you literally cut them up into separate pieces of paper and group them, they should make sense by themselves.”

Pro tip: if you’re conducting an online survey with Hotjar, keep your team in the loop by sharing survey responses automatically via our Slack and Microsoft Team integrations. Reading answers as they come in lets you digest the data in pieces and can help prepare you for identifying common themes when it comes time for analysis.

Hotjar lets you easily share survey responses with your team

Customer journey map

A customer journey map is a diagram that shows the way a typical prospect becomes a paying customer. It outlines their first interaction with your brand and every step in the sales cycle, from awareness to repurchase (and hopefully advocacy).

#A customer journey map example

The above  customer journey map , created by our team at Hotjar, shows many ways a customer might engage with our tool. Your map will be based on your own data and business model.

📚 Read more: if you’re new to customer journey maps, we wrote this step-by-step guide to creating your first customer journey map in 2 and 1/2 days with free templates you can download and start using immediately.

Next steps: from research to results

So, how do you turn market research insights into tangible business results? Let’s look at the actions Smallpdf took after conducting their lean market research: first they implemented changes, then measured the impact.

#Smallpdf used lean market research to dig below the surface, understand their clients, and build a better product and user experience

Implement changes

Based on what Smallpdf learned about the challenges that one key user segment (admins) face when trying to convert PDFs into Word files, they improved their ‘PDF to Word’ conversion tool.

We won’t go into the details here because it involves a lot of technical jargon, but they made the entire process simpler and more straightforward for users. Plus, they made it so that their system recognized when you drop a PDF file into their ‘Word to PDF’ converter instead of the ‘PDF to Word’ converter, so users wouldn’t have to redo the task when they made that mistake. 

In other words: simple market segmentation for admins showed a business need that had to be accounted for, and customers are happier overall after Smallpdf implemented an informed change to their product.

Measure results

According to the Lean UX model, product and UX changes aren’t retained unless they achieve results.

Smallpdf’s changes produced:

A 75% reduction in error rate for the ‘PDF to Word’ converter

A 1% increase in NPS

Greater confidence in the team’s marketing efforts

"With all the changes said and done, we've cut our original error rate in four, which is huge. We increased our NPS by +1%, which isn't huge, but it means that of the users who received a file, they were still slightly happier than before, even if they didn't notice that anything special happened at all.”

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Market research (or marketing research) is any set of techniques used to gather information and better understand a company’s target market. This might include primary research on brand awareness and customer satisfaction or secondary market research on market size and competitive analysis. Businesses use this information to design better products, improve user experience, and craft a marketing strategy that attracts quality leads and improves conversion rates.

David Darmanin, one of Hotjar’s founders, launched two startups before Hotjar took off—but both companies crashed and burned. Each time, he and his team spent months trying to design an amazing new product and user experience, but they failed because they didn’t have a clear understanding of what the market demanded.

With Hotjar, they did things differently . Long story short, they conducted market research in the early stages to figure out what consumers really wanted, and the team made (and continues to make) constant improvements based on market and user research.

Without market research, it’s impossible to understand your users. Sure, you might have a general idea of who they are and what they need, but you have to dig deep if you want to win their loyalty.

Here’s why research matters:

Obsessing over your users is the only way to win. If you don’t care deeply about them, you’ll lose potential customers to someone who does.

Analytics gives you the ‘what’, while research gives you the ‘why’. Big data, user analytics , and dashboards can tell you what people do at scale, but only research can tell you what they’re thinking and why they do what they do. For example, analytics can tell you that customers leave when they reach your pricing page, but only research can explain why.

Research beats assumptions, trends, and so-called best practices. Have you ever watched your colleagues rally behind a terrible decision? Bad ideas are often the result of guesswork, emotional reasoning, death by best practices , and defaulting to the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO). By listening to your users and focusing on their customer experience , you’re less likely to get pulled in the wrong direction.

Research keeps you from planning in a vacuum. Your team might be amazing, but you and your colleagues simply can’t experience your product the way your customers do. Customers might use your product in a way that surprises you, and product features that seem obvious to you might confuse them. Over-planning and refusing to test your assumptions is a waste of time, money, and effort because you’ll likely need to make changes once your untested business plan gets put into practice.

Lean User Experience (UX) design is a model for continuous improvement that relies on quick, efficient research to understand customer needs and test new product features.

Lean market research can help you become more...

Efficient: it gets you closer to your customers, faster.

Cost-effective: no need to hire an expensive marketing firm to get things started.

Competitive: quick, powerful insights can place your products on the cutting edge.

As a small business or sole proprietor, conducting lean market research is an attractive option when investing in a full-blown research project might seem out of scope or budget.

There are lots of different ways you could conduct market research and collect customer data, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just one research method. Four common types of market research techniques include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation.

Which method you use may vary based on your business type: ecommerce business owners have different goals from SaaS businesses, so it’s typically prudent to mix and match these methods based on your particular goals and what you need to know.

1. Surveys: the most commonly used

Surveys are a form of qualitative research that ask respondents a short series of open- or closed-ended questions, which can be delivered as an on-screen questionnaire or via email. When we asked 2,000 Customer Experience (CX) professionals about their company’s approach to research , surveys proved to be the most commonly used market research technique.

What makes online surveys so popular?  

They’re easy and inexpensive to conduct, and you can do a lot of data collection quickly. Plus, the data is pretty straightforward to analyze, even when you have to analyze open-ended questions whose answers might initially appear difficult to categorize.

We've built a number of survey templates ready and waiting for you. Grab a template and share with your customers in just a few clicks.

💡 Pro tip: you can also get started with Hotjar AI for Surveys to create a survey in mere seconds . Just enter your market research goal and watch as the AI generates a survey and populates it with relevant questions. 

Once you’re ready for data analysis, the AI will prepare an automated research report that succinctly summarizes key findings, quotes, and suggested next steps.

how to do market research and analysis

An example research report generated by Hotjar AI for Surveys

2. Interviews: the most insightful

Interviews are one-on-one conversations with members of your target market. Nothing beats a face-to-face interview for diving deep (and reading non-verbal cues), but if an in-person meeting isn’t possible, video conferencing is a solid second choice.

Regardless of how you conduct it, any type of in-depth interview will produce big benefits in understanding your target customers.

What makes interviews so insightful?

By speaking directly with an ideal customer, you’ll gain greater empathy for their experience , and you can follow insightful threads that can produce plenty of 'Aha!' moments.

3. Focus groups: the most unreliable

Focus groups bring together a carefully selected group of people who fit a company’s target market. A trained moderator leads a conversation surrounding the product, user experience, or marketing message to gain deeper insights.

What makes focus groups so unreliable?

If you’re new to market research, we wouldn’t recommend starting with focus groups. Doing it right is expensive , and if you cut corners, your research could fall victim to all kinds of errors. Dominance bias (when a forceful participant influences the group) and moderator style bias (when different moderator personalities bring about different results in the same study) are two of the many ways your focus group data could get skewed.

4. Observation: the most powerful

During a customer observation session, someone from the company takes notes while they watch an ideal user engage with their product (or a similar product from a competitor).

What makes observation so clever and powerful?

‘Fly-on-the-wall’ observation is a great alternative to focus groups. It’s not only less expensive, but you’ll see people interact with your product in a natural setting without influencing each other. The only downside is that you can’t get inside their heads, so observation still isn't a recommended replacement for customer surveys and interviews.

The following questions will help you get to know your users on a deeper level when you interview them. They’re general questions, of course, so don’t be afraid to make them your own.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

How you ask this question, and what you want to know, will vary depending on your business model (e.g. business-to-business marketing is usually more focused on someone’s profession than business-to-consumer marketing).

It’s a great question to start with, and it’ll help you understand what’s relevant about your user demographics (age, race, gender, profession, education, etc.), but it’s not the be-all-end-all of market research. The more specific questions come later.

2. What does your day look like?

This question helps you understand your users’ day-to-day life and the challenges they face. It will help you gain empathy for them, and you may stumble across something relevant to their buying habits.

3. Do you ever purchase [product/service type]?

This is a ‘yes or no’ question. A ‘yes’ will lead you to the next question.

4. What problem were you trying to solve or what goal were you trying to achieve?

This question strikes to the core of what someone’s trying to accomplish and why they might be willing to pay for your solution.

5. Take me back to the day when you first decided you needed to solve this kind of problem or achieve this goal.

This is the golden question, and it comes from Adele Revella, Founder and CEO of Buyer Persona Institute . It helps you get in the heads of your users and figure out what they were thinking the day they decided to spend money to solve a problem.

If you take your time with this question, digging deeper where it makes sense, you should be able to answer all the relevant information you need to understand their perspective.

“The only scripted question I want you to ask them is this one: take me back to the day when you first decided that you needed to solve this kind of problem or achieve this kind of a goal. Not to buy my product, that’s not the day. We want to go back to the day that when you thought it was urgent and compelling to go spend money to solve a particular problem or achieve a goal. Just tell me what happened.”

— Adele Revella , Founder/CEO at Buyer Persona Institute

Bonus question: is there anything else you’d like to tell me?

This question isn’t just a nice way to wrap it up—it might just give participants the opportunity they need to tell you something you really need to know.

That’s why Sarah Doody, author of UX Notebook , adds it to the end of her written surveys.

“I always have a last question, which is just open-ended: “Is there anything else you would like to tell me?” And sometimes, that’s where you get four paragraphs of amazing content that you would never have gotten if it was just a Net Promoter Score [survey] or something like that.”

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research?

Qualitative research asks questions that can’t be reduced to a number, such as, “What is your job title?” or “What did you like most about your customer service experience?” 

Quantitative research asks questions that can be answered with a numeric value, such as, “What is your annual salary?” or “How was your customer service experience on a scale of 1-5?”

 → Read more about the differences between qualitative and quantitative user research .

How do I do my own market research?

You can do your own quick and effective market research by 

Surveying your customers

Building user personas

Studying your users through interviews and observation

Wrapping your head around your data with tools like flow models, affinity diagrams, and customer journey maps

What is the difference between market research and user research?

Market research takes a broad look at potential customers—what problems they’re trying to solve, their buying experience, and overall demand. User research, on the other hand, is more narrowly focused on the use (and usability ) of specific products.

What are the main criticisms of market research?

Many marketing professionals are critical of market research because it can be expensive and time-consuming. It’s often easier to convince your CEO or CMO to let you do lean market research rather than something more extensive because you can do it yourself. It also gives you quick answers so you can stay ahead of the competition.

Do I need a market research firm to get reliable data?

Absolutely not! In fact, we recommend that you start small and do it yourself in the beginning. By following a lean market research strategy, you can uncover some solid insights about your clients. Then you can make changes, test them out, and see whether the results are positive. This is an excellent strategy for making quick changes and remaining competitive.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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How to do Market Research: a Step-by-Step Guide

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How to do Market Research: a Step-by-Step Guide

Looking for the best way to do market research? From framing your initial question to extracting valuable customer insights, we’ll walk you through the lean market research process step-by-step. You will learn effective techniques for collecting and analyzing data , with practical tips on applying your findings to benefit your SaaS. Get ready to empower your decisions with real-world market intelligence.

  • Market research is vital for making informed business decisions, enabling companies to understand the market, target audience, and competitors, reducing risks, and optimizing marketing communications and product strategies .
  • Effective market research requires clear and measurable objectives, guiding decision-making and ensuring relevance to the project’s needs, and should be accompanied by appropriate methods , including both primary and secondary research .
  • Applying insights from market research to product development and marketing strategies can significantly enhance business growth. This allows businesses to tailor their offerings and engage more effectively with their target market.

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What is market research

how to do market research and analysis

Essentially, market research is the process of understanding one’s target audience’s needs and wants to validate a new product, feature, or service idea. It involves probing and extracting answers based on empirical evidence instead of relying on hunches or speculative judgment.

Why should you do market research?

Understanding your consumers’ behavior and needs well through methodical market research is vital for informed decision-making when it comes to your product roadmap. These choices can make or break your SaaS company. Without thorough market research, you’re navigating blindly, basing crucial judgments on antiquated notions of customer habits, imprecise economic gauges, or untested assumptions rather than solid competitive analysis.

The outcome? Sharper marketing messages, savvy product development strategies, and an intimate grasp of both prospective buyers and existing customers’ preferences and needs.

Identifying your market research goals

Before you do anything – you need to determine specific and actionable goals of your market research project. Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals will help you stay on track, come up with better market research questions and achieve more reliable results faster.

smart goals userpilot

For effective market research outcomes, your goals must be:

  • Quantifiable .
  • Attainable.
  • Directly aligned with project requirements.

Having established unambiguous goals prior to delving into data analysis sets up a solid foundation ensuring pivotal questions, hypotheses, and indicators are systematically tackled during effective market research.

Market research methods

generative research methods

Now that you understand the role of well-defined research objectives, let’s examine the different types of market research and research techniques for realizing these goals. These methods are essentially your toolkit for extracting valuable insights and they fall into two broad categories: primary research and secondary research . Choosing between them depends on many factors such as your budget, time availability, and whether you’re looking for more exploratory research data or concrete answers.

Engaging in primary research is comparable to unearthing precious metals—it requires gathering new information straight from sources through several approaches including:

Userpilot surveys

  • Focus groups.

free trial

This approach gives you first-hand insight into your target audience.

Conversely, secondary research uses already established datasets of primary data – which can add depth and reinforcement to your firsthand findings. For a 360 view of your market trends, combine both techniques – exploratory primary research and secondary channels of inquiry.

Let’s look a bit deeper into them now.

What is primary market research?

Market research uses primary market research as an essential tool. This involves collecting new data directly from your target audience using various methods, such as surveys , focus groups, and interviews.

how to do market research and analysis

Each method has its benefits. For example, observational studies allow you to see how consumers interact with your product.

how to do market research and analysis

There are many ways to conduct primary research.

Focus Groups : Hold discussions with small groups of 5 to 10 people from your target audience. These discussions can provide valuable feedback on products, perceptions of your company’s brand name, or opinions on competitors.

Interviews : Have one-on-one conversations to gather detailed information from individuals in your target audience.

how to do market research and analysis

Surveys : These are a common tool in primary market research and can be used instead of focus groups to understand consumer attitudes. Surveys use structured questions and can reach a broad audience efficiently.

how to do market research and analysis

Navigating secondary market research

While market research using primary methods is like discovering precious metals, secondary market research technique is like using a treasure map. This approach uses data collected by others from various sources, providing a broad industry view. These sources include market analyses from agencies like Statista, historical data such as census records, and academic studies.

Secondary research provides the basic knowledge necessary for conducting primary market research goals but may lack detail on specific business questions and could also be accessible to competitors.

To make the most of secondary market research, it’s important to analyze summarized data to identify trends, rely on reputable sources for accurate data, and remain unbiased in data collection methods.

The effectiveness of secondary research depends significantly on how well the data is interpreted, ensuring that this information complements the insights from primary research.

The role of qualitative and quantitative data in market research

Qualitative data analysis

In market research, there are two main types of data: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative data explores the reasons behind consumer actions, collecting non-numeric information to understand consumer behaviors and motivations. For more on gathering and analyzing qualitative data, see How to Analyse Qualitative Data . On the other hand, quantitative data uses numeric data to measure consumer preferences, behaviors, and market sizes. To learn more about handling this type of data, check out User Analytics .

A thorough market analysis usually combines both qualitative and quantitative data. This approach provides a full view of the market by merging detailed qualitative insights with concrete quantitative statistics. For more on combining these approaches, refer to Generative vs. Evaluative Research .

Gathering qualitative insights

how to do market research and analysis

Qualitative research involves direct engagement with customers, like having detailed discussions. It includes observational studies that capture genuine consumer reactions. This type of research provides deep insights into consumer perceptions, brand comparisons, consumer behavior, and feedback on specific product features.

Studies on customer satisfaction and loyalty reveal effective strategies for keeping customers and what keeps them loyal, such as loyalty programs and quality customer service. The strength of qualitative research lies in its ability to dig deeper than just numbers, reaching insights that quantitative data might miss. By using qualitative data to customize experiences, businesses can increase customer satisfaction, interaction , and loyalty, leading to greater business growth.

Analyzing quantitative data

Quantitative research provides precision and the ability to measure findings using structured data collection methods like polls and surveys. Product analytics tools such as Userpilot , Amplitude , Heap , and Mixpanel are highly effective for collecting and organizing quantifiable data. This type of data is crucial for identifying trends and insights, which can help businesses track important performance indicators such as conversion rates or customer lifetime value , supporting their growth strategies.

Quantitative research data is divided into two types: discrete data, which includes countable numbers, and continuous data, which consists of numbers that can have fractions or decimals. These are vital for revealing important demographic information.

Segmenting your target market

Userpilot segmentation

Market research plays a key role in segmenting your target audience into manageable segments.

These market segments are typically grouped by similar needs or attributes, and display similar responses in marketing research surveys and initiatives. The full market segmentation process is vital for comprehensively grasping and satisfying the requirements of your targeted consumer base.

Accumulating demographic information forms the basis for executing effective market segmentation strategies. Businesses prioritize obtaining user data such as:

  • Job functions.
  • Organizational scale.
  • Customer demographics profiles.
  • Lifestyle choices.
  • Values systems.
  • Product usage patterns.

This information can be collected in the initial sign-up flow (through a signup flow survey; see the Asana example below) or by conducting comprehensive market research surveys .

signup flow

At its core, successful market segmentation enables businesses to communicate effectively in their target customers’ dialects while catering explicitly to their distinct demands.

Userpilot allows you to easily segment your users not only by demographic information, company size, plan, or role – but also by their in-app engagement ( behavioral segmentation ):

behavioral segmentation

In summary, the techniques used to create detailed analyses, like conducting specialized surveys and carefully collecting relevant participant information, are crucial for identifying groups within a larger target population. These groups are defined by usage patterns and broad demographic and economic indicators, enabling companies to not only reach but also deeply connect with each niche market they aim to capture.

Creating buyer personas based on your market research

user personas userpilot

Creating buyer personas is a strategic process that helps businesses better understand and cater to their target customers. Here’s how you can systematically approach creating effective buyer personas:

  • Gather Initial Data : Start by collecting basic demographic information such as age, gender, location, and education level. This can come from existing customer databases, market research, or industry reports.

how to do market research and analysis

  • Segment the Audience : Based on the collected data, segment your audience into distinct groups. Each segment should represent a type of customer with similar characteristics and behaviors. This segmentation helps in personalizing marketing and sales strategies effectively.
  • Build Detailed Personas : For each segment, create a detailed persona that includes not only demographic and behavioral traits but also psychographics like interests, values, and lifestyle. Each persona should tell the story of an ideal customer, making them relatable for your marketing team.
  • Refine Over Time : Buyer personas are not static. As you gather more data and the market evolves, revisit and refine your personas to keep them relevant and accurate.
  • Utilize Tools Like Userpilot : Tools such as Userpilot can enhance this process by providing analytics that reveal how users interact with your product. This can confirm hypotheses or uncover new insights about user preferences and behaviors, which can be integrated into existing personas to make them even more accurate.

By carefully crafting and continually updating buyer personas, businesses can achieve a deeper understanding of their customers. This enables them to tailor their offerings and communications effectively, thereby enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction.

Recruiting participants for primary research

Choosing the right participants for primary research is a crucial step in market research. It’s important to find individuals who can provide relevant and meaningful consumer feedback, on your product or service, as this feedback is key to developing accurate user personas.

Userpilot can be instrumental in this process. It collects data on how users interact with and use your products, helping you identify who might be the best candidates for more detailed studies, such as interviews.

To efficiently recruit participants for interviews, Userpilot’s in-app features, such as in-app modals with embedded surveys can be extremely useful. You can use these tools to engage directly with users who meet your specific criteria, right within your app.

how to do market research and analysis

This method not only simplifies the recruitment process but also ensures that you’re interacting with the most relevant users. By leveraging these features, you can gather deep insights that significantly enhance the development of your user personas, ensuring your research is both timely and informed.

Competitive analysis for strategic advantage

Competitive analysis helps businesses understand their rivals’ strategies. It involves identifying which industries or markets to target and listing key competitors to gain a clear view of the competitive environment. This includes evaluating competitors’ market share, strengths, weaknesses, and potential entry barriers, often using tools like SWOT analysis.

By understanding competitors’ operations and past marketing efforts, businesses can craft new strategies, pinpoint opportunities, and learn from competitors’ mistakes. Employing market research, brand perception surveys, and market statistics, alongside analytical frameworks like Porter’s Five Forces Model, helps businesses uncover new opportunities and maintain a competitive advantage.

Ultimately, competitive analysis uses the understanding of competition to fuel business growth.

Conducting effective market research surveys

Primary market research often uses surveys as a cost-effective way to gather data. These surveys reach wide audiences and provide quick feedback. It’s crucial to carefully plan the creation and distribution of these surveys to ensure they are effective. Given the high amount of web traffic from mobile devices, it’s particularly important to make surveys mobile-friendly.

To get the most comprehensive data, include both quantitative (closed-ended) and qualitative (open-ended) questions in your survey . Offering incentives like financial compensation or vouchers can encourage participation, but it’s important to manage these carefully to avoid biasing the responses.

how to do market research and analysis

Well-designed surveys are like direct interviews with your target audience and are key to obtaining valuable insights about their views and experiences.

Userpilot offers over 50 in-app survey templates along with a bespoke builder, which are important tools for collecting the right responses. These features allow you to tailor surveys precisely to your needs, ensuring you gather accurate and relevant data directly from your users. By leveraging these templates and customizing them with the bespoke builder, you can effectively engage your audience and enhance the quality of insights you receive. This setup is crucial for conducting efficient and effective market research.

how to do market research and analysis

Analyzing and interpreting market research data

Once you have collected data through surveys, market research data analysis is the next critical step. It involves identifying patterns, establishing connections, and extracting insights that inform business decisions.

Userpilot’s analytics suite offers deep and easily accessible insights into your market research data:

how to do market research and analysis

This process starts with preparing the data by cleaning and organizing it to ensure accuracy and ease of analysis. Depending on the study’s goals, various analytical methods can be used, from simple descriptive statistics to complex multivariate analyses, all chosen to provide meaningful insights.

The core of this analysis aims to uncover market trends and understand industry specifics, which can highlight key factors such as impactful customer experiences, profitable products or services, and effective marketing strategies. Communicating these findings effectively involves presenting them in clear reports and using visual aids while making practical recommendations and addressing any limitations in the research scope or methods. Ultimately, data analysis transforms raw data into compelling narratives that offer actionable business intelligence.

Applying market research to product or service development

Market research is much more than just collecting data and uncovering insights; it’s a vital tool for driving business growth and guiding product development at every stage. Here’s how market research supports business throughout the product lifecycle:

  • Concept Creation : Helps identify market needs and opportunities to inform the initial product idea.
  • Building a Business Case : Provides evidence and data to justify investment in the new product.
  • Product Development : Offers insights into customer preferences and feedback for refining product features.
  • Market Introduction : Aids in strategizing the launch, targeting the right audience, and setting the right price.
  • Lifecycle Management : Continuously gathers data on customer usage and satisfaction to enhance the product over time.

Consider a B2B SaaS company that develops project management software. By engaging in targeted market research activities like surveys and doing focus group call groups among its business clients, the company can:

  • Understand Business Needs : Gain insights into the specific project management challenges and needs of different industries.
  • Refine Product Features : Discover which software features are most valued by businesses, such as integration capabilities, user-friendliness, or specific tools for collaboration.
  • Tailor Marketing Strategies : Identify the most effective communication channels and messaging that resonate with business clients, such as emphasizing efficiency gains or return on investment.

Market research guides businesses from the initial idea through to launch and beyond, acting as a strategic tool that ensures all actions are aligned with market demands and customer needs , ultimately aiming for successful business outcomes.

Utilizing tools for efficient market research

Using tools like Userpilot, SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Typeform, market researchers can reach a wide audience and get fast responses. These platforms help to design, distribute, and analyze surveys efficiently.

Userpilot stands out by allowing businesses to create targeted in-app experiences that engage users directly where they are most active—within the app itself. This direct engagement method improves the quality of the feedback collected as it relates to specific features or user experiences.

how to do market research and analysis

Userpilot also offers features such as demographic filtering and behavioral-based segmentation, which speeds up the process of finding and recruiting the right participants for market research.

how to do market research and analysis

These tools are essential for performing detailed and effective market research. They break down geographic and cultural barriers, offer access to diverse user groups, and enable businesses to conduct deep, actionable analyses across different market segments.

Translating research findings into business growth

Market research does more than just gather and analyze data; it aims to transform these insights into tangible business improvements. This process is crucial in guiding product development and helping increase a company’s market share by informing targeted strategies. For instance, a B2B SaaS company could use market research to:

  • Tailor marketing strategies specifically for key user personas.
  • Identify the most valued features for your users.
  • Develop pricing strategies that appeal to companies of different sizes.
  • Gain insight into the specific needs and expectations of their customers.

By implementing effective market research techniques, companies can customize their products or services to better serve their target audience’s needs, fundamental for stimulating company growth . Conducting personalized market research adds value, while collaborating with specialized firms may yield additional profound insights.

Market research is not just about collecting data; it’s about deeply understanding your customers, spotting opportunities, and making informed decisions that drive your business forward. It provides essential insights into the market and business environment, influencing how potential clients perceive your company.

By conducting competitor analysis and market research, organizations can:

  • Connect with their target audience.
  • Understand their competitive position.
  • Plan strategically for future initiatives.
  • Gain insights into customer perceptions of their brand, uncovering new perspectives or opportunities for improvement.

Since competitors also use market research to their advantage, engaging in these analytical processes is crucial for a comprehensive marketing strategy, aimed at business growth.

Start your own market research and journey today to pave the way to success.

Frequently asked questions

What is market research and why is it important.

Understanding their target market through collected information and insights, businesses can make informed decisions, diminish risks, and enhance marketing strategies with the aid of market research. This ensures that choices are based on reliable data, which is crucial for business success.

What is the difference between primary and secondary research?

To summarize, primary research entails the gathering of original data directly from the source, whereas secondary research utilizes previously compiled data sources to add perspective and reinforce conclusions derived from primary research.

How does market research guide product development?

By offering critical data on consumer habits and preferences, market research steers the enhancement of product features, thereby influencing decisions across all stages of a product’s life cycle and aiding in the evolution of product development.

What tools can be used for efficient market research?

Platforms such as Userpilot, SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Typeform can be leveraged alongside technologies that are driven by data to simplify the process of crafting, disseminating, and examining online surveys which play a crucial role in conducting market research effectively.

How can market research translate into business growth?

By informing product development, marketing strategies, and identifying opportunities for growth through enlightened decision-making, market research results can propel business expansion.

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A Complete Guide to Market Research: Methods, Templates, How to do it and a lot more

Johnny Tong

Johnny Tong

Jan 19, 2021

A Complete Guide to Market Research: Methods, Templates, How to do it and a lot more

Table of Contents

What is Market Research?

Why is market research so important, market research methods, focus groups, observation, types of market research, market segmentation, brand awareness and reach, pricing research, how to do market research, market research report & analysis templates, swot analysis template, market survey template, 15 common and effective market survey questions, demographic questions, psychographic questions, questions about your product/service., 10 best market research software.

  • 1. Surveybot
  • 2. Google analytics
  • 3. Question Pro
  • 4. Make My Persona
  • 5. SurveyMonkey

Dos and Don’ts of Market Research

Do focus on your purpose, do use multiple tools, do make necessary changes according to the reports, do use user-friendly survey, do define a budget, don’t stop doing it again, don’t rely on internet information alone, don’t go for professional respondents, market research faqs.

notion image

  • What is market research?
  • Why is market research so important?
  • Types of market research
  • How to do market research?
  • 5 best market research software
  • Dos and don’ts of market research
  • Market research FAQs

notion image

  • Keep a definite purpose
  • Identify the target audience
  • Relationship status
  • Education level
  • Study your industry
  • Prepare survey questions
  • Record and analyze your findings

notion image

  • How old are you?
  • What is your gender?
  • What is your employment status?
  • What do you do?
  • What are your hobbies, interests, attitudes?
  • What are your challenges, goals?
  • How satisfied are you with our product?
  • Would you recommend our product to a friend?
  • How appealing is our website/store?
  • Do you think our prices are high?
  • How satisfied are you with our customer service?
  • Was it easy to find the right product from our store/website?
  • How did you know about our product?
  • What attracted you to our brand?
  • How often do you come across our advertisements online?

1.  Surveybot

2.  google analytics, 3.  question pro, 4.  make my persona, 5.  surveymonkey.

  • How long will it take to carry out market research?
  • How to choose the best market research software for my business?
  • How many questions should be there in my survey?
  • Can I trust the research results to make business decisions?

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How to Conduct Market Research for a Startup

Entrepreneur conducting market research for a startup

  • 17 Mar 2022

With every innovative product idea comes the pressing question: “Will people want to buy it?”

As an entrepreneur with a big idea, what’s the best way to determine how potential customers will react to your product? Conducting market research can provide the data needed to decide whether your product fits your target market.

Before launching a new venture, you should understand market research. Here’s how to conduct market research for a startup and why it’s important.

Access your free e-book today.

What Is Market Research?

Market research is the process of gathering information about customers and the market as a whole to determine a product or service’s viability. Market research includes interviews, surveys, focus groups, and industry data analyses.

The goal of market research is to better understand potential customers, how well your product or service fits their needs, and how it compares to competitors’ offerings.

There are two types of research you can conduct: primary and secondary.

  • Primary research requires collecting data to learn about your specific customers or target market segment. It’s useful for creating buyer personas, segmenting your market, and improving your product to cater to customers’ needs .
  • Secondary research is conducted using data you didn’t collect yourself. Industry reports, public databases, and other companies’ proprietary data can be used to gain insights into your target market segment and industry.

Why Is Market Research Important for Entrepreneurs?

Before launching your venture, it’s wise to conduct market research to ensure your product or service will be well received. Feedback from people who fall into your target demographics can be invaluable as you iterate on and improve your product.

Performing market research can also help you determine a pricing strategy by gauging customers’ willingness to pay for your product. Additionally, it can improve the user experience by revealing what features matter most to potential customers.

When assessing which startups to fund, investors place heavy importance on thorough market research that indicates promising potential. Providing tangible proof that your product fulfills a market need and demonstrating you’ve taken the time to iterate on and improve it signal that your startup could be a worthwhile investment.

Related: How to Talk to Potential Investors: 5 Tips

How to Do Market Research for a Startup

1. form hypotheses.

What questions do you aim to answer through market research? Using those questions, you can make predictions called hypotheses . Defining your hypotheses upfront can help guide your approach to selecting subjects, researching questions, and testing designs.

An example question you may ask is: “How much are people in my target demographic willing to pay for the current version of my product?” Your hypothesis could be: “If my product contains all its current features, customers will be willing to pay $500 for it.”

Another example question you may ask is: “What’s the user’s biggest pain point, and is my product meeting their needs?” Your hypothesis could be: “I believe the user’s biggest pain point is needing an easy, unintimidating way to learn basic car maintenance, and I predict that my product meets that need.”

You can and should test multiple hypotheses, but try to select no more than a few per test, so the research stays focused.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Hypothesis Testing in Business

2. Select the Type of Research Needed to Test Hypotheses

Once you’ve formed your hypotheses, determine which type of research to conduct.

If your hypotheses focus on determining your startup’s place in the broader market, start with secondary research. This can include using existing data to determine market size, how much of that market your startup could reasonably own, who your biggest competitors are, and how your brand and product compare to theirs.

If your hypotheses require primary research, decide which data collection method best fits your needs. These can include one-on-one interviews, surveys, focus groups, and polls. Primary research allows you to gather insights into customer satisfaction and loyalty, brand awareness and perception, and real-time product usability.

3. Identify Target Demographics and Recruit Subjects

To gather meaningful insights, you need to understand your target demographic. Do you aim to cater to working parents, young athletes, or pet owners? Determine the type of person who can benefit from your product.

If you conduct primary research, you need to recruit subjects. This can be done in several ways, including:

  • Word of mouth: The simplest but least reliable way to recruit participants is by word of mouth. Ask people you know to refer others to be research subjects, then screen them to confirm they fit your target demographic.
  • Promoting the study on social media: Many social media platforms enable you to show an ad to people who fall into specific demographic categories or have certain interests. This allows you to get the word out to a large number of people who qualify.
  • Hiring a third-party market research company: Some companies provide full market research services and recruit participants and conduct research on your behalf.

However you recruit subjects, ensure they take a screener survey beforehand, which allows you to determine whether they fit the specific demographic you want to study or have a trait that eliminates them from the research pool. It also provides demographic data—such as age and race—that enables you to select a diverse subset of your target demographic.

In addition, you can offer compensation to boost participation, such as money, meal vouchers, gift cards, or early access to your product. Make it clear that compensation is in appreciation for subjects’ time and honest feedback.

4. Conduct the Research

Once you’ve determined the type of research and target demographic necessary to test your hypotheses, conduct your research. To reduce bias, enlist someone unfamiliar with your hypotheses to perform interviews or lead focus groups.

Ask questions based on your audience and hypotheses. For instance, if you’re aiming to test existing customers’ purchase motivations, you may ask: “What challenge were you trying to solve when you first bought the product?”

If examining brand perception, your audience should consist of potential customers who don’t yet know your brand. Present them with a list of competitor logos—with yours in the mix—and ask them to rank the brands by perceived reliability.

While the questions you ask are vehicles to prove or disprove hypotheses, ensure they don’t lead subjects in one direction. To craft unbiased research questions , use neutral language and vary the order of options in multiple-choice questions. This can keep subjects from selecting the same option each time if they sense the third option is always mapped to a certain outcome. It also helps account for primacy bias (the tendency to select the first option in a list) and recency bias (the tendency to select the final option in a list).

Once you’ve collected data, ensure it’s organized efficiently and securely so you can protect subjects’ identities .

Related: 3 Examples of Bad Survey Questions and How to Fix Them

5. Gather Insights and Determine Action Items

After you’ve organized your data, analyze it to extract actionable insights. While some of the data will be qualitative rather than quantitative, you can detect patterns in responses to make it quantifiable. For instance, noting that 15 of 20 subjects mentioned feeling overwhelmed when attempting to assemble your product.

Once you’ve analyzed the data and communicated emerging trends using data visualizations , outline action items.

If the majority of users in your target demographic reported feeling overwhelmed while assembling your product, action items might include:

  • Creating different versions of assembly instructions to test with other groups, varying diagrams and instructional language
  • Researching instruction manual best practices

Each round of market research can offer more information about how your product is perceived and experienced by potential users.

Which HBS Online Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Market Research as an Ongoing Endeavor

While it’s useful to conduct market research before launching your product, you should revisit your hypotheses and form new ones over the course of building your venture.

By conducting market research with each version of your product, you can gradually improve it and ensure it continues to fit target customers’ needs.

Are you interested in bolstering your entrepreneurship skills? Explore our four-week online course Entrepreneurship Essentials and our other entrepreneurship and innovation courses to learn to speak the language of the startup world.

how to do market research and analysis

About the Author

An illustration showing a desktop computer with a large magnifying glass over the search bar, a big purple folder with a document inside, a light bulb, and graphs. How to do market research blog post.

How To Do Market Research: Definition, Types, Methods

Jan 2, 2024

11 min. read

Market research isn’t just collecting data. It’s a strategic tool that allows businesses to gain a competitive advantage while making the best use of their resources. Research reveals valuable insights into your target audience about their preferences, buying habits, and emerging demands — all of which help you unlock new opportunities to grow your business.

When done correctly, market research can minimize risks and losses, spur growth, and position you as a leader in your industry. 

Let’s explore the basic building blocks of market research and how to collect and use data to move your company forward:

Table of Contents

What Is Market Research?

Why is market research important, market analysis example, 5 types of market research, what are common market research questions, what are the limitations of market research, how to do market research, improving your market research with radarly.

Market Research Definition: The process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market or audience.

doing a market research

Market research studies consumer behavior to better understand how they perceive products or services. These insights help businesses identify ways to grow their current offering, create new products or services, and improve brand trust and brand recognition .

You might also hear market research referred to as market analysis or consumer research .

Traditionally, market research has taken the form of focus groups, surveys, interviews, and even competitor analysis . But with modern analytics and research tools, businesses can now capture deeper insights from a wider variety of sources, including social media, online reviews, and customer interactions. These extra layers of intel can help companies gain a more comprehensive understanding of their audience.

With consumer preferences and markets evolving at breakneck speeds, businesses need a way to stay in touch with what people need and want. That’s why the importance of market research cannot be overstated.

Market research offers a proactive way to identify these trends and make adjustments to product development, marketing strategies , and overall operations. This proactive approach can help businesses stay ahead of the curve and remain agile as markets shift.

Market research examples abound — given the number of ways companies can get inside the minds of their customers, simply skimming through your business’s social media comments can be a form of market research.

A restaurant chain might use market research methods to learn more about consumers’ evolving dining habits. These insights might be used to offer new menu items, re-examine their pricing strategies, or even open new locations in different markets, for example.

A consumer electronics company might use market research for similar purposes. For instance, market research may reveal how consumers are using their smart devices so they can develop innovative features.

Market research can be applied to a wide range of use cases, including:

  • Testing new product ideas
  • Improve existing products
  • Entering new markets
  • Right-sizing their physical footprints
  • Improving brand image and awareness
  • Gaining insights into competitors via competitive intelligence

Ultimately, companies can lean on market research techniques to stay ahead of trends and competitors while improving the lives of their customers.

Market research methods take different forms, and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one. Let’s review the most common market research techniques and the insights they deliver.

1. Interviews

3. Focus Groups

4. Observations

5. AI-Driven Market Research

One-on-one interviews are one of the most common market research techniques. Beyond asking direct questions, skilled interviewers can uncover deeper motivations and emotions that drive purchasing decisions. Researchers can elicit more detailed and nuanced responses they might not receive via other methods, such as self-guided surveys.

colleagues discussing a market research

Interviews also create the opportunity to build rapport with customers and prospects. Establishing a connection with interviewees can encourage them to open up and share their candid thoughts, which can enrich your findings. Researchers also have the opportunity to ask clarifying questions and dig deeper based on individual responses.

Market research surveys provide an easy entry into the consumer psyche. They’re cost-effective to produce and allow researchers to reach lots of people in a short time. They’re also user-friendly for consumers, which allows companies to capture more responses from more people.

Big data and data analytics are making traditional surveys more valuable. Researchers can apply these tools to elicit a deeper understanding from responses and uncover hidden patterns and correlations within survey data that were previously undetectable.

The ways in which surveys are conducted are also changing. With the rise of social media and other online channels, brands and consumers alike have more ways to engage with each other, lending to a continuous approach to market research surveys.

3. Focus groups

Focus groups are “group interviews” designed to gain collective insights. This interactive setting allows participants to express their thoughts and feelings openly, giving researchers richer insights beyond yes-or-no responses.

focus group as part of a market research

One of the key benefits of using focus groups is the opportunity for participants to interact with one another. They spark discussions while sharing diverse viewpoints. These sessions can uncover underlying motivations and attitudes that may not be easily expressed through other research methods.

Observing your customers “in the wild” might feel informal, but it can be one of the most revealing market research techniques of all. That’s because you might not always know the right questions to ask. By simply observing, you can surface insights you might not have known to look for otherwise.

This method also delivers raw, authentic, unfiltered data. There’s no room for bias and no potential for participants to accidentally skew the data. Researchers can also pick up on non-verbal cues and gestures that other research methods may fail to capture.

5. AI-driven market research

One of the newer methods of market research is the use of AI-driven market research tools to collect and analyze insights on your behalf. AI customer intelligence tools and consumer insights software like Meltwater Radarly take an always-on approach by going wherever your audience is and continuously predicting behaviors based on current behaviors.

By leveraging advanced algorithms, machine learning, and big data analysis , AI enables companies to uncover deep-seated patterns and correlations within large datasets that would be near impossible for human researchers to identify. This not only leads to more accurate and reliable findings but also allows businesses to make informed decisions with greater confidence.

Tip: Learn how to use Meltwater as a research tool , how Meltwater uses AI , and learn more about consumer insights and about consumer insights in the fashion industry .

No matter the market research methods you use, market research’s effectiveness lies in the questions you ask. These questions should be designed to elicit honest responses that will help you reach your goals.

Examples of common market research questions include:

Demographic market research questions

  • What is your age range?
  • What is your occupation?
  • What is your household income level?
  • What is your educational background?
  • What is your gender?

Product or service usage market research questions

  • How long have you been using [product/service]?
  • How frequently do you use [product/service]?
  • What do you like most about [product/service]?
  • Have you experienced any problems using [product/service]?
  • How could we improve [product/service]?
  • Why did you choose [product/service] over a competitor’s [product/service]?

Brand perception market research questions

  • How familiar are you with our brand?
  • What words do you associate with our brand?
  • How do you feel about our brand?
  • What makes you trust our brand?
  • What sets our brand apart from competitors?
  • What would make you recommend our brand to others?

Buying behavior market research questions

  • What do you look for in a [product/service]?
  • What features in a [product/service] are important to you?
  • How much time do you need to choose a [product/service]?
  • How do you discover new products like [product/service]?
  • Do you prefer to purchase [product/service] online or in-store?
  • How do you research [product/service] before making a purchase?
  • How often do you buy [product/service]?
  • How important is pricing when buying [product/service]?
  • What would make you switch to another brand of [product/service]?

Customer satisfaction market research questions

  • How happy have you been with [product/service]?
  • What would make you more satisfied with [product/service]?
  • How likely are you to continue using [product/service]?

Bonus Tip: Compiling these questions into a market research template can streamline your efforts.

Market research can offer powerful insights, but it also has some limitations. One key limitation is the potential for bias. Researchers may unconsciously skew results based on their own preconceptions or desires, which can make your findings inaccurate.

  • Depending on your market research methods, your findings may be outdated by the time you sit down to analyze and act on them. Some methods struggle to account for rapidly changing consumer preferences and behaviors.
  • There’s also the risk of self-reported data (common in online surveys). Consumers might not always accurately convey their true feelings or intentions. They might provide answers they think researchers are looking for or misunderstand the question altogether.
  • There’s also the potential to miss emerging or untapped markets . Researchers are digging deeper into what (or who) they already know. This means you might be leaving out a key part of the story without realizing it.

Still, the benefits of market research cannot be understated, especially when you supplement traditional market research methods with modern tools and technology.

Let’s put it all together and explore how to do market research step-by-step to help you leverage all its benefits.

Step 1: Define your objectives

You’ll get more from your market research when you hone in on a specific goal : What do you want to know, and how will this knowledge help your business?

This step will also help you define your target audience. You’ll need to ask the right people the right questions to collect the information you want. Understand the characteristics of the audience and what gives them authority to answer your questions.

Step 2: Select your market research methods

Choose one or more of the market research methods (interviews, surveys, focus groups, observations, and/or AI-driven tools) to fuel your research strategy.

Certain methods might work better than others for specific goals . For example, if you want basic feedback from customers about a product, a simple survey might suffice. If you want to hone in on serious pain points to develop a new product, a focus group or interview might work best.

You can also source secondary research ( complementary research ) via secondary research companies , such as industry reports or analyses from large market research firms. These can help you gather preliminary information and inform your approach.

team analyzing the market research results

Step 3: Develop your research tools

Prior to working with participants, you’ll need to craft your survey or interview questions, interview guides, and other tools. These tools will help you capture the right information , weed out non-qualifying participants, and keep your information organized.

You should also have a system for recording responses to ensure data accuracy and privacy. Test your processes before speaking with participants so you can spot and fix inefficiencies or errors.

Step 4: Conduct the market research

With a system in place, you can start looking for candidates to contribute to your market research. This might include distributing surveys to current customers or recruiting participants who fit a specific profile, for example.

Set a time frame for conducting your research. You might collect responses over the course of a few days, weeks, or even months. If you’re using AI tools to gather data, choose a data range for your data to focus on the most relevant information.

Step 5: Analyze and apply your findings

Review your findings while looking for trends and patterns. AI tools can come in handy in this phase by analyzing large amounts of data on your behalf.

Compile your findings into an easy-to-read report and highlight key takeaways and next steps. Reports aren’t useful unless the reader can understand and act on them.

Tip: Learn more about trend forecasting , trend detection , and trendspotting .

Meltwater’s Radarly consumer intelligence suite helps you reap the benefits of market research on an ongoing basis. Using a combination of AI, data science, and market research expertise, Radarly scans multiple global data sources to learn what people are talking about, the actions they’re taking, and how they’re feeling about specific brands.

Meltwater Radarly screenshot for market research

Our tools are created by market research experts and designed to help researchers uncover what they want to know (and what they don’t know they want to know). Get data-driven insights at scale with information that’s always relevant, always accurate, and always tailored to your organization’s needs.

Learn more when you request a demo by filling out the form below:

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Table of Contents

A market analysis is a thorough assessment of a market within a specific industry. These analyses have many benefits, such as reducing risk for your business and better informing your business decisions. A market analysis can be a time-intensive process, but it is straightforward and easy to do on your own in seven steps.

To perform a market analysis for your business, follow the steps outlined in this guide.

What does a market analysis include?

In a market analysis, you will study the dynamics of your market, such as volume and value, potential customer segments , buying patterns, competition, and other important factors. A thorough marketing analysis should answer the following questions:

  • Who are my potential customers?
  • What are my customers’ buying habits?
  • How large is my target market ?
  • How much are customers willing to pay for my product?
  • Who are my main competitors?
  • What are my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses ?

What are the benefits of running a marketing analysis?

A marketing analysis can reduce risk, identify emerging trends, and help project revenue. You can use a marketing analysis at several stages of your business, and it can even be beneficial to conduct one every year to keep up to date with any major changes in the market.

A detailed market analysis will usually be part of your business plan , since it gives you a greater understanding of your audience and competition. This will help you build a more targeted marketing strategy.

These are some other major benefits of conducting a market analysis:

  • Risk reduction: Knowing your market can reduce risks in your business, since you’ll have an understanding of major market trends, the main players in your industry, and what it takes to be successful, all of which will inform your business decisions. To help you further protect your business, you can also conduct a SWOT analysis , which identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your business.
  • Targeted products or services: You are in a much better position to serve your customers when you have a firm grasp on what they are looking for from you. When you know who your customers are, you can use that information to tailor your business’s offerings to your customers’ needs.
  • Emerging trends: Staying ahead in business is often about being the first to spot a new opportunity or trend, and using a marketing analysis to stay on top of industry trends is a great way to position yourself to take advantage of this information.
  • Revenue projections: A market forecast is a key component of most marketing analyses, as it projects the future numbers, characteristics and trends in your target market. This gives you an idea of the profits you can expect, allowing you to adjust your business plan and budget accordingly.
  • Evaluation benchmarks: It can be difficult to gauge your business’s success outside of pure numbers. A market analysis provides benchmarks or key performance indicators (KPIs) against which you can judge your company and how well you are doing compared to others in your industry.
  • Context for past mistakes: Marketing analytics can explain your business’s past mistakes or industry anomalies. For example, in-depth analytics can explain what impacted the sale of a specific product, or why a certain metric performed the way it did. This can help you avoid making those mistakes again or experiencing similar anomalies, because you’ll be able to analyze and describe what went wrong and why.
  • Marketing optimization: This is where an annual marketing analysis comes in handy – regular analysis can inform your ongoing marketing efforts and show you which aspects of your marketing need work, and which are performing well in comparison to the other companies in your industry.

What are the drawbacks of running a marketing analysis?

The below drawbacks of running a market analysis pertain less to the method itself than the resources it requires.

  • Market analysis can be expensive. If you’re not as familiar with marketing concepts such as market volume and customer segmentation, you might want to outsource your market analysis. Doing so can be great for your analysis’s quality, but it can also leave a big dent in your budget. Narrow your market analysis to a certain group – perhaps current customers – to lower your costs.
  • Market analysis can be time-consuming. Market analysis can take precious time away from more directly business-related tasks. You can analyze one area at a time – say, buying patterns or competition – to free up your day-to-day schedule.
  • Market analysis can require extra staff. Some larger companies retain in-house market analysis staff, and you can follow their lead. Doing so, though, comes with all the usual costs of hiring a new employee . The question then becomes: Do you conduct your market analysis yourself, outsource it, or hire in-house? The more expensive options can often yield more meaningful insights.
  • Market analysis can be narrow. The most successful market analyses use actual customer feedback, which analysts often get through customer surveys. These surveys may reach only a portion of your entire customer base, leading to an inaccurate sample size. The result is that market analysis may not fully detail your customers and what you should know about them.

Market analysis vs. conjoint analysis vs. sentiment analysis

Where market analysis is broad and comprehensive, conjoint analysis focuses on how customers value what you offer. Surveys are often the backbone of conjoint analysis – they’re a great way for customers to share what drives their purchases. Product testing is an especially common application of conjoint analysis. This method can yield insights into pricing and product features and configurations.

Sentiment analysis goes beyond number-driven market and conjoint analysis to identify how customers qualitatively feel about your offerings. It can show you what customers are happy and unhappy about with your offerings or buying process. You can also wade into deeper emotional territory such as anger, urgency and intention, or you can dig up descriptive feedback. It’s a great tool to use alongside market analysis, whereas conjoint analysis is all but included in market analysis.

How to conduct a market analysis

While conducting a marketing analysis is not a complicated process, it does take a lot of dedicated research, so be prepared to devote significant time to the process.

These are the seven steps of conducting a market analysis:

1. Determine your purpose.

There are many reasons you may be conducting a market analysis, such as to gauge your competition or to understand a new market. Whatever your reason, it’s important to define it right away to keep you on track throughout the process. Start by deciding whether your purpose is internal – like improving your cash flow or business operations – or external, like seeking a business loan. Your purpose will dictate the type and amount of research you will do.

2. Research the state of the industry.

Map a detailed outline of the current state of your industry. Include where the industry seems to be heading, using metrics such as size, trends and projected growth, with plenty of data to support your findings. You can also conduct a comparative market analysis to help you find your competitive advantage within your specific market.

3. Identify your target customer.

Not everyone in the world will be your customer , and it would be a waste of your time to try to get everyone interested in your product. Instead, use a target market analysis to decide who is most likely to want your product and focus your efforts there. You want to understand your market size, who your customers are, where they come from, and what might influence their buying decisions. To do so, look at demographic factors like these:

During your research, you might consider creating a customer profile or persona that reflects your ideal customer to serve as a model for your marketing efforts.

4. Understand your competition.

To be successful, you need a good understanding of your competitors, including their market saturation, what they do differently than you, and their strengths, weaknesses and advantages in the market. Start by listing all your main competitors, then go through that list and conduct a SWOT analysis of each competitor. What does that business have that you don’t? What would lead a customer to choose that business over yours? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

Then, rank your list of competitors from most to least threatening, and decide on a timeline to conduct regular SWOT analyses on your most threatening competitors.

5. Gather additional data.

When conducting marketing analyses, information is your friend – you can never have too much data. It is important that the data you use is credible and factual, so be cautious of where you get your numbers. These are some reputable business data resources:

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • State and local commerce sites
  • Trade journals
  • Your own SWOT analyses
  • Market surveys or questionnaires

6. Analyze your data.

After you collect all the information you can and verify that it is accurate, you need to analyze the data to make it useful to you. Organize your research into sections that make sense to you, but try to include ones for your purpose, target market and competition.

These are the main elements your research should include:

  • An overview of your industry’s size and growth rate
  • Your business’s projected market share percentage
  • An industry outlook
  • Customer buying trends
  • Your forecasted growth
  • How much customers are willing to pay for your product or service

7. Put your analysis to work.

Once you’ve created a market analysis, it’s time to actually make it work for you. Internally, look for where you can use your research and findings to improve your business. Have you seen other businesses doing things that you’d like to implement in your own organization? Are there ways to make your marketing strategies more effective?

If you conducted your analysis for external purposes, organize your research and data into an easily readable and digestible document to make it easier to share with lenders.

Retain all of your information and research for your next analysis, and consider making a calendar reminder each year so that you stay on top of your market.

Making market analysis easy

If you have the time to conduct a market analysis yourself, go for it – this guide will help. If you don’t have the time, hiring an in-house expert or outsourcing your analysis is often worth the cost. Your analysis will help you figure out who to target and how – and that’s a huge part of business success.


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How to Conduct Marketing Research and Analysis

Two professionals analyzing company documents

A key component of running any successful business is regularly conducting market analysis—a process that provides insight into where the company is and where it's heading. This analysis contains qualitative and quantitative marketing research, primary and secondary research, and additional data points regarding positioning, industry and market statistics, insights into consumer attitudes and buying habits, customer satisfaction, and more.

According to the global data and business intelligence platform Statista, the worldwide market research industry surpassed $81 billion in 2022. 1 The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in the industry is due to grow 13% over the next ten years. 2 In light of that strength and likely rapid expansion, facility with marketing research and analysis is an increasingly valuable skill. Keep reading to explore some of the key elements of this essential process.

Market Research, Marketing Research, and Other Key Terms

It’s important to understand the differences between market research/analysis and marketing research/analysis. The terms are similar but the meanings are distinct: 3

  • Market research: A study done to collect statistics on a given market within a specific industry
  • Market analysis: Interpretation of market information to determine a market’s size, growth potential, audience, and competitive landscape 4
  • Marketing research: The process of collecting data to understand consumer behaviors, preferences, and market dynamics
  • Marketing analysis: Evaluating and interpreting collected data to draw conclusions, derive actionable insights, and make informed, data-driven marketing decisions

In addition, as you get further into marketing research and analysis, you’ll need to be familiar with these terms:

  • Quantitative marketing research involves gathering numerical data to quantify and analyze patterns and relationships in consumer behavior
  • Qualitative marketing research involves gathering information that isn't expressed in numbers to gain insights into consumer behaviors, attitudes, and motivations
  • Ethnographic research is the process of studying a target audience's environment to gain a clearer understanding of potential customers’ behaviors and preferences
  • Market segmentation is the process of dividing a target market into distinct groups of consumers; each group of people shares similar characteristics or needs
  • Data mining is the process of analyzing large datasets to identify patterns, relevant trends, and valuable marketing insights; data mining for marketing insights is used to influence strategizing and decision-making
  • Competitive analysis: By analyzing competitors to understand their strategies, strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning, businesses become able to identify opportunities and threats
  • Market trend analysis is the examination of historic and current market data to identify patterns and emerging trends

Primary and Secondary Research in Marketing: What’s the Difference?

To conduct thorough, effective marketing research and analysis, you need both primary and secondary data.

Primary research involves original data collected directly from targeted sources. This is typically done through in-person or online surveys, focus group studies, observations, or experiments.

Primary research offers several distinct advantages. It’s highly relevant due to its freshness and the researchers’ ability to customize the surveys or studies they administer. It also allows analysts to hone in on the specific market they're trying to understand, which leads to sharper data precision and accuracy.

Secondary research, on the other hand, uses existing information that others have previously collected in the form of published reports, articles, academic papers, market research reports, government publications, industry databases, or historical data.

Secondary research is more cost-effective and saves time because it doesn’t require data collection. It also provides a broader perspective by offering a comprehensive view of trends and historical information.

How to Conduct Quantitative and Qualitative Marketing Research

Quantitative marketing research is a structured process that involves gathering, processing, and interpreting numerical data.

  • The process begins with defining specific research objectives and selecting an appropriate quantitative research method, such as experiments or customer surveys
  • Researchers then develop a structured instrument, like a questionnaire, to collect numerical data from a representative sample
  • After data collection, meticulous data entry is essential for ensuring accuracy
  • Analysts then employ statistical analysis methods, such as descriptive and inferential statistics, to interpret the data

Qualitative research delves more into the motivations behind consumer behavior by analyzing non-numerical information. By its nature, qualitative data can be ephemeral—hard to quantify. The research process can involve listening to recordings from focus group studies, reading social media comments and reviews, and understanding subtext from customers based on visual and other non-verbal cues.

  • Similar to quantitative marketing research, qualitative research begins by selecting a research method, such as individual interviews or focus groups, and defining research objectives
  • Researchers then carefully recruit a diverse set of participants that represent a target audience
  • During data collection, the use of open-ended discussions and follow-up questions can uncover meaningful insights that might not be readily apparent at the outset
  • Afterward, transcribing the data and looking for recurring themes and patterns can allow researchers to interpret the findings within the context of the research objectives

How To Present Market Research and Analysis

Once you’ve completed marketing research and analysis, you’ll likely be called upon to present your findings. If market research techniques come easily to you but presenting before other people seems daunting, a few simple strategies can streamline the process:

Focus on Key Insights

Highlight the most important findings to avoid overwhelming your audience with too much data. They don’t need or want to know every fact that your research turned up, so stick to the information that addresses their priorities. Be ready to answer questions with contextual, detailed information if people ask for it, but keep the structure of your presentation focused on the big-ticket items.

Use Data Visualization

Data visualization involves using software to display substantial amounts of information in a graphic format: as dashboards, pie charts, graphs, and so on. By presenting your findings visually, you can share them with diverse audiences—company leadership, clients, and other stakeholders—in engaging, relatable ways.

Tell a Story

Frame your presentation as a narrative—that is, tell a story—to engage your audience even more and make your findings memorable. Encourage your audience to ask questions. This turns your presentation into a collaborative dialogue, keeps them involved, and helps you shine as you present direct answers to address their needs.

Add Marketing Research and Analysis to Your Expertise

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Built to accommodate the schedules of working professionals and led by a faculty of industry experts , the program provides networking opportunities that will help you gain insights into industry trends and best practices.

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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Perform Market Research

how to do market research and analysis

Navigating the intricate world of business often hinges on understanding markets, consumers, and competitors. This understanding is directly rooted in effective market research. While many acknowledge its significance, the detailed process of conducting comprehensive market research can be a challenge for some.

This guide aims to clarify the steps and strategies involved, ensuring businesses can gather insights that are both meaningful and actionable. Dive in to discover the nuances and best practices on how to perform market research, setting the foundation for informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Understanding How to Do Market Research

Embarking on the journey of market research can be both exciting and rewarding, as it equips enterprises with market data needed to make strategic decisions. Follow these seven essential market research steps that will steer towards valuable insights.

1. Define Objectives

Before diving into market research, it's crucial to define the research objective. This foundational step forms the groundwork for an effective market research process.

  • Start Broad, then Narrow Down : Begin by identifying the overarching goal, such as understanding customer preferences. From there, refine the objective to be more specific, like identifying preferences among a particular demographic or region.
  • Align with Business Goals : Ensure that the research objectives are in sync with the company's broader goals. If the aim is market expansion, the research might focus on potential markets or competitor landscapes in new regions.
  • Collaborate : Engage multiple departments or stakeholders in the objective-setting process. Different perspectives can offer a more holistic view of what the research should achieve.
  • Stay Flexible : While it's essential to have clear objectives, it's equally important to remain adaptable. As the research progresses, new questions or areas of interest might emerge. Being open to refining objectives can lead to unexpected and valuable insights.

2. Choose the Right Market Research Method

Once objectives are crystal clear, the next pivotal step is selecting the appropriate research method. This choice can significantly influence the quality and relevance of the insights gathered. 

Different methods offer varying levels of detail. While some provide a broad overview of the market, others delve deep into specific aspects or demographics. The chosen method also often dictates the time, money, and manpower required. Making an informed choice ensures optimal resource utilization without compromising on the quality of insights.

Exploring common research methods:

  • Surveys : Ideal for gathering quantitative data, surveys can reach a wide audience and provide insights on general market trends, preferences, or behaviors.
  • Interviews : Offering a qualitative perspective, one-on-one interviews can uncover deeper motivations, challenges, or sentiments of the target audience.
  • Focus Groups : These are discussions with a small group of participants, providing a mix of qualitative insights and allowing for dynamic interactions and feedback on specific topics or products.
  • Observational Research : By studying consumers in their natural environment, businesses can gain unfiltered insights into behaviors, usage patterns, and more.
  • Experimental Research : This method tests hypotheses in controlled settings, allowing businesses to understand cause-and-effect relationships, such as the impact of a price change on sales.

3. Determine Target Market Research Audience

Identifying the specific target market research audience allows tailoring research efforts, ensuring relevant and representative data. This step ensures that the data collected is not just accurate but also relevant to the business's goals.

Steps to identify the right audience:

  • Segmentation : Divide the broader market into smaller segments based on criteria like demographics, buying behavior, geographic location, or psychographics.
  • Prioritization : Not all segments might be equally relevant. Assess which segments align most closely with the business objectives and prioritize them for research.
  • Sampling : Instead of surveying an entire segment, a representative sample can be chosen. This sample should be large enough to be statistically significant but manageable in terms of research resources.
  • Validation : Ensure that the chosen audience truly represents the desired market segment. This might involve preliminary surveys or checks to confirm their relevance.

Tips for determining the right audience:

  • Stay Updated : Market dynamics change, and so do audience behaviors and preferences. Regularly update audience definitions to stay relevant.
  • Avoid Biases : Ensure that the selection process is unbiased. Over-relying on certain criteria or overlooking others can skew results.
  • Engage Stakeholders : Collaborate with sales, customer service, or other departments that interact directly with customers. Their insights can be invaluable in defining the right audience.

4. Collect Market Research Data

The data collection phase is where the groundwork laid in the previous steps comes to fruition. It's the process of gathering information from the defined audience using the chosen research method. The quality and accuracy of the data collected during this phase will directly influence the insights and conclusions drawn.

Best practices for data collection:

  • Ensure Consistency : Whether it's the wording of survey questions or the setting of focus groups, maintaining consistency ensures data reliability across the board.
  • Prioritize Data Quality : It's better to have smaller, high-quality data than vast amounts of unreliable information. Implement checks and balances to maintain data integrity.
  • Stay Ethical : Always seek consent from participants, maintain their privacy, and be transparent about how the data will be used.
  • Test and Refine : Before rolling out on a larger scale, test the data collection methods on a smaller group to identify and rectify potential issues.

5. Analyze the Market Research Data

After the meticulous process of data collection, the next step is analysis. This phase transforms raw data into meaningful insights, providing a clearer understanding of the market landscape, consumer behaviors, and potential opportunities or challenges.

Key data analysis techniques:

  • Statistical Analysis : Using tools and software, data can be subjected to various statistical tests to identify significant patterns or trends.
  • Qualitative Analysis : For data from interviews or focus groups, thematic analysis can be employed to identify recurring themes or sentiments.
  • Comparative Analysis : By comparing current data with past data sets or benchmarking against industry standards, businesses can gauge their performance and position in the market.
  • Predictive Analysis : Leveraging historical data and statistical algorithms, businesses can forecast future trends or behaviors.
  • Visual Data Analysis : Tools that create graphs, charts, and heat maps can help in visualizing complex data sets, making patterns more discernible.

6. Interpret the Results

With data analysis complete, the next crucial step of market research is interpretation. This phase involves making sense of the analyzed data, drawing conclusions, and understanding the implications for the business. It's where the numbers and patterns are translated into strategic insights that can guide decision-making.

Steps for effective interpretation:

  • Relate to Objectives : Revisit the initial research objectives and assess how the results address them. This ensures the interpretation remains aligned with the research's purpose.
  • Consider External Factors : Understand external market dynamics, economic factors, or industry trends that might influence the results. This provides a holistic view of the findings.
  • Draw Conclusions : Based on the data and its analysis, draw clear conclusions. These should be concise, actionable, and directly related to the research objectives.
  • Recommend Actions : Based on the conclusions, suggest actionable steps the business can take. This turns the research into a strategic tool for growth.

7. Present the Findings

After the rigorous processes of data collection, analysis, and interpretation, it's time to communicate the insights. Presenting the findings is about packaging the market research results in a manner that's clear, compelling, and actionable for stakeholders, ensuring that the research's value is fully realized.

Key elements of an effective presentation:

  • Executive Summary : Start with a concise overview of the research objectives, methods, and key findings. This provides a snapshot for those who might not delve into the details.
  • Visual Aids : Utilize charts, graphs, and infographics to represent data visually . This makes complex data sets more digestible and highlights key patterns or trends.
  • Detailed Findings : Delve into the specifics of the results, ensuring that stakeholders have access to both the broad strokes and the finer details.
  • Recommendations : Based on the interpreted results, outline actionable recommendations for the business. This turns insights into clear next steps.
  • Q&A Session : Allow stakeholders to ask questions or seek clarifications. This ensures a thorough understanding and can also provide additional perspectives.

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Example of Market Research

Imagine launching a new product and wanting to understand the market's response. Market research becomes the guiding compass, gauging customer interest through methods like surveys and focus groups.

Gauging Customer Interest

Market research becomes your trusted ally in deciphering the minds and hearts of your target customers. Through surveys, focus groups, and feedback mechanisms , you gain valuable insights into what sparks their interest and captures their attention. Unveiling the features, benefits, and packaging that resonate most with consumers allows you to tailor your product offerings to meet their desires precisely.

Identifying Competitors

Market research identifies competitors, their market size, and what sets the product apart. In the fiercely competitive business landscape, knowing who your competitors are and what sets you apart is essential. Armed with this knowledge, your enterprise can carve out a distinct niche and craft a unique value proposition that resonates with your audience.

Determining Optimal Pricing Strategies

Pricing is crucial. Market research guides towards the optimal balance between profitability and customer perception. By assessing consumer willingness to pay and comparing prices of similar products in the market, you can strategically position your offering to attract and retain loyal customers.

Analyzing Consumer Behavior Market Research Data

Data becomes the goldmine of knowledge, and market research is the expert prospector that digs deep to unearth valuable insights. By analyzing consumer behavior data, your enterprise gains a deep understanding of customer preferences, shopping habits, and pain points. This treasure trove of information empowers you to refine your marketing approach, create compelling messaging, and deliver personalized experiences that resonate with your audience on a profound level.

Allocating Resources Effectively

Launching a new product demands efficient resource allocation. Market research guides to invest where they yield the highest returns. By identifying the most promising market segments and channels, you can optimize your marketing efforts, ensuring your message reaches the right audience at the right time.

Aligning Business Strategies With Actual Market Desires

The journey of conducting market research is like navigating through uncharted waters. By defining clear objectives, choosing the right methods, determining the target audience, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting the results, and presenting the findings in a clear and concise manner, an enterprise positions itself to unlock valuable insights. These insights empower strategic decisions, driving growth and success in the fiercely competitive market landscape. It's all about understanding market demand research, competitor landscape, customer preferences, and more, and using this knowledge to steer the enterprise in the right direction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential steps for effective market research.

To succeed in market research, follow these steps. First, define clear goals and insightful research questions. Then, choose suitable research methods aligned with objectives. Identify the specific audience for relevant data. Collect reliable data systematically using tools like surveys. Analyze the data to uncover meaningful trends. Interpret results for strategic decisions. Finally, present findings in a concise report.

How can market research benefit new product launches?

Market research helps new product launches by understanding customer interest. It identifies competitors and pricing strategies. Analyzing consumer behavior data guides better decision-making. Market research optimizes marketing efforts for higher returns.

How does market research refine business marketing approaches?

Market research refines marketing by providing insights, identifying effective strategies, and keeping up with trends. It assesses marketing success, leading to improvements.

What are the primary benefits of using market research in decision-making?

Market research reduces uncertainty, identifies opportunities, minimizes risks, boosts competitiveness, and enhances customer satisfaction.

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  • → Market research: What it is, how to u...

Market research: What it is, how to use it, + examples

Market research allows you to categorize your target audience to better understand your consumers. Learn more about how to do market research here.

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Latest posts on Tips

Typeform    |    05.2024

Typeform    |    04.2024

So, you’ve got the next billion-dollar idea that’ll blow the top off your profit margins. You just know you’re onto a winner! Time to throw a huge budget (or your life savings) at this idea, right? 

Not so fast! You're not likely to get very far in the marketplace if you only rely on your gut instincts.

How can you know if your idea even has a chance of surviving in the cutthroat marketplace? 

The answer: market research. A realistic prediction, based on data , of your chances of success. Basically, it’s a way to find out the market viability of your idea.

If you’re new to market research, don’t be intimidated. This guide will take you from basic concepts through to advanced techniques. Plus, our in-house experts will walk you through real-life examples of how we do it here at Typeform.

What is market research and why does it matter?

Building wall with words "us" and the letter holding hands.

Market research is the process of collecting information about your target market and customers so you can:

Learn who your customers are

Find out what they want and/or need

Gauge potential market size

Discover trends in your industry

Get wise about what your competitors are up to

Determine how you can stand out

This way, you’ll better understand how to serve your customers, prioritize, and get higher returns on your own marketing and product development efforts. Market research is an essential part of any business’s strategy, whatever the size of your company.

There are many ways to approach market research, and at Typeform, we’ve developed our own spin on it, thanks to continuous testing and the insights we get from being a market research tool ourselves ( forms and surveys).

Uncertainty is an inevitable part of business—however, it’s still possible to reduce some of the uncertainty.

This is where market research is your best ally. Nothing is guaranteed, but making an informed decision based on comprehensive research beats a stab in the dark. Market research helps reduce the thickness of that fog to see what your options are and which direction you might want to take.

Convinced you shouldn’t be sleeping on market research? Great—let’s dive deeper.

Types of market research

A person looking at their phone reviewing types of market research.

Finding what works best for you is a must for useful and actionable market research. We don’t believe in a cut-and-paste approach for all businesses and markets, nor in one definitive “right” way to do things. However, there are some basic principles that apply across the board. Here are a few types of market research.

Secondary and primary research 

Secondary market research delves into information that you don’t create yourself. It’s data that’s already out there, which you can buy or access for free, and is great for benchmarking. 

Examples of secondary research:

Industry reports

Census data

Research paper

Articles in journals or newspapers

Primary market research involves collecting information yourself—this may be more expensive and time-consuming than secondary research, but it’s a better investment in the long run. Focus on your own target audience and gather information directly relevant to your goals. 

Examples of primary research:

Interviews (face-to-face or over the phone)

Focus groups

User testing

Quantitative and Qualitative

Ahh, the classic quantitative vs. qualitative dichotomy.

Quantitative market research gathers data that's numerical, descriptive, and structured. You can draw statistics from quantitative research. It involves more of the “what” questions and can be done at scale.

This type of market research is usually carried out through surveys and questionnaires and can be internal or external. Internal quantitative research examines your current customers, while external can help you identify new customers and see the actual distribution of the whole market. External is more likely to be objective, as your own customers already know you and will have formed opinions.

Examples of quantitative questions:

“Where do you live?”

“How much do you spend on electricity per month, on average?”

“Do you use this product?”

“How often do you go to the gym?”

“On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied are you with our service?”

Qualitative market research involves more of the “how” and “why” questions. It’s done at a much smaller scale, is less structured and more exploratory, aiming for insight rather than certainty. It helps you find out how customers feel about your product, their opinions and preferences—in other words, things that can't be quantified.

Examples of qualitative questions:

“Why did you choose product A over product B?”

“How does this image make you feel?”

“What do you feel is missing from this service?

“Describe the last time you purchased something online.”

“What are your favorite brands for dog grooming products?”

Usually, this type of market research is done through surveys with open-ended questions or interviews. A small number of interviews are conducted, which are then projected to apply to a larger population. 

Quantitative and qualitative research don’t need to be seen as opposite or distinct techniques. It can be an “and” instead of an “either-or.”

Market research for product development and marketing efforts

Market research tends to inform two main areas in a business: product development and marketing efforts. Whether it’s creating a new product or a new set of features, at Typeform, we always start from the end. 

Who’s going to use this? 

Who will buy it? 

How do I justify engineers spending time on this? 

Market research is one of the most important tools to answer these questions. Nobody wants to invest time, money, and effort into making something that no one wants or needs. Market research allows you to assess the market size, its opportunities, and your competitors. This is also where user research and market research inform one another.

Segmenting the market is one of the main activities in market research, as it gives you your target audience(s). How else will you know who is buying from you already, who to market to, and which marketing messages work best?

Competitor analysis , another cornerstone of market research, helps you craft your positioning. In simple terms: How you're different from your competitors and why should buyers pick you?

How to conduct market research

A geometric, abstract design.

So you can probably see by now how varied market research is. The way we do our own market research here at Typeform has evolved over the years through testing and experimentation. After much trial and error, we finally landed on the approach that works best for us.

Set your goals

Before we even think about launching market research of any scale, we make sure to have a clear objective in mind. 

Are you trying to enhance a particular metric (such as customer numbers or customer satisfaction level), gauge potential market size, or something else?

Define your objective(s) first, then move on to the next step.

Define your audience 

Whatever your approach, the next thing you should always have at the front of your mind is your customer.

Still, focusing on the customer can mean different things to different people.

Focus on jobs, not personas

Brace yourself, because we’re about to say something controversial: don’t focus on buyer personas.

This flies in the face of what most other market research guides will tell you: Research your audience to create buyer personas and frame your offering around them.

Not that buyer personas aren't important—they are. And at Typeform, we definitely use them, but we also follow the “Jobs To Be Done (JTBD)” model. This is the backbone for how we conceptualize everything, from our marketing messaging to our product development. It informs how we see our customers and how we segment them.

How many people in your business speak directly to customers? The bigger your organization, the smaller this number is likely to be, and the further removed the customer becomes from the decision-making. The job creates a consistent framework for everyone to work with and remains close to the customer’s needs.

As you identify needs that intersect, you can begin to find unique differentiators for your product. 

At the end of the day, your customers don’t care about you or your product or its features. They care about the job or jobs they are trying to get done, and if you provide the best solution, they'll pay you for it. If you don’t, they'll move on to your competition faster than you can say, “job to be done.”

 So how does this all relate to market research?

Rather than framing your market research efforts on creating buyer personas and targeting them, frame them around jobs your customers are trying to get done. There'll be some natural overlap with personas, but you need not be wed to them.

Market segmentation

A blue geometric, abstract design.

Market segmentation is the act of dividing a target market into groups (or segments). This lets you tailor your efforts to each segment, whether that be your marketing strategy or deciding on features for your product.

The four most common methods: 

Demographics: age, gender, ethnicity, income, industry, job

Psychographic: lifestyle, values, personality traits, interests

Geographic: country, region, city, town

Behavioral: spending habits, internet browsing habits

Depending on your situation, any of these might be useful focus points, and all of them no doubt provide valuable insight.

The benefits of segmentation include:

A better experience for customers: A better understanding of your customers can only really be a win-win. You’ll be able to tailor each part of your customer experience, from marketing message to product experience, based on their segment.

More targeted marketing: In other words, this means better use of your marketing resources. Rather than casting the net wide and crossing your fingers that you haven’t just thrown a lot of time and money away, your segments let you focus your efforts where they’re likely to have the most return.

Improved product development: Knowing the real demands of your target audience will allow for product development that they'll actually appreciate (read: pay for).

Developing a market research strategy

A blue and purple abstract design.

Now that you’re convinced of the importance of market research and how it can help your business, you’re probably pumped to get started. Having even a basic plan can be the difference between a piece of research that has a real and lasting impact on your business and gathering some interesting insights that are forgotten in two weeks. 

Always start with the question: Why? What’s the purpose of the research? 

Your objective shouldn’t be “to do some research,” nor should you select a method first, whether that be a JTBD-based questionnaire, customer interviews, etc. 

Make sure you’re always starting with a question you want to answer and adapt the method to the question.

Examples of questions to think about:

“How can we increase conversions?”

“Why are people churning after two months?”

“What is the appetite for this product?”

“Which product features are most useful to our customers?”

“In which region(s) should we focus our next marketing campaign?"

Let this always be front and center as you go about planning and executing your research.

Market research tips 

Do preliminary research: Have a basic understanding of the industry and the landscape you’ll be investigating. It doesn't have to be extremely in-depth, but it’s important to have a foundation. This ensures you ask the right questions, know what to assess, and can get a more accurate vision of the market.

Align with potential stakeholders: There may be others in your organization who could benefit from the data you're about to gather. It may be worthwhile checking around to see how you could maximize your research efforts. Even just one extra question on your survey might provide essential data for someone else.

Use the right tools for your market research purposes: Make sure that whichever tools you use are fit for purpose. As technology develops, market research automation becomes more important. Using the right tools won't only save you lots of time and energy; it's also essential for correct and high-quality data.

Market research questions

The questions you ask depend on your objectives. You should write market research questions that are purposeful and will help strengthen your relationship with your customers.

You should also consider running a test first, depending on the scale of your research. Sending your survey to a smaller population and analyzing the first few responses will let you check that you’re getting useful responses that are answering your research questions.

Sometimes, until we start getting results, we’re unaware that a question is ineffective. This may be because the question uses terminology not understood by the target audience. 

For example, you may ask, “What SaaS tools do you currently use?” If you get responses like “iPhone 11” and “desktop computer,” then you know you need to adapt your questions better to your audience! 

Here at Typeform, we sometimes send out test emails to smaller populations (around 10% of the target audience) for this purpose and adjust our surveys if necessary.

How many responses to collect for market research

400 is the magic number.

Well, no, in fact, there is no magic number, sorry.

Generally speaking, 400 is the standard recommended sample size—this just means the number of people who responded to your market research survey. 

But this number can vary greatly depending on your total population (i.e., all the people that this research will apply to) and the way you segment them. 

But there’s a mathematical explanation for the popularity of 400: With 400 responses, your margin of error is 5%. 

For example, say you got 400 customer responses to your market research survey. 80% of your respondents answered “yes” to the question, “Would you buy from us again?” That means there’s a 95% chance that in your total population of customers, around 80% would buy from you again.

Don’t forget that to reach your target sample size, you'll need to reach out to many more people! If sending out surveys by email, open rates tend to hover around 15-25% . The percentage of people who then go on to complete a survey will be even lower. 

To increase your chances of survey opens and completions, offering an incentive is never a bad idea. Prize draws or discounts on your product have worked well for us. And, of course, the experience of answering a market research survey is paramount for completions—make sure your form is user-friendly with a smooth and beautiful interface. 

Try to aim for a sample that'll be a good approximation of your overall population. There’s a risk of bias , depending on the channel through which your research survey is shared. For example, if you share it on social media, you might get a younger average age of respondents, which may not be accurately representative of your total population of customers.

Sample market research template

A blue and green abstract design.

Below is a sample market research template for planning a piece of primary market data.

A brief summary of why this research was started:

What led to this research being done/requested? 

What needs to be validated or explored?

What's been done prior to this research? E.g., competitive analysis, brainstorming, previous research

What insights will this research generate? 

How will these insights be used?

Business/product objectives

We can't emphasize enough the importance of having a clear goal in mind. What metric(s) are you trying to enhance? E.g., more conversions, less churn. This helps people understand the bigger picture of this research.

State what decisions are going to be made or impacted based on the research. As a general rule, if you’re not prepared to make changes, don’t run the research.

Research objectives 

State the high-level objectives for this research. Try to keep it specific, actionable, and two to three points max. 

Research questions 

Provide a list of market research questions you plan to answer during this research (these questions are not the interview questions). 

Participant criteria 

List the primary characteristics of the people you'll recruit for the research, like:

Job(s) to be done

Also decide on the minimum and maximum number of participants you'll need for your study.

Taking action on market research insights

Remember, data isn't reality—however, market research can give you a pretty decent view of reality.

Data can also be unpredictable. Missing a small detail can skew ‌results significantly, so try to be as methodical and meticulous as you can.

Put our market research survey template to the test with customizable questions and design. Take your questionnaire to the next level with over 1 million photos, videos, and icons, or upload your own. Build your ultimate market research survey today with the help of Typeform.

Useful tools for market research

Demographic survey questionnaire template

User persona survey template

Competitor research tool for the SaaS industry

Margin of error calculator for sample size

Google Sheets

The author Typeform

About the author

We're Typeform - a team on a mission to transform data collection by bringing you refreshingly different forms.

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Market Analysis: What It Is and How to Conduct One in 2024

Navigating a market takes more than intuition: you require an organized plan of attack. Market analysis involves not just understanding its current dynamics but also exploring possible opportunities and risks in it. 

This guide details all the intricacies associated with conducting comprehensive market analyses so marketing professionals can make well-informed decisions and develop strategies tailored specifically for their marketplaces.

Table of Contents

What is Market Analysis?

how to do market research and analysis

A quantitative and qualitative market analysis determines both product viability and success for any enterprise, providing details about size, value, customers’ purchasing patterns, and participants within an industry. Market analyses provide invaluable data that helps define an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, risks, or opportunities and help make better decisions through clarity – when conducting your market analysis, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my target audiences and customers for my product or service? 
  • How will their purchasing habits and price range impact my market size and sales projections? 
  • Who are my direct and indirect competitors? 
  • What are my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?

Companies can opt to conduct the market research themselves or contract with an established market research firm to run it on their behalf.

Why You Should Conduct a Market Analysis?

A solid market analysis should always form part of any comprehensive business plan you present to banks or any potential investors, whether on one page or over several. Conduct more than simply conducting an informal market survey when developing your plan – you will create better strategies and develop more excellent strategies for your organization by doing this!

Market research can give you a deeper understanding of your target audience and help create products they will enjoy using. Although market research may appear daunting at first, you can break it down into four simple steps that make the task manageable: You will first outline the current industry status as well as its direction moving forward: 

  • Industry overview : You should identify how many potential customers there are and their demographic characteristics and needs.
  • Competition: By understanding your competition, this exercise will assist you in understanding their strategies.

By understanding your competition, this exercise will assist you in understanding their strategies.

1. Define your Target Market

Your analysis should begin by clearly defining a target market that best matches your client profile. As part of your research process, identify various client types. 

In such an environment, market segmentation refers to grouping customers into similar subcategories for analysis – you could group similar customers into segments and then describe each subgroup’s attributes further down in this document. Once broad research has begun and been refined by applying the essential elements below;

  • Market size – Your market size can be defined as the total potential customers for your service or product.
  • Demographics – Here, describe who your typical customers are by age, income, gender, and educational level – this would be where you’d tell an ideal customer.
  • Behaviors – Understanding your customers and their reactions is paramount for a successful analysis of competition. Learn what motivates and discourages your customer base to help craft better strategies that satisfy both.
  • Trends – Consumer behavior evolves continuously. Please share any trends that have emerged within your market.

2. Focus on Target Customers

Asses your customers’ needs, interests, demographics, and political viewpoints, as well as personality traits, buying habits, and purchasing patterns to better target advertising for these specific customers. 

By analyzing market data, you can also create personas that reflect these customers. (e.g. age/ income/ gender/ location, occupation level/ education & marital status etc.). Trends in buying behavior and habits. As your business expands and changes its customer base, its target market may shift over time. 

When opening their first clothing store, they might initially target young women aged between 18 and 30; as they expand, they might target those same female customers again, as well as develop product lines.

3. Industry Overview

Your next task should be to outline the industry you work in and its trajectory, providing critical metrics such as size, trends, and growth projections for analysis. Market research offers different insights to industry analysis. Researching your industry means looking at businesses identical to yours, unlike market research, which examines clients and customers. Investors will see your research demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of your competitors as they compete within an environment where investors want you to succeed. 

Also important in understanding future demand and competitiveness for any given industry are trends in demand and dining out trends if opening a restaurant – for instance, mobile phone retailers will want to know whether demand for their devices is increasing or decreasing.

Similarly, those working within dining out must understand dining trends such as whether more people are dining out over time; market shrinkage due to consumers using grocery delivery services is another aspect that needs addressing if opening one up is profitable enough for you to survive long term or growing fast enough for it did not become unprofitable or stagnant over time?

4. Study the Competition

List your competitors and identify their strengths and weaknesses to establish whether or not they pose a threat to your business, then learn their needs that you could fulfill. To gain customers’ interest and keep them coming back for more, your products and services must focus on customers’ products and needs, researching those offered by competitors as well as any advantages or disadvantages they might bring to market.  Landscape businesses may find that competitors use non-green energy machines. By purchasing battery-operated equipment instead, these businesses can position themselves as more eco-friendly options for customers. Use tools or conduct your research for competitors’ analysis. Compare free products against paid ones to select the ideal solution for you. 

They often share similar features like website traffic analysis or performance tracking and listing all competitors. SWOT Analysis: Analyze each competitor on your list to ascertain its strengths and weaknesses. 

Find out what services or offerings they are unable to replicate; identify why someone may choose one business over yours; consider any threats they pose as well. You can then use that data in conducting market analyses utilizing that same information gathered.

5. Determine the Purpose of Your Study

Market research can serve many functions for businesses. Market researchers utilize market analysis as part of their strategies for solving issues and creating opportunities while mitigating risks. Past issues may minimize future ones if used effectively; past successes should inform what to do next. Before conducting your market analysis, decide whether it will serve internal or external needs. Internal needs include improving cash flow and business operations, while external ones could convince lenders of your need for funding. Analysis plays an essential part in any business plan. Conducting analysis and researching it thoroughly demonstrates your familiarity with your field as well as high growth for your company. Your type of analysis will dictate which research methods will be conducted. Consider, for instance, running an internal research study. You won’t need to collect as many data points as with external surveys; thus, it is crucial that before commencing with any study, one determines whether the survey will be internal or external before beginning it.

6. Put your Analysis to Work.

Now is the time to put your market analysis to use and put all that research and findings to good use within your own business. Consider ways you could implement anything you have discovered from research in other companies or improve upon marketing strategy effectiveness with what has already been implemented within your own. You could make data and research easier to digest by creating an easily understood document; this way, lenders will have no problems sharing findings easily as you keep all information for future analyses – you might even make an annual calendar as a handy reminder.

7. Recognize Market Gaps.

Studying how other brands perform can help you recognize market gaps and distinguish your services and products to stand out in your industry. Existing brands must still fill these gaps; for instance, online education courses might need more coverage on topics that learners want to know about; you could create one to meet this demand!

Here are some questions to help you identify market gaps: 

  • Looking back at your industry research findings, what will external factors like social change and new laws mean for developing products and services? 
  • Ask consumers, ‘What do you want or need that you currently can’t find?’ 
  • How specifically do competitors’ products and services fall short? 
  • Given your strengths and expertise, how can you create better products and services?

8. Identify Barriers to Entry

Analyzing how other brands perform can help you spot market gaps that differentiate your services and products to give them an edge in their field. Existing brands still need to fill market gaps; in online education, for instance, there may be topics learners want to cover that no existing courses cover yet; you could develop new courses specifically to fill this demand for learning about those subjects. Below are a few questions designed to help you pinpoint market gaps: 

  • Which external forces, like social changes and new laws, might impact developing products and services based on your research?
  • What are consumers’ wants and needs that cannot currently be fulfilled are also something worth keeping an eye out for.
  • What products or services offered by competitors fall below those you offer, according to your expertise and strengths?
  • How could these be improved through collaboration or the creation of superior offerings?
  • And before launch, which legal requirements must I fulfill before my business venture can launch successfully?
  • What political, economic, and social influences could impact customer behavior – such as their willingness to purchase your products?
  • How much advertising budget has been set aside by competitors in order to gain customer loyalty?
  • How will your products stand out as better options in terms of price, value, and ease of purchasing?

9. Create a Sales Forecast.

Forecasting future sales to make informed business decisions and secure financing from lenders or investors is known as forecasting sales; valid periods include three, six or one-year forecasting periods.

To Answer these questions to create a sales forecast:

  • Whilst offering services or products? 
  • Based on market and consumer characteristics, how many units will likely be sold every period?
  •  How will each service or product be priced? 
  • What are the costs involved with producing and advertising each product?

Market analysis is an integral element of business planning strategy and practice. This guide covers all the basics pertaining to market analysis, what it means, its implementation process and benefits, as well as techniques used. When including one in your plan won’t just help define goals but will also serve to shape them further along.

  • Top Pr oject Management Statistics to Know in 2024
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How to Become a Market Research Analyst

By Alyciah Beavers

Published: March 19, 2024

In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, organizations strive to make informed decisions that will propel them toward success, and this is where a market research analyst role is crucial. The career suits anyone who wants to become a master of data, a sleuth of consumer behavior, and a guardian of market insights. Read on to understand what is a market research analyst and if this career might be the right choice for you.

Career Summary

Market research analyst salary.

how to do market research and analysis

Here is a general trajectory of market research analyst salary, according to :

  • Entry Salary (US$56k)
  • Median Salary (US$71k)
  • Executive Salary (US$100k)

To put this into perspective, the annual average wage for all occupations in the US is $61,900 . This means that, based on your level, you can make some excellent cash as a market research analyst.

Market Research Analyst Job Description

So, what does a market research analyst do? A market research analyst collects, analyzes, and interprets data to provide insights and recommendations on market trends and consumer behavior to a business . Their main objective is to help businesses make informed decisions regarding their products, services, and marketing strategies. Additionally, a market research analyst conducts market analysis and assists companies in understanding the products people want and how to price them.

Market Research Analyst Career Progression

  • Entry-Level Analyst: It is the starting point for most market research analysts. At this stage, your roles involve assisting more senior analysts in conducting research, collecting data, and analyzing market trends. Your role also entails preparing reports and presentations.
  • Research Analyst: You have more independence and take on greater responsibility for designing research methodologies, managing data collection, and conducting analysis.
  • Senior Analyst: You have a deeper understanding of market research methodologies, advanced analytical techniques, and industry-specific knowledge.
  • Supervisor: Here, your role involves overseeing multiple research projects, managing a team of analysts, and contributing to high-level decision-making. You are responsible for resource allocation, project planning, and client management.
  • Head of Market Research: You are responsible for shaping the overall research strategy, guiding the research team, and collaborating with senior executives to align research efforts with business goals. You are also involved in budgeting, business development, and fostering relationships with clients and stakeholders.

Market Research Analyst Career Progression

  • It simulates intellectual intelligence, where you develop your critical and problem-solving skills.
  • It gives you the proper industry exposure since you work with clients from diverse industries.
  • The career offers continuous learning opportunities since market research is a rapidly evolving field.
  • As a marketing analyst, you can comfortably tackle complex business problems.
  • It offers a collaborative environment where you work as a team with other people, such as marketing professionals, statisticians, data scientists, and business executives.
  • Some tasks are monotonous as they involve collecting and analyzing large amounts of data, which can sometimes be tedious.
  • Market research often operates on tight deadlines, requiring analysts to work under pressure to meet project timelines.
  • At times there is limited creativity, whereby some analysts may feel constrained when developing innovative solutions or exploring unconventional approaches.
  • The industry is competitive, so analysts need to stay updated constantly on the trends and consumer behaviors.
  • There is a lot of data overload, which is overwhelming and challenging to navigate.

Useful Skills to Have As a Market Research Analyst

As a market research analyst, several useful skills can enhance your abilities and contribute to your success in the field, including:

  • Research and Analytical Skills
  • Data Interpretation and Statistical Analysis
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Strong Communication Skills
  • Problem-Solving Abilities
  • Technological Proficiency

Popular Market Research Analyst Specialties

Market research analysts specialize in various areas depending on the industry and the specific needs of their clients or employers.

There are some popular specialties within the field of market research analysis:

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Market Segmentation
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Brand Research
  • Product Development
  • Market Trend Analysis

How to become a Market Research Analyst

Market Research Analyst 5 Steps to Career

The right way to become a market research analyst is through education, relevant work experience, and specific skills. While the exact path can vary depending on individual circumstances, here are some common steps to help you pursue a career in market research analysis.

Obtain a Degree in a Relevant Field

Do i need a degree to become a market research analyst.

While having a degree is not always a strict requirement to become a market research analyst, it can significantly enhance your prospects and competitiveness in the job market. Many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree, particularly in fields such as market research, business administration, statistics, economics, or social sciences .

Why Is It Important to Get A Degree In Market Research or a Related Field?

While it’s not always a strict requirement, obtaining a degree offers numerous advantages. A relevant degree equips you with the foundational knowledge and analytical skills necessary for market research analysis, as well as the skills to analyze complex data sets, use statistical tools and software, and derive meaningful conclusions.

A degree program can provide a comprehensive understanding of research methodologies, statistical analysis, consumer behavior, data interpretation, and marketing principles. These skills are essential for conducting adequate market research and making informed decisions based on the collected data.

Furthermore, some employers may specifically request a degree or prefer candidates with higher qualifications for specific positions or in highly competitive job markets.

Additionally, having a degree can serve as evidence of your commitment, discipline, and ability to acquire and apply knowledge, which can be valuable to potential employers.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Degree?

The duration of a degree program in market research analysis can vary depending on several factors, including the degree level and the educational institution’s structure:

  • Associate’s Degree: An associate’s degree generally takes around two years to complete . This program provides a foundational understanding of market research principles and techniques.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree typically requires four years of full-time study . Students delve deeper into market research methodologies, data analysis, and related business courses during this program.
  • Master’s Degree: Pursuing a master’s degree in market research takes two years beyond the bachelor’s degree . This program focuses on advanced research techniques, data analysis, consumer behavior, and marketing strategy.
  • Doctoral Degree: A Ph.D. or doctoral degree in market research analysis can take an additional four to six years of study beyond the master’s degree . The programs emphasize research, theory development, and advanced methodologies. These degrees are more suited for individuals interested in academic or research-oriented careers.

How Much Does It Cost to Study Market Research Analysis at University?

The cost of studying market research analysis at a university can vary widely depending on factors such as the country, the specific university, the level of study, undergraduate or postgraduate. Additionally, tuition fees can change over time, so it’s essential to check with the specific university or college for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Here is a breakdown as of 2022:

  • Undergraduate marketing research program tuition for an in-state student is US$12,020, while an out-of-state student pays US$28,345.
  • A graduate market research in-state student pays US$13,864, while an out-of-state student pays US$24,560.

Can I become a Market Research Analyst Through Online Education?

Yes, online education makes it possible to become a market research analyst . The web offers numerous resources and programs in multiple fields, including market research, with flexible learning hours.

Look for accredited online courses, certificate programs , or degree programs in market research, marketing, business, statistics, or related fields. Ensure that the program you choose is from a reputable institution.

Gain Practical Experience

Practical experience complements theoretical knowledge and helps you demonstrate your skills and abilities to potential employers. Seeking opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills in realistic settings and continuously striving to expand your expertise through hands-on experience in market research is the only way to go. Some ways involve volunteering and interning in different corporations to gain hands-on experience.

What are Internship Opportunities for A Market Research Analyst?

As a market research analyst, several internship opportunities are available to gain practical experience and develop your skills.

Here are some potential avenues to explore:

  • Market Research Firms: Many market research companies offer internship programs tailored explicitly for aspiring analysts. These firms research for various clients and industries, exposing interns to multiple projects and methodologies.
  • Corporate Internships: Numerous companies, especially larger ones, have in-house market research departments. These organizations often offer internships to support their research activities, allowing you to work directly with their marketing teams and gain industry-specific insights.
  • Advertising and Marketing Agencies: Advertising and marketing agencies frequently require market research to inform their strategies and campaigns. Interning with such agencies can expose you to diverse projects and clients, enhancing your understanding of how research drives marketing decisions.
  • Technology Companies: Tech companies, particularly those involved in data analytics and consumer insights, often offer internships for market research analysts. These opportunities can provide exposure to innovative tools, techniques, and datasets, allowing you to develop skills in the intersection of technology and market research.
  • Consulting Firms: Consulting firms may have market research divisions or projects to which interns can contribute. These firms work with clients to provide strategic advice; market research is critical to their decision-making processes.
  • Government Agencies: Government agencies often conduct market research to inform policy decisions, public campaigns, and program evaluations. Interning with a government agency can provide insights into the unique challenges and considerations of conducting research within the public sector.

To find internship opportunities , consider exploring online job boards, company websites, and professional networking platforms and contacting your university’s career services department. Networking with professionals in the field, attending industry events, and joining relevant market research associations or groups can also help you discover internship opportunities.

What Skills Will I Learn As A Market Research Analyst?

As a market research analyst, you will develop various skills to effectively gather, analyze, and interpret data to support business decision-making.

Here are some essential skills you can expect to learn and enhance in this role:

  • Research Design: You will learn how to design research studies and formulate appropriate research questions and objectives.
  • Data Collection: You will acquire skills in collecting data through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observational studies. This includes developing questionnaires, conducting interviews, and managing data collection processes.
  • Data Analysis: You will gain proficiency in analyzing data using statistical techniques, data visualization tools, and software packages like Excel, SPSS , or R . This involves interpreting quantitative and qualitative data, identifying patterns and trends, and drawing meaningful insights.
  • Market Analysis: You will learn to assess market trends, customer behavior, and competitive landscapes. This includes conducting competitor analyses, market segmentation, and identifying target markets.
  • Report Writing: You will develop strong written communication skills to effectively communicate research findings and insights through reports, presentations, and visualizations. This involves summarizing complex data into clear and actionable recommendations.
  • Critical Thinking: You will enhance your ability to think critically and analytically, evaluate research methodologies, assess data quality, and identify potential biases or limitations in research findings.
  • Problem-Solving: As a market research analyst, you will learn to identify business problems, formulate research objectives, and develop strategic solutions based on data-driven insights.
  • Collaboration: You will develop teamwork and collaboration skills, as market research often involves working with cross-functional teams, stakeholders, and clients to understand their needs and deliver actionable results.
  • Technology and Tools: You will become proficient in utilizing market research tools, software, and technologies to enhance data collection, analysis, and reporting. This may include data analytics platforms, survey software, CRM systems , and visualization tools.
  • Industry Knowledge: You will gain deep knowledge and understanding of the industry or market you are researching, including key trends, regulations, and emerging opportunities.

What are Some Web Resources to Learn Skills to Become a Market Research Analyst?

Several web resources can help you acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.

Here are some useful platforms and websites you can explore:

  • : This website offers various market research reports and articles covering multiple industries. It can help you understand different research methodologies, industry trends, and analysis techniques.
  • GreenBook : GreenBook provides a platform for market research professionals and offers industry news, reports, webinars, and online resources. It covers topics such as research techniques, data analysis, and emerging trends in the field.
  • American Marketing Association (AMA) : The AMA website provides valuable resources and tools for marketers, including market research-related content. It offers articles, white papers, webinars, and events that enhance your understanding of market research concepts and practices.
  • Research Association (ESOMAR) : ESOMAR is a global association for market, opinion, and social research professionals. Their website offers a comprehensive library of resources, including industry reports, webinars, and guidelines for conducting market research.
  • Quirks : Quirks is a website that offers market research articles, case studies, and industry news. It covers various topics like survey design, data analysis, and emerging methodologies. They also have a directory of market research vendors and services.
  • Research World : Research World is an online publication covering recent trends and developments in the market research industry. It provides articles, case studies, and insights from industry experts, which can be valuable for learning and staying updated.

Obtain Certifications

Consider pursuing additional certifications or courses in market research, data analysis, or relevant areas to enhance your knowledge and marketability.  While there is no single universal certification for market research analysts, several reputable organizations offer certifications that can enhance your credentials.

Some popular certifications include:  

  • Certified Market Research Professional (CMRP) : This is a widely recognized certification that demonstrates a market research analyst’s expertise in research methodologies, ethics, and data analysis. It signifies a commitment to high professional standards and best practices in the field. Earning the CMRP can enhance your credibility, increase your chances of landing job opportunities, and potentially lead to higher earning potential.
  • Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) : The PRC certification validates a market researcher’s knowledge, skills, and ethical practices. It covers a broad range of market research topics, including research design, data collection, analysis, and reporting. Holding the PRC designation demonstrates your commitment to professional excellence and adherence to industry standards.
  • Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) : While not specific to market research, the GAIQ certification is highly relevant for market research analysts who deal with website data and analytics. It showcases proficiency in using Google Analytics, a widely used tool for analyzing website traffic and user behavior. GAIQ certification can be valuable in demonstrating your ability to interpret web data, track consumer interactions, and optimize online marketing strategies.

It’s important to note that, to take the exam and become certified, you must meet eligibility requirements. Some might require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as marketing, business, or statistics and a specific number of years of experience working in market research or a related area.

What’s the Career Outlook for Market Research Analysts?

As of 2021, the career outlook for market research analysts is generally positive, and the field will continue to experience steady growth. Researchers estimate that there will be a 19% growth from 2021 to 2031, which is way faster than any other occupation.

However, please note that economic and industry trends can change over time, so it’s always a good idea to consult up-to-date sources and labor market data for the most accurate information.

Some of the factors contributing to the positive career outlook for market research analysts include:

  • Increasing Demand: With the rise of technology and data-driven decision-making, there is a growing need for skilled professionals who can interpret and analyze market data. Businesses across various industries rely on market research to gain a competitive edge, expand their customer base, and identify new market opportunities.
  • Globalization and International Markets: As companies expand their operations globally, understanding diverse markets and consumer behaviors becomes crucial. Market research analysts with expertise in international markets and cultural nuances can offer valuable insights and are in high demand.
  • Emphasis on Data-Driven Decision-Making: Organizations increasingly rely on data to drive their strategies in today’s data-driven business landscape. Companies seek market research analysts who can effectively collect, analyze, and interpret data using advanced analytical tools and techniques.
  • Technological Advancements: Advancements in technology, such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, are revolutionizing the field of market research. Professionals who can adapt to these technological changes and utilize them to extract actionable insights will likely have strong career prospects.

Market Research Analyst Popular Career Specialties

What Are The Job Opportunities Of A Market Research Analyst?

Market research analysts have a wide range of job opportunities across various industries. Their primary responsibility is to gather and analyze data to help organizations make informed business decisions.

Luckily, there are many other job opportunities within the field of market research analysis that a market research analyst can do:

  • Market Research Analyst: This is the primary role of a market research analyst where they collect and analyze data to identify market trends, consumer behavior, and competitive landscape. They design surveys, conduct interviews, and use statistical techniques to interpret the data and generate actionable insights for decision-making.
  • Market Intelligence Specialist: In this role, you would focus on gathering and analyzing data related to the industry, competitors, and market conditions. You would monitor market trends, track competitor activities, and provide strategic recommendations to support business development, product positioning, and market entry strategies.
  • Consumer Insights Analyst: As a consumer insights analyst, you would delve into understanding consumer behavior, preferences, and attitudes. You would employ various research methods such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews to gather data and then analyze it to uncover consumer insights. These insights help companies develop effective marketing strategies and refine product offerings.
  • Data Analyst : Data analysis is an essential aspect of market research, and as a data analyst, you would specialize in processing, organizing, and interpreting large datasets. You would use statistical techniques, data mining, and visualization tools to extract meaningful patterns and trends. Your findings would assist in making informed business decisions and optimizing marketing campaigns.
  • Market Research Consultant: In a consulting role, you would work with clients from different industries to provide expert market research guidance. You would conduct comprehensive market studies, assess competitive landscapes, and deliver strategic recommendations based on your analysis. Consultants often work on a project basis and collaborate closely with clients to address specific business challenges.
  • Brand Strategist: Brand strategists combine market research insights with creative thinking to develop and implement effective branding strategies. You would analyze consumer perceptions, market positioning, and competitive landscape to define brand identities, messaging, and marketing campaigns that resonate with target audiences.

What Type Of Companies Hire A Market Research Analyst?

Market research analysts are in demand across various industries and sectors.

Some of the companies that hire market research analysts include:

  • Market Research Firms: These specialized firms conduct market research for clients across different industries.
  • Consumer Goods Companies: Companies that produce and sell consumer goods often employ market research analysts to gather insights on consumer preferences, market trends, and product performance.
  • Technology Companies: Technology companies, especially those involved in software development, electronics, and telecommunications, rely on market research analysts to understand customer needs, evaluate competition, and assess market potential.
  • Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Companies: These companies require market research analysts to study patient demographics, evaluate the efficacy of drugs, analyze healthcare trends, and assess market opportunities.
  • Financial Institutions: Banks, insurance companies, and investment firms hire market research analysts to analyze market trends, identify investment opportunities, and assess customer preferences.
  • Advertising and Marketing Agencies: Agencies that offer advertising, branding, and marketing services often have market research analysts on their teams to provide insights for developing effective strategies and campaigns.
  • Retail Companies: Retailers employ market research analysts to understand consumer behavior, analyze purchasing patterns, and identify market opportunities.
  • Media and Entertainment Companies: Media companies, including television networks, film studios, and streaming platforms, use market research analysts to understand audience preferences, gauge viewership, and identify potential content opportunities.

What Is The Work-Life Balance Of A Market Research Analyst?

A market research analyst’s work-life balance can vary depending on company culture , industry, workload, and personal preferences. Generally, market research analysts strive to maintain a balanced lifestyle, but the actual balance achieved can differ from person to person.

The working hours of market research analysts involve standard office hours, 9 am to 5 pm, or similar. However, there may be times when they need to perform additional hours to meet project deadlines or during busy periods. Therefore, this affects how these individuals maintain their work and social life.

However, there is also a lot of flexibility in this job. Depending on the company and specific job requirements, market research analysts may have some flexibility in their work arrangements. This could include options for remote work , flexible schedules, or compressed work weeks. Flexibility can contribute positively to achieving a better work-life balance.

The workload varies based on the organization’s demands and the projects involved at different quarters of the year. There may be periods with high-intensity work where you should meet the deadlines, which could affect your work-life balance. However, there may also be quieter periods with a more manageable workload. Balancing workload, managing deadlines, and effectively communicating with stakeholders can help alleviate stress and improve work-life balance.

Personal factors such as individual preferences, commitments, and priorities significantly affect work-life balance. Some market research analysts may prioritize their personal lives, hobbies, or family time more, while others may focus more on their careers. Individuals must assess and prioritize their needs to achieve the desired work-life balance.

Ultimately, achieving a good work-life balance as a market research analyst involves finding a suitable position with a supportive company culture, managing workload and stress effectively, and establishing personal boundaries to ensure time for personal life outside of work.

Should I become a Market Research Analyst?

If you have a passion for market research, understanding market trends, and delving into the factors that influence consumers’ life decisions, this is the perfect career for you. It’s important to make an informed decision based on your interests, skills, and long-term goals. Notably, there will be over 99,800 job openings for market research analysts each year for the next decade leading to this job increase. Therefore, if you’re looking to invest in a promising career for the future, this is the ideal path to pursue.

Careers Related to Market Research Analyst

  • Business Analyst
  • Data Analyst
  • Marketing Manager
  • Product Manager
  • Sales Manager

Alyciah Beavers

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PESTLE Analysis

Insights and resources on business analysis tools

PEST Analysis: Examples and Meaning in Business

Last Updated: Apr 8, 2024 by Jim Makos Filed Under: PEST Analysis

What is a PEST analysis, and what are its four parts? What is the difference between PESTLE analysis and PEST, and why is it important for every business? As a business student, analyst, manager or owner, you are called to conduct a PEST analysis sooner or later. In the next 10 minutes, I’ll go through everything you need to know about PEST analysis and how you can do a PEST analysis of an organization starting from scratch. I promise you’ll know more about PEST analysis than 99% of people out there, as I’m explaining everything as concisely as possible. Let’s start with the PEST analysis definition.

What is a PEST Analysis?

PEST analysis is a strategic tool for organizations to identify and assess how Political, Economic, Social, and Technological external factors impact operations so that they can gain a competitive edge. A PEST analysis helps you determine how these factors will affect a business’s performance and strategy in the long term. It is often used in collaboration with other analytical business tools. For example:

  • A combination of PEST and SWOT analysis usually gives a clearer understanding of a situation with related internal and external factors
  • PESTLE analysis is an extension of PEST analysis that covers legal and environmental factors

I’m going to explain the PEST analysis as simply as possible with examples and a template for better understanding. I will also show how to do a PEST analysis starting from scratch, even for people without any business education like me!

Why Do a PEST Analysis

It’s simple: to succeed. For a business to be successful, they need a few things:

  • A solid product
  • Marketing plan
  • Identifiable brand
  • Happy customers
  • Thorough budget
  • An investor or two
  • Unique selling position
  • And a whole lot of research

Throughout the endless market research, customer acquisition costs, and project risk assessments, business managers could forget about outside influences ( we call these external factors in this type of analysis). Aside from the company’s internal resources and industry factors, PEST’s macroeconomic factors can impact a company’s performance in a big way.

By being aware of external factors, managers can aid their business. But if they don’t know them, they can cripple their business before it begins. That’s how advantageous PEST analysis is .

What are the four parts of PEST analysis?

Now, let me explain each of the four parts of a PEST analysis more thoroughly. You’ll better understand what each of these external factors in this analysis is all about.

  • Political – Here, government regulations and legal factors are assessed in terms of their ability to affect the business environment and trade markets. The main issues addressed in this section include political stability, tax guidelines, trade regulations, safety regulations, and employment laws.
  • Economic – Next, businesses examine the economic issues that have an impact on the company. This would include factors like inflation, interest rates, economic growth, the unemployment rate and policies, and the business cycle followed in the country.
  • Social – At this stage, businesses focus on the society and people. Elements like customer demographics, cultural limitations, lifestyle attitudes, and education come into play here. This part allows a business to understand how consumer needs are shaped.
  • Technological – This may come as a surprise, but technology may not always be an ally for businesses. Depending on the product, technology may affect the organization positively but also negatively. In PEST’s last section we find technological advancements, the role of the Internet, and how an industry’s innovation creates winners and losers.

Every business is different. Some factors may not affect a firm or industry as they would with others. But it’s beneficial to have a well-rounded view of the many factors that could affect them. Along with the ones that will affect them.

This is why we do PEST analysis for a business — to be aware of risks, opportunities, influences, and limitations. Let’s go deeper into these external factors that impact the success of a business. I’ll also briefly mention a specific example for each of them.

Political Factors

Political factors in PEST analysis refer to the extent to which the government and political actions in a country influence the business climate. Here are some examples that will occasionally make it into the (P) of my PEST analysis:

  • Tax policies
  • Tax incentives
  • Political tensions
  • Employment laws
  • Import restrictions
  • Health and safety laws
  • Consumer protection laws
  • Tariff and Trade restrictions
  • Regulation and deregulation

For instance, a country’s foreign policy often plays an important role in determining trade regulations. This can either result in trade restrictions or trade incentives and can affect an organization’s operations. Read my dedicated page on political factors with more examples here .

Economic Factors

In the (E) part of PEST Analysis, we run into how the economy affects the organization. I consider the following economic factors when doing a PEST analysis:

  • Interest rate
  • Inflation rates
  • Exchange rates
  • Unemployment rate

For instance, exchange rates affect a global organization by influencing the cost of imported and exported goods. Furthermore, interest rates influence the cost of capital available to the organization. Thus they are significant in the expansion and growth of a business. Find more economic factors and examples of how they affect businesses here .

Social Factors

Social factors include different cultural and demographic aspects of society. These can affect the macro-environment in which the organization operates.

In the ‘S’ part of the PEST analysis I usually examine:

  • Age distribution
  • Cultural diversity
  • Demographics shifts
  • Population growth rate
  • Health consciousness and trends
  • Changing consumer lifestyles and preferences

A study of these factors can help organizations understand the dynamics of existing and emerging potential markets along with future customer needs.

Social factors are more unpredictable than economic and political factors, simply because people are unpredictable. But every business needs customers. And what and how they buy has an immediate effect on an organization’s profitability.

Based on these social factors, marketers create buyer personas. These avatars are necessary for businesses to target the ideal customer.

For example, if you’re selling whey powder, you go after fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders. You are looking for people that follow an active lifestyle. Hence, a declining trend in health consciousness doesn’t seem encouraging.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about social factors here .

Technological Factors

Technological factors aren’t important only for tech-related businesses. The (T) part in PEST analysis may affect even the most old-school organization that’s been operating for a century.

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and consumers are becoming extremely tech-savvy. With the advent of new technology, older technology gets outdated and obsolete. If an organization does not look out for technological changes, it can lag behind its competitors.

I often include the following technological factors when conducting a PEST analysis:

  • Cybersecurity Threats
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Big data and computing
  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Supply Chain Automation

Let’s consider the advancements in computing; more specifically, networking.

If a business offers the latest and fastest Wi-Fi in their store, it’s an added luxury. It’s annoying if it still operates on 3G speeds, but won’t ruin sales. However, if they handle all receipts in an online database and that goes offline because they didn’t keep their network infrastucture up-to-date then they have a major problem. Especially in big holidays like Black Friday.

Again, this is about impact on the business operation. How will ‘X’ technology affect the business in the long and short term? That’s what we’re trying to figure out with PEST analysis.

A ton more technological factors can be found here .

PEST Analysis Examples

Here is a hypothetical PEST analysis example that can give you a clear understanding of how this works:

Here at I rarely limit myself to PEST analysis. I almost always go the extra mile and include the Legal and Environmental factors when I initiate a PEST analysis. This leads to a more detailed analysis called PESTLE.

PESTLE Analysis: An extension of PEST Analysis

PESTLE analysis is an extension of PEST that is used to assess two additional macroeconomic factors. These factors are the  Legal and Environmental conditions that can have an impact on a organization. Examples of PESTLE analysis are similar to those of a PEST analysis, but they will include factors such as these:

  • Discrimination laws
  • Copyright and patent laws


  • Waste management
  • Changes in weather and climate
  • Laws regarding pollution and recycling
  • Use of green or eco-friendly products and practices

So, if you want to assess a business situation comprehensively, a PESTLE analysis is a definite must. You can find more about that analysis here .

Why PEST Analysis Is Important For Every Business

So, now that we did a PEST analysis, how’s that going to help the business?

What does a five-year business plan look like? Or a ten-year plan? It likely involves growth.

Whether it’s the expansion of a product line or opening stores in new locations, business changes need proper preparation. And that’s where the PEST analysis comes in.

PEST analysis is the foolproof plan for business expansion !

Both new business owners and veterans should include PEST analysis in their business plan. By breaking down the critical influences in the P.E.S.T. categories, businesses get a better understanding of whether their next business move is strategic or doesn’t make sense.

For example, politics isn’t just about political tensions, unrest and elections. Politics are also about trade policies, regulations and taxation. Companies doing business worldwide have to consider laws in the countries they operate, as well. Even if they aren’t doing international trade yet, it could be a possibility in the future, and going in blind is a good way to toss success out the window.

PEST analysis helps people become aware.

Aware of how political parties and regulations can impact a business. And how the economy (past, present, and future) affects an industry. It allows people to understand consumers — who they are, what they buy, and why they don’t buy. And finally, it identifies what technology is necessary for the development and success of a product, business, or industry.

It’s almost like an outline. It shows people what influences impact the quality, success, or devastation of businesses and industries. You can’t stop the four influences, but if you’re aware of them and their impact, you can plan around, against, or with them.

PEST analysis is often used by business analysts, marketers, students, and business owners, since it’s super important for every business!

All you need to do a proper PEST analysis is time. And the payoff is worth every second.

How PEST analysis works

PEST analysis requires research and data, sometimes ten years old, sometimes only a couple. The more information I have to go through, the more accurate my final results will be. By looking into the past and the present, I can make predictions for the future.

By studying these recent developments through a PEST analysis lens, organizations are deciding whether to jump into this for the long haul or for the time being.

You want to look at your industry in a similar light. Ten years ago, did it exist? Has it slowed down within the last two years or are more companies diving in? More competition can be a strong sign an industry is booming, but it could also be the first sign of oversaturation.

Break down your assessment into the four categories of PEST analysis. Start with politics and work your way through the remaining factors. Or start from the bottom. Whatever gets the job done and makes the analysis enjoyable.

How to Do a PEST Analysis From Scratch

I’ve written dozens of PEST analyses over the last couple of years. Below I document my process on how to do a PEST analysis , even when you’ve never written one before.

You should have a topic in mind. Most PEST analyses are about a specific business, industry, or product. However, they can also be applied to countries, too. You can’t start without a topic, though, so have it ready.

Where to find information for your PEST analysis

It’ll be easier to find and segment information if you break your analysis down into four sections, like the acronym implies:

  • Technological

Each section will require its own information. However, some of this information will overlap.

For instance, the economy is often closely tied to political (in)stability. And the state of the economy always affects consumers (social). You don’t need to look for these patterns specifically— it’ll become apparent as you discover new information.

Start with the history

You should be familiar with your topic. If you’re not, read about its history. Learn how it was established, how long it has been around, and who founded it. Read about any major achievements on the organization in question over the last few years. Jot down notes whenever something that seems relevant or important pops up.

After this informational primer, it’s time to start on the four sections. I do my PEST analysis in order of the acronym because the information often bleeds into the next section.

Finding Political Information

Political information is easier to find than in other sections of the analysis (social and technological, specifically). Here, you’ll want to investigate the current political climate.

For instance, if the organization originates from America, you’ll research the current political parties. Who is in charge? Has this affected business operations in any way?

If your topic (business, product, industry) was established years ago, what was the political climate like then? Are different parties in power now? If this is the case, then you’ll want to compare how things have changed for your topic from then to now.

This is also the section where you’ll look into laws and regulations affecting business. Remember the list we went through in the beginning.

I find this information with a simple Google search. Such as “tariff laws USA” (plug in the country you’re searching for if it’s not the United States).

It’s best to get this information from a government site. These sites end in .gov. You may also find information from organizations (websites ending in .org) but not all of these sites are legitimate organizations. Be wary while you research.

Honestly, most of the information you’ll find is dense. But it’s easier if you have a goal. Look for signs of:

  • Government (in)stability
  • Possible political corruption
  • New bills/regulations that may impact your topic
  • Any issues your topic has had with current/former regulations or political parties

If your topic is a company, finding the right information may be easier. Search for “company name + political issues” or “company name + policies” and see what comes up. Avoid any information from untrustworthy sites and sites with no legitimate source.

Finding Economic Information

While you’re researching political information, you may come across connections to the current economy. For instance, political instability often leads to economic instability. This causes unemployment rates to rise and employee strikes. This affects how much disposable income people have.

You may have already found information in your political section that confirms economic problems. But if you haven’t, search government sites for current tax rates, interest rates (if your topic involves international business), and the current state of the economy. Is it good? Thriving? Or bad and declining?

Again, use government websites. Search for economic statistics over the last few years. If your topic is an industry, see how many companies (startups) have started within the last few years.

If your topic is a business that has international stores, look into the relationship between the country of origin and each country the company does business. If the relationship is good, it’s often a good outlook for the company. But if it’s bad, it may lead to problems. What problems? Do a bit of digging online.

Also, if your PEST analysis is for a company, you may look into stocks . Have they been declining? On the rise? Because if it’s the former, then the business may not be looking good. And you’ll want to find out why .

If my topic is a business, I sometimes check out the competition. I’ll look into how that other company has been fairing economically, specifically how its sales have risen or fallen over the last couple of years. If it’s dropped products, shifted marketing efforts, etc., I want to know why . A competitor analysis isn’t always necessary , but it can shed light on possible problems your topic may face.

Finding Social Information

This section is a bit trickier. Political and economic sectors rely heavily on data and evidence. You can find this information on government websites. News sites too, even. And although you can find databases about demographics and population growth for this section — all applicable in a PEST analysis — I wouldn’t stop there.

In the social section, I often examine how consumers are impacted by political and economic factors. You can draw conclusions based on the information you’ve already gathered from your political and economic segments.

For instance, if there is political instability and the economy is on the fritz, then consumers may feel uneasy. They may have fewer job options. And that means they’re less likely to spend frivolously. If your topic is a luxury product, it may mean the company that makes it may have lower sales this year.

But you also want to learn about how consumers feel about your topic. If it’s a company, do consumers generally like it? Or is public opinion souring? There should be a reason for why.

Consider Facebook. The company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has consistently been in hot water over the years. If not for data breaches affecting millions of users, but for their shady involvement with fake news and political tampering.

This has led many consumers to shy away from using Facebook. And this affects businesses that use Facebook to reach new customers.

In this section of the PEST analysis, I’m more likely to search for my topic on news sites and publications. The more popular the topic, the easier it’ll be to find articles written about it. But if the topic has ever been in the news, you’ll likely find it online.

Websites to search include :

  • Consumer Reports
  • Local news websites
  • Other reputable sources

If you know your topic has been in the news for something bad, you can search the topic + the problem.

Although the information may overlap, take keynotes here. See how the problem is affecting consumer opinion. You may even want to take a look at the comments (if there are any) and see what people are saying. It’s coming straight from the lion’s mouth (consumers).

I think many PEST analyses favor numbers too much. We live in a world where anyone with an opinion can be heard, thanks to the internet. And enough of those voices can cause a business to change its policies and products. It can even cause the company to collapse.

So it’s important to search for how consumers feel about your topic too.

Finding Technological Information

This section of the PEST analysis is a bit abstract as well. You’re looking into how new technological advancements has affected your topic positively or negatively. You should also look into what technology your topic uses (currently). And what technology they may want to incorporate.

You may want to look at competitors if your topic is a product or business. See what others are using. And think about why they are.

Press releases

It may be beneficial to search for press releases involving your topic, if possible. If your company is using new technology, they may have announced it through a press release. You can search “company name + press release” or search through these press release websites:

  • PR NewsWire
  • NPR: National Public Radio

You may also find other information here for the other sections of the PEST analysis. Which is just an overall bonus. If all else fails, check if your topic has a website (unless it’s an industry or country). Discuss how they use social media (if they don’t, then… discuss that too!). In this section, you’re assessing what your topic uses, what it doesn’t, and why.

Putting it all together in a final PEST analysis

You’ll likely have heaps of information at hand. For some it’ll feel like too much — but that’s never the case for a PEST analysis. As you begin to read through each section’s notes, incorporate the most interesting, pressing, or surprising information. If anything overlaps with other sections, include that too.

I write each section of a PEST analysis at a time. I take my notes and create coherent sentences. Sometimes I make a list of the most important points and include them that way. If the section is long, I’ll use subheadings to break up the information.

Work on each section separately. And then if there are overlapping themes, incorporate those in. You may want to use those at the end of each section to connect to the next.

Once you’ve done this, you’ve completed your PEST analysis! Most of the work is in finding the information and making it coherent. The last 10-20 percent is putting it all together. So, once the research phase is done, you’re basically done too!

Understanding PEST Analysis: Taking Action

In conclusion, developing an understanding of what is PEST analysis becomes even more important when a company is about to launch a new business or a new product. In general, when they are about to change something drastically. That’s when all these factors play an important role in determining the feasibility and profitability of the new venture.

Therefore, developing an understanding of PEST analysis is useful for organizations for analyzing and understanding the ground realities of the environment they have to operate in.

Realizing what is PEST and knowing how to take this analysis into consideration, the organization can be in a better position to analyze the challenges, environment, factors, opportunities, restrictions and incentives it faces. In case an organization fails to take into account any one of these factors, it may fail to plan and operate properly.

But don’t PEST analysis stop you. Here are some variations that may come in handy when assessing how the external environment affects an organization:

  • STEEP Analysis
  • STEEPLED Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis

Money latest: Mortgage rates could go lower than expected, BoE hints; 'era of cheap food over,' says supermarket boss

The Bank of England has hinted a base rate cut is coming, and it's "not ruled out in June". Read all today's personal finance and consumer news - and listen to the latest Ian King Business Podcast below.

Thursday 9 May 2024 23:09, UK

  • Interest Rates
  • Interest rate held at 5.25% | June rate cut 'not ruled out but not fait accompli' - BoE | Cuts may take interest rate 'lower than currently priced into market'
  • Supermarket boss declares end of the 'cheap food era'
  • Gordon Ramsay to open new restaurants on London skyscraper

Essential reads

  • Ed Conway on interest rates : Waiting game almost over - but Bank needs to be bold to jump US
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  • Iconic tea brand enlists Top Boy star for £12m ad to revive fortunes - but poll suggests Britons prefer rival
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  • Listen to the Daily above and  tap here to follow wherever you get your podcasts

Looking for some longer Money reads for your evening/commute/lunch break?

Here's four from the last few months you might like...

Should you offer kids cash rewards for good grades? The psychologist's view

As exam season gets under way, some parents are putting hundreds of pounds aside to reward their children if they achieve certain grades. 

While some parents lambasted the idea as "absolute potatoes", others told Sky News they saw their children's focus increase after offering up to £250 for the top results.

We also spoke to teachers and a psychologist...

What can I do if flexible working request declined?

Every Monday we put your financial dilemmas or consumer disputes to industry experts. A few weeks ago Sky News reader AJ2024 asked...

"While on maternity leave my employer rejected my flexible work request and told me to pick from four new shift patterns or take redundancy if they didn't suit me. All new shifts were full working hours. No support as a new mother and ruined my last few precious weeks. What are my rights?"

We got an employment lawyer to answer...

'£2,000 landed in my account' - The people who say they're manifesting riches

Money blogger Jess Sharp spoke to people who swear they've made money from manifestation - before finding herself meditating under a tree to see if she could get in on the action...

The world of dark tourism - what is it, is it ethical, and where can you go?

Interest in a phenomenon known as "dark tourism" has been steadily rising in recent years - but what is it?

To find out, we spoke with tourism academic  Dr Hayley Stainton  and renowned dark tourist and author Dr Peter Hohenhaus, who runs a  dark tourism website ...

Fraud is "rife" on second hand marketplaces including Depop, Shpock and Preloved, according to a new survey by Which?.

The consumer magazine/website found that, of 1,300 buyers, 32% had been scammed on a second hand marketplace in the two years to January.

The most common ruse involved consumers receiving incorrect goods or nothing at all, while others were delivered an empty package or fake goods.

57% of those surveyed said they had experienced a scam on Depop.

This compares with 53% for Shpock and 51% for Preloved and Nextdoor. 

Amazon Marketplace came in at 35%, while for Gumtree and eBay the figures were both 29%. 

The number for Facebook and Vinted was 24% and 22%, respectively.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said the survey’s findings were "worrying". 

"It's important that people properly check the seller's reviews and profile," she said, adding that marketplaces need to have proper checks in place and ensure that scam profiles are removed quickly.

Depop told the Guardian it offered protection for buyers and sellers and was investing in new technology. 

"We strongly encourage consumers who are buying and selling anywhere online never to share personal information with other users, to be very wary about following links to other sites, and to report any suspicious behaviour via in-app reporting systems."

Sky News has reached out to the other companies mentioned.

You may remember our coverage here a few weeks back on the proliferation of scams targeting Taylor Swift fans hoping to buy tickets to see one of her current run of shows across Europe...

The Shake It Off star will hold a series of concerts in the UK as she continues her Eras tour, with the first taking place in Edinburgh on 7 June.

But the artist's megastardom has seen a huge demand for tickets, which were not cheap even before they sold out within minutes - with prices ranging from £58.65 - £194.75.

Resale prices from legitimate websites have been in the region of £700 each - with some fans reported to have spent well in excess of that to see their hero.

However, such is her popularity among an army of mostly young female devotees that the market has become a target for people seeking to exploit the widespread desperation for tickets.

As reported here, a spate of attempts had seen Facebook users' accounts hacked by scammers, who would then create seemingly genuine posts in groups on the site that the users were members of.

Initially, the posts would suggest the user was seeking to sell tickets - generally four - that were invariably just a few rows from the front of a specific venue for one of Swift's UK shows.

The price suggested in the posts was generally around £180, more expensive than the face value of most tickets, but a fraction of the cost of those being advertised on legitimate resale sites - especially for such desirable seating.

More recent instances indicate the methods being employed by scammers have since evolved and, it appears, become significantly more sophisticated.

In these more recent attempts to defraud so-called Swifties (and in many cases, the parents purchasing the tickets), the posts detail the specific rows and seat numbers.

A further departure from the previous efforts is the scammers no longer including the asking price for the (non-existent) tickets.

Both these changes were evident in one attempt Sky News has become aware of - as was another and decidedly sinister tactic.

In this case, given the number of previous scams that have flooded Facebook, the admin for the group in question first removed the post - correctly assuming it was fraudulent.

But, he told Sky News, he was subsequently sent a photo of what appeared to be the user's passport as a means of verifying her post was genuine.

This development indicates the scammer in question had used some form of photo-editing software to create an image that appeared to be of the user's passport.

"I contacted her to explain that I had deleted her post and removed her account from the group as there are so many scams around, and I could not verify their identity or the validity of the ticket offer," said Trevor Williams, who runs the local community Facebook group in Birmingham.

"Within a few minutes, I received a photo of a passport in this name and an assurance that she was genuine.

"This was enough to change my decision and the post was put it back on the group.

"Most people have no idea of the problems of being an admin on these groups, as you simply cannot win."

How can you protect yourself against these scams?

For those looking to buy resale tickets, the main advice is to simply avoid being tempted into seemingly genuine offers posted on Facebook, unless it is from someone you know and have spoken to directly (and not just over Facebook).

Those looking to sell on their tickets will invariably use the established and legitimate resale sites such as Viagogo or StubHub.

Perhaps the most useful piece of advice is an old one - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

In terms of protecting yourself against your account on Facebook (or any social media site) being hacked by scammers, the best measure is to ensure you have enabled two-step or two-factor authentication.

This can be found through the security and privacy settings on your Facebook account, and involves the use of your telephone number or a separate authentication app on your phone whenever someone attempts to log in.

TV chef Gordon Ramsay has announced he will open new restaurants and a cooking academy in one of London's tallest skyscrapers. 

The 60th floor of 22 Bishopsgate will have a 14-seat chef's table experience - run by the team from the chef's three-Michelin-starred Chelsea restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

In addition, Lucky Cat restaurant, a Lucky Cat terrace bar and a Bread Street Kitchen will open on the 59th floor.

Finally, he'll be opening a cooking academy in the building, The Gordon Ramsay Academy. 

Mr Ramsay said: "This is more than just a new opening - it's a significant milestone for our business. 

"We're not only launching the highest culinary experiences in London, but also creating a vibrant culinary hub at the incredible 22 Bishopsgate."

City editor Mark Kleinman   has revealed that high street billionaire Mike Ashley is closing in on a deal to become the new British partner of struggling fashion chain Ted Baker.

He learnt that Frasers Group had emerged as the preferred partner for the chain following the collapse of No Ordinary Designer Label (NODL), Ted Baker's existing UK licensing partner.

It is hoped a deal could be agreed over the coming days - read more on this story here ...

Eating ultra-processed meat is linked to an increased risk of early death.

A Harvard study over 30 years tracked more than 114,000 adults.

The highest risks were linked with the most processed meats such as sausages and ham. 

Regular eaters had a 13% higher chance of dying over the 34 years tracked.

Diets high in sugary and artificially sweetened drinks had a 9% increased risk, the study found.

The used car market increased by 6.5% in the first quarter of the year , with sales of over 1.9 million vehicles, new figures show.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says the total reveals the strongest start to a year since pre-pandemic 2019.

Sales of used hybrids also increased.

That's all from an enlightening news conference in which we heard an interest rate cut in June hadn't been ruled out - and that rates could fall more than markets expect. 

Scroll through to read and watch some of the key moments - meantime, we'll return to general money and consumer news.

We're now hearing the final questions of this news conference. 

The governor of the Bank of England is asked if August is more likely than June to see the Monetary Policy Committee cut interest rates. 

"Nice try to introduce the 'is it June' question again," Andrew Bailey says with a smile.

"We're going meeting by meeting," he adds, stressing that more data [which will be at the MPC's disposal over the coming months] will allow them more visibility and more scope to make a decision."

Our  economics editor Ed Conway  is next to ask the governor a question.

He asks whether increasing government interest in the Bank's workings has any influence on an interest rate cut.

"We [the Monetary Policy Committee] never discuss politics," Andrew Bailey replies. 

"We are an independent central bank, we have a remit and it is our duty to exercise that remit at all times."

"Our remit applies at all times, so it [politics] isn't a consideration."

Asked if inflation dynamics in the UK are different to the US, Andrew Bailey says there is no law that says the US moves first on interest rate cuts and everyone else afterwards.

"There is no law," he says.

"Moreover, we have a remit and target which is related to domestic inflation in the UK.

"We're an open economy so we take the rest of the world into consideration 

"But there is no law to say we can only move once the Federal Reserve (central bank of the US) moves."

There is a feeling among economists that, although the US often leads, the European Central Bank may be the first to move with an early June cut.

This could, it has been suggested, push the UK to cut on 20 June.

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