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Market Research Report Template
A formal report template that will help you communicate findings from a market research project.
- Estimated time required: 4 hours
- Skills required: Research writing
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Market Research Playbook
This tool can be used alone, but it’s also part of the comprehensive Market Research Playbook. It provides step-by-step planning guidance while also helping you utilize more than 25 downloadable tools from the popular AMA Marketer’s Toolkit library.
This tool is powered by Demand Metric .
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Market research & templates: a complete guide.
18 min read Interested in market research but need some templates to start with? In this guide, we unpack market research, survey planning best practice and share some of our best templates for brand, customer, product and employee research.
What is a market research template?
While you’re no doubt familiar with the concept of market research and how it can help you to reach your target audiences and improve your product or service , the real challenge is designing a market research plan that is conducive to excellent results.
All of this starts with the right market research template(s) to help you analyze specific target audiences, collect the right data and uncover insights that can drive actionable change.
In this article, we’re going to:
- talk about market research and its use cases,
- provide you with a standard template that allows you to plan your research,
- and share several other templates to help you with specific types of market research
You can also check out our free template library.
But first, let’s revisit market research.
What is market research?
Market research is the process of determining the viability of a new service or product through surveys and questionnaires with prospects and/or customers. It involves gathering information about market needs and prospect/customer preferences .
Through market research, you can discover and/or refine your target market, get opinions and feedback on what you provide to them and uncover further prospect/customer pain points and expectations of your service or product .
Market research can be conducted in-house, either by you and your research team, or through a third-party company that specializes in it (they will typically have their own research panels or be capable of creating a research panel to suit your requirements).
The four common types of market research
There are lots of different ways to conduct market research to collect customer data and feedback , test product concepts , and do brand research, but the four most common are:
The most commonly used form of market research, surveys are a form of qualitative research that asks respondents a series of open or closed-ended questions , delivered either as an on-screen questionnaire or email.
Surveys are incredibly popular because they’re cheap, easy to produce, and can capture data very quickly, leading to faster insights.
2) Focus groups
Why not bring together a carefully selected group of people in your target market using focus groups? Though more expensive and complex than surveys and interviews, focus groups can offer deeper insight into prospect and customer behavior – from how users experience your products and services to what marketing messages really resonate with them.
Of course, as a market research method that’s reliant on a moderator to steer conversation, it can be subject to bias (as different moderators might have preferred questions or be more forceful) and if you cut corners (not asking all the necessary questions or making assumptions based on responses), the data could get skewed.
As if you were a fly-on-the-wall, the observation market research method can be incredibly powerful. Rather than interviewing or surveying users, you simply take notes while someone from your target market/target audience engages with your product . How are they using it? What are they struggling with? Do they look as though they have concerns?
Observing your target audience/target market in this fashion is a great alternative to the other more traditional methods on this list. It’s less expensive and far more natural as it isn’t guided by a moderator or a predefined set of questions. The only issue is that you can’t get feedback directly from the mouth of the user, so it’s worth combining this type of research with interviews, surveys, and/or focus groups.
Interviews allow for face-to-face discussions (both in-person and virtually), allowing for more natural conversations with participants.
For gleaning deeper insights (especially with non-verbal cues giving greater weight to opinions), there’s nothing better than face-to-face interviews. Any kind of interview will provide excellent information, helping you to better understand your prospects and target audience/target market.
Use cases for market research
When you want to understand your prospects and/or customers, but have no existing data to set a benchmark – or want to improve your products and services quickly – market research is often the go-to.
Market research (as mentioned above), helps you to discover how prospects and customers feel about your products and services, as well as what they would like to see .
But there are more use cases and benefits to market research than the above.
Reduce risk of product and business failure
With any new venture, there’s no guarantee that the new idea will be successful. As such, it’s up to you to establish the market’s appetite for your product or service. The easiest way to do this is through market research – you can understand the challenges prospects face and quickly identify where you can help. With the data from your market survey, you can then create a solution that addresses the needs and expectations of would-be customers.
Forecast future trends
Market research doesn’t just help you to understand the current market – it also helps you to forecast future needs. As you conduct your research and analyze the findings, you can identify trends – for example, how brands and businesses are adopting new technology to improve customer experiences or how sustainability is becoming a core focus for packaging. Whatever it is you’re looking to understand about the future of business in your market, comprehensive market research can help you to identify it.
Stay ahead of the competition
Understanding your market and what prospects and customers want from you will help to keep you ahead of the competition . The fact is that the top businesses frequently invest in market research to get an edge, and those that don’t tap into the insights of their audience are missing low-hanging fruit.
As well as helping you to stay in front, you can also use market research to identify gaps in the market, e.g. your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses . Just have participants answer questions about competitor products/services – or even use the products/services – and work out how you can refine your offerings to address these issues.
Plan more strategically
What’s the foundation of your business strategy? If it’s based on evidence, e.g. what people expect of your products and services, it’ll be much easier to deliver something that works. Rather than making assumptions about what you should do, market research gives you a clear, concrete understanding of what people want to see.
Check out our guide to market research for a more comprehensive breakdown.
How do you write a market research plan/template?
A market research plan is very similar to a brief in that it documents the most vital information and steps about your project. Consider it a blueprint that outlines your main objective (summary), key questions and outcomes, target audience and size, your timeline, budget, and other key variables.
Let’s talk about them in more detail.
Elements of a great market research plan
1) overview or summary.
Use the first section of your market research plan to outline the background to the problem that you are attempting to solve (this is usually your problem statement or problem question). Include background information on the study’s purpose and the business to provide context to those who would read the report, as well as the need for the research. Keep the overview simple and concise; focus on the most salient elements.
What is it that you hope to achieve with this survey? Your objectives are the most important part of the survey. Make sure to list 3-5 of the decisions or initiatives that the research will influence.
Understand the most-used channels for customer engagement and purchasing to decide where to prioritize marketing and sales budget in Q1 2022. Determine what’s causing customer churn at the later stages of the buyer journey and implement a new retention and sales strategy to address it.
Your objectives should be smart, that is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
3) Deliverables (or outcomes)
This section should focus on what you expect to have at the end of the project. How many responses are you looking for? How will the data be presented? Who will the data be shared with? (Stakeholders, executives) What are your next steps? Make sure you state how you will collect and analyze the data once it’s available.
Products such as Qualtrics CoreXM make this process fast and incredibly easy to do, drastically reducing the time to insights so you can make more meaningful changes, faster.
4) Target audience
Not to be confused with your market research sample, your target audience represents who you want to research. Of course, your sample may include ideal buyers from your target audience. Here you want to define the main variables or factors of your audience: demographic , age, location , product interaction, experience, and so on. It’s worth building out your buyer personas (if you haven’t already) and including a quick breakdown of them here.
5) Sample plan
How many participants do you want to research and what kind of groups do you want to reach? Depending on these two variables, you may have to use qualitative, quantitative , or multi-method approaches.
6) Research methods
What methods will you use in your market research project? The insights (and the granularity of those insights) will depend on the methods and tools you choose. For example, and as mentioned earlier, surveys are often the go-to for many organizations as they’re affordable and straightforward, but if you want to get more personal views from your respondents, one-to-one interviews might be more applicable. You might even want to take a hands-off approach and simply observe participants as they use your products, or try a combination of research methods. Make sure to outline what methods you will use as part of your research plan.
How long will your research project run? It’s worth putting together a Gantt chart to highlight key milestones in the project, along with dependencies, and to break down tasks as much as possible. Schedule in contingency time in case some tasks or research runs over – or you need more responses.
Set a budget for the overall program and list it in your plan. Though this might be the most difficult aspect of any research plan, it helps you to be more strategic about tasks and hold people accountable at each stage of the process. If costs go over, that’s good to know for future market research. If costs are lower than anticipated, you then have the opportunity to do further research or prop up other areas of the study.
9) Ethical concerns or conflicts of interest
One of the most important parts of your market research plan, you should highlight any ethical concerns. To begin with, it’s your duty to state whether or not responses will be kept confidential and anonymous as part of the study. It’s also important to allow participants to remain anonymous and ensure you protect their privacy at all times.
Another issue to consider is stereotyping. Any analysis of real populations needs to make approximations and place individuals into groups, but if conducted irresponsibly, stereotyping can lead to undesirable results.
Lastly, conflicts of interest – it may be that researchers have interests in the outcome of the project that lead to a personal advantage that might compromise the integrity of your market research project. You should clearly state in your market research report that any potential conflicts of interest are highlighted and addressed before continuing.
But I want a faster solution!
Well, there’s a quicker and far easier way to do all of the above and get the data you need – just use a market research survey template. In our next section, we’re going to share a whole list of templates that you can use.
Free market research survey templates
No matter what kind of research you want to conduct, we have templates that will remove the complexity of the task and empower you to get more from your data. Below we’ve compiled a list of templates for four key experience areas: Brand , Customer , Employee , and Product .
All of our research templates are free. All you need to do is sign up for a free Qualtrics account to access them.
Brand experience market research templates:
- Logo testing : Collect feedback to help you evaluate and iterate on your logo designs and concepts
- Brand awareness : Track the level of brand awareness in your target market, including current and potential future customers
- Ad testing : Evaluate your consumers’ reaction to an advertisement so you know which campaigns to deploy before you invest
- A/B testing : Quickly and easily compare to versions or options in a study, whether it’s a design, headline, color palette or a mock-up of your latest ad campaign
Customer experience market research templates
- Student satisfaction : Gather feedback on how your institution is delivering on the student experience
- Net promoter score (NPS) : Measure customer loyalty and understand how they feel about your product or service using one of the world’s best-recognized metrics
- Customer satisfaction : Evaluate how satisfied your customers are with your company, including the products and services you provide, and how they are treated when they buy from you
- Customer service : Gain insights into the contact center experience, so you can achieve and maintain optimum levels of customer experience (CX) performance
- Event feedback : Measure the effectiveness of your events and how well they meet attendee expectations so that you can continuously improve your offering
- IT help desk : Understand how satisfied your employees and customers are with your IT help desk experience
- Website suggestion box : Collect visitor feedback on how your website can be improved
- Website satisfaction : Find out how satisfied visitors are with your website’s design, usability, and performance
- Store purchase feedback : Capture customer experience data at the point of purchase to help you improve the in-store experience
- Online purchase feedback : Find out how well your online shopping experience performs against customer needs and expectations
Employee experience market research templates
- Employee satisfaction : Get an overview of your current employee experience
- Manager feedback : Improve your skills as a leader with valuable feedback from your team
- Employee engagement : Find out how employees find the current experience at your workplace with this entry-level engagement survey
- Employee exit interview : Understand why your employees are leaving and how they’ll speak about your company once they’re gone with this survey template
- Employee onboarding : Improve your onboarding program by understanding what’s working and what’s not
- Team event planning : Collect inputs from employees to plan a team event that works for everyone
- Meeting feedback : Check-in with team members after a meeting to see how well your company is running and what improvements can be made
- Interview feedback : Improve your candidate experience by gathering actionable insights about the interview process
- Employee suggestion box : Gather anonymous data to help address concerns and improve the employee experience in your organization
- Candidate experience : Improve your candidate experience to increase brand perception, offer acceptance rates, and hiring process efficiency with this single-touchpoint survey template
- Employee suggestion action : Take employee feedback a step further by working with your staff to quantify solutions based on their experience data
Product experience market research templates
- Product research : Evaluate your consumers’ reaction to a new product or product feature across every stage of the product development journey
- Pricing : Understand how to set the exact price point for your product or service, according to your target consumers
- Feature prioritization : Compare and contrast product features using conjoint analysis to find the optimal mix for your customers
- Product package testing : Collect feedback on your product packaging to see how well it meets the needs and expectations of your customers
Armed with the right market research templates, getting the information you need across brand, product, customer and employee disciplines — as well as beyond — is significantly easier.
But if you want help putting together complex market research and scaling your in-house research team to get agile insights, check out our guide to building an agile research function.
Insights are more important than ever, especially during times of change, but building a great team takes a lot of time and money.
In our eBook, we’ll explain how you can:
- Scale your research team
- Build a smart partner strategy
- Ensure you have the right technology for market research and data analysis
Tackle your market research with our agile market research eBook
Market intelligence 10 min read, marketing insights 11 min read, ethnographic research 11 min read, qualitative vs quantitative research 13 min read, qualitative research questions 11 min read, qualitative research design 12 min read, primary vs secondary research 14 min read, request demo.
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What is a Marketing Research Report and How to Write It?
There is nothing more embarrassing for a marketer than to hear a client say “…this doesn’t quite address the business questions that we need to answer.” And unfortunately, this is a rather common occurrence in market research reporting that most marketers would care to admit.
So, why do most market research reports fail to meet client expectations? Well, in most cases, because there is more emphasis on methodology and analytic techniques used to craft the report rather than relying on data visualization, creative story-telling, and outlining actionable direction/steps.
Now, our next big question is, how do you avoid your client’s dreaded deer-in-the-headlights reaction when presenting such a report? This blog post will answer this and much more, as we go through the following:
What Is a Market Research Report?
Why is market research important, differences between primary and secondary market research, types of market research, market research reports advantages and disadvantages, how to do market research, how to prepare a market research report: 5 steps, marketing research report templates, marketing research reports best practices, bring your market research reports a step further with databox.
The purpose of creating a market research report is to make calculated decisions about business ideas. Market research is done to evaluate the feasibility of a new product or service, through research conducted with potential consumers. The information obtained from conducting market research is then documented in a formal report that should contain the following details:
- The characteristics of your ideal customers
- You customers buying habits
- The value your product or service can bring to those customers
- A list of your top competitors
Every business aims to provide the best possible product or service at the lowest cost possible. Simply said, market research is important because it helps you understand your customers and determine whether the product or service that you are about to launch is worth the effort.
Here is an example of a customer complaint that may result in more detailed market research:
Suppose you sell widgets, and you want your widget business to succeed over the long term. Over the years, you have developed many different ways of making widgets. But a couple of years ago, a customer complained that your widgets were made of a cheap kind of foam that fell apart after six months. You didn’t think at the time that this was a major problem, but now you know it.
The customer is someone you really want to keep. So, you decide to research this complaint. You set up a focus group of people who use widgets and ask them what they think about the specific problem. After the conducted survey you’ll get a better picture of customer opinions, so you can either decide to make the changes regarding widget design or just let it go.
PRO TIP: How Well Are Your Marketing KPIs Performing?
Like most marketers and marketing managers, you want to know how well your efforts are translating into results each month. How much traffic and new contact conversions do you get? How many new contacts do you get from organic sessions? How are your email campaigns performing? How well are your landing pages converting? You might have to scramble to put all of this together in a single report, but now you can have it all at your fingertips in a single Databox dashboard.
Our Marketing Overview Dashboard includes data from Google Analytics 4 and HubSpot Marketing with key performance metrics like:
- Sessions . The number of sessions can tell you how many times people are returning to your website. Obviously, the higher the better.
- New Contacts from Sessions . How well is your campaign driving new contacts and customers?
- Marketing Performance KPIs . Tracking the number of MQLs, SQLs, New Contacts and similar will help you identify how your marketing efforts contribute to sales.
- Email Performance . Measure the success of your email campaigns from HubSpot. Keep an eye on your most important email marketing metrics such as number of sent emails, number of opened emails, open rate, email click-through rate, and more.
- Blog Posts and Landing Pages . How many people have viewed your blog recently? How well are your landing pages performing?
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics and HubSpot Marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring your leads. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your HubSpot and Google Analytics 4 accounts with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Marketing research requires both primary and secondary market research. But what does that mean and what are the main differences?
Primary market research takes in information directly from customers, usually as participants in surveys. Usually, it is consisted of:
- Exploratory Primary Research – This type of research helps to identify possible problem areas, and it’s not focused on discovering specific information about customers. As with any research, exploratory primary research should be conducted carefully. Researchers need to craft an interviewing or surveying plan, and gather enough respondents to ensure reasonable levels of statistical reliability.
- Specific Primary Research – This type of research is one of the best ways to approach a problem because it relies on existing customer data. Specific research provides a deeper, more thorough understanding of the problem and its potential solutions. The greatest advantage of specific research is that it lets you explore a very specific question, and focus on a specific problem or an opportunity.
Secondary market research collects information from other sources such as databases, trend reports, market or government statistics, industry content, etc. We can divide secondary market research into 3 categories:
- Public market data – Public sources range from academic journals and government reports to tax returns and court documents. These sources aren’t always easy to find. Many are available only in print in libraries and archives. You have to look beyond search engines like Google to find public source documents.
- Commercial data – Those are typically created by specialized agencies like Pew, Gartner or Forrester. the research agencies are quite expensive, but they provide a lot of useful information.
- Internal data – Your organization’s databases are gold mines for market research. In the best cases, your salespeople can tell you what they think about customers. Your salespeople are your direct sources of information about the market. Don’t underestimate your internal data.
In general, primary research is more reliable than secondary research, because researchers have to interview people directly. But primary research is expensive and time-consuming. Secondary research can be quicker and less expensive.
There are plenty of ways to conduct marketing research reports. Mostly, the type of research done will depend on your goals. Here are some types of market research often conducted by marketers.
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.
An interview is an interactive process of asking and answering questions and observing your respondent’s responses. Interviews are one of the most commonly used tools in market research . An interview allows an organization to observe, in detail, how its consumers interact with its products and services. It also allows an organization to address specific questions.
A focus group is a group of people who get together to discuss a particular topic. A moderator leads the discussion and takes notes. The main benefit of focus groups is that they are quick and easy to conduct. You can gather a group of carefully-selected people, give them a product to try out, and get their feedback within a few hours/days.
Product or service use research helps you obtain useful information about your product or service such as:
- What your current customers do with the product/service
- Which features of the product/service are particularly important to your customers
- What they dislike about the product/service
- What they would change about the product/service
Observation-based research helps you to observe your target audience interacting with your product or service. You will see the interactions and which aspects work well and which could be improved. The main point is to directly experience the feedback from your target audience’s point of view.
Personas are an essential sales tool. By knowing your buyers’ pain points and the challenges they face, you can create better content, target messaging, and campaigns for them. Buyer persona research is based on market research, and it’s built around data that describes your customers’ demographics, behaviors, motivations, and concerns. Sales reporting software can significantly help you develop buyer personas when you gain insights after you collected all information.
Market segmentation research is carried out to better understand existing and potential market segments. The objective is to determine how to target different market segments and how they differ from each other. The three most important steps in writing a market segmentation research report are:
- Defining the problem
- Determining the solution [and]
- Defining the market
Related : 9 Customer Segmentation Tips to Personalize Ecommerce Marketing and Drive More Sales
A price that is too high, or too low, can kill a business. And without good market research, you don’t really know what is a good price for your product. Pricing research helps you define your pricing strategy.
In a competitive analysis, you define your “competition” as any other entity that competes with you in your market, whether you’re selling a widget or a piece of real estate. With competitive analysis research, you can find out things like:
- Who your competitors are
- What they’ve done in the past
- What’s working well for them
- Their weaknesses
- How they’re positioned in the market
- How they market themselves
- What they’re doing that you’re not
Related : How to Do an SEO Competitive Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide
In today’s marketplace, companies are increasingly focused on customer loyalty. What your customers want is your product, but, more importantly, they want it delivered with a service that exceeds their expectations. Successful companies listen to their customers and respond accordingly. That’s why customer satisfaction and loyalty research is a critical component of that basic equation.
Related : 11 Tactics for Effectively Measuring Your Customer Service ROI
Who you are, what you stand for, what you offer, what you believe in, and what your audience thinks of you is all wrapped up in brand. Brand awareness research tells what your target audience knows about your brand and what’s their experience like.
A campaign research report is a detailed account of how your marketing campaign performed. It includes all the elements that went into creating the campaign: planning, implementation, and measurement.
Here are some of the top advantages and disadvantages of doing market research and crafting market research reports.
- Identify business opportunities – A market research report can be used to analyze potential markets and new products. It can give information about customer needs, preferences, and attitudes. Also, it compare products and services.
- A clear understanding of your customers – A market report gives company’s marketing department an in-depth picture about customers’ needs and wants. This knowledge can be used to improve products, prices, and advertising.
- Mitigates risks – 30% of small businesses fail within the first two years. Why is this so? The answer is that entrepreneurs are risk takers. However, there are risks that could be avoided. A good marketing research will help you identify those risks and allow you to mitigate them.
- Clear data-driven insights – Market research encompasses a wide range of activities, from determining market size and segment to forecasting demand, and from identifying competitors to monitoring pricing. All of these are quantified and measurable which means that gives you a clear path for building unique decisions based on numbers.
- It’s not cheap – Although market research can be done for as little as $500, large markets like the United States can run into millions of dollars. If a research is done for a specific product, the budget may be even much higher. The budget also depends on the quality of the research. The more expensive it is, the more time the research will take.
- Some insights could be false – For example, if you are conducting a survey, data may be inadequate or inaccurate because respondents can, well, simply be dishonest and lie.
Here are the essential steps you need to take when doing market research:
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.
The job of a marketing persona is to describe your ideal customer and to tell you what they want, what motivates them, what frustrates them, and what limits them. Finding out these things means you have a better chance of designing your products, services, marketing messages, and brand around real customers. There is no one right way to create a buyer persona, though.
For example, if you’re in an industry focused on education, you could include things like:
- Educational level
- Education background
It’s recommended that you create 3-5 buyer personas for your products, based on your ideal customer.
This should be a representative sample of your target customers so you can better understand their behavior. You want to find people who fit both your target personas and who represent the broader demographic of your market. People who recently made a purchase or purposefully decided not to make one are a good sample to start with.
The questions you use determine the quality of your results. Of course, the quality of your results also depends on the quality of your participants.
Don’t ask questions that imply a yes or no answer. Instead, use open questions. For example, if you are researching customers about yogurt products, you could ask them: „ What have you heard about yogurt ?” or “ What do you think of yogurt ?“.
Avoid questions that use numbers, such as “ How many times a week do you eat yogurt ?”
Avoid questions that suggest a set of mutually exclusive answers, such as “ Do you like yogurt for breakfast, lunch, or dinner ?”
Avoid questions that imply a scale, such as “ Do you like chocolate-flavored yogurt ?”
Market researchers sometimes call one company the top competitor, another middle competitor, and the third one small competitor. However you classify them, you want to identify at least three companies in each category. Now, for each business on your list, list its key characteristics. For example, if your business sells running shoes, a key characteristic might be the product’s quality.
Next, make a list of your small business’s competitive advantages. These include the unique qualities or features of your business that make it the best choice of customers for the products or services it offers. Make a list of these competitive advantages and list them next to the key characteristics you listed for your business.
You have just finished writing your marketing research report. Everything is out there quantified or qualified. You just have to sum it up and focus on the most important details that are going to make a big impact on your decisions. Clear summary leads to a winning strategy!
Related : How to Prepare a Complete Marketing Report: The KPIs, Analysis, & Action Plan You Need
Here’s how to prepare a market research report in 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Cluster the data
Step 2: prepare an outline, step 3: mention the research methods, step 4: include visuals with narrative explanations, step 5: conclude the report with recommendations.
Your first step is to cluster all the available information into a manageable set. Clustering is the process of grouping information together in a way that emphasizes commonalities and minimizes differences. So, in market research, this will help to organize all the information you have about a product, service, or target market and identify your focus areas.
A marketing research report should be written so that other people can understand it:
- Include background information at the beginning to explain who your audience is and what problem you are trying to solve for them.
- In the body of the report, include a description of the methodology – Explain to the reader how your research was done, what was involved, and why you selected the methodology you used.
- Also in the body of the report, include the results of your market research. These may be quantitative or qualitative, but either way they should answer the questions you posed at the beginning.
- Include the executive summary – A summary of the entire report.
The market research methodology section includes details on the type of research, sample size, any limitations of the studies, research design, sample selection, data collection procedures, and statistical analyses used.
Visuals are an essential part of the presentation. Even the best-written text can be difficult to understand. Charts and graphs are easier to understand than text alone, and they help the reader see how the numbers fit the bigger picture.
But visuals are not the whole story. They are only one part of the presentation. Visuals are a cue for the reader. The narrative gives the story, not just the numbers.
Recommendations tend to follow logically from conclusions and are a response to a certain problem. The recommendation should always be relevant to the research rationale, that is, the recommendation should be based on the results of the research reported in the body of the report.
Now, let’s take a look at some dashboard reporting templates you could use to enhance your market research:
- Semrush (Position Tracking) Report
Brand Awareness Report
Sales pipeline performance report, customer success overview report, stripe (mrr & churn) report, semrush (position tracking) report template.
This free SEMRush dashboard template will help you monitor how your website’s search visibility on search engines evolves on a monthly basis. This dashboard contains all of the information you need to make changes and improve the ranking results of your business in Google Search.
This Brand Awareness Report will help you to get a sense of your brand awareness performance in Google Analytics, Google Organic Search, and Facebook. Use this dashboard to track brand awareness the same way you track other marketing campaigns.
Are your sales and marketing funnel healthy and growing? How is your sales and marketing funnel performing? What are the key conversion rates between your lifecycle stages? With a pipeline performance dashboard , you’ll get all of the answers quickly.
This Customer Success Overview Dashboard allows you to analyze how your customer service team’s responsiveness impacts your business. Use this dashboard to assess the correlation between your customer service performance and churn rate.
This Stripe dashboard tracks your churn rate and MRR growth in real-time and shows you which customers (and how many of them) you have at any given point in time. All you have to do to get started is to connect your Stripe account.
As we said earlier, there are no strict rules when it comes to writing marketing research reports. On the other hand, you must find your focus if you want to write a report that will make a difference. Here are some best practices you should keep in mind when writing a research report.
- Objectives – The objective of a market research report is to define the problems, identify key issues, and suggest recommendations for further research. If you answer them successfully, you’re on the right way.
- Don’t worry about the format – Be creative. The report could be in a form of a PowerPoint presentation, Excel sheet, interactive dashboard or even a video. Use the format that best fits your audience, but make sure to make it easy to read.
- Include an executive summary, scorecard , or a dashboard – This is really important because time is money, and most people don’t have time to waste. So, how to put everything important in a short role? Address all of the objectives and put them in a graphic dashboard or scorecard. Also, you can write an executive summary (heart of the report) that can be easily read by managers or CEOs.
- Use storytelling – A good story always makes a great point because it’s so memorable. Your research report results can double the effect with a catchy story.
- Keep it short – It’s not a secret that we are reading so little in the digital era. Use a lot of white space and bullet points. Too much text on a page means less focus for the reader.
- Be organized – Maintain the order of information. It’s important for the reader to navigate through the report easily. If they want to find some details or specific information it would be great to divide all sections with appropriate references.
- Methodological information – Methodological details could be boring. Include only the most important details that the reader needs to know to understand the big picture.
- Use images (or other visualizations) whenever you can – A good picture speaks for 1.000 words! If you can communicate the point visually, don’t hesitate to do it. It would be a lot easier for those who don’t like a lot of text to understand your results. But don’t push them where you can’t.
- Create readable graphs – The crown of marketing research reports is a comprehensive graph. Make sure to design precise and attractive graphs that will power up and round your story.
- Use the Appendix – You can include all secondary information such as methodological details and other miscellaneous data in the Appendix at the end of the report.
Market research reports are all about presenting your data in an easy-to-understand way and making calculated decisions about business ideas. But this is something easier said than done.
When busy stakeholders and executives grab a report, they need something that will give them an idea of the results – the big picture that addresses company wide-business goals.
Can a PowerPoint presentation or a PDF report meet those expectations? Most likely not. But a dashboard can.
Keep in mind that even with the best market analysis in the world, your market research report won’t be actionable if you don’t present the data efficiently and in a way that everyone understands what the next steps are. Databox is your key ally in the matter.
Databox dashboards are designed to help you present your market research data with clarity – from identifying what is influencing your business, and understanding where your brand is situated in the market, to gauging the temperature of your niche or industry before a new product/service launch.
Present your research results with efficient, interactive dashboards now by signing up for a free trial .
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How to Do Market Research: A 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.
MARKET RESEARCH KIT
5 Research and Planning Templates + a Free Guide on How to Use Them in Your Market Research
Today's consumers have a lot of power. They can research your product or service and make purchase decisions entirely on their own.
Moreover, rather than talking to one of your sales reps, they're more likely to ask for referrals from members of their networks or read online reviews.
With this in mind, have you adapted your marketing strategy to complement the way today's consumers research, shop, and buy?
To do just that, you must have a deep understanding of who your buyers are, your specific market, and what influences the purchase decisions and behavior of your target audience members.
Enter: Market Research.
Whether you're new to market research, this guide will provide you with a blueprint for conducting a thorough study of your market, target audience, competition, and more.
What is market research?
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 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.
Certainly you can make sound judgment calls based on your experience in the industry and your existing customers. However, keep in mind that market research offers benefits beyond those strategies. There are two things to consider:
- 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 2023. The market is expected to grow from roughly $75 billion in 2021 to $90.79 billion in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 5%.
Free Market Research Kit
Fill out the form to access the guide + templates.
- 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 (both digital and analog) becomes louder and demands more and 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. Once you're ready to expand your business, you can also use market research to help you create a market development strategy .
Market research also provides insight into a wide variety of things that impact your bottom line, including:
- 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 from knowing the bigger picture.
As you begin honing in on your market research, you'll likely hear about primary and secondary market research. The easiest way to think about primary and secondary research is to envision two umbrellas sitting beneath market research: one for primary market research and one for secondary market research.
Beneath these two umbrellas sits a number of different types of market research, which we'll highlight below . Defining which of the two umbrellas your market research fits beneath isn't necessarily crucial, although some marketers prefer to make the distinction.
So, in case you encounter a marketer who wants to define your types of market research as primary or secondary — or if you're one of them — let's cover the definitions of the two categories next. Then, we'll look at the different types of market research in the following section .
Primary vs. Secondary Research
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.
There are two main types of market research that your business can conduct to collect actionable information on your products, including primary research and secondary research. Let's dive into those two types, now.
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 and specific research.
Exploratory Primary Research
This kind of primary market research is less concerned with measurable customer trends and more about potential problems that would be worth tackling as a team. It 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
Specific primary market research often follows exploratory research and is used to dive into issues or opportunities the business has already identified as important. In specific research, the business can take a smaller or more precise segment of their audience and ask questions aimed at solving a suspected problem.
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:
These sources are your first and most-accessible layer of material when conducting secondary market research. They're often free to find and review — lots of bang for your buck here.
Government statistics are one of the most common types of public sources according to Entrepreneur. Two U.S. examples of public market data are the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor & Statistics , both of which offer helpful information on the state of various industries nationwide.
These sources often come in the form of market reports, consisting of industry insight compiled by a research agency like Pew , Gartner , or Forrester . Because this info is so portable and distributable, it typically costs money to download and obtain.
Internal sources deserve more credit for supporting market research than they generally get. Why? This is the market data your organization already has!
Average revenue per sale, customer retention rates, and other historical data on the health of old and new accounts can all help you draw conclusions on what your buyers might want right now.
Now that we've covered these overarching market research categories, let's get more specific and look at the various types of market research you might choose to conduct.
Types of Market Research
- 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
Interviews allow for face-to-face discussions (in-person and virtual) so you can allow for a natural flow or conversation and watch your interviewee's body language while doing so.
Your interviewees can answer questions about themselves to help you design your buyer personas. These buyer personas describe your ideal customer's age, family size, budget, job title, the challenges they face at work, and similar aspects of their lifestyle. Having this buyer profile in hand can shape your entire marketing strategy, from the features you add to your product to the content you publish on your website.
2. Focus Groups
Focus groups provide you with a handful of carefully-selected people that can test out your product, watch a demo, provide feedback, and/or answer specific questions.
This type of market research can give you ideas for product differentiation, or the qualities of your product that make it unique in the marketplace. Consider asking your focus group questions about (and showing them examples of) your services, and ultimately use the group's feedback to make these services better.
3. Product/Service Use Research
Product or service use research offers insight into how and why your audience uses your product or service, and specific features of that item. 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 , what roadblocks they hit, and which aspects of it could be easier for them to use and apply.
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, what they need from your business and brand, and more.
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, understand their pain points and expectations, learn about their goals, and more.
7. Pricing Research
Pricing research gives you an idea of what similar products or services in your market sell for, what your target audience expects to pay — and is willing to pay — for whatever it is you sell, and what's a fair price for you to list your product or service at. All of this information will help you define your pricing strategy .
8. Competitive Analysis
Competitive analyses are valuable because they give you a deep understanding of the competition in your market and industry. You can learn about what's doing well in your industry, what your target audience is already going for in terms of products like yours, which of your competitors should you work to keep up with and surpass, and how you can clearly separate yourself from the competition .
9. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research
Customer satisfaction and loyalty research give 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). This research will help you discover the most-effective ways to promote delight among your customers . If you're using a CRM system, see if you're able to send out automated customer feedback surveys to aid in this process.
10. Brand Awareness Research
Brand awareness research tells you about what your target audience knows about and recognizes from your brand. It tells you about the associations your audience members make when they think about your business and what they believe you're all about.
11. Campaign Research
Campaign research entails looking into your past campaigns and analyzing their success among your target audience and current customers. It requires experimentation and then a deep dive into what reached and resonated with your audience so you can keep those elements in mind for your future campaigns and hone in on the aspects of what you do that matters most to those people.
Now that you know about the categories and types of market research, let's review how you can conduct your market research .
Here's how to do market research step-by-step.
How to Do Market Research
- 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.
Before you dive into how customers in your industry make buying decisions, you must first understand who they are.
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.
They help you visualize your audience, streamline your communications, and inform your strategy. Some key characteristics you should be keen on including in your buyer persona are:
- Job title(s)
- Family size
- Major challenges
The idea is to use your persona as a guideline for how to effectively reach and learn about the real audience members in your industry. Also, you may find that your business lends itself to more than one persona — that's fine! You just need to be thoughtful about each specific persona when you're optimizing and planning your content and campaigns.
To get started with creating your personas, check out these free templates , as well as this helpful tool.
2. Identify a persona group to engage.
Now that you know who your buyer personas are, use that information to help you identify a group to engage to conduct your market research with — this should be a representative sample of your target customers so you can better understand their actual characteristics, challenges, and buying habits.
The group you identify to engage should also be made of people who recently made a purchase or purposefully decided not to make one. Here are some more guidelines and tips to help you get the right participants for your research.
How to Identify the Right People to Engage for Market Research
When choosing who to engage for your market research, start by focusing on people who have the characteristics that apply to your buyer persona. You should also:
Aim for 10 participants per buyer persona.
We recommend focusing on one persona, but if you feel it's necessary to research multiple personas, be sure to recruit a separate sample group for each one.
Select people who have recently interacted with you.
You may want to focus on people that have completed an evaluation within the past six months — or up to a year if you have a longer sales cycle or niche market. You'll be asking very detailed questions so it's important that their experience is fresh.
Free Focus Group Kit
Gather a mix of participants..
You want to recruit people who have purchased your product, purchased a competitor's product, and decided not to purchase anything at all. While your customers will be the easiest to find and recruit, sourcing information from those who aren't customers (yet!) will help you develop a balanced view of your market.
Here are some more details on how to select this mix of participants:
- Pull a list of customers who made a recent purchase. As we mentioned before, this is usually the easiest set of buyers to recruit. If you're using a CRM system with list segmentation capabilities , you can run a report of deals that closed within the past six months and filter it for the characteristics you're looking for. Otherwise, you can work with your sales team to get a list of appropriate accounts from them.
- Pull a list of customers who were in an active evaluation, but didn't make a purchase. You should get a mix of buyers who either purchased from a competitor or decided not to make a purchase. Again, you can get this list from your CRM or from whatever system your Sales team uses to track deals.
- Call for participants on social media. Try reaching out to the folks that follow you on social media, but decided not to buy from you. There's a chance that some of them will be willing to talk to you and tell you why they ultimately decided not to buy your product.
- Leverage your own network. Get the word out to your coworkers, former colleagues, and LinkedIn connections that you're conducting a study. Even if your direct connections don't qualify, some of them will likely have a coworker, friend, or family member who does.
- Choose an incentive. Time is precious, so you'll need to think about how you will motivate someone to spend 30-45 minutes on you and your study. On a tight budget? You can reward participants for free by giving them exclusive access to content. Another option? Send a simple handwritten 'thank you' note once the study is complete.
3. Prepare research questions for your market research participants.
The best way to make sure you get the most out of your conversations is to be prepared. You should always create a discussion guide — whether it's for a focus group, online survey, or a phone interview — to make sure you cover all of the top-of-mind questions and use your time wisely.
(Note: This is not intended to be a script. The discussions should be natural and conversational, so we encourage you to go out of order or probe into certain areas as you see fit.)
Your discussion guide should be in an outline format, with a time allotment and open-ended questions for each section.
Wait, all open-ended questions?
Yes — this is a golden rule of market research. You never want to "lead the witness" by asking yes and no questions, as that puts you at risk of unintentionally swaying their thoughts by leading with your own hypothesis. Asking open-ended questions also helps you avoid one-word answers (which aren't very helpful for you).
Example Outline of a 30-Minute Survey
Here's a general outline for a 30-minute survey for one B2B buyer. You can use these as talking points for an in-person interview, or as questions posed on a digital survey that can be made with tools like HubSpot's free online form builder , to administer as a survey to your target customers.
Background Information (5 Minutes)
Ask the buyer to give you a little background information (their title, how long they've been with the company, and so on). Then, ask a fun/easy question to warm things up (first concert attended, favorite restaurant in town, last vacation, etc.).
Remember, you want to get to know your buyers in pretty specific ways. You might be able to capture basic information such as age, location, and job title from your contact list, there are some personal and professional challenges you can really only learn by asking.
Here are some other key background questions to ask your target audience:
- Describe how your team is structured.
- Tell me about your personal job responsibilities.
- What are the team's goals and how do you measure them?
- What has been your biggest challenge in the past year?
Now, make a transition to acknowledge the specific purchase or interaction they made that led to you including them in the study. The next three stages of the buyer's journey will focus specifically on that purchase.
Awareness (5 Minutes)
Here, you want to understand how they first realized they had a problem that needed to be solved without getting into whether or not they knew about your brand yet.
- Think back to when you first realized you needed a [name the product/service category, but not yours specifically]. What challenges were you facing at the time?
- How did you know that something in this category could help you?
- How familiar were you with different options on the market?
Consideration (10 Minutes)
Now you want to get very specific about how and where the buyer researched potential solutions. Plan to interject to ask for more details.
- What was the first thing you did to research potential solutions? How helpful was this source?
- Where did you go to find more information?
If they don't come up organically, ask about search engines, websites visited, people consulted, and so on. Probe, as appropriate, with some of the following questions:
- How did you find that source?
- How did you use vendor websites?
- What words specifically did you search on Google?
- How helpful was it? How could it be better?
- Who provided the most (and least) helpful information? What did that look like?
- Tell me about your experiences with the sales people from each vendor.
Decision (10 Minutes)
- Which of the sources you described above was the most influential in driving your decision?
- What, if any, criteria did you establish to compare the alternatives?
- What vendors made it to the short list and what were the pros/cons of each?
- Who else was involved in the final decision? What role did each of these people play?
- What factors ultimately influenced your final purchasing decision?
Here, you want to wrap up and understand what could have been better for the buyer.
- Ask them what their ideal buying process would look like. How would it differ from what they experienced?
- Allow time for further questions on their end.
- Don't forget to thank them for their time and confirm their address to send a thank-you note or incentive.
4. List your primary competitors.
List your primary competitors — keep in mind listing the competition isn't always as simple as Company X versus Company Y.
Sometimes, a division of a company might compete with your main product or service, even though that company's brand might put more effort in another area.
For example, Apple is known for its laptops and mobile devices but Apple Music competes with Spotify over its music streaming service.
From a content standpoint, you might compete with a blog, YouTube channel, or similar publication for inbound website visitors — even though their products don't overlap with yours at all.
And a toothpaste company might compete with magazines like Health.com or Prevention on certain blog topics related to health and hygiene even though the magazines don't actually sell oral care products.
Identifying Industry Competitors
To identify competitors whose products or services overlap with yours, determine which industry or industries you're pursuing. Start high-level, using terms like education, construction, media & entertainment, food service, healthcare, retail, financial services, telecommunications, and agriculture.
The list goes on, but find an industry term that you identify with, and use it to create a list of companies that also belong to this industry. You can build your list the following ways:
- Review your industry quadrant on G2 Crowd: In certain industries, this is your best first step in secondary market research. G2 Crowd aggregates user ratings and social data to create "quadrants," where you can see companies plotted as contenders, leaders, niche, and high performers in their respective industries. G2 Crowd specializes in digital content, IT services, HR, ecommerce, and related business services.
- Download a market report: Companies like Forrester and Gartner offer both free and gated market forecasts every year on the vendors who are leading their industry. On Forrester's website, for example, you can select "Latest Research" from the navigation bar and browse Forrester's latest material using a variety of criteria to narrow your search. These reports are good assets to save on your computer.
- Search using social media: Believe it or not, social networks make great company directories if you use the search bar correctly. On LinkedIn, for example, select the search bar and enter the name of the industry you're pursuing. Then, under "More," select "Companies" to narrow your results to just the businesses that include this or a similar industry term on their LinkedIn profile.
Identifying Content Competitors
Search engines are your best friends in this area of secondary market research. To find the online publications with which you compete, take the overarching industry term you identified in the section above, and come up with a handful of more specific industry terms your company identifies with.
A catering business, for example, might generally be a "food service" company, but also consider itself a vendor in "event catering," "cake catering," "baked goods," and more.
Once you have this list, do the following:
- Google it: Don't underestimate the value in seeing which websites come up when you run a search on Google for the industry terms that describe your company. You might find a mix of product developers, blogs, magazines, and more.
- Compare your search results against your buyer persona: Remember the buyer persona you created during the primary research stage, earlier in this article? Use it to examine how likely a publication you found through Google could steal website traffic from you. If the content the website publishes seems like the stuff your buyer persona would want to see, it's a potential competitor, and should be added to your list of competitors.
After a series of similar Google searches for the industry terms you identify with, look for repetition in the website domains that have come up.
Examine the first two or three results pages for each search you conducted. These websites are clearly respected for the content they create in your industry, and should be watched carefully as you build your own library of videos, reports, web pages, and blog posts.
5. Summarize your findings.
Feeling overwhelmed by the notes you took? We suggest looking for common themes that will help you tell a story and create a list of action items.
To make the process easier, try using your favorite presentation software to make a report, as it will make it easy to add in quotes, diagrams, or call clips.
Feel free to add your own flair, but the following outline should help you craft a clear summary:
- Background: Your goals and why you conducted this study.
- Participants: Who you talked to. A table works well so you can break groups down by persona and customer/prospect.
- Executive Summary : What were the most interesting things you learned? What do you plan to do about it?
- Awareness: Describe the common triggers that lead someone to enter into an evaluation. (Quotes can be very powerful.)
- Consideration: Provide the main themes you uncovered, as well as the detailed sources buyers use when conducting their evaluation.
- Decision: Paint the picture of how a decision is really made by including the people at the center of influence and any product features or information that can make or break a deal.
- Action Plan: Your analysis probably uncovered a few campaigns you can run to get your brand in front of buyers earlier and/or more effectively. Provide your list of priorities, a timeline, and the impact it will have on your business.
Lastly, let's review a resource that can help you compile everything we just discussed in a simple yet effective way (plus, it's free!).
Market Research Report Template
Within a market research kit, there are a number of critical pieces of information for your business's success. Let's take a look at what those different kit elements are next.
Download HubSpot's free, editable market research report template here.
1. Five Forces Analysis Template
Use Porter's Five Forces Model to understand an industry by analyzing five different criteria and how high the power, threat, or rivalry in each area is — here are the five criteria:
- Competitive rivalry
- Threat of new entrants
- Threat of substitution
- Buyer power
- Supplier power
Download a free, editable Five Forces Analysis template here.
2. SWOT Analysis Template
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis looks at your internal strengths and weaknesses, and your external opportunities and threats within the market.
A SWOT analysis highlights direct areas of opportunity your company can continue, build, focus on, and work to overcome.
Download a free, editable SWOT Analysis template here.
3. Market Survey Template
Both market surveys and focus groups ( which we'll cover in the next section ) help you uncover important information about your buyer personas , target audience, current customers, market, competition, and more (e.g. demand for your product or service, potential pricing, impressions of your branding, etc.).
Surveys should contain a variety of question types, like multiple choice, rankings, and open-ended responses. Ask quantitative and short-answer questions to save you time and to more easily draw conclusions. (Save longer questions that will warrant more detailed responses for your focus groups.)
Here are some categories of questions you should ask via survey:
- Demographic questions
- Business questions
- Competitor questions
- Industry questions
- Brand questions
- Product questions
Download a free, editable Market Survey template here.
4. Focus Group Template
Focus groups are an opportunity to collect in-depth, qualitative data from your real customers or members of your target audience. You should ask your focus group participants open-ended questions. While doing so, keep these tips top of mind:
- Set a limit for the number of questions you're asking (after all, they're open-ended).
- Provide participants with a prototype or demonstration.
- Ask participants how they feel about your price.
- Ask participants about your competition.
- Offer participants time at the end of the session for final comments, questions, or concerns.
Download a free, editable Focus Group template here.
Market Research Examples
1. disney uses kid-centric focus groups to test new characters and ideas..
The Walt Disney Company can spend millions crafting what its Animation Studio team believes is a worthwhile story, but it wisely focuses on its intended audience — children — when testing how well a character or topic performs.
A few times each year, Disney executives meet with preschoolers and kindergartners in kid-centric focus groups to get their opinions and insights on TV episodes, Disney characters, and more.
Why is this an effective market research strategy? Because children are ultimately the audience Disney hopes to delight — so collecting their feedback is invaluable to iterating on their existing content and ensuring it continues to meet its audiences' preferences.
2. KFC tested its meatless product in select markets before launching nationwide.
In 2019, KFC began developing and testing a new meatless version of its chicken. Rather than instantly rolling the product out nationwide, however, it started small: In select stores in the Atlanta, Georgia area .
This is an easy, effective example of conducting market research to determine how well a new product sells on a smaller scale before dedicating too many resources to it. If the meatless chicken flopped in Georgia, KFC would need to change the product before re-launching it to the market.
3. Yamaha conducted a survey to determine whether they should use knobs or sliding faders on the Montage keyboard.
When Yamaha, a Japanese-based corporation that produces a variety of products ranging from motorcycles to golf cars to musical instruments, began developing its new Montage keyboard, the team was unsure whether to use knobs or sliding faders on the product.
So Yamaha used Qualtrics to send a survey to their customers, and received 400 responses in a few hours.
Using survey feedback helped Yamaha ensure it was designing a product that exactly fit its audiences' preferences.
4. The Body Shop used social listening to determine how they should reposition brand campaigns to respond to what their customers cared most about.
The Body Shop has long been known for offering ethically sourced and natural products, and proudly touts "sustainability" as a core value.
To dive deeper into the sustainability subtopics that meant the most to their audiences, the team at The Body Shop tracked conversations and ultimately found their audiences cared a lot about refills.
Using this information helped the Body Shop team feel confident when relaunching their Refill Program across 400 stores globally in 2021 , and another 400 in 2022. Market research proved they were on the right track with their refill concept, and demonstrated increased efforts were needed to show Body Shop customers that the Body Shop cared about their customers' values.
Conduct Market Research to Grow Better
Conducting market research can be a very eye-opening experience. Even if you think you know your buyers pretty well, completing the study will likely uncover new channels and messaging tips to help improve your interactions.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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