• Español NEW

Market research facts for kids

Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets and customers: know about them, starting with who they are. It is an important component of business strategy and a major factor in maintaining competitiveness. Market research helps to identify and analyze the needs of the market, the market size and the competition. Its techniques encompass both qualitative techniques such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnography, as well as quantitative techniques such as customer surveys, and analysis of secondary data.

It includes social and opinion research, and is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organizations using statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences to gain insight or support decision making.

Market research, marketing research, and marketing are a sequence of business activities; sometimes these are handled informally.

The field of marketing research is much older than that of market research . Although both involve consumers, Marketing research is concerned specifically about marketing processes, such as advertising effectiveness and salesforce effectiveness, while market research is concerned specifically with markets and distribution. Two explanations given for confusing Market research with Marketing research are the similarity of the terms and also that Market Research is a subset of Marketing Research . Further confusion exists because of major companies with expertise and practices in both areas.

Market research for business/planning

Data collection, international influence from the internet, market research for the film industry, insights industry, small businesses and nonprofits.

Although market research started to be conceptualized and put into formal practice during the 1930s as an offshoot of the advertising boom of the Golden Age of radio in the United States, this was based on 1920s work by Daniel Starch. Starch "developed a theory that advertising had to be seen, read, believed, remembered, and most importantly, acted upon, in order to be considered effective." Advertisers realized the significance of demographics by the patterns in which they sponsored different radio programs.

The Gallup Organization helped invent the public opinion poll; today, "Market research is a way of paying for it."

Market research is a way of getting an overview of consumers' wants, needs and beliefs. It can also involve discovering how they act. The research can be used to determine how a product could be marketed. Peter Drucker believed market research to be the quintessence of marketing. Market research is a way that producers and the marketplace study the consumer and gather information about the consumers' needs. There are two major types of market research: primary research, which is sub-divided into quantitative and qualitative research, and secondary research.

Factors that can be investigated through market research include:

  • Market information: Through market information one can know the prices of different commodities in the market, as well as the supply and demand situation. Market researchers have a wider role than previously recognized by helping their clients to understand social, technical, and even legal aspects of markets.
  • Market segmentation: Market segmentation is the division of the market or population into subgroups with similar motivations. It is widely used for segmenting on geographic differences, demographic differences (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.), technographic differences, psychographic differences, and differences in product use. For B2B segmentation firmographics is commonly used.
  • Market trends: Market trends are the upward or downward movement of a market, during a period of time. Determining the market size may be more difficult if one is starting with a new innovation. In this case, you will have to derive the figures from the number of potential customers, or customer segments.
  • SWOT analysis : SWOT is a written analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to a business entity. A SWOT may also be written up for the competition to understand how to develop the marketing and product mixes. The SWOT method helps to determine and also reassess strategies and analyze a business's processes.
  • PEST analysis: PEST is an analysis about external environment . It includes a complete examine of a firm's Political, Economical, Social and Technological external factors, which may impact firms' objectives or profitability. They may become a benefit for the firm or harm its productivity.
  • Brand health tracker: Brand tracking is way of continuously measuring the health of a brand, both in terms of consumers’ usage of it (i.e. Brand Funnel) and what they think about it. Brand health can be measured in a number of ways, such as brand awareness, brand equity, brand usage and brand loyalty.

Another factor that can be measured is marketing effectiveness. This includes:

  • Advertisement research
  • Audience research
  • Choice modelling
  • Competitor analysis
  • Customer analysis (Segmentation of target customers)
  • Marketing mix modeling
  • Product research
  • Risk analysis
  • Simulated test marketing

"Rigorous sampling methodologies combined with high-quality data collection" is what the magazine Advertising Age considers the backbone of market research. Data collection can be done by observing customer behavior through in-situ studies or by processing e.g. log files, by interviewing customers, potential customers, stakeholders, or a sample of the general population. The data can be quantitative in nature (counting sales, clicks, eye-tracking) or qualitative (surveys, questionnaires, interviews, feedback). Aggregating, visualizing, and turning data into actionable insights is one of the major challenges of market research and today, text analytics affords market researches methods to process large amounts of qualitative information and turn it into quantitative data, which is easier to visualize and use for formalized decision making. Data collection can use larger audience samples than the few hundred or thousand typically used in market research. Also required is the (at least passive) cooperation of those being surveyed; trust is also helpful.

Some data collection is incentivized: a simple form is when those on the road contribute to traffic reporting of which they are consumers. More complex is the relationship of consumer-to-business (C2B), which sometimes introduces reliability problems. Other data collection is to know more about the market, which is the purpose of market research.

The international growth of available research both from and via the Internet has influenced a vast number of consumers and those from whom they make purchases. Although emerging global markets, such as China, Indonesia and Russia are still smaller than the US in B2B e-commerce, their internet-fueled growth factor is stimulated by product-enhancing websites, graphics, and content designed to attract corporate and consumer /B2C shoppers. Estimates for 2010 show between US$400 billion and $600 billion in revenue was generated by this medium.

A report titled "Global B2C E-Commerce and Online Payment Market 2014" indicated a decrease in overall growth rates in North America and Western Europe, even as absolute growth numbers rose.

The UK Market Research Society (MRS) listed the top social media platforms primarily used by millennials are LinkedIn , Facebook , YouTube and Instagram .

Research and market sectors

Regarding details for worldwide corporate market research, "most of them are never written about because they are the consumer research done by the country's manufacturers."

Market research data has loss prevention aspects; that less than 60 percent of all proposed modifications and new products are deemed failures. When information about the market is difficult to acquire, and the cost of "going ahead with the decision" to offer the product or service is affordable, the research cost may be more profitably used "to ensure that the new line got the advertising send-off it needed to have the best chances of succeeding."

As measured in revenue, USA based Amazon is the worldwide E-Commerce leader.

The film industry is an example where the importance of testing film content and marketing material involves:

  • Concept testing, which evaluates reactions to a film idea and is fairly rare;
  • Positioning studios, which analyze a script for marketing opportunities;
  • Focus groups, which probe viewers' opinions about a film in small groups prior to release;
  • Test screenings, which involve the previewing of films prior to theatrical release;
  • Tracking studies, which gauge (often by telephone polling) an audience's awareness of a film on a weekly basis prior to and during theatrical release;
  • Advertising testing, which measures responses to marketing materials such as trailers and television advertisements;
  • Exit surveys, that measure audience reactions after seeing the film in the cinema.

Market research is an industry that overlaps with and is often referred to as the "insights” industry. However, the distinctive methods and techniques of market research not always correspond to the digital-first approach of insights vendors. The emergence of insights focusing on data analytics rather than fieldwork is competing with market research for managerial attention and funding. Current research with market research practitioners shows two pressing concerns for the industry: online data commoditization and the increasing distance between market researchers and top management within client organizations. Both concerns boil down to the risk they perceived of market research becoming a legacy activity of the marketing department rather than the cornerstone of business strategy.

Market research aims to produce so-called "actionable knowledge" that firms find useful in their operations:

  • Framing managerial anomalies: an anomaly is a puzzle or a perplexing situation that the market research report is meant to solve.
  • Loading instruments with meanings: translate observations of commonplace social practices into the marketing ontology.
  • Signposting prescriptions: guide an intended reading to reduce interpretive flexibility.

Small organizations and non-profits can derive needed information by observing the environment of their location. Small scale surveys and focus groups are low cost ways to gather information from potential and existing customers and donors. While secondary data (statistics, demographics, etc.) is available to the public in libraries or on the internet, primary sources, done well, can be quite valuable: talking for an hour each, to twelve people, two apiece from six potential clients, can "get inside their minds.. get a feel for their needs, wants and pain. You can’t get that from a questionnaire."

  • Marketing Research Institute International
  • Mystery shopping
  • Nielsen ratings
  • This page was last modified on 9 February 2024, at 09:09. Suggest an edit .
  • Search Search Please fill out this field.

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

market research definition ks2

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 .”

  • How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps 1 of 25
  • How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example 2 of 25
  • Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, and How to Create One 3 of 25
  • Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained 4 of 25
  • What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One 5 of 25
  • Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills 6 of 25
  • Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One 7 of 25
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Meaning, Types, Impact 8 of 25
  • How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan 9 of 25
  • Business Startup Costs: It’s in the Details 10 of 25
  • Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks 11 of 25
  • Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons 12 of 25
  • Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites 13 of 25
  • Starting a Business with No Money: How to Begin 14 of 25
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Business Credit 15 of 25
  • Equity Financing: What It Is, How It Works, Pros and Cons 16 of 25
  • Best Startup Business Loans 17 of 25
  • Sole Proprietorship: What It Is, Pros and Cons, and Differences From an LLC 18 of 25
  • Partnership: Definition, How It Works, Taxation, and Types 19 of 25
  • What Is an LLC? Limited Liability Company Structure and Benefits Defined 20 of 25
  • Corporation: What It Is and How to Form One 21 of 25
  • Starting a Small Business: Your Complete How-to Guide 22 of 25
  • Starting an Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide 23 of 25
  • How to Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business: Essential Tips 24 of 25
  • How to Start a Successful Dropshipping Business: A Comprehensive Guide 25 of 25

market research definition ks2

  • Terms of Service
  • Editorial Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Your Privacy Choices

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.

Access best-in-class company data

Get trusted first-party funding data, revenue data and firmographics

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.
  • SBA.gov : The U.S. Small Business Administration offers templates for every aspect of your business, including market research, and is particularly valuable for new startups. 

Strengthen your business with market research

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

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

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

Related Articles

market research definition ks2

  • Entrepreneurs
  • 15 min read

What Is Competitive Analysis and How to Do It Effectively

'  data-srcset=

Rebecca Strehlow, Copywriter at Crunchbase

market research definition ks2

17 Best Sales Intelligence Tools for 2024

market research definition ks2

  • Market research
  • 10 min read

How to Do Market Research for a Startup: Tips for Success

'  data-srcset=

Jaclyn Robinson, Senior Manager of Content Marketing at Crunchbase

Search less. Close more.

Grow your revenue with Crunchbase, the all-in-one prospecting solution. Start your free trial.

market research definition ks2

  • More from M-W
  • To save this word, you'll need to log in. Log In

market research

Definition of market research

Examples of market research in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'market research.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

1920, in the meaning defined above

Dictionary Entries Near market research

market price

market-ripe

Cite this Entry

“Market research.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/market%20research. Accessed 11 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on market research

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about market research

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Play Quordle: Guess all four words in a limited number of tries.  Each of your guesses must be a real 5-letter word.

Can you solve 4 words at once?

Word of the day.

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Popular in Grammar & Usage

Your vs. you're: how to use them correctly, every letter is silent, sometimes: a-z list of examples, more commonly mispronounced words, how to use em dashes (—), en dashes (–) , and hyphens (-), absent letters that are heard anyway, popular in wordplay, the words of the week - apr. 5, 12 bird names that sound like compliments, 10 scrabble words without any vowels, 12 more bird names that sound like insults (and sometimes are), 8 uncommon words related to love, games & quizzes.

Play Blossom: Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

market research definition ks2

Final dates! Join the tutor2u subject teams in London for a day of exam technique and revision at the cinema. Learn more →

Reference Library

Collections

  • See what's new
  • All Resources
  • Student Resources
  • Assessment Resources
  • Teaching Resources
  • CPD Courses
  • Livestreams

Study notes, videos, interactive activities and more!

Business news, insights and enrichment

Currated collections of free resources

Browse resources by topic

  • All Business Resources

Resource Selections

Currated lists of resources

Teaching PowerPoints

Market Research for a New Business (Revision Presentation)

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share by Email

This revision presentation provides an overview of the main methods by which a new business can research its target market and gain a better understanding of the needs and wants of target customers.

  • Secondary research
  • Quantitative research
  • Qualitative research
  • Marketing research
  • Primary research

You might also like

Business start-ups - advice for fish fryers.

30th September 2014

Business Planning for a New Business (Revision Presentation)

Cash flow forecasting for a start-up (revision presentation), entrepreneurs and enterprise skills (revision presentation), risks and rewards of enterprise, franchising for start-ups (revision presentation), generating business ideas for a start-up (revision presentation), locating a new business (revision presentation), our subjects.

  • › Criminology
  • › Economics
  • › Geography
  • › Health & Social Care
  • › Psychology
  • › Sociology
  • › Teaching & learning resources
  • › Student revision workshops
  • › Online student courses
  • › CPD for teachers
  • › Livestreams
  • › Teaching jobs

Boston House, 214 High Street, Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, LS23 6AD Tel: 01937 848885

  • › Contact us
  • › Terms of use
  • › Privacy & cookies

© 2002-2024 Tutor2u Limited. Company Reg no: 04489574. VAT reg no 816865400.

  • International
  • Schools directory
  • Resources Jobs Schools directory News Search

Market Research - Lesson 2/3 - Primary & Secondary Marketing Research - GCSE Business Studies

Market Research - Lesson 2/3 - Primary & Secondary Marketing Research - GCSE Business Studies

Subject: Business and finance

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Lesson (complete)

George's Marvellous Business Studies & Economic Resources

Last updated

14 June 2022

  • Share through email
  • Share through twitter
  • Share through linkedin
  • Share through facebook
  • Share through pinterest

market research definition ks2

Lesson 2 of 3 of marketing research. In this lesson the PPT covers more in-depth examples of primary research and looks at the pros and cons of secondary research. There are various tasks in the lesson to help keep students engaged. I have also included a detailed worksheet on market research and a separate answer sheet for the worksheet. A good lesson for GCSE Business Studies.

Tes paid licence How can I reuse this?

Get this resource as part of a bundle and save up to 33%

A bundle is a package of resources grouped together to teach a particular topic, or a series of lessons, in one place.

Market Research Lesson Bundle - GCSE Business Studies

This bundle includes three lessons that cover marketing research in a lot of detail. The lessons include key theory, tasks and examples. Lessons in bundle: 1\. Market Research - Primary Marketing Research 2\. Market Research - Secondary Marketing Research 3\. Market Research - Quantitative & Qualitative Marketing Research

Your rating is required to reflect your happiness.

It's good to leave some feedback.

Something went wrong, please try again later.

This resource hasn't been reviewed yet

To ensure quality for our reviews, only customers who have purchased this resource can review it

Report this resource to let us know if it violates our terms and conditions. Our customer service team will review your report and will be in touch.

Not quite what you were looking for? Search by keyword to find the right resource:

COMMENTS

  1. Market research

    Market research is the act of gathering important information about the needs and preferences of people who might use a product; and information about similar existing products.

  2. Market research Facts for Kids

    Market research is a way of getting an overview of consumers' wants, needs and beliefs. It can also involve discovering how they act. The research can be used to determine how a product could be marketed. Peter Drucker believed market research to be the quintessence of marketing. Market research is a way that producers and the marketplace study ...

  3. Market Research

    Market Research - Full Lesson. Subject: Business and finance. Age range: 14-16. Resource type: Lesson (complete) File previews. zip, 12.86 MB. Students should be able to identify the meaning of 'market research' and be able to explain what is meant by quantitative and qualitative research and data. Each activity aims to give students a ...

  4. Market research

    Methods of market research - primary research; Methods of market research - secondary research; Market research: qualitative and quantitative data; Gathering market research data from social media

  5. Market research What is market research?

    Market research. provides information about: the market itself (size and make-up - i.e. age, gender, income, tastes) customer feedback. promotional methods. sales data. competitors. effect of ...

  6. Market research

    This 11 lesson bundle covers: 5.1 Identifying and understanding customers 5.2 Segmentation 5.3 The purpose and methods of market research 5.4 The elements of the marketing mix - 8 lessons Filled with real life examples, case studies, questions and modelled answers to improve exam practice. All you need - open the powerpoint, run through it, and ...

  7. What is Market Research? Definition, Types, Process ...

    Market research is defined as the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data about a specific market, industry, or consumer segment. It involves studying customers, competitors, and market dynamics to identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and make informed business decisions. Market research provides valuable insights into ...

  8. Primary and Secondary Market Research Lesson

    Subject: Business and finance. Age range: 11-14. Resource type: Lesson (complete) File previews. pptx, 98.53 KB. Market research lessons with worksheets attached. Can be used over 2/3 hour lessons. Can also be used for homework. Students loved spending time researching and sharing answers with the rest of the class.

  9. Market research

    Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets and customers: know about them, starting with who they are. It is an important component of business strategy and a major factor in maintaining competitiveness. Market research helps to identify and analyze the needs of the market, the market size and the competition.

  10. Marketing research

    Market Research for a New Business (Revision Presentation) Teaching PowerPoints. Research & Development & New Products Study Notes. Marketing Planning (Overview) Study Notes. Marketing: Primary Market Research (GCSE) Study Notes. Marketing: Quantitative and Qualitative Research (GCSE) ...

  11. 33 Top "Market Research" Teaching Resources curated for you

    Explore more than 33 "Market Research" resources for teachers, parents and pupils as well as related resources on "What Is Market Research ". Instant access to inspirational lesson plans, schemes of work, assessment, interactive activities, resource packs, PowerPoints, teaching ideas at Twinkl!

  12. How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example

    Market research is the process of assessing the viability of a new good or service through research conducted directly with the consumer which allows a company to ...

  13. Methods of market research

    Primary research can be carried out in a number of different ways, for example surveys, questionnaires, focus groups or observations. A questionnaire is a set of questions to find out customers ...

  14. What is Market Research

    In this video, we will explore What is Market ResearchMarket research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets or customers. Market ...

  15. How to Do Market Research: The Complete Guide

    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.

  16. Market research Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of MARKET RESEARCH is research into the size, location, and makeup of a product market.

  17. Market Research for a New Business (Revision Presentation)

    Secondary research. Quantitative research. Qualitative research. Marketing research. Primary research. This revision presentation provides an overview of the main methods by which a new business can research its target market and gain a better understanding of the needs and wants of target customers.

  18. Market research

    Market research close market research Market research is the process of collecting information about the market or what customers want that might help a business to be more successful and spot ...

  19. Market Research

    Market Research. Subject: Business and finance. Age range: 14-16. Resource type: Other. File previews. pptx, 3.38 MB. Btec Business Sub/Ext Diploma Unit 10. (Some documents may include elements taken from other 'free' sources e.g. TES) Creative Commons "Sharealike".

  20. 70 Top "Dt Market Research" Teaching Resources curated for you

    Explore more than 70 "Dt Market Research" resources for teachers, parents and pupils as well as related resources on "What Is Market Research ". Instant access to inspirational lesson plans, schemes of work, assessment, interactive activities, resource packs, PowerPoints, teaching ideas at Twinkl!

  21. Market Research

    Lesson 2 of 3 of marketing research. In this lesson the PPT covers more in-depth examples of primary research and looks at the pros and cons of secondary research. There are various tasks in the lesson to help keep students engaged. I have also included a detailed worksheet on market research and a separate answer sheet for the worksheet.