A market research survey is one of the most simple and direct avenues that your business can take to obtain information from your current and prospective customers. The purpose of this technique is to obtain data from a segment of your target market so that you will be better informed regarding what they want and expect of your business. It is, in theory, something that can be practiced by any company with the right amount of time, dedication to learning the methods, and willingness to be open to what the customers have to say.
Quantitative Versus Qualitative Market Research Surveys
There are two main kinds of market research surveys: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative market research surveys involve obtaining structured measurements within the market; for example, how many people want…, how many people believe…, how many people would buy…, or how many people saw a promotion.
On the other hand, qualitative market research surveys involve issues that are less defined, such as why a person within your market would believe something or like something that you offer. Typically speaking, this type of survey complements the other. For example, while the quantitative style may tell you what people are buying, the qualitative style can help you to determine why and how important certain factors are to the choice.
Quantitative market research surveys are generally much simpler and more direct in terms of creation and accomplishment. They are performed easily in person, through traditional mail, through email, as a part of your website, or over the telephone. Due to the nature of this technique, everyone who participates will be asked the same question. Any alterations in the question could have a notable impact on the way that the question is answered, so consistency is key.
Qualitative market research surveys involve the exploration of one or several issues with the participants. The questionnaire is not fixed and it is performed by an interviewer with the ability to extract a participant’s views and opinions through the use of a discussion guide. This could occur as a one-on-one interview, or by way of a discussion or focus group. A professional interviewer will behave and speak in a way that will not bias the interview or discussion so that the participants may express themselves using their own opinions and terms.
Samples for Market Research Surveys
The very heart of your market research surveys will be your sample. The sample is made up of the participants who are selected at random from among the people within your target market. The term “random” in this case means that each participant is just as likely to have been selected as any other person within that target market. For example, when using a contact database, to randomly select the sample, you could choose every tenth person on the list.
If you choose not to randomize your sample, then you will need to be careful in selecting your market research surveys sample. This is because you want to ensure that the people who participate are indeed representative of your target market as a whole.
Can You Create Your Own Market Research Surveys?
The main issue that you face in terms of building and using your own market research surveys isn’t that you won’t be able to actually create and distribute the questionnaires or interviews, but is instead that you may not have the knowledge or experience to ensure that the results are accurate and useable. When topics are relatively basic, this might not be an issue, but the more complex the subject matter, the more expertise will be vital. That said, many businesses choose to perform their own market research surveys, starting small and working their way up, so that they can build their own expertise up to a certain level before they need to hire a professional.
The primary steps to performing basic market research surveys are as follows:
- Choose whether you will need qualitative or quantitative market research surveys.
- Decide how you will be reaching the participants in the study.
- Create the questionnaire or the discussion guide (based on whether it is a qualitative or quantitative study).
- Contact the participants and have them complete the questionnaire, or interview them.
- Combine and analyze the results of the market research surveys.
If done properly this form of study can provide you with very useful information to guide your business strategies, product development, sales strategies, promotions, advertising, and other elements of your business.