The right marketing research tool is needed to ensure that every marketing campaign reaches its target. It allows teams and businesses to gain valuable insight from their potential market. Without it, you risk missing your targets or even doom your entire marketing campaign to failure before even starting.
Conducting market research can be classified into two: primary and secondary. In the primary research, researchers gather the data directly from the source–requiring them to connect with consumers and responders. In secondary research, data previously gathered by other parties are collected and reassessed for your company’s research.
Although surveys remain the most popular market research tool, other choices can help you gather the information to guide your campaigns. Here are four marketing research methods definitely worth the try:
1. Personal Interviews
Personal interviews are usually skipped in favor of surveys because of costs and convenience. Generally, doing personal interviews is more resource-intensive compared to conducting surveys. It can be conducted at places such as the mall or grocery. Similarly, researchers can also do this on the streets or at home.
This research method is a highly recommended marketing research method, mainly if the product or service caters to a specialized market segment. Conducting one-on-one interviews with consumers allows researchers to understand the customer’s attitudes and thoughts regarding a product. Similarly, it offers the opportunity for the interviewee to examine the product closer, seeing, feeling, smelling, or tasting it.
Some personal interviews are scheduled, so time is not necessarily a problem. Particular discussions take longer depending on the information needed by the marketing researchers.
2. Social Media Listening
Now that going digital has become an integral part of everyday life; social media listening has become an accessible and invaluable strategy that guides modern marketing campaigns. The importance of marketing research is that it helps businesses make informed business decisions from reliable data. Social media serves as an extension for people where they freely express their thoughts and opinion.
There is a lot of information available across different social media platforms, and the challenge for researchers is identifying the suitable sources and filtering only those they need. Social listening tools allow people to find traffic regarding specific topics. Researchers can use these tools to examine a brand’s reach based on mentions and the use of relevant hashtags. Additionally, they can also use it to investigate trends about a topic such as clothing items or food.
One trait of social media information is that it is raw and unfiltered. People using these platforms share and post content to express and inform friends and family. Meanwhile, other methods like interviews and surveys are done considering the presence of an interviewer or researcher who sees their responses.
3. Field Trial
As a marketing research method, field trials and product experiments are built on controlled and uncontrolled factors. Researchers conduct the trial, exercising specific control over the product, to see how the public or the target market will respond. A field trial is an excellent research method to verify causality or whether one thing could lead to another. For products, this may be in the product packaging or serving sizes.
Field trials can be conducted overtly where people see the researchers behind the project, knowing that it is a part of a research effort. It can also be done covertly, integrating the test product into a natural surrounding with the researchers not readily visible or available.
Testing the product in a natural participants’ environment makes it easier to recreate or observe consumer behavior in real-life settings. This advantage sets a field trial apart from lab reviews or blind tests. However, replicating results or research conditions is difficult for future studies since the location is mainly uncontrolled.
4. Competitive Analysis
Unlike most market research methods that interact with the client, a competitive analysis focuses on understanding competitors. This specific and strategic approach involves studying market competitors, usually covering product specifications, marketing strategies, and their historical market data.
By understanding how other businesses work, your business can identify unique opportunities in the market your company and your product can fill. A competitive analysis also offers insight into possible marketing strategies from opponents that you can build upon for your campaigns and efforts.
Lastly, data from studying competitors provide information about the status quo for the particular market segment you’re serving and a benchmark to measure your efforts.
Try Alternative Marketing Research Methods
Learning about other marketing research methods helps marketing professionals and business decision-makers understand how they can benefit from trying them. Still, it is essential to recognize that these approaches have advantages and disadvantages, making them perfect for specific situations and applications.
Aside from those listed above, there are more marketing research methods available. However, the ones listed above can get you started and planning your next marketing campaign. By choosing the right research methods, you get the data that can better inform your decisions.
About the author
Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, marketing, lifestyle and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management and traveling are translated in his works.