A Comprehensive Guide to Market Research

Market research isn't a luxury; it's a means of survival for your business—no matter what size it is. It gives you both a bird's-eye view of your industry and a detailed, accurate picture of your place in it—all driven by data, rather than intuition or guesswork. Most importantly, market research allows you to meet your target market right where they are and speak to them as they want to be spoken to. And that's the bedrock of good business.

Chapters

Introduction to Market Research

The term "market research" describes the whole collection of strategies used to gather information about your target market, your industry, and your business: It answers virtually every question you might ask concerning these things. Learn in detail what it entails, what its benefits are, and when to conduct it. 

Conducting a Situation Analysis: The SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a type of situation analysis that asks you to identify your business' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats—giving you a broad sense of where you stand, and ultimately, helping you home in on a topic for your market research. Learn how to conduct a powerful SWOT.

Using Your SWOT Analysis to Drive Your Market Research

The term "market research" research describes the whole collection of strategies used to gather information about your target market, your industry, and your business: It answers virtually every question you might ask concerning these things. Learn in detail what it entails, what its benefits are, and when to conduct it.

Conducting Competitor Research 

You know as well as we do how crucial it is to know your competition intimately: How can you make decisions without understanding the broader realm in which your business operates? Learn how to identify both direct and indirect competitors... and where to go to find out as much as you can about how they operate.

Resource List for Secondary Market Research

Secondary market research is already-existing market data compiled by entities such as trade associations, government agencies, and chambers of commerce. It will help you discover things like market saturation, consumer behavior, demographic characteristics, economic conditions, and much more. Know where to look.

Conducting Primary Market Research

Now it's time to drill down into your particular offering, and your particular market segment. Primary market research is a group of methods that let you get information directly from the source: your prospects and customers. Learn the leading methods, how to choose which one is right for you, and how to select the right participants.

Creating a Killer Market Research Survey

We don't have to tell you that consumers have strong opinions. Market research surveys give them a formal channel through which to express them. Learn about available channels for survey distribution, the difference between qualitative and quantitative questions, best practices for surveys, and how to analyze the results.

Using In-Depth Interviews and Focus Groups for Your Market Research

While surveys are primarily useful for quantitative research, interviews and focus groups will get you deep, qualitative insights about your market—the juicy, subjective, emotional "data." Learn the advantages of these two methodologies, when to choose an interview (and when to choose focus group), and how to prepare for them.

Best Practices for Moderating and Analyzing Interviews and Focus Groups

When conducting interviews and focus groups for your market research, you'll be working within a time constraint. How do you make the most of that brief—but crucial—encounter with representatives of your target market? Here are strategies for facilitating the conversation and for analyzing the experience afterward.

Conducting Observational Research for Your Business

Observational research refers to the wide range of methods used to collect information on your market by "watching" consumers act in natural or contrived environments. It measures behavioral data directly and unobtrusively. Learn about the available types of observational research to determine the best method for your business.