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Specialised Techniques of Marketing Research
While there are many ways to perform market research, most businesses use one or more of five basic methods: surveys, focus groups, personal interviews, observation, and field trials.
You can choose different techniques and tools depending on the type of data you need, and how much money and time you’re willing to spend.
Traditional specialised techniques of marketing research are based on physical store activities and in-person interactions. They aren’t suitable in a post COVID-19 world, and they’re outdated given that marketing and sales are now largely done online.
Here are the 5 specialised techniques of marketing research, modified by jacoi for today’s consumer landscape.
1. Surveys for market research
With short and simple surveys, you can analyze a sample group that represents your target market. The larger your sample size, the more accurate your results will be.
- In-person surveys are one-to-one interviews usually conducted in high-traffic locations. You can show people samples of products, packaging, or advertising and get their feedback straight away. You can get response rates of over 90%, but this method can be expensive.
- Telephone surveys are cheaper than in-person surveys, but more expensive than mail. Convincing people to respond has grown increasingly difficult. Telephone surveys generally achieve response rates of less than 60%.
- Mail and email surveys are a comparably cheap way to reach a broad audience. But, you can only expect response rates less than 15%.
- Online surveys usually have unpredictable response rates and unreliable data. It’s hard to have control over the sample of respondents, unless you limit it to group or site membership. But, they’re simple and cheap way to learn about customer opinions and preferences.
If you want advice on where to start, have a look at HubSpot’s guide to Questionnaire Examples, Questions, & Tips .
2. Focus Groups
In focus groups, a group of people has a discussion together with a moderator assisting them using a scripted series of questions or topics. You can expect these sessions to be held in a neutral setting. They’re also recorded on video so you can use them as a future reference. You need at least three groups to get balanced and realistic results.
3. Personal interviews
Personal interviews involve unstructured, open-ended questions. Similarly, they’re usually recorded.
You’ll get more subjective data from interviews than you would from surveys. Consequently, your results aren’t statistically reliable because they don’t represent a large sample of the population. Still, you can get valuable insights into customer attitudes. And, it’s a great way discover issues related to new products or services.
What people say in surveys, interviews and focus groups can be different with what they actually do. So, it’s a good idea to observe consumers in action as well. Record their action when browsing, as well as their how they buy or use a product. Traditionally, marketers do this in shops. But, we recommend looking for online methods. You’ll get a more accurate view of the usage habits and shopping behaviour of your target customers.
5. Field Trials
You can conduct field trials by placing a new product in selected online sales platforms or physical stores. Use these trials to record customer responses under real-life selling situations. It’ll help you make product changes, modify prices, or improve content or packaging.
Marketing Research Overview
What is market research and how do specialised techniques of marketing research fit in? Read on to find out more. In this section, we will start with an introduction to market research, and then explore types of market research. This is important for all markets, not just for plant-based or vegan marketing!
An introduction to market research
Market Research is the process of collecting information about a target audience or market. The main purpose of market research is to provide a business with deep and rich view of consumers and how to satisfy their needs better. If you want to compete with other players in your market, market research is vital. It helps you work out things like market size, competition and market needs.
Market research helps you use analytical and statistical techniques and methods to gather and understand information in an organized way. You process should also include opinion and social research because things are often more complex than what you can learn from simple numbers nowadays! You can’t just rely on your ‘gut-feeling’ to help you make decisions and track your results, and that’s why market research is necessary.
This is especially important in tricky markets, like when you’re competing for plant-based consumer behaviour.
What should you investigate through market research?
Market research is a method you can use to get an idea of the needs of customers. Some of the factors that you can investigate through this process include:
- Market Trends: Trends in the market are the movements of a market over a period of time. Be careful to look at the long term trends, not just the short term or viral movements. At jacoi, we follow trends in the vegan market for example.
- Market Segmentation: When you look at your market, you’ll be able to divide it into into subgroups that have similar features. This is market segmentation. It will help you create a distinction between demographics, personalities, choices, and other characteristics of your target consumers.
- Price Information: Collect information about the prices of different products available in the market. Try to understand why prices differ too. Your pricing research will help you with your pricing decisions and help you figure out if your products or services can be profitable.
- SWOT Analysis: Here’s where you step back from each individual consideration to identify the overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you’re facing in the market.
- Marketing Effectiveness: Marketing effectiveness is about how well y0ur marketing strategies increase revenue while decreasing the costs of customer acquisition. For example, you may want to look at indicators like conversion rates and cost per click, for example.
The Benefits of Market Research
Does it all sound too hard? Don’t worry. You’re not alone! When you’re considering specialized techniques, market research can seem daunting. But it’s worth it! Here are some of the benefits you could enjoy:
- Finding opportunities: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market research is that you can find new market opportunities to tap into. For example, you can find out if your product is suitable for the audience you have targeted while also identifying a whole extra potential group of consumers in the process.
- Encouraging engagement: Market research helps you identify the best ways you can communicate with your customers. Once you get your results, you’ll know the nature of your audience nature, including their personalities, likes, dislikes, etc. and this makes it easier to know how to reach out to them in a way that will get them to engage with you.
- Minimize your risks: Another major benefit of market research is that it will help you identify actions you can take to minimize your risks. For example, you might realise that you can add certain features to your offering so you appeal to a larger number of people or in different seasons. That way, you could decrease the chances of your sales falling short.
- Know how to stand out: Every market changes constantly. You need good market research to be able to link with ongoing trends and act to keep pace with customer needs and requirements.
- Avoid epic fail: Your market research activities will help you bring out customer reactions, choices, and preferences. If you see potential problems, you can change your offering. This is especially handy while you’re in a manufacturing or designing process. It is easier to find problems early so you can work on them. Your market research will give you a clear picture of what needs to be fixed!
types of market research
We touched on many types of market research techniques in the section above that deals with specialized techniques of market research. For a bigger picture, you simply need to keep these four categories of market research in mind:
1. Primary Market Research
Primary market research is a kind of marketing research that is done by the business or their representative directly. It aims to gather information that can be used to improve the products, services, and functions. It’s also known as field research since you’re doing the research ‘from scratch’, instead of usng information that is already made available through other sources. You can gather primary data or information through qualitative research methods as well as quantitative research methods. This is the most common and valuable type of market research. You can use this method to answer specific questions and avoid getting caught up in irrelevant issues.
2. Secondary Market Research
In contrast with primary market research, secondary market research is a research technique uses information that is already available from multiple sources instead of creating it from scratch. You’re doing this type of market research when you focus on free or paid information that was collected by other people. Secondary market research can include many different sources like government data, media/news agencies, Google statistics, and others. Secondary market research usually costs less and takes a lot less time, which has its benefits.
3. Qualitative Research
Qualitative market research mainly takes into account the feelings and opinions of a customer as far as a business’s products and services are concerned. You’re trying to get into the customer’s mind to understand what they see is lacking, if they like or don’t like your offering, and why. Face to face interviews and focus groups are common examples of qualitative research work.
4. Quantitative Research
When you’re talking about quantitative market research, you’re talking about hard facts and statistical data rather than the feelings and opinions of consumers. You’ll find this type of market research is useful for both primary market research and secondary market research. For example, you could do exit surveys and questionnaires. You can get a a wide range of statistics and you’ll find that it helps you figure out the size of your market as well.
B2B Marketing Surveys
What are B2B Marketing Surveys and how do they fit into a vegan marketing strategy? Read on to find out more. Let’s get information and sales opportunities at the same time!
B2B stands for “business to business”. Common types of B2B marketing surveys include: industry information or market analysis, lead generation, content polls, benchmarking, customer surveys and competition surveys.
The main purpose of this type of market research is to understand business players in your market. Given their view of the market, what are they seeing? What are they willing to pay for your types of products or services? How do they decide to buy? Who is the decision maker?
B2B surveys are usually done by a third party, like jacoi. Why? Because business owners and managers will generally be more comforable speaking freely about their decision processes or your business to another person than they will if they’re faced directly by you!
In the past, this type of market research included large samples. Nowadays, many people have ‘survey fatigue’ and resist online or email polls. So, we recommend deep-dive interviews over voice or video rather than spammy emails and cheesy social media polls.
Have a look at our of B2B Marketing Survey service overview for more information about the methods we recommend.
Marketing Research Mistakes to Avoid
Now you’ve learned about specialised techniques of marketing research and we’ve recapped marketing research more broadly, it’s time for a reminder about common mistakes!
Be brave. Don’t do nothing because you don’t feel like you have done every type of research possible. Marketing is about planning and research, but it’s also about learning through experience. Do enough research to have a plan and manage your risks, but then go get ’em tiger!
assuming you're starting from scratch
Yes, a new market like vegan plant based consumers might seem different. But it doesn’t mean that work you’ve done before and relationships you have are automatically worthless. Before you start with a blank canvas, consider if a ‘pivot’ or extension to your existing strategy could work even better.
You may feel like you need to look professional at all times, but sometimes the market responds to authenticity and vulnerability really well. For example, reach out to a coach (*cough* oh hi! contact us!) to chat for an hour. Save time from their experience and get new ideas in the process. Also, consider reaching out to the market to ask them what they want!
Doing only secondary market research
You need to avoid avoid making the mistake of doing only secondary research and neglecting primary market research when you’re doing market research. Yes, secondary research is important and can save you time. But, primary research can give you a fresh perspective on your market. You’ll really get to know things like customer’s values, psychology, attitudes, lifestyle and interests when you do primary market research.
Doing only primary market research
If you only do primary market research, you’re making another common mistake. It’s easy for you to spend so much time on primary research that you forget that using secondary sources for data could also be useful and save you time. Importantly, it’s important that we all make it a point to do a little bit of both types of research so we can make decisions using the benefits of both.
only using the web for research
Yes, the internet is the greatest database for a wide variety of information. Apps are too. But, you could be making a big mistake if you just rely on it and nothing else for your market research. After all, we all know that the internet doesn’t always offer reliable sources and complete information! Make it a point to try out other sources as well. Think about contacting government sources and industry associations, for example.
Everyone can fall into the trap of seeing what they want to see, but you just cannot afford to have tunnel vision if you’re in business. Don’t make the common mistake ok remaining in your ‘box’ and not seeing what’s outside it. Yes, make the effort to think outside the box at the bigger picture. Extend your vision, learn more and then apply your new knowledge to attract as many people as you can from different parts of the wider market.
Not identifying your target audience
If you don’t identify your target audience, you’re at risk of having your products, services, and business fail. You may find it easy to tap the potential customers for certain offerings, but it can be hard to find who your real audience is for others. Food products like vegan or plant-based ones are an example. They’re difficult, but they’re not impossible to identify your target market. Find out who your target audience is and then focus your marketing towards them in particular.
Not giving consumers an incentive to communicate with you
Consumers are clever and you need to give them benefits if you want to attract them. If you ask them to respond to a survey without giving them any incentive, you could be making a big mistake. In contrast, offering consumers a voucher or other incentive for their time could give you a better chance at getting their attention and input.
What are the 4 types of marketing research?
The common types of market research techniques include surveys (most common), interviews (most insightful), focus groups (most dangerous), and customer observation (most powerful).
What are the two main approaches to marketing in consumer research methodology?
There are two main types of marketing research: Quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research usually includes phone, mail, Internet or in-person interviews. There are two main types of qualitative research: Focus groups and one-on-ones.
What are the major methods of doing primary research?
- Postal or email surveys
- Telephone interviews
- Online surveys
- Face-to-face surveys
- Focus groups
- Test marketing
What are the features of marketing research?
The key characteristics or features of marketing research are as follows:
- Wide and comprehensive scope
- Systematic and scientific
- Collects and analyzes data
- Continuous and dynamic process
- Tool for decision-making
- Benefits company and consumers
- Similar to military intelligence
- Uses different methods
What are the 7 steps in marketing research?
- Identification and Defining the Problem
- Statement of Research Objectives
- Planning the Research Design or Designing the Research Study
- Planning the Sample
- Data Collection
- Data Processing and Analysis
- Formulating Conclusion, Preparing and Presenting the Report
What are the objectives of marketing research?
The main objective of marketing research is to identify the needs, wants and demands of the target customer, so that the firm can introduce changes in the product or service according to the key requirements. It is this quality of product or service that helps to create brand loyalty of the customer toward the brand.
More To Explore
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