Today, market research surveys are bigger than they ever were, being tools that help businesses lead with valuable insights. Well-performed market research keeps businesses ahead of the curve and ensures long-term success.
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“The world is fast-changing, and until you learn to adapt and adjust to standing out from the masses, you will fade into oblivion.”
This statement by Kelvin Clive, the author of The Art of Personal Branding, stands true in the
market research sphere. In other words, your customers expect you to change with them.
As a brand, you can’t continue doing what you’ve always done without identifying your customers’ expectations and analyzing your competition unless you want to fall behind.
Understand this with the example of Kodak- They were a major player in photography for decades but refused to evolve even at the peak of digital photography. On the other hand, its biggest competition- Fujifilm, looked for ways to apply its expertise in film to the technology of the new millennium instead.
This is why you need market research- to decide what you need to do by learning what you need to know.
This article will introduce you to market research, its types, and its purposes and also take you through a step-by-step process of creating market research surveys. Let’s get started.
By definition, a survey for market research is a questionnaire that organizations use to evaluate and gather feedback from a target audience.
As a qualitative research method, market research allows researchers to get a detailed overview of their customer’s behaviors, preferences, expectations, etc. The data generated through surveys can be easily turned into actionable insights to fuel effective decision-making and ensure success.
Understanding your market, the competition, and the customer’s needs and demands is important as a marketer or business owner. This survey helps you learn why people buy from you, when, and where.
Market research surveys reduce the risk of indecision and failure to meet the target market. Whether you are launching a product, rebranding your company, or entering a market as a startup, market research should not be an afterthought.
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There exist a ton of different types of market research surveys with exquisite use cases. In this section, we’ll take a look at the ones most commonly used by researchers.
Product surveys for market research help organizations understand how their target customers perceive their products or services. They help organizations learn ways in which their product or service meets their target customers’ expectations or ways in which they fall short and could be improved.
These surveys are useful in generating insights that can help in product development or improvement to meet their customers’ expectations.
Here are some examples of product surveys where you can use market research –
Related article: 20 Best Product Survey Questions
Customer satisfaction is one of the most important metrics businesses need to track to ensure success and growth. This is why businesses use customer experience surveys to understand how satisfied the customers are with the brand, product, and service.
A customer experience survey helps businesses identify which of their customers are loyal and leaning forward. It provides insights into what you can do to increase the ranks of this highly profitable group of active customer stakeholders and brand evangelists.
Here are some market research survey examples to gauge customer experience –
Brand surveys help businesses understand how their brand is perceived by customers and positioned compared to other brands in the marketplace and industry.
Not just that, brand surveys help businesses determine whether their brand messaging is optimized, or needs to be revamped. The outcomes of brand surveys are used to gauge and improve brand awareness and boost customer purchase intent.
Here are some examples of brand surveys you can conduct –
Competitor analysis is one factor that influences the success of any organization to a great extent. Each has its own way of taking “notes” or analyzing its competitors.
However, third-party industry reports do not always tell the full story: because it’s the ultimate customers who determine what the competitive landscape looks like.
This is why you should use competitor analysis surveys which help you connect directly with your target customers. The data enables you to understand how customers perceive your competitors. It also helps you gain insights into their preferences before, during, and after a purchase.
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Market research surveys become really important when an organization is taking a new initiative or launching a new product/service. We have compiled use cases where you can leverage market research.
Let’s dive into each of these use cases in more detail:
A market research survey can help an organization understand and evaluate existing and prospective customers. It allows you to gauge why the customers have chosen your products/services and the prospects have not yet made a purchase. This enables you to do structured market segmentation and analysis.
Get information about factors such as market size, and demographic information such as age, gender, family income, etc. to lay out a roadmap by considering the growth rate of the market, positioning, and average market share.
How does a customer decide on making a purchase? What are the factors that convert product awareness into sales? This type of survey in market research will unveil awareness, information, free trial, purchase, and repeat.
Take the time to understand the purchase behavior to uncover the purchase intent. This will help you identify drivers of purchase decisions and help you capitalize upon them.
Survey data can help you build a buyer persona. By gathering data about customer preferences, inclinations, and drivers of purchasing a product directly from customers you can build targeted personas. These personas can help you personalize the marketing messages and offers to influence customer decisions.
What is the degree of loyalty that the customers have towards an organization? The answer to this question can help you shape your marketing strategies and make effective decisions.
Customer loyalty surveys such as NPS® can help you recognize the brand advocates and detractors, allowing you to take actions appropriate for each segment.
Market research surveys can help you understand if the feature idea or concept is worth the investment. The data can help you validate your concepts and also understand what other opportunities you have in the market.
Surveying your customers will help you identify the demands, needs, and wants of the target market. This will help your product development team shape their action plan and enhance the offering.
Healthy competition is always good for an organization’s progress. Market surveys will produce results about how the target market weighs the organization’s products/services in comparison to the others in the market. It will give you insight into where you stand in comparison to your competitors.
Affordability of products also is an aspect that impacts a customer’s purchase decision. Price ranges, product variants to cater to multiple price ranges, target customers for each of the products, etc.
Leverage surveys to assess pricing models of your new/updated products or services. The data helps you understand which pricing model meets the need of different segments.
Good customer service can lead to enhanced satisfaction levels among customers. Factors such as time taken to resolve issues, the scope of improvement, and best practices of customer service. Hear directly from your audience where your customer service is failing. Use the opportunity to enhance the services and build stronger relationships.
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Assuming that your customers will love your new product or latest update can lead to massive failures. Skipping an evaluation of the target market or doing poor research are some reasons why your launch campaign is failing to meet the target.
When you are launching a product or the latest update market research surveys will help you uncover the true potential and identify the prospective customers. The research will help you better position the product and build effective marketing strategies.
Here are two reasons why your product launches may be failing –
Research is an afterthought:
The rush of launching a product often results in marketers forgetting about buyer personas, target market, and customer demands. This results in a lack of effective marketing strategies and misaligned offerings.
Lack of data on customer demands:
No understanding of customer demands can hurt the company’s growth. If the product does well in the market and demand takes, it will lead to longer waiting for the product or a decline in product quality.
This brings us to our list of five ways to use surveys for market research to ensure a successful product launch.
You probably have an idea about who belongs to your target market. However, an idea would need insightful data to back it up. Identifying your target market will allow you to create personalized marketing strategies and help offer consumers the right products.
Create a market research survey to gather demographic and behavioral data. Demographic data will help you learn about the different types of customers and create a basis for the buyer persona. While the behavioral survey will help you uncover the customers’ lifestyles to help you understand how your product will fit in.
Don’t create a long survey. Add relevant questions that will help you understand if your respondent will be interested in your product.
Use a robust market research tool that can help you route respondents based on their answers. This will help you eliminate customers who don’t fit your target market.
A pet product? Qualify respondents with pets. An android phone app? Qualify respondents who own android phones.
Effective market research broadens your viewpoint and exposes you to fresh market prospects.
For example, by gathering data on consumer preferences, product availability, rate of adoption, and a variety of other characteristics, you may swiftly identify new geographic locations for expansion and evaluate market preparedness for a new product.
Learning about product demand can help you identify the product’s viability and prepare you for post-launch demand. You can gauge the demand using surveys in two steps i) competitor/similar products and ii) your product concept.
You can create the survey in two parts based on these two criteria. Start by understanding how interested your customers are in the product idea. Do this by learning about their experience and satisfaction with competitors’ products.
In the next part, present your concept and ask their opinions. Understand how likely they are to consider buying your product to replace the ones they are using.
You can also learn from customers their reasons for favoring or not favoring the product concept.
Doing business without doing market research is analogous to sailing without a compass.
Successful research serves as a catalyst for risk reduction by discovering possibilities, improving confidence, and offering an objective viewpoint to boost business growth. And, equipped with information, you may take even more essential risks to build your firm.
A survey will also help gauge the respondents’ willingness to pay for the product. Ask customers what price they would consider the product being worth the money. Understand the different price models for different segments to plan your product pricing and positioning.
Businesses worldwide are experiencing difficulties with new market entrants, dramatically increasing the chances of losing market share and total revenue.
Businesses do extensive market research on their target markets by researching customer demographics, historical sales data, and organizations that are performing successfully to determine their market position.
This is one of the many ways you can stay informed, gain market intelligence, and boost market share.
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Creating a survey is very easy. These days, there is a myriad of market research tools that help you build surveys for market research. You can conduct an online, telephone, or offline survey.
All you’ve to do is rigorous research- to find one platform that suits your research needs. Once you choose the right platform, you’re all set to create a survey for market research on your own.
Most often, the research starts in the hope of resolving a problem. Understand the problem to diagnose the reason and develop an effective solution.
Why are the sales not growing? What’s stopping customers from booking your hotel/restaurant?
Translate your problem into a research question. Now that you have a question identify the gap between experience and expectation of the target market.
Defining the research problem will enable you to uncover why it is occurring and how you can resolve it.
Research design is how you plan to conduct your market research surveys to collect data. There are three types of research design – exploratory, descriptive and causal.
Exploratory research design –
This research design assists you in uncovering audience opinions about a particular topic. It helps you gather valuable insights into the driving factors of the issues.
Read more on exploratory research design.
Descriptive research design –
Using a quantitative data collection method, this research design helps you define the management or business problems. It enables you to evaluate product/service performance and capture target audiences’ behavior to understand the market landscape.
Read more on descriptive research design.
Causal research design –
In a market research survey, this research design helps you explore and understand the existence (or lack of) of cause and effect relationships between variables. In business research, it helps you experiment with the impact of various marketing initiatives, product upgrades, or advertisements, in sales.
Read more on causal research design.
You will rarely ever survey the entire population. It is not only time-consuming but also expensive. The practical solution is to create a sample that accurately represents your bigger target population.
Here are three simple steps to create your ideal market research panel.
→ Define your base population: Establish and define the characteristics that qualify the respondents as the target audience for your survey. For example, if your survey questions are about baby food, the ideal sample would consist of caretakers.
→ Select sample: Use probability or non-probability sampling methods to narrow down the ideal respondents.
→ Calculate sample size: Large sample size reduces sampling error and helps gather highly representative data.
You can also use an online survey panel to create your ideal sample. Voxco Audience offers access to 10M respondents and over 90+ data profiling points so you can gather high-quality data firsthand.
Now that you have established your research problem and defined the target sample start writing survey questions. The questions should be precise and focused on the research problem. Use a combination of various question types to make your market research survey interactive and engaging.
[Read more on: How to Write Good Survey Questions?]
Survey testing is an important step in conducting a survey. While it may seem time-consuming, soft launching a survey helps you mitigate the risk of creating a bad survey experience.
Test your survey to ensure question clarity, avoid typos, refine skip logic, and more. Select an online survey software that allows you to soft launch your surveys across multiple channels.
The sixth step in conducting surveys for market research includes selecting the channels to gather data. With the enhancement of survey software, you can run research through online, telephone, and offline channels.
You can use online channels, such as email, SMS, website, and social media platforms, to share your survey across a diverse audience. Online channels allow respondents to take the survey in their own time and integrate the data as soon as they respond.
Telephone surveys allow you to gather data instantly by dialing up the audience when you want to conduct the survey. Offline surveys enable you to engage the audience in a face-to-face conversation and gather data without the internet.
[Related read: Complementing Online Surveys with Offline Interviews.]
Once you have gathered your survey data, use statistical analysis methods to turn those data into insights. With statistical analysis, you can uncover patterns and hidden insights. You can also provide content to your action plan and validate marketing strategies.
Here are some of the common statistical analysis functionalities your market research tool should provide:
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All the valuable insights that you need to improve your product, service, or brand are hidden in your customer’s experience. If only you ask in the right way, it becomes easier to get those insights. This is why the surveys for market research must be created carefully, with the right set of questions, and a theme resonating with your brand.
A good survey can lead to volumes of useful insights!
Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.
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