Primary market research is a customized research technique to pull data directly from the sources or potential customers of a company. The research employs techniques like – surveys, interviews, field tests, observation, and so on. Primary market research aims to collect customer feedback from every aspect: socially, emotionally, culturally, rationally, economically, etc. To name a few, it aids in probing deep into specific areas of business, evaluates the demand for both new and existing products and services, analyzing improvement areas and more drawing compact inferences.
Based on statistical methodologies, primary research proves to be very effective for a new product launch. You can conduct the primary research yourself if you equip yourself with the required tools, workforce, and deeper understanding in the area. However, it is always better to hire a market research company to do it for you to fetch accurate results.
Why Primary Research
- Collecting highly customized and specific information Primary research helps to investigate the deeper issues of a company based on the requirements of the business.
- Tailor-made approach The procedure in primary research can be controlled and customized according to the needs of the company.
- Looking into targeted problem areas The research method is streamlined to fit the business interest and limited to it. It addresses specific matters.
- Better Data Interpretation The targeted approach leads to a better data evaluation in lesser time.
Why Does a Company Need Primary Research?
- Validating a product idea
- Evaluating the need for the product among the consumers
- Identifying potential customers who are ready to buy the product
- Examining the problem statement in the business
- Understanding the customer pain points, preferences, their buying patterns
- Gauging new markets and recognizing areas of expansion
- Setting business goals, targets, and objectives
- Informed decision making in favor of the products and services.
Types of Primary Research
Exploratory research is an unstructured interview that helps to gather general feelings surrounding your product and services. Here a small group of respondents answers open-ended questions. It helps in determining whether to launch a new product. Specific research examines the pattern of the outcome of exploratory research.
Methods and Techniques of Primary Research
Market Research Survey
Surveys are widely used in market research. Surveys range from a small feedback form to an extensive web survey. It gives out a useful result when:
- You need quantitative data
- You are examining something specific
- You have a vast sample size
- You already have the target group to address
Surveys can be conducted to measure employee or consumer behavior, price research, collecting facts and figures, etc. through the following tools:
- In-person Interviews Discussing in-person and getting the data from the respondents brings out the most effective result. It is instrumental when gathering data in sensitive matters.
- Telephone Interviews (CATI) It is challenging to differentiate the bona fide telephone survey from the telemarketing calls; therefore, the reach is limited. Some respondents are easily accessible, while others are not.
- Email Survey Mailed questionnaires leave the respondents time to think and respond. Also, it reduces the chance of losing the survey papers.
- Online Questionnaires Being the most popular mode of a survey, it can reach the most significant number of people. The survey questionnaire must be designed to fit all devices like computer, tablet, or smartphone. It can be effortlessly saved and used whenever needed making the necessary changes.
Why Most Companies Conduct Surveys?
Surveys are the best tools to collect data from existing potential customers. It helps a company in the following ways:
- Probe into possibilities of expansion
- Analyze the hypothesis surrounding the business
- Gauge customer experience
- Get feedback for existing and new products, and more.
How to Conduct a Survey?
- Identifying the correct target group is crucial to fetch the accurate data.
- Choosing an expert. The providers can tailor the survey to fit your requirements.
- Keeping the survey short and simple helps to get the most rewarding results.
- Analyzing and publishing the result. Therefore, a publication must be kept in mind.
- Preparing a case study, in the end, is a good exercise as it allows you to keep relating to the survey results effectively.
Business Case – Market Research Survey
(Event Council conducted Market Survey to Collect Economic Data and Streamline Improvements)
A Council from Dundee City, Scotland, administers several events on travel, education, healthcare and more in a year. They collect and maintain detailed feedback from every event. For a seamless understanding of feedback, they wanted to keep track of the impact of each event.
The challenge they faced was in the inconsistency of the data – owing to the different questions, or the same questions structured differently. They required more data to serve their purpose. They hired a market research company to design a survey to get consistent data, that guaranteed a trustworthy outcome. The result helped the council to create a benchmark for the economic data leading to a streamlined understanding of the areas of focus and improvement.
Focus group, as the name suggests, is targeted on specific demography, for example, "mothers under 35 with obese", "children under between 8-10 years playing video games more than three hours". Focus group survey is best for qualitative research. When conducted after a survey, focus groups can give a more in-depth insight into the results derived from a study.
Why Companies Conduct a Focus Group Research?
- It's a highly efficient and uncomplicated method of gathering feedback, unlike other quantitative research tools.
- Quick and seamless data collection and analysis process owing to the instant access to the opinions and feedback from customers.
- It identifies the true perception of a customer surrounding the product and service. It helps in the decision-making procedure.
How to Conduct a Focus Group Research?
Focus Groups are interviews which aim to explore the opinion of the customer. The questionnaire and discussion directed towards the focal point of the matter. The moderator guides the conversation in such a way that the participants discuss the given topic from the questionnaire out among themselves.
The discussion rooms have a mirror on the wall on one side, and the observing team would be seated on the other side. Members from the company must sit in the meeting room, along with the researchers, to take important notes from the participants without disturbing them.
While designing the focus group interview, the questions must be such that they stimulate a productive conversation with the respondents. To maximize the insights:
- The questions must be open-ended that cannot be answered with just a "yes" or a "no."
- Repeat the answer of the respondents to ensure a clear understanding of what they are saying
- Put up follow-up questions if necessary
Business Case – Focus Group Research
(IT Organization conducted Research on Focus Group to Identify the Market Trends for New Launches)
An organization dealing with laptops wanted to fathom the feedback of their customers with regard to the dimensions of their upcoming model. At this juncture, they decided to obtain feedback about the market directly from the focus group.
They appointed eight people from their target market to represent the focus group and a mediator to supervise the discussion to reach a constructive inference. The answers to the questions like the customer preferences, features they look into while purchasing a laptop, the latest market trends and some of their previous favorite launches helped the organization to understand the parameters better to incorporate in their new model.
Interviews are like focus group research wherein the individuals from the target group are interviewed, but unlike group discussion, here the moderator questions one participant at a time. The scope of interviews is large depending on the objective.
Questions would be specific, structured, and when necessary loosely ended general topics. The method is very useful when addressing specific matters like customer experience, consumer behavior, their preferences, opinions and attitudes, knowledge and attributes, and so on. The results help in strategic planning, decision making, deep insights in statistical data.
Why Companies Conduct Interviews?
Companies require several data to understand deeply about their product and services. Be it an existing product, or a new launch, interviews are crucial tools to investigate about feelings and perceptions. It has high response rates as the respondents feel less self-conscious and are not influenced by others; doubts can be clarified, follow-up questions be put up.
How to Conduct an Interview?
Planning is the first step. It involves the following stages:
- Planning the demography
- Planning the questionnaire in proper sequence
- Preparing an interview guide
- Place of interview
Once the above steps are done, and the data is collected, it must be analyzed and interpreted to reach the bottom line of the research and to act on it.
Business Case – Interviews
(IT company conducted Inter-Departmental Quantitative Interviews for Better Decision Making)
A renowned IT company conducted quantitative interview research on Polish companies to evaluate the usage of the latest IT technologies. A team of interviewers interviewed 150 respondents in Polish companies across decision-makers from various departments. With the results, the company was able to make key business decisions regarding the IT infrastructure and various sectors of the market related to it.
Field Research and Experiment
Experiments or Field Trials are quantitative research techniques that are conducted in uncontrolled environments and natural settings to test certain variables or hypotheses. Is your product useful? Which demography is more interested in buying your products? Why do you think others are opting out? You may watch your customers in a retail store to get a hint of these questions.
It is a quantitative method of data collection where you can observe and communicate with people in a natural environment. Field research is effective while redesigning a product. You can make a note of the frustrations your customers might have about your existing products and improve on it to build new products.
Why Companies Conduct Field Research and Experiment?
The research outcome is accurate owing to its being in the proximity with the subjects. At the same time, the data is secured as the environment is not monitored by the moderators. It aids in overcoming the lack of data, eventually leading to gain knowledge even in ancillary areas of the products, services, and business.
Business Case – Field Research
(FMCG company Conducted Field research to Analyze Consumer Behavior)
An FMCG company from the United States conducted field research to analyze the consumer preference on oyster from various brands, manufacturing location, and the method of production (aquaculture vs. wild-caught). They used only dichotomous questions which can be answered only as “yes” or “no,” “agree,” or “disagree,” etc.
The result showed a significant difference in behavior between the regular and the first-time oyster consumer. The irregular consumers were more drawn towards wild-caught while regular consumers preferred the aquaculture. The result helped the company choose the method of production based on consumer preference.
Observational research is extensively used in marketing and social sciences. Unlike experimental research in a quasi-artificial setting, observational research involves the observation of certain phenomena in their natural environment. It does not control the factors which bring out the accurate results.
Observational research is conducted in two different ways – either it's a combination of both observation and little interaction or its strict observation. The method measures the real behavior of the selected demography. It is important to market research since people tend to report a certain behavior while in a survey and otherwise behave differently.
Why Companies Conduct Observation Research?
Observation helps companies get actual feedback in terms of behavioral attributes. It allows researchers to find out the popularity of a product, how consumers are using it if there is negative feedback around and rooms for improvements, and most importantly, consumer perceptions. It leads to an informed decision about the product and services.
How to Conduct Observation Research?
- The first step is to identify the need and determine the aspect to observe.
- The mode of recording the data must be decided. The researchers can take notes, audio recordings, photographs, etc., to collect data.
- Develop the questionnaire based on the type of observation – formal observation or informal observation. Formal observation is when the researchers want specific feedback, and informal observation is conducted when the researchers are unsure about what to expect from the respondents.
- Once the questionnaire is designed; the researchers must reach the place and take notes.
- Analyze the behavior and draw an inference to lead the decision and strategy.
Business Case – Observational Research
(An Electronics Company Examined Intuitive Use of Products through Observational Research)
A company dealing with digital camera wanted to observe the intuitive use of products. The researchers provided a test camera to the participants with a mix of features which are common to other cameras, and some were unique to this model. They were asked to use the features and functions in the camera.
As an inference, it was found that previous knowledge of similar features helped the respondents to use them intuitively; however, unfamiliar participants, had to find out the functions which took more time and effort.
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