Market Research is the scientific study of the buying behavior of selected groups of people over a period of time, usually over a number of days. Market Research is the analysis of buying patterns, preferences, decisions, behavior and feelings of the market participants. Market Research can be done by any of the following methods. Surveys of consumer opinions: This is the best method, since it is relatively inexpensive and time consuming. The primary benefit of surveys is that they are representative of actual buying behavior from large numbers of people.
Direct observation: Market observation refers to the process of directly watching or hearing about the product or service and asking questions about it. Direct observation also enables the researcher to determine the attitudes, beliefs, purchasing tendencies and buying experiences of the market participants. An important limitation of direct observation is that it is not very reliable for large-scale purchases like advertising. This method of market research methods is often used by marketing research agencies to understand the buying pattern of large companies.
One-to-one interviews: This is another market research example which uses group discussion and one-to-one interviews to collect valuable information. In one-to-one interviews, one interviewee gives his/her opinion about the product or service and the interviewer asks questions about what he/she thinks. These types of interviews are more effective than direct observations. However, they are also very expensive. Moreover, it is difficult to conduct a one-to-one interview with a large number of people, since everyone would want to participate. A more appropriate market research example is a panel of experts who are asked to suggest solutions to a particular problem.
Panel discussions: There is one major limitation of panel discussions: not all participants have the same understanding of the subject. Sometimes, people in the group do not agree on the direction of the discussion. Thus, it becomes more difficult to collect relevant data from such conversations. One-to-one interviews are more effective for this type of market research methods because not all participants participate in the discussions.
User personas: User personas are interviews designed to identify the characteristics and preferences of potential consumers. They are more effective market research examples when done with more than two participants. With more than two users, the ability to make inferences based on the responses of each user persona becomes more powerful. Furthermore, conducting an interview with more than two users allows each user to provide feedback on the product or service offered, and allows researchers to combine the data collected from these persons to make more reliable estimates about the real-user behavior.
Surveys: The traditional form of market research includes long-term surveys which provide information on consumer behavior over a longer period of time. These types of surveys are now being replaced by online surveys, which allow researchers to obtain and compile much more data in a shorter period of time. The online surveys allow greater flexibility for data collection and allow respondents to answer questions at their own pace. When conducting market research through interviews, data collection and analysis take longer and can be more expensive than with online surveys.