Using Different Types of Market Reseach

In my previous article about how to connect to customers with the help of customer research insights, I listed some of the key research questions that any business wanting to grow and succeed should ask. But, what market research types do you use?

Here we need to make a distinction between data collection methods and market research types based on analytical approach, which are often confused. Data collection methods differ based on whether we want to conduct quantitative or qualitative research.

Qualitative research, which is exploratory in nature, usually uses data collection methods such as focus groups, triads, dyads, in-depth interviews, uninterrupted observation, bulletin boards, and ethnographic participation/observation.

Quantitative research, which looks to quantify a problem, collects data through surveys in different modalities (online, phone, paper), audits, points of purchase (purchase transactions), and click-streams.

As for types of research, I mean the procedures and methodology used to analyze the data collected, which include market segmentation, product testing, advertising testing, key driver analysis for satisfaction and loyalty, usability testing, awareness and usage research, and pricing research (using techniques such as conjoint analysis), among others.

When to use each of these different types of market research data collection methods and types of research depends on the business issues we are dealing with in one or more of four key areas:

  • Awareness: let the market know that the product or service exists
  • Targeting: reach the target segments with the highest profit potential
  • Acquisition: optimize the marketing message, offer, and price that will close the sale
  • Retention: generate repeat purchases from current customers

The chart below, which we call the Relevant Wheel, shows when it is most appropriate and relevant to conduct different types of research.

Our clients at Relevant Insights often use this chart as a reference to determine when a particular type of research is needed. Once this is defined, we discuss the most appropriate qualitative or quantitative data collection methods.

So next time you wonder what type of research to conduct, I invite you to ask yourself where the particular problem at hand belongs to Awareness, Targeting, Acquisition or Retention and then look at this chart to find the approach that will help you answer the questions posed by the problem. I hope you find it useful.

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