Companies carry out Market Research to gather and analyse data to understand and explain what people think about products or adverts, to find out about customer satisfaction and to predict how customers might respond to a new product on the market.
Market Research can be categorized under two subheadings – Quantitative Research and Qualitative Research. The questions asked with Quantitative Research are structured whereas Qualitative Research questions are much more open and can often reveal consumption habits which the researchers hadn't previously considered. You carry out Quantitative Research when you need to know how many people have certain habits and the Qualitative Research when you need to know why and how people do what they do.
Companies involved in Market Research include the Research Buyer and the Research Agency. The research agency carries out the market research in ways previously discussed with their clients – the research buyer. Sometimes companies only need their own data analysed, or are simply looking for advice on how to carry out their own research. Points that are discussed between the two parties can include:
- The time duration of the research
- The budget available
- Who the target groups are
- Predictions of results
- How the results will be helpful
- Street Surveys - stopping people in the street
- Phone or postal - people fill in questionnaires and send them back
- Internet surveys - a relatively new technique which functions in a similar way to other surveys except that a large number of people are interviewed at the same time
- Am I asking the right groups of people?
- How many people should I speak to in order to get representative answers to my questions?
- Are my questions easy to understand?
- How am I going to analyse the data?
- Focus groups - discussion between a small number of people about a product, or advert etc. to find out their views or habits
- Personal interviews - in-depth discussions on a one-to-one basis
- CAPI - computer assisted personal interviewing where questions are ‘asked’ by the computer and the answers are typed by the interviewee directly into the database for analysis
- Observation - this can be used as a complement to asking questions to see how people do what they do
- Are my questions open enough to get personalized answers?
- Have I restricted my target group?
- Do I only need to find out ‘why’ people do what they do or should I also do some quantitative research?