Before releasing a new product or service into the market, market research is necessary to test the viability and increase the probability of achieving the company’s goal. Although many companies might want to skip it, market research is a zero-sum game between customers and businesses: customers can get products and services that fit their needs and desires, while businesses can know better about their potential customers and adjust their strategies to increase sales and get ahead of the competition.
There are two types of market research methods: primary and secondary research. Secondary market research always uses the existing database or market research reports. In this blog article, we are focused on introducing primary market research methods and the tools which are useful for fulfilling the desired outcome.
Focus groups are used as a qualitative research method that enables market researchers to know what their customers are thinking, why they are thinking in a certain way and their opinion on a certain topic.
When using the method of focus groups, the purpose will influence the choice of the best demographic and the questions to be asked during the discussion. Many demographic traits can be considered: gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, postcode, family status, education level, income level, sexual orientation, professional status, and hobbies/interests. After narrowing down the focus group, then it’s time to focus on recruiting participants and leading the discussion.
Choosing the desired focus group is not always an easy task. Here are two tools that can help you:
Hubspot Make My Persona
Hotspot Make My Persona is a tool to create a buyer persona and define potential customers.
Pros: It is free of charge. On this platform, you can generate a buyer persona with demographic traits (age, education, working industry, jobs) and psychographic characteristics (consumption habits).
Cons: The demographic traits are limited in this platform’s available options. Segmentation such as living location and family status is not possible. Therefore, it can help with the primary choice of demographic traits, but further brainstorming is still required.
Claritas MyBestSegment is a tool to identify the audiences that fit the company’s needs and prospects by using custom segmentation, finding lookalike audiences, and customization.
Pros: People can get a snapshot of the targeted audience which is the fittest to a company’s prospects. With primary stats about the targeted group, the time and effort of conducting in-person focus groups can be saved. On their platform, you can find the targeted audiences’ lifestyles, financial situations, how they get along with technology, and buying preferences.
Cons: The free version is limited and researchers need to pay more if they want to dive deep into the segmentation. Furthermore, if you want the study to be more realistic, in-person or online focus groups are still necessary even with the help of this tool.
Conducting a survey is one of the most widely known marketing research methods to gather a large amount of data for later analysis. Compared to a focus group which gives the potential to ask why, and explores mindsets with great detail, conducting surveys focuses more on benchmarking, quantifiable statistics, and measurement. Traditional ways of conducting surveys are making phone calls, asking people to fill out a questionnaire, and sharing questionnaires through emails.
SurveyMonkey is a tool to help with creating surveys and sharing them with potential customers.
Pros: The offered multiple survey templates are a good starting point for market researchers to have a list of survey questions. SurveyMonkey’s market research solutions and services include a global survey panel, a survey translation service, and a reporting dashboard, that can save the cost of finding target groups and the later analysis.
Cons: Even though you can get responses directly from SurveyMonkey in a short time, only demographic traits including country, gender, age, and household income are available, thus decreasing the flexibility of customizing targeting groups for different survey purposes.
Typeform is a no-code online survey tool aiming at creating personalized surveys with customers.
Pros: It is optimized for mobile phones and easy to add on different types of questions without taking too much time on exploring multiple functions. You can also connect Typeform to other apps such as Google Sheets and Excel for free. When it comes to sharing the survey, you can share the link on other social media, launch an email and embed it on a web page.
Cons: Its survey templates use a more casual and conversational tone and approach and that is more suitable for conducting surveys for the younger demographic. When it comes to the older demographic or C-suite executives, it is not the best option.
SurveySparrow is a survey tool with surveys in a more conversational style.
Pros: SurveySparrow offers an engaging and personalized survey interface with diverse design elements and survey questions. Videos can be set as the background for surveys, and you can use a chat survey if a more conversational approach is needed. Its function of recurring surveys allows the possibility of “set it up once and for all”. This saves time for conducting surveys regularly. When it comes to sharing surveys, there are more choices besides email launching and link sharing. A QR code can be retrieved, and people can also text their surveys to respondents.
Cons: The tool does not offer as many market research templates as its competitors.
Experiments and Field Trials
Experiments and field trials involve scientific testing with specific variables and testing hypotheses. A/B testing is one of the methods to help with Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and better user engagement. Below is one tool which can help you with A/B testing:
Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)
Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) offers A/B testing on a webpage.
Pros: People can make changes to the website and test several variations with metrics such as clicks, time spent on the page, and page scroll. It is possible to use without programming knowledge.
Cons: A/B testing is only possible for websites on desktops.
Use eye tracking for A/B testing and Observation
Eye tracking is a methodology that measures visual attention and it is ideal to evaluate if a product, packaging, or advertising is appealing to customers. Most eye tracking platforms offer A/B testing in which they can test different packages, shelves, landing pages, and new apps. There are two types of eye tracking in the market currently: predictive eye tracking and regular eye tracking (for more details you can refer to the blog article here).
Observation is another market research method, and it is quite vital when preparing for a business expansion. Observation can be done with different levels of intervention or without any intervention. Eye tracking is also a way of observation, but with equipment measuring precisely the eye gaze instead of a researcher examining the participant’s eye movements.
There are different eye tracking kits and platforms applicable for different testing environments and purposes: head-mounted glasses, screen-based portable eye tracking systems, smartphone eye tracking, and web-based desktop eye tracking. Head-mounted glasses and screen-based portable eye tracking systems can be used in real-life shelf tests, but they are usually chunky and pricey. Here we choose two affordable eye tracking tools which are easy to start with:
Oculid is a smartphone eye tracking solution for market research that also integrates surveys and questionnaires to the test.
Pros: It is optimized for mobile phones and can be done remotely. Packages, advertisement banners, and landing pages can be tested by creating single or A/B tests. Real-life interaction with an e-commerce website, for example, can be analyzed by heatmaps and AOI data and metrics. Additionally, the tool offers click and tap tracking.
Cons: The context is limited to the environment where people use mobile phones for looking through webpage and purchasing. It is not suitable for real-life eye tracking in cars, supermarkets, and television, for example.
EyeSee provides a web-based desktop eye tracking solution for market research.
Pros: It is used remotely on desktop and mobile to test advertising, videos, social media, and online packaging. In addition, the tool offers face coding.
Cons: The company does not offer an easy way to obtain a demo and does not advertise the pricing on their page. It is not suitable for eye tracking studies in a real-life setting.
Market research cannot be done by using only one methodology or tool, as the results will never fully cover all the aspects of customers’ behaviour. The best and more accurate insights can only be achieved by combining different methodologies and tools according to the purpose of the research.
Many methodologies that are often overlooked by market research teams can be highly beneficial to complement traditional methods. A holistic view of the research question and the research goals is necessary to take the study to the next level.
We hope these 8 market research tools can help you to save time and cost to conduct a successful marketing campaign or introduce a new product or service.