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Which form of primary market research is the best?

By Samantha Garner | June 6, 2015

primary-market-research-surveyMarket research is a good way to understand the viability of your product or service idea by assessing factors like market size, demand, and pricing. There are two types of market research: primary and secondary.

Primary market research

Primary market research is research that you do yourself, or hire someone to do on behalf of the company. You go right to the source of the information or opinion. This differs from secondary market research, which involves using research that’s already been done by an outside party unconnected to your company.

There are four main types of primary market research: focus groups, interviews, observation, and surveys.

Which form of primary market research is the best?

Deciding on the best form of primary market research for you depends on what you’re looking for and who you’re speaking to. Of course, you can combine different forms of primary market research, but keep the following in mind:

  • Focus groups: Can be fairly time-consuming and expensive (and participants are often compensated), but are good for delving into in-depth issues such as a future product launch or a brand rehaul. Keep the focus group on the small side if you plan on having a very deep discussion.
  • Interviews: Similar to focus groups, but one-on-one. Interviews are a good way to get information that people might not feel comfortable sharing in a group situation. Here, too, interviews may be time-consuming and involve a financial cost to you. Participants are often compensated.
  • Observation: Whether you’re observing the buying habits of customers with your competition or reading reviews of your product online, observation can be a good, inexpensive way to get real-time information. However, it’s best to use observation as a starting point for future research – since observation is done without interacting with the customers, you can’t get reliable information about why they do what they do.
  • Surveys: Whether you use telephone, emailed, or in-person questionnaires depends on what your customers expect from your business. In any case, make sure your surveys are as short as possible, easy to understand, and to-the-point. Don’t get fancy here! And make sure you conduct or send your surveys to a wide enough amount of people – some won’t respond, so it’s important that you get enough info from the people who do.

Learn more about surveys in our Ask a GoForth Expert section, and read more about the four types of primary market research.

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