How to Conduct Marketing Research That Will Help Grow Your Business

If you want to grow your business, conducting marketing research is essential. Marketing research will help you understand your target market, their needs, and wants, and how to reach them most effectively. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can follow to make sure your marketing research is conducted properly. Keep reading to learn more!

What is marketing research?

Marketing research, in its simplest definition, is the gathering and analysis of data about a company’s target market. This involves collecting information about consumers’ attitudes, preferences, habits, behavior, and lifestyles to better understand their needs and wants. Marketers then use this data to inform their strategies for targeting and reaching their audience.

Beyond offering insights into consumer behavior, marketing research can help you identify new opportunities and gain a competitive edge over your rivals. It can also be used to improve existing products or services and better reach potential customers.

Companies may have an abundance of data and a sophisticated marketing intelligence system, but sometimes they still need targeted research to help tackle specific challenges.

Should you outsource or manage your marketing research in-house?

Companies of every size need to stay informed about their target markets. For larger ones, this often means creating a specialized marketing research department with dedicated professionals – but even smaller teams can leverage the power of market insights through outsourcing or self-guided exploration.

How to conduct marketing research

1. Define the purpose of your research

Before launching your research project, it’s important to define the purpose of your research. This is why it’s important to think through what specific information you want to learn from conducting the research.

Collaboration between marketers and marketing researchers is essential in order to clearly establish the research purpose. Marketers bring their essential knowledge of what the business needs, while marketing researchers know how best to acquire valuable information.

Once the problem is accurately identified, marketers and marketing researchers should then establish their research objectives. There can be 3 types:

  • Exploratory research – which seeks to understand a problem more thoroughly, to gather information to better define problems, and suggest hypotheses.
  • Descriptive research – designed to provide an in-depth look at a rtain marketing problems or situations.
  • Causal research – to confirm or deny hypotheses about cause-and-effect relationships.

2. Developing the marketing research plan

Once the research objective is established, it’s time to develop a marketing research plan. This plan should include all of the steps that need to be taken in order to complete the project. It should also include strategies for collecting data, as well as detailed timelines and budgets.

Components of the marketing research plan

Executive Summary

It an overview of the marketing research plan and summarizes its key objectives, methods, and expected outcomes.

Background and Objectives

It describes the background and context of the research project, including the problem that the research aims to address. It also defines the research objectives and the research questions or hypotheses that the study will explore.

Research Design and Methodology

This section outlines the research design and methodology that will be used to collect and analyze data. It includes details on the research approach (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods), the research instruments (such as surveys, focus groups, or interviews), the sampling strategy, and the data analysis plan.

Research approach

  • Quantitative research – which uses structured and numerical data to measure variables.
  • Qualitative research – which typically involves small-scale exploratory or in-depth studies, often using visual or verbal methods such as focus groups or interviews.

Research data

Primary data

Data is collected for the specific purpose of a research project, often through surveys or interviews.

Advantages of Primary Data – data is collected for the specific purpose of a research project and is often seen as the most reliable type of data. It provides an accurate, first-hand account of the topic that it’s collected about, as well as allowing for control over how and when the data is collected. Additionally, primary data can be collected quickly, allowing for more up-to-date insights than secondary data.

Secondary data

Data that has already been collected by other researchers and can be retrieved from databases or reports. Here are some of the most sought-after databases available: Statista, Nielsen Media Research, Eurostat, and Faostat.

Advantages of Secondary Data – data is much cheaper and faster to collect than primary data. It’s also already collected and organized, giving the researcher access to a larger quantity of information at one time. Additionally, it can provide a broader context and a more historical perspective on the topic.

The research instruments

  • Surveys – which collect data from a large number of people, typically through questionnaires.
  • Interviews – which involve one-on-one conversations between the researcher and participants in order to gather insights into their attitudes or experiences.
  • Focus groups – or group interviews, which involve small groups of people discussing topics related to the research objectives.

Sampling strategy

The sampling strategy defines the method that will be used to select the target population from which data will be collected. Different sampling strategies can be used, depending on the type of research being conducted and the goals of the study.

Data Analysis Plan

The data analysis plan outlines how quantitative or qualitative data will be analyzed in order to provide meaningful insights into the research objectives. This section should include a description of the data analysis techniques that will be used, as well as how the data will be interpreted and reported.

Data Collection and Analysis

This section outlines the procedures for collecting and analyzing data. It includes details on the data collection process (including the methods for recruiting participants, administering surveys, conducting interviews, etc.), as well as the procedures for data cleaning, coding, and analysis.

Budget and Timeline

This section outlines the budget for the research project and the timeline for completing each phase of the study. It includes details on the costs of data collection, analysis, and reporting, as well as the resources required to execute the plan.

Reporting and Presentation

This section outlines the plan for reporting and presenting the research findings, including the format and structure of the final report, and the intended audience for the report. It also includes details on the plan for dissemination and implementation of the research findings.

Ethics and Compliance

This section outlines the ethical considerations and compliance requirements associated with the research project. It includes details on the procedures for obtaining informed consent, protecting participant privacy, and ensuring that the research adheres to relevant legal and regulatory guidelines.

3. Presenting the marketing research plan

It’s essential to present a clear, concise, and effective marketing research plan. This should summarize the who, what, when, why, and how of the market research being performed. If the research is being outsourced to another company, then they’ll be responsible for developing the all-encompassing plan.

Ultimately, this will give company managers a better sense of whether this form of market research is right for their budget, timeline, and goals. The marketing research plan will serve as a roadmap detailing how we’ll get from point A – your current level of knowledge – to point B – your desired outcomes.

4. Implementing the marketing research plan

After the plan is approved, it’s time to implement the research project. This includes recruiting participants and collecting data through surveys, focus groups, interviews, or other methods. The research team should ensure that the results are properly organized, managed, and analyzed according to the steps outlined in the research plan.

5. Interpreting and reporting the results

When the research is completed, it’s important to interpret the data and report back on the key findings. This can be done through a number of methods such as presentations, written reports, graphs, or charts. The interpretation should also include recommendations for how to use the findings to drive business decisions or strategies.

6. Implementing the marketing research findings

The final step is to take action on the research findings. This might involve launching a new product, changing an existing marketing strategy, or making a change to the business model. It’s important to carefully consider how best to use the data and make sure that any changes are implemented in a timely manner.

Ultimately, this will help drive better business outcomes and ensure that the research project was a success.


If you want your company to make sound marketing decisions, you need to do marketing research. This is true no matter the size of your company – research provides essential information that helps businesses large and small avoid costly mistakes. While outsourcing professional market research can be expensive, there are ways to cut costs, like starting with secondary data. No matter how you go about it, incorporating marketing research into your decision-making process is crucial for the success of your business. For more information on this topic, be sure to check out our other blog posts on market research.

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