How to Do Market Research: A Guide and Template

Right this moment’s customers have a whole lot of energy. They will analysis your services or products and make buy choices completely on their very own.

Furthermore, quite than speaking to one in all your gross sales reps, they’re extra prone to ask for referrals from members of their networks or learn on-line opinions. 

With this in thoughts, have you ever tailored your advertising technique to enrich the way in which right now’s customers analysis, store, and purchase?

To just do that, you could have a deep understanding of who your patrons are, your particular market, and what influences the acquisition choices and habits of your audience members.

Enter: Market Analysis. 

→ Download Now: Market Research Templates [Free Kit]

Whether or not you are new to market analysis, this information will offer you a blueprint for conducting an intensive examine of your market, audience, competitors, and extra.

What’s market analysis?

Market research is the process of gathering information about your business’s buyers personas, target audience, and customers to determine how viable and successful your product or service would be, and/or is, among these people.

Why do market research?

Market research allows you to meet your buyer where they are. As our world (both digital and analog) becomes louder and demands more and more of our attention, this proves invaluable. By understanding your buyer’s problems, pain points, and desired solutions, you can aptly craft your product or service to naturally appeal to them.

Market research also provides insight into a wide variety of things that impact your bottom line including:

  • Where your target audience and current customers conduct their product or service research
  • Which of your competitors your target audience looks to for information, options, or purchases
  • What’s trending in your industry and in the eyes of your buyer
  • Who makes up your market and what their challenges are
  • What influences purchases and conversions among your target audience 

As you begin honing in on your market research, you’ll likely hear about primary and secondary market research. The easiest way to think about primary and secondary research is to envision to umbrellas sitting beneath market research: one for primary market research and one for secondary market research.

Beneath these two umbrellas sits a number of different types of market research, which we’ll highlight below. Defining which of the two umbrellas your market research fits beneath isn’t necessarily crucial, although some marketers prefer to make the distinction.

So, in case you encounter a marketer who wants to define your types of market research as primary or secondary — or if you’re one of them — let’s cover the definitions of the two categories next. Then, we’ll look at the different types of market research in the following section. 

Primary vs. Secondary Research

There are two main types of market research that your business can conduct to collect actionable information on your products including primary research and secondary research.

Primary Research

Primary research is the pursuit of first-hand information about your market and the customers within your market. It’s useful when segmenting your market and establishing your buyer personas. Primary market research tends to fall into one of two buckets: exploratory and specific research.

Exploratory Primary Research

This kind of primary market research is less concerned with measurable customer trends and more about potential problems that would be worth tackling as a team. It normally takes place as a first step — before any specific research has been performed — and may involve open-ended interviews or surveys with small numbers of people.

Specific Primary Research

Specific primary market research often follows exploratory research and is used to dive into issues or opportunities the business has already identified as important. In specific research, the business can take a smaller or more precise segment of their audience and ask questions aimed at solving a suspected problem.

Secondary Research

Secondary research is all the data and public records you have at your disposal to draw conclusions from(e.g. trend reports, market statistics, industry content, and sales data you already have on your business). Secondary research is particularly useful for analyzing your competitors. The main buckets your secondary market research will fall into include:

Public Sources

These sources are your first and most-accessible layer of material when conducting secondary market research. They’re often free to find and review — lots of bang for your buck here.

Government statistics are one of the most common types of public sources according to Entrepreneur. Two U.S. examples of public market knowledge are the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, each of which supply useful data on the state of assorted industries nationwide.

Industrial Sources

These sources usually come within the type of market reviews, consisting of trade perception compiled by a analysis company like Pew, Gartner, or Forrester. As a result of this information is so moveable and distributable, it usually prices cash to obtain and procure.

Inner Sources

Inner sources deserve extra credit score for supporting market analysis than they typically get. Why? That is the market knowledge your group already has!

Common income per sale, buyer retention charges, and different historic knowledge on the well being of outdated and new accounts can all assist you to draw conclusions on what your patrons may need proper now.

Now that we have lined these overarching market analysis classes, let’s get extra particular and have a look at the assorted sorts of market analysis you may select to conduct. 

1. Interviews

Interviews permit for face-to-face discussions (in-person and digital) so you’ll be able to permit for a pure move or dialog and watch your interviewee’s physique language whereas doing so. 

2. Focus Teams

Focus teams offer you a handful of carefully-selected folks that you would be able to have take a look at out your product, watch a demo, present suggestions, and/or reply particular questions.

3. Product/Service Use Analysis

Services or products use analysis affords perception into how and why your viewers makes use of your services or products, and particular options of that merchandise. Such a market analysis additionally provides you an concept of the services or products’s usability for your target audience. 

4. Observation-Based Research

Observation-based research allows you to sit back and watch the ways in which your target audience members go about using your product or service, what works well in terms of UX, what roadblocks they hit, and which aspects of it could be easier for them to use and apply. 

5. Buyer Persona Research

Buyer persona research gives you a realistic look at who makes up your target audience, what their challenges are, why they want your product or service, what they need from your business and brand, and more. 

6. Market Segmentation Research

Market segmentation research allows you to categorize your target audience into different groups (or segments) based on specific and defining characteristics — this way, you can determine effective ways to meet their needs, understand their pain points and expectations, learn about their goals, and more. 

7. Pricing Research

Pricing research gives you an idea of what similar products or services in your market sell for, what your target audience expects to pay — and is willing to pay — for whatever it is you sell, and what’s a fair price for you to list your product or service at. All of this information will help you define your pricing strategy. 

8. Competitive Analysis

Competitive analyses are valuable because they give you a deep understanding of the competition in your market and industry. You can learn about what’s doing well in your industry, what your target audience is already going for in terms of products like yours, which of your competitors should you work to keep up with and surpass, and how you can clearly separate yourself from the competition. 

9. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research

Customer satisfaction and loyalty research give you a look into how you can get current customers to return for more business and what will motivate them to do so (e.g. loyalty programs, rewards, remarkable customer service). This research will help you discover the most-effective ways to promote delight among your customers.

10. Brand Awareness Research

Brand awareness research tells you about what your target audience knows about and recognizes from your brand. It tells you about the associations your audience members make when they think about your business and what they believe you’re all about.  

11. Campaign Research

Campaign research entails looking into your past campaigns and analyzing their success among your target audience and current customers. It requires experimentation and then a deep dive into what reached and resonated with your audience so you can keep those elements in mind for your future campaigns and hone in on the aspects of what you do that matters most to those people. 

Now that you know about the categories and types of market research, let’s review how you can conduct your market research.

Here’s how to do market research step-by-step.

1. Define your buyer persona.

Before you dive into how customers in your industry make buying decisions, you must first understand who they are.

This is where your buyer personas come in handy. Buyer personas — sometimes referred to as marketing personas — are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

Use a free tool to create a buyer persona that your entire company can use to market, sell, and serve better.

How to do market research defining your buyer persona

They assist you to visualize your viewers, streamline your communications, and inform your technique. Some key traits try to be eager on together with in your purchaser persona are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Job title(s)
  • Job titles
  • Household measurement
  • Revenue
  • Main challenges

The concept is to make use of your persona as a suggestion for  easy methods to successfully attain and study the true viewers members in your trade. Additionally, you could discover that what you are promoting lends itself to a couple of persona — that is advantageous! You simply should be  considerate about every particular persona once you’re optimizing and planning your content material and campaigns.

To get began with creating your personas, try these free templates, in addition to this helpful tool. 

2. Determine a persona group to interact.

Now that you understand who your purchaser personas are, use that data that will help you determine a gaggle to interact to conduct your market analysis with — this ought to be a consultant pattern of your goal clients so you’ll be able to higher perceive their precise traits, challenges, and shopping for habits.

The group you determine to interact also needs to be made of people that just lately made a purchase order or purposefully determined to not make one. Listed here are some extra tips and ideas that will help you get the best individuals to your analysis. 

The right way to Determine the Proper Folks to Interact for Market Analysis

When selecting who to interact to your market analysis, begin by specializing in individuals who have the traits that apply to your purchaser persona. You also needs to:

Purpose for 10 individuals per purchaser persona.

We suggest specializing in one persona, however when you really feel it is necessary to analysis a number of personas, be sure you recruit a separate pattern group for every one.

Choose individuals who have just lately interacted with you.

You could wish to concentrate on people who have accomplished an analysis inside the previous six months — or as much as a yr you probably have an extended gross sales cycle or area of interest market. You may be asking very detailed questions so it is necessary that their expertise is recent.

Collect a mixture of individuals.

You wish to recruit individuals who have bought your product, bought a competitor’s product, and determined to not buy something in any respect. Whereas your clients would be the best to seek out and recruit, sourcing data from those that aren’t clients (but!) will assist you to develop a balanced view of your market. 

Listed here are some extra particulars on easy methods to choose this mixture of individuals:

  • Pull an inventory of consumers who made a current buy. As we talked about earlier than, that is often the simplest set of patrons to recruit. In the event you’re utilizing a CRM system, you’ll be able to run a report of offers that closed inside the previous six months and filter it for the traits you are in search of. In any other case, you’ll be able to work along with your gross sales group to get an inventory of acceptable accounts from them.
  • Pull an inventory of consumers who have been in an energetic analysis, however did not make a purchase order. It is best to get a mixture of patrons who both bought from a competitor or determined to not make a purchase order. Once more, you will get this listing out of your CRM or from no matter system your Gross sales group makes use of to trace offers.
  • Name for individuals on social media. Strive reaching out to the oldsters that comply with you on social media, however determined to not purchase from you. There’s an opportunity that a few of them will probably be prepared to speak to you and let you know why they finally determined to not purchase your product.
  • Leverage your personal community. Get the phrase out to your coworkers, former colleagues, and LinkedIn connections that you simply’re conducting a examine. Even when your direct connections do not qualify, a few of them will seemingly have a coworker, buddy, or member of the family who does.
  • Select an incentive. Time is treasured, so you may want to consider how you’ll inspire somebody to spend 30-45 minutes on you and your examine. On a good price range? You possibly can reward individuals totally free by giving them unique entry to content material. Another choice? Ship a easy handwritten ‘thanks’ word as soon as the examine is full. 

3. Put together analysis questions to your market analysis individuals.

One of the best ways to be sure you get probably the most out of your conversations is to be ready. It is best to all the time create a dialogue information — whether or not it is for a spotlight group, on-line survey, or a telephone interview — to be sure you cowl the entire top-of-mind questions and use your time correctly.

(Word: This isn’t meant to be a script. The discussions ought to be pure and conversational, so we encourage you to exit of order or probe into sure areas as you see match.)

Your dialogue information ought to be in an overview format, with a time allotment and open-ended questions for every part.

Wait, all open-ended questions?

Sure — it is a golden rule of market analysis. You by no means wish to “lead the witness” by asking sure and no questions, as that places you liable to unintentionally swaying their ideas by main with your personal speculation. Asking open-ended questions additionally helps you keep away from one-word solutions (which are not very useful for you).

Instance Define of a 30-Minute Survey 

Here is a basic define for a 30-minute survey for one B2B purchaser. You should use these as speaking factors for an in-person interview, or as questions posed on a digital kind to manage as a survey to your goal clients.

Background Data (5 Minutes)

Ask the client to present you just a little background data (their title, how lengthy they have been with the corporate, and so forth). Then, ask a enjoyable/simple query to heat issues up (first live performance attended, favourite restaurant on the town, final trip, and so forth.).

Keep in mind, you wish to get to know your patrons in fairly particular methods. You may have the ability to seize fundamental data akin to age, location, and job title out of your contact listing, there are some private {and professional} challenges you’ll be able to actually solely study by asking.

Listed here are another key background inquiries to ask your audience:

  • Describe how your group is structured.
  • Inform me about your private job tasks.
  • What are the group’s objectives and the way do you measure them?
  • What has been your greatest problem prior to now yr?

Now, make a transition to acknowledge the particular buy or interplay they made that led to you together with them within the examine. The subsequent three phases of the client’s journey will focus particularly on that buy.

Consciousness (5 Minutes)

Right here, you wish to perceive how they first realized they’d an issue that wanted to be solved with out stepping into whether or not or not they knew about your model but.

  • Suppose again to once you first realized you wanted a [name the product/service category, but not yours specifically]. What challenges have been you dealing with on the time?
  • How do you know that one thing on this class might assist you to?
  • How acquainted have been you with completely different choices in the marketplace?

Consideration (10 Minutes)

Now you wish to get very particular about how and the place the client researched potential options. Plan to interject to ask for extra particulars.

  • What was the very first thing you probably did to analysis potential options? How useful was this supply?
  • The place did you go to seek out extra data?

If they do not come up organically, ask about search engines like google and yahoo, web sites visited, folks consulted, and so forth. Probe, as acceptable, with a few of the following questions:

  • How did you discover that supply?
  • How did you utilize vendor web sites?
  • What phrases particularly did you search on Google?
  • How useful was it? How might or not it’s higher?
  • Who offered probably the most (and least) useful data? What did that seem like?
  • Inform me about your experiences with the gross sales folks from every vendor.
Resolution (10 Minutes)
  • Which of the sources you described above was probably the most influential in driving your resolution?
  • What, if any, standards did you identify to match the alternate options?
  • What distributors made it to the brief listing and what have been the professionals/cons of every?
  • Who else was concerned within the closing resolution? What position did every of those folks play?
  • What components finally influenced your closing buying resolution?

Right here, you wish to wrap up and perceive what might have been higher for the client.

  • Ask them what their very best shopping for course of would seem like. How would it not differ from what they skilled?
  • Permit time for additional questions on their finish.
  • Do not forget to thank them for his or her time and ensure their tackle to ship a thank-you word or incentive.

4. Checklist your main opponents.

Checklist your main opponents — take into accout itemizing the competitors is not all the time so simple as Firm X versus Firm Y.

Generally, a division of an organization may compete along with your essential services or products, although that firm’s model may put extra effort in one other space.

For instance. Apple is thought for its laptops and cellular gadgets however Apple Music competes with Spotify over its music streaming service.

From a content material standpoint, you may compete with a weblog, YouTube channel, or comparable publication for inbound web site guests — although their merchandise do not overlap with yours in any respect.

And a toothpaste firm may compete with magazines like Well or Prevention on sure weblog matters associated to well being and hygiene although the magazines do not truly promote oral care merchandise.

Figuring out Business Opponents

To determine opponents whose services or products overlap with yours, decide which trade or industries you are pursuing. Begin high-level, utilizing phrases like schooling, building, media & leisure, meals service, healthcare, retail, monetary providers, telecommunications, and agriculture.

The listing goes on, however discover an trade time period that you simply determine with, and use it to create an inventory of firms that additionally belong to this trade. You possibly can construct your listing the next methods:

  • Assessment your trade quadrant on G2 Crowd: In sure industries, that is your greatest first step in secondary market analysis. G2 Crowd aggregates person rankings and social knowledge to create “quadrants,” the place you’ll be able to see firms plotted as contenders, leaders, area of interest, and excessive performers of their respective industries. G2 Crowd focuses on digital content material, IT providers, HR, ecommerce, and associated enterprise providers.
  • Obtain a market report: Corporations like Forrester and Gartner provide each free and gated market forecasts yearly on the distributors who’re main their trade. On Forrester’s web site, for instance, you’ll be able to choose “Newest Analysis” from the navigation bar and browse Forrester’s newest materials utilizing a wide range of standards to slender your search. These reviews are good belongings to save lots of in your pc.
  • Search utilizing social media: Imagine it or not, social networks make nice firm directories when you use the search bar appropriately. On LinkedIn, for instance, choose the search bar and enter the identify of the trade you are pursuing. Then, beneath “Extra,” choose “Corporations” to slender your outcomes to simply the companies that embrace this or an identical trade time period on their LinkedIn profile.

Figuring out Content material Opponents

Serps are your greatest buddies on this space of secondary market analysis. To seek out the net publications with which you compete, take the overarching trade time period you recognized within the part above, and give you a handful of extra particular trade phrases your organization identifies with.

A catering enterprise, for instance, may typically be a “meals service” firm, but additionally contemplate itself a vendor in “occasion catering,” “cake catering,” “baked items,” and extra.

Upon getting this listing, do the next:

  • Google it: Do not underestimate the worth in seeing which web sites come up once you run a search on Google for the trade phrases that describe your organization. You may discover a mixture of product builders, blogs, magazines, and extra.
  • Examine your search outcomes in opposition to your purchaser persona: Keep in mind the client persona you created throughout the main analysis stage, earlier on this article? Use it to look at how seemingly a publication you discovered by way of Google might steal web site visitors from you. If the content material the web site publishes looks like the stuff your purchaser persona would wish to see, it is a potential competitor, and ought to be added to your listing of opponents.

After a collection of comparable Google searches for the trade phrases you determine with, search for repetition within the web site domains which have come up.

Study the primary two or three outcomes pages for every search you carried out. These web sites are clearly revered for the content material they create in your trade, and ought to be watched fastidiously as you construct your personal library of movies, reviews, net pages, and weblog posts.

5. Summarize your findings.

Feeling overwhelmed by the notes you took? We recommend in search of widespread themes that can assist you to inform a narrative and create an inventory of motion gadgets.

To make the method simpler, attempt utilizing your favourite presentation software program to make a report, as it’s going to make it simple so as to add in quotes, diagrams, or name clips.

Be happy so as to add your personal aptitude, however the next define ought to assist you to craft a transparent abstract:

  • Background: Your objectives and why you carried out this examine.
  • Contributors: Who you talked to. A desk works nicely so you’ll be able to break teams down by persona and buyer/prospect.
  • Government Abstract: What have been probably the most fascinating stuff you realized? What do you propose to do about it?
  • Consciousness: Describe the widespread triggers that lead somebody to enter into an analysis. (Quotes may be very highly effective.)
  • Consideration: Present the principle themes you uncovered, in addition to the detailed sources patrons use when conducting their analysis.
  • Resolution: Paint the image of how a call is actually made by together with the folks on the middle of affect and any product options or data that may make or break a deal.
  • Motion Plan: Your evaluation most likely uncovered a number of campaigns you’ll be able to run to get your model in entrance of patrons earlier and/or extra successfully. Present your listing of priorities, a timeline, and the affect it’s going to have on what you are promoting.

Lastly, let’s overview a useful resource that may assist you to compile every part we simply mentioned in a easy but efficient approach (plus, it is free!).

Market Analysis Report Template

Inside a market analysis equipment, there are a variety of important items of knowledge for what you are promoting’s success. Let’s check out what these completely different equipment parts are subsequent. 

Professional Tip: Upon downloading HubSpot’s free Market Research Kit, you may obtain editable templates for every of the given elements of the equipment in addition to directions on easy methods to use the templates and equipment, and a mock presentation that you would be able to edit and customise. 

free, editable and downloadable market research template

Download HubSpot’s free, editable market research report template here. 

1. Five Forces Analysis Template

five forces analysis template

Use Porter’s 5 Forces Mannequin to grasp an trade by analyzing 5 completely different standards and the way excessive the ability, risk, or rivalry in every space is — listed here are the 5 standards: 

  • Aggressive rivalry
  • Menace of recent entrants
  • Menace of substitution
  • Purchaser energy
  • Provider energy

Download a free, editable Five Forces Analysis template here. 

2. SWOT Evaluation Template

free editable swot analysis template


A SWOT evaluation highlights direct areas of alternative your organization can proceed, construct, concentrate on, and work to beat.


3. Market Survey Template

Each market surveys and focus teams (which we’ll cowl within the subsequent part) assist you to uncover necessary details about your purchaser personas, audience, present clients, market, competitors, and extra (e.g. demand to your services or products, potential pricing, impressions of your branding, and so forth.).

Surveys ought to include a wide range of query varieties, like a number of selection, rankings, and open-ended responses. Ask quantitative and short-answer questions to save lots of you time and to extra simply draw conclusions. (Save longer questions that can warrant extra detailed responses to your focus teams.)

Listed here are some classes of questions it’s best to ask by way of survey: 

  • Demographic questions
  • Enterprise questions
  • Competitor questions
  • Business questions
  • Model questions
  • Product questions

4. Focus Group Template

Focus groups are an opportunity to collect in-depth, qualitative data from your real customers or members of your target audience. You should ask your focus group participants open-ended questions. While doing so, keep these tips top of mind:

  • Set a limit for the number of questions you’re asking (after all, they’re open-ended). 
  • Provide participants with a prototype or demonstration.
  • Ask participants how they feel about your price.
  • Ask participants about your competition.
  • Offer participants time at the end of the session for final comments, questions, or concerns.

Conduct Market Research to Grow Better

Conducting market research can be a very eye-opening experience. Even if you think you know your buyers pretty well, completing the study will likely uncover new channels and messaging tips to help improve your interactions.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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