Market research began as a physical activity of individually questioning the ‘subjects’ in 1920 when Daniel Starch personally enquired the readers. This was the age of using quantitative analysis research methodology and focused on understanding the efficacy of print advertisements. In the late nineteenth century, it evolved into a process of understanding consumer mindsets as qualitative analysis. Today, with the internet to expand outreach and diverse modes to gather insights, market research has evolved into a sophisticated and targeted activity of answering critical business development questions:

Competitor Research: What does the competitive landscape look like?

Understanding the competition helps a business discover growth opportunities. In addition, it helps to discover emerging trends and shifts in the business ecosystem. It uncovers the strengths and weaknesses of the competition and helps develop a fresh approach toward the market. Competitor research is supplemented by industry analysis to understand consumer expectations better. The primary modes for this research are consumer feedback, while, secondary modes include analyzing the competitor’s market dominance, sales structures, etc. Horizon scanning helps business plan future products and services.

Product Research: How well does a product meet consumer expectations?

Product research has two phases. The first one is before planning for a new product. This requires studying supply gaps in the industry and developing a strategy to launch new products ahead of others. This part also includes testing whether the product is fit for launch and if the market is ready to consume. The second is done after a product or service is made available to users. This enables the enterprise to evaluate the product or service performance and gather customer feedback on how well it meets their requirements. It is conducted throughout the life of the product to make decisions regarding the next iteration of the product and if needed, bring out a new product altogether. Surveys are the most popular way for conducting product research.

Branding Research: How is the brand perceived in public?

The goal of branding analysis is to understand the position of the brand in the market. It helps gather insights into how well consumers can recall and relate to the brand and its image. It is a barometer of how accurately the existing market campaigns are performing. These insights help in designing marketing campaigns that help in building an influential brand persona, reputation, and loyalty among the audience. This research is generally carried out via qualitative surveys, questionnaires, and focused group discussions.

Pricing Research: What will the customer be willing to pay?

Pricing is an essential part of any business. Businesses need to price their products and services to gain profits, reach the targeted segment of consumers, and stand against the competition. The services sector heavily uses pricing surveys to make consumers recognize the value they deliver. The most common mode is a detailed quantitative analysis of competitor pricing, spending capacity, and willingness of consumers.

With answers to these questions, businesses develop a plan of action to serve their customers with the highest quality, at the right time, and a favorable price point.