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How to Conduct Your First Primary Research?



For large organizations as well as small businesses, market research is a critical component of the decision making process before launching a new product or service. Exhaustive market research data can suggest multiple options for launching a new product or entering new markets, as well as help companies zero-in on suitable sales and promotional techniques.

Market research has two subsets - Primary Research and Secondary Research. Primary research, in layman's terms, can be defined as the information that comes directly from the source i.e. potential customers. It is an entirely full-fledged new research activity, and is carried out to answer specific questions in a detailed manner.

Who Needs Primary Market Research and Why?

The question - "Why and how to do primary research?" has been raised countless times by businesses who are unaware of the benefits it can provide. Businesses, both large and small, use primary market research to gather valuable information about a number of variables such as population segments, customer preferences, demographics etc., before launching a new product or service.

Primary market research is especially useful in the following cases -

  • When, as a first time entrepreneur, you need to understand your target market and the types of products which have the potential to be popular
  • When there is no readily available market research data, or when you are working on a completely new research project
  • When you require a large amount of targeted research data based on variables which change over time such as cultural preferences, customer perception etc.
  • When you require taste tests / sensory tests, usability tests etc., which are especially prevalent in the FMCG and healthcare industry

Techniques of Conducting Primary Market Research

Primary research methods can generally be tailored to suit your business needs and are highly customizable. The source of all primary research data is the population or demographic from which data is collected. Once the target population has been identified, the next step is to decide the sample size for which you would be collecting the data. Once the sample size has been decided, you can conduct your first primary market research by collecting data in the following ways -

  • Direct Mail Questionnaires

    One of the major methods to conduct a primary market research is to contact prospective customers via direct mailers. This technique helps you receive feedback from potential customers with the help of a well-structured, multi-question survey; and is an easy, fast, and error-free method

    Although a very effective primary market research tool, mail response to such questionnaires from potential customers tends to be very less. Therefore, a set of guidelines need to be followed to ensure that the response rate for the survey is of acceptable standards. Some of the guidelines you can follow are -

    • Use Short and to the point questions
    • Questions should be addressed to specific individuals, and be of interest to the potential customers
    • Ensure that the questionnaire is not more than two pages in length
    • Add a professional, catchy cover letter with your mail, explaining the purpose of the survey
    • Provide an incentive to complete the questionnaire e.g. "$20 off your next purchase"
  • Telephonic Surveys

    Telephonic surveys are an incredibly cost-effective primary market research tool. As a business owner, you stand to gain from the fact that the questions can directly be asked from a prospective customer, leading to impressive response rates. Some guidelines to be followed while conducting a telephone survey, include -

    • Ensure you have a ready script available for an experienced phone-interviewer who can memorize the questions
    • Hold prospective customer's attention by avoiding pauses or lengthy questions
    • Ask if a follow-up call can be made and provide incentive based on the same
  • Focus Groups

    One of the most insightful primary market research techniques is focus group, wherein a small group of 8 to 12 potential customers are gathered together to collect relevant information about your products. You need to assign a moderator to each focus group, which can facilitate in-depth discussions, as well as ask important questions whenever necessary

  • Interviews

    Interviews are similar to focus groups, but have only one prospective customer speaking to a researcher who begins the discussion and asks all the questions. As a primary research tool, an interviews is generally better suited for products that are too private for group discussions, such as financial services or personal hygiene products.

    In order to ensure the success of this market research technique, you need to select an interviewer who can adapt the questions based on the discussion, allowing for a more in-depth customer perspective of your product or service.

  • Observation

    Observation market research involves watching the behavior of customers without interacting with them. Observational techniques are especially helpful if you are a small business owner, and do not have the necessary capital to conduct a focus group or interview study. By hiring trained marketing specialists who can identify individual actions and watch how subjects respond to your products, you can gain critical research data.

    Generally, this sort of market research can either be done anonymously in a public setting such as supermarkets, or with the knowledge of the customer in a controlled setting, for e.g. handling a new unreleased electronic device and observe the customer navigate the software and UI.

Why Outsource Primary Market Research?

Primary market research techniques often require a lot of skilled resources, as well as need to be scalable to accommodate large amounts of research data. In certain cases, especially if you are a small business owner, you might not have access to the funds, or the infrastructure to set up a market research team. It is in such cases that outsourcing can come to your aid. Some of the advantages of primary research outsourcing include -

  • Professional market research companies offer a nuanced, unbiased, third-party perspective which reflects in the way market research data is collected
  • Highly skilled and knowledgeable resources who ensure all primary research data is accurate
  • Increased cost benefits as compared to hiring full time researchers and building an in-house market research team, especially for small businesses
  • Most Market Research companies have a periodically updated database of hundreds of people in order to select the initial sample size
  • Quick turnaround time for research reports and other collected data

Primary Market Research - Give Your Products A Competitive Edge

Regardless of whether you're setting up or expanding your organization, market research is essential in understanding the market you want to target, as well as see an increase in sales volume. A well - compiled market research report can not only help you identify potential customers, but also assist you set realistic targets and develop effective pricing strategies.

At Outsource2india, our research and analysis services have allowed global businesses to leap ahead of their competitors, and our market research services are ideally suited to a business owner looking to deal with dynamic, ever-changing market demands.

Read our article - Internet of Things is Big, and Market Researchers Can No Longer Ignore It to understand how IoT can help you in your market research.

Contact us now if you would like to know more about how Primary Market Research can help your business towards profitability.

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