Market research is important because customers differ in terms of:

  • the benefits they want
  • amount they are able to or willing to pay
  • media (television, newspapers, websites and magazines) they see/use
  • quantities they buy
  • time and place that they buy

Insights provided by effective market research:

  • dimensions of the market (Size, structure, growth, trends)
  • competitor strategies
  • needs, wants and expectations of customers
  • market segments

Research Types

Primary Research

Data collected first-hand for a specific reason or purpose


  • Online surveys
  • Questionnaire
  • Interviews
  • Testing & Observation
  • Focus Groups
  • Staged launches/releases
  • Postal surveys
  • Experiments


  • Targeted data—what you need exactly
  • Verifiable accuracy
  • Fresh data
  • Kept private
  • More detailed


  • Time consuming
  • Requires engagement with individuals/marketing
  • Needs analysis (secondary research may come with completed graphs etc)
  • Specialist reports can be expensive
  • Risk of survey bias
  • Sampling may not be representative

Secondary Research

Data that already exists and which has been collected for a different purpose


  • Government and Census data (ONS etc)
  • Internet
  • Books & Newspapers
  • Income statements
  • Competitor Websites
  • Marketing Research Reports (£££)
  • Trade Associations


  • Quick and easy to access
  • Likely to be free
  • Large datasets are available
  • Good source of market insights


  • Can contain bias
  • Might be old
  • Not specific to what you need

Quantitative Research

  • Focuses on numerical data
  • Collected through surveys and questionnaires
  • Helps companies to see what % of people think what
    • Eg, 35% of people enjoy football

Qualitative Research

  • Focuses on opinions and attitudes
  • Collected through interviews, focus groups, in-depth discussions
  • Helps companies to see what people really think
  • Eg, students at the local school like watching football but not playing it.