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Market research is one of the crucial steps in a running a successful business. No matter how amazing your product or service is, without understanding your customers it’s going to be tough for you to make a splash in your marketplace. There are two phases of market research, primary and secondary. Here we are going to focus on primary research which means collecting insights directly from people whether that is in the form of interviews, focus groups, surveys or other methods.

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Primary method is going to be the most valuable for you because they are going to answer the specific questions you have about your customers and your business. But as a second point you may benefit from secondary research. This is the research that is already out there and analyzed for you. Secondary research is good for basic research and details about your industry like market size, major players, so you can understand where you fit in and on a high level how to differentiate yourself on that space. Secondary research is often available for free from government organizations like the Bureau of Labour Statistics or you can buy reports from large research organizations.

People love to talk about their experiences and your customers are people.  If you can direct their chatter towards your research goals, you will be able to uncover deep insights quicker than you ever thought possible. We will share 3 things you will be doing while conducting interviews and 3 things you should avoid at all cost:

How to interview

  • Make sure you know what your goal is going to the interview
  • Built rapport.
  • Reflect back their emotions

Interviewing mistakes

  • Talking more than you listen
  • Asking “why?”
  • Forgetting to test your questions

Our brains tend to link emotional moments with visuals in our mind and researchers have figured out how to leverage this connection. Just like other interviews image-based interviews start by inviting the right participants to the party. The difference here is that you ask them to do some prep work to bring 10 to 15 pictures to the interview. The second step is to run one-on-one interviews where you talk with participants about each picture they bring. Ask with general thoughts and feelings and then follow up with questions that dig deeper. Third, use a forced pairing technique that asks participants to think about that topic in images that normally wouldn’t associate with it.

Dairy Studies

Dairy studies are about recording behaviour when it happens. They help you explore the moments that matter, by capturing them at the moment they happen. In a project for Google news, participants were asked to record their screen every time they checked the news over 4-day period and explain what they were looking at. These time stamped diary entries helped in identifying the reasons that certain audiences were switching between news apps. The screen recordings helped in learning about the features they needed at different moments in their experience. Learning about your customer experience in context will help you make confident decisions about your brand or product. Mobile diary studies make this a good option to understanding more about your customers. And unlike in-person interviews this is a scalable option.


Survey Research

Survey research is often used to explain trends or features of large groups. 4 best practises for your survey research includes:

  • Determining the goal
  • Keep it short and sweet with prioritising critical question
  • Writing simple, direct and specific questions
  • Pilot your questions

Data Analytics

A few years ago, Vespa scooters set up to attract more customers. Using analytics, they found out that Vespa owners, posted far more on topics related to style, fashion, design, architecture and art. So instead of blogging just about scooters, Vespa started posting about these topics too. In just 3 months, Vespa drove 50,000 more visitors to their site many using more keywords related to style and art. This meant 2800 sales leads for Vespa almost half of which were new to the brand. That’s useful data. There is a lot to gain by routinely looking at data being generated by customers. Let’s dig into 3 types of analytics that modern day researcher uses to learn more about their customers.

The third type of analytics is social listening. This is where we mine social media for information about your customers.

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