What is market research?
Market research (also called marketing research) is the action or activity of gathering information about market needs and preferences. This helps companies understand their target market — how the audience feels and behaves.
For example, this could be an online questionnaire, shared by email, which has a set of questions that ask an audience about their views. For an audience of target customers, your questions may explore their reaction to a new product that can be used as feedback into the design.
Why do market research?
When you have tangible insights on the audience’s needs, you can then take steps to meet those needs and solve problems. This mitigates the risk of an experience gap – which is what your audience expects you deliver versus what you actually deliver.
In doing this work, you can gain:
- Improved purchase levels – Sales will improve if your product or service is ticking all the right buttons for your customers.
- Improved decision making – You can avoid the risk of losing capital or time by using what your research tells you and acting with insights.
- Real connection with your target market – If you’re investing in understanding your target audience, your product and service will more likely to make an impact.
- Understand new opportunities – it might be that your research indicates a new area for your product to play within, or you find potential for a new service that wasn’t considered before.
Who do you ask your questions to?
Who to target in your market research is crucial to getting the right insights and data back. If you don’t have a firm idea on who your target audiences are, then here are some questions that you can ask before you begin writing your market research questions:
- Who is our customer currently and who do we want to attract in the future?
- How do they behave with your brand?
- What do they say, do and think?
- What are their pain points, needs and wants?
- Where do they live? What is the size of our market?
- Why do they use us? Why do they use other brands?
We’ve put together some questions below (Market research questions for your demographics) if you wanted to reach out to your market for this.
With the answers, you can help you segment your customer market, understand key consumer trends, create customer personas and discover the right way to target them.
Market research goals
Give yourself the right direction to work towards.There are different kinds of market research that can happen, but to choose the right market research questions, figure out your market research goals first.
Set a SMART goal that thinks about what you want to achieve and keeps you on track. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. For example, a good SMART business goal would be to increase website sales for a top product by 10% over a period of 6 months.
You may need to review some strategic business information, like customer personas and historical sales data, which can give you the foundation of knowledge (the ‘baseline’) to grow from. This, combined with your business objectives, will help you form the right SMART targets tailored to your teams.
Types of market research questions
Now that you have your SMART target, you can look at which type of market research questions will help you reach your goal. They can be split into these types:
- For demographics
- For customers
- For product
- For brand
Market research questions for your demographics
Demographic information about your customers is data about gender, age, ethnicity, annual income, education and marital status. It also gives key information about their shopping habits.
Here are some questions you can ask in your market research survey:
- What is your age / gender / ethnicity / marital status?
- What is the highest level of education you have achieved?
- What is your monthly income range?
- What methods of shopping do you use?
- What amount do you spend on [product/brand/shopping] each month?
- How regular do you shop for [product/brand]?
Learn more about the demographic survey questions that yield valuable insights.
Market research questions for your customer
These questions are aimed at your customer to understand the voice of the customer — the customer marketing landscape is not an one-way dialogue for engaging prospects and your customer’s feedback is needed for the development of your products or services.
- How did we do / would you rate us?
- Why did you decide to use [product or service]?
- How does that fit your needs?
- Would you recommend us to your friends?
- Would you buy from us again?
- What could we do better?
- Why did you decide to shop elsewhere?
- In your opinion, why should customers choose us?
- How would you rate our customer experience?
Learn more about why the voice of the customer matters or try running a customer experience survey.
Market research questions for your product
These questions will help you understand how your customers perceive your product, their reactions to it and whether changes need to be made in the development cycle.
- What does our [product or service] do that you like or dislike?
- What do you think about [feature or benefit]?
- How does the product help you solve your problems?
- Which of these features will be the most valuable / useful for you?
- Is our product competitive with other similar products out there? How?
- How does the product score on [cost / service / ease of use, etc.]?
- What changes will customers likely want in the future that technology can provide?
There are also a set of questions you can ask to find out if your product pricing is set at the right mark:
- Does the product value justify the price it’s marketed at?
- Is the pricing set at the right mark?
- How much would you pay for this product?
- Is this similar to what competitors are charging?
- Do you believe the price is fair?
- Do you believe the pricing is right based on the amount of usage you’d get?
Have you tried a pricing and value research survey to see how much your target customers would be willing to pay?
Market research questions for your brand
How does the impact of your products, services and experiences impact your brand’s image? You can find out using these questions:
- What do you think about our brand?
- Have you seen any reviews about us online? What do they say?
- Have you heard about our brand from friends or family? What do they say?
- How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend?
- Have you read the testimonials on our own channels? Did they have an impact on your decision to purchase? How?
- When you think of our brand, what do you think/ feel / want?
- How did you hear about us?
- Do you feel confident you know what our brand stands for?
- Are you aware of our [channel] account?
Learn more about brand perception surveys and how to carry them out successfully.
How to use market research questions in a survey
For the best research questionnaires, tailoring your market research questions to the goal you want will help you focus the direction of the data received.
You can get started now on your own market research questionnaire, using one of our free survey templates, when you sign up to a free Qualtrics account.
Drag-and-drop interface that requires no coding is easy-to-use, and supported by our award-winning support team.
With Qualtrics, you can distribute, and analyse surveys to find customer, employee, brand, product, and marketing research insights.
More than 11,000 brands and 99 of the top 100 business schools use Qualtrics solutions because of the freedom and power it gives them.