Collecting Market Research Data
Market research projects depend on collecting accurate and relevant data that can assist in solving the business problems or marketing problems that are being addressed.
Collecting marketing data for a market research project is not a task to be taken lightly.
To help you obtain clear, unbiased and reliable results, collect the market research data with guidance and direction from experienced researchers.
An untrained staff person conducting primary research can lead to interviewer bias and other common market research data collection mistakes.
As such, before beginning the collection of data, it is important to train, educate and supervise your research staff. Two important topics to cover are:
- The Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Marketing Data
- The Rules and Guidelines for Your Market Research Project
Qualitative Market Research Versus Quantitative Market Research
If you've decided on doing primary research, your first choice is whether to do qualitative or quantitative research.
Conducting interviews and reading interviews is a common example market research method cited for qualitative research. No number crunching is involved, and you don't have to worry about things like statistical significance.
Interview verbatims, for example, give you a feel for what the market in thinking, including their pain points, triggers to look for your products and services, approach to finding vendors and decision criteria for buying.
But your interviewee sample size may be small. For this reason, qualitative research usually precedes and informs quantitative research. With qualitative marketing data in hand you can form hypotheses that you want to test on a larger audience for validity, rejection or refinement.
With quantitative research, one hopes to draw conclusions about a large audience by testing a subset of the audience. Perhaps you interviewed ten people for your qualitative research. With your quantitative research, you might want to test your marketing hypotheses with 200 prospective customers or even 2000 prospective customers.
The larger the testing audience the more likely you can draw meaningful conclusions that are statistically significant.
Surveys are a common market research data collection method for qualitative research. You can also analyze marketing ideas at scale by creating Google Ads with varying messages and offers and then looking at click-through rates to see which marketing messages got the best results.
If you are creative, it's not very expensive to collect quantitative marketing data that can help you solve the challenge you are focused on.
Rules and Guidelines for a Market Research Data Collection Project
It's good to remind everyone who is working on your market research project what your rules and guidelines are. You'll want to drive home a few key guiderails for everyone's work:
- Stick to the objectives and rules associated with the methods and techniques you have decided to use in your market research project, whether that be primary research or secondary research.
- Try to be as scientific as possible in gathering your information. For example, avoid all recipients of a survey being located in a specific geography or demographic group. Doing so would limit your ability to draw conclusions about a broader audience.
- Avoid overspending and stick to the timeline. Your market research project has a set of objectives, budget and timeline, doesn't it? Make sure the entire research team can recite all three.
- We're not hear to boil the ocean. There's a specific set of problems we are looking at, so avoid any extraneous work.
- Eventually, we will have to make a presentation on this research. Think ahead to what that presentation will look like and let's all be sure we don't have any gaps in the research approach.
Avoid Common Mistakes in Collecting Market Research Data
By educating your team on the market research data collection topics we've discussed above, your project will be off to a good start.
You'll avoid many common mistakes in market research, such as:
- Neglecting an important objective of your market research project
- Starting too late and missing a critical deadline
- Exceeding budget
- Designing the research project to get the answer you want, rather than letting the research determine the answers
- Failing to test an alternative marketing hypothesis that could have been better than what you evaluated.
- Coming to conclusions that can't be supported by your market research data
- Having a subset of your marketing data be inaccurate, incomplete or skewed, thus tainting the entire project.
- Not having everything you need when it comes time to deliver your marketing research presentation or report.
In general, the "think forward, reason back" concept is a good one for market research data collection.
Envision what you hope to produce as a final deliverable, think about how the project could go wrong, and make sure the data collection effort ensures a good outcome for you, your team and your company.
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