What is Market Research?
Market research is the process of analyzing the viability of a product or service through quantitative and qualitative analysis. The goal of this research is to determine or discover a target market, brand position, and marketing niche position. The positioning informs brand strategy & business strategy and lays the foundation to build a marketing strategy. At large, conducting market research increases your chances for success. It outlines opportunities allowing leaders to make better use of resources & processes while mitigating risks.
Market research operates on two primary modes of analysis—quantitative and qualitative. These distinct disciplines are deeper and more rich when studied together, however, they can operate in silos. In a way, quantitative and qualitative offer a philosophical dialectic: together they pursue the truth about opportunities. Quantitative research is analytical, correlative, and focused on data. Qualitative is human and causal.
At BS LLC we practice various forms of qualitative analysis to inform brand and marketing strategy and determine market segmentation. Our process begins with an analysis of the digital marketplace. The data collection begins with a thorough audit of your digital footprint: including social media profiles, websites, applications, local listing presence, customer service interfaces, and more. We are looking for macro trends through available analytics to understand how users interface with your product or service.
The resulting insights infer market trends, user experience priorities, and opportunity spaces as well as risk and problem areas. We will discuss how they impact your business planning in the analysis and interpretation section.
Qualitative analysis lives at the heart of everything we do at BS LLC. Our qualitative research is informed by Job Theory. Job Theory argues that customers don’t buy products, they hire them to do a job. As human needs are few and finite, those jobs have been relatively the same throughout time. However, over time, products and services have evolved to do the job better—ie. innovation.
So, if you can understand the job to be done, you can understand the causal mechanism of the sale. If you understand the causal mechanism you have a wealth of information to improve the product, the brand, the service and so much more.
There are three fundamental dimensions to each job to be done— functional, social & emotional. These jobs are studied through customer interfacing. In a way, it flips the traditional customer survey model on its head. We conduct face to face long-form interviews with customer to establish a timeline to purchase. From it, we decipher context, psychology, natural language, body language to inform how we can achieve the customer job more perfectly.
Historically, “qual” research means questionnaires, focus groups, and open-ended question forms. We believe these are ineffective forms of product or service development as they are tinged by personal or parochial bias and limit the responses to known criteria, divorced from a user context. One of our favorite case studies to elucidate this point is that of the fast-food milkshake.
Analyzing & Interpreting
The process of strategy is dimensional. It requires depth, width, and height. Depth to understand profoundly. Width to consider and weigh variety and diversity. Height to compact insights into actionable endeavors.
From our research, we present insights from myriad types of information (in depth interviews, market research, business strategy, brand strategy) and work diligently to find the singular and overarching thematics.
The collected hero insights help inform your new brand position, or provide the necessary ammunition for a rebrand. They teach how to innovate. They tell us how to market.
As a firm, BS LLC is committed to the act of strategy as a process not an event. The above insights allow us to operate outside of a vacuum. To pull meaning from context. To develop highly attuned to needs. To build something beautiful and powerful.
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your own market research and find more potential customers, Hubspot has an excellent step by step guide for beginners.