There are many ways to conduct market research and collect customer data. In this blog we’ll discuss three of the most commonly used market research methodologies: surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus groups.
Surveys are the most commonly used methodology to collect customer data. Surveys can be quickly created and easily delivered as an on-screen questionnaire or by email. Surveys come in all different forms and sizes, from short and sweet online data-collection forms to multi-page, comprehensive research surveys.
Just because surveys are easy and inexpensive to conduct does not mean all surveys are created equal! To get the best results, and easiest to categorize, focus on closed-ended questions. Simple Yes or No answers or multiple-choice answers are the best.
2. In-Depth Interviews
In-depth interviews are one-on-one conversations with recruited participants that make up your target market. In-depth interviews are typically conducted over the phone or video, and sometimes in-person (although during the Covid-19 pandemic, this isn’t an option for most).
In-depth interviews are great ways to learn more about your customer or user to better understand what drives their decision-making processes.
You’ll get the most from In-depth interviews if they are done in conjunction with focus groups, or after the user has been asked to test a product. Research consultants often gain many useful insights because they can more naturally probe different threads that come up during the interview.
3. Focus groups
Focus groups bring together a carefully recruited group of people who fit a company’s target market. An experienced moderator leads a conversation, lasting between 1.5 and 2 hours, about the user experience, product, and/or marketing message to gain deeper insights. Focus groups are ideally between 6-9 people.
Focus groups are best left to experienced moderators who know how to manage multiple people in a room and get the most from every participant. There are many pitfalls that can befall inexperienced moderators from dominance bias (when a forceful participant dominates and/or influences the group) to social desirability (when participants give answers they think are ‘right’ rather than providing unfavourable feedback).
It doesn’t matter which methodology you choose, recruiting the right participants is the common denominator. Market research results won’t mean anything without the right people participating.