Breaking Down: Market Research


If you ever fell asleep reading all those long, dreary and overly technical blog posts that people share around in Facebook; this might be a simpler and clearer post, which will help you better understand the intricate workings and meanings of Market Research.

Here in PanelPlace, our members are able to maximize their earnings on our website, by taking online paid surveys from Market Research companies and Survey Panels. Most, however, do not often see the relationship between Market Research and paid surveys, but there is always so much more than it meets the eye!

Now, using the oh-so-classic 5Ws & 1H formula we had learned way back in English class; you are going to undergo a special ‘crash course’ designed by PanelPlace to help you better understand Market Research. Without further ado, let’s quickly break down, and answer all the common questions you may have in mind about Market Research!


What is Market Research?

"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself". – Peter Drucker

Simply put, Market Research is an essential component of the business strategy for all businesses. It refers to any organized effort to gather information about target markets or consumers in a systematic manner, while analyzing and interpreting them later to derive specific and valuable data (such as the characteristics and needs of their target market, the competition they may be facing, and information about the industry, as a whole).


Who Conducts Market Research?

The business itself, or an outsourced Market Research company (such as Nielson Holdings N.V. and GfK) can conduct Market Research. More often than not, using a separate company to carry out Market Research is a popular practice, since smaller businesses will lack the resources and capacity required to gather and analyze large amounts of data, while larger businesses may prefer to focus their resources at somewhere else instead. More recently, Survey Panels (i.e. online communities of people that are interested to do surveys for money and other rewards) have also been flourishing as a platform, for businesses to work with and conduct their Market Research while connecting to a wider audience.


Why Conduct Market Research?

“If we knew what it was we were doing,  it would not be called research" – Albert Einstein

As Einstein had so wisely put it, the reason why businesses and firms conduct Market Research is so very simple: to make sure they know what they are doing.

In reality, as humans, if we did not know anything about the matter at hand, how likely are we to make decisions without researching or gathering some information? If you were about to go on a trip to the States, wouldn't you research on some tourist attractions before deciding your itinerary? If you were about to go on a job hunt, wouldn't you research to find out which companies that are hiring before deciding which position and company to apply for?

The same goes for businesses. As mentioned before, Market Research is a process necessary for all businesses to really discover their target market and their needs. In particular, this is a vital process for budding entrepreneurs and start-ups, as they will have to take this time to assess and determine the viability of a new product or service. This is a core, fundamental aspect in all business strategies, and the information gathered via Market Research will also lay the foundations for other strategies, and affect business performance later. It is clear then, that businesses must conduct Market Research; for only then, will they be able to have a good grasp of all the essential information, and make profitable, wise business decisions.


How does Market Research works?

To understand how Market Research works, it is first necessary for us to understand that there are two types of Market Research that can be carried out; namely Primary Research and Secondary Research, which is also known as ‘Field Research’ and ‘Desk Research’ respectively. While Secondary Research refers to the collection and analysis of information that is collected by someone else before and is readily available elsewhere (e.g. reports and statistics on websites); Primary Research refers to information that is collected by you, or someone that you hired, through exercises like questionnaires or personal interviews. Certainly, there are several pros and cons to each type, but Primary Research is generally preferred by most since data obtained here is comparatively more up to date. Hence, this shall be the main type of Market Research that is discussed from hereafter.

As mentioned earlier, after gathering and collecting all the necessary information required, the foundations to several other business strategies will be then put to place, and from the information gathered; it is possible to derive critical market information like market trends, demographic audience and doing the SWOT Analysis. Businesses may even be able to further improve their product or service with the data obtained, to the point where they will gain a comparative advantage over their other competitors. Again, businesses will be able to understand whether their product or service is viable or not, and this will affect entry or exit of all businesses, be it budding entrepreneurs and businesses or not, in all industries.


Where do businesses conduct Market Research?

While data collected from Secondary Research can be easily and readily gathered by businesses (through channels such as reports, statistics and websites); it is somewhat more difficult to conduct Primary Research, which refers to information that is gathered first hand by us. Over the years, the means through which businesses or hired third-party companies conduct Primary Research has evolved greatly; from disseminating feedback forms and mailing questionnaires, to conducting telephone and personal face-to-face interviews. With the advance in technology these days however, online surveys have emerged as one of the newer forms of Primary Research that can be conducted. Through working with Survey Panels, this is an excellent and efficient alternative for businesses and Market Research companies to collect data easily, while providing an incentive for survey takers. The collection of data and Primary Research, is made easier through such platforms.


When do businesses conduct Market Research?

Really, there is no specific timing as to when businesses should conduct market research. As mentioned earlier, before selling a product or service, and even starting a business, it is always necessary to conduct market research to understand if said product or service is a viable one. Ideally though, this is should be a continuous and ongoing process, so companies can always better and further improve their products and services. While benefitting consumers as a whole, this is a good business strategy for businesses to edge out other competitors in the industry.



Hoped this post helped enlighten you a bit on complex workings of Market Research, and the relationship between Market Research and online paid surveys now! Alongside the rapid advances of technology and a growing Internet community, Survey Panels bridge the gap between a population that holds a general reluctant and dubious attitude towards telephone interviews, and businesses which are seeking to better understand their perceptions and opinions. Quick to realize the benefits and efficiency provided by Survey Panels in the collection of data, Survey Panels are a growing phenomenon in the Market Research industry, with the incentive of both monetary and non-monetary benefits, and allowing people to earn extra from home.