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8 Types of Market Research (Updated 2024)

Savannah Trotter • 20 Mar 2024

Market research is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting consumer data to make informed business decisions.

It is an indispensable tool that empowers companies to understand their audience, refine their strategies, and stay ahead in an ever-evolving market. In this piece, we'll explore the eight essential types of market research that form the backbone of strategic decision-making. 


Primary market research 

Primary research is the research data that you collect yourself by going directly to your target audience. This can be done a number of ways, but the most popular are often through focus groups, interviews, and surveys. 


Focus Groups

A focus group is a research method that brings together a small sample of people to answer questions about your product, brand, or category in a moderated setting. This group is often selected based on predefined demographic or behavioral traits, and the questions are designed to shed light on a specific topic of interest. 

While this approach is flexible and can provide deep insights, it does come with drawbacks. A group setting can cause a number of bias's to emerge, like social desirability bias (the desire to answer questions “correctly” instead of honestly) or acquiescence bias (a desire to please the interviewer). 



A survey is simply a collection of closed and open ended questions that are sent to a targeted group of respondents, usually digitally.

Surveys are a great way to carry out your own primary research, allowing you to gather responses digitally instead of having to physically source participants. They also allow you to gather consumer data at a larger scale. But, much like anything, it does come with some drawbacks. Long monotonous surveys can cause respondent fatigue, which degrades the overall data quality. 



Secondary Market Research 

Secondary research involves using data that has already been collected, analyzed, and published; usually by an agency or reporting group. One of the key advantages to this type of research is that it allows you to get insights without having to collect the data yourself. It can save you time, budget, and allows you to build upon existing knowledge. 

But secondary research has its disadvantages. One major drawback is the fact that the data is not specific to your exact market, brand, or product, so making assumptions based upon it can be dubious. There is also no guarantee that the data you need is credible, authentic, or even available. 



Quantitative Market Research 

Quantitative market research is the collection of data that is quantifiable in nature. This can include responses to surveys, polls, or questionnaires. Researchers collect this type of data because it provides hard facts on a brand, product, or market. 



Qualitative Market Research 

Qualitative Research is the collection of data that is non-numerical in nature, making it difficult to measure. It often comes from focus groups or one-on-one interviews, where insights are derived from free-flowing discussions. Researchers will often collect this type of data to add more depth and perspective to their foundational quantitative market research. 



Branding Research 

Brand research is the process of gathering feedback from past, present, and prospective customers to better understand how your brand is perceived in the market. This type of research allows you to measure the ROI of your -often intangible- brand building efforts. 

Using brand trackers and surveys, you can measure and analyze key performance indicators like: 


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Understand how familiar the market is with your brand.

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Brand perception

Find out what consumers really think about your brand.

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Brand usage

Determine how often customers purchase and use your products.

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Brand preference

Measure the degree to which consumers choose your brand over competitors.

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Brand loyalty

Understand the likelihood of customers continuing to engage with your brand.

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Net Promoter score (NPS) 

Quantify the probability that a customer will recommend your brand.


You can use a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, like focus groups and surveys, to gather the insights you need

Product Research 

Product research is the process of applying market research techniques during your product development cycle. It is used to make sure your products are ready for launch and perform as well as possible

Product research can be used at nearly every stage of your product development for a number of reasons: 

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Find gaps in the market

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Screen product ideas and prototypes 

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Test product designs and pricing

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Better understand the wants, needs, and preferences of your ideal customers

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Find the best messaging to describe your product


Primary research methods will be the most useful here, with surveys and experiments ranking among the most popular ways to gather quantitative data. Some specific tools you can use include:

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Concept testing for screening your product ideas, prototypes, and designs

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Conjoint analysis or MaxDiff analysis for finding the right set of features for your product. 

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Gabor-Granger or Van Westendorp to  help you find your optimal price. 



Customer Research 

Customer research explores the preferences, behaviors, influences, and needs of your target customers. The goal is to better understand the people who buy your products, and find ways to keep them happy. Some common themes of customer research include: 

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Creating customer segments / buyer personas

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Measuring metrics like customer satisfaction, loyalty, or a Net Promoter Score (NPS)

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Checking in on the customer experience at various touchpoints


Surveys are often the most popular way to gather customer research at specific points along the customer journey.


Marketing Research 

Marketing research uses tools and techniques from market research to improve marketing impact and better understand audiences. It is used to collect feedback from current and target customers that can be used to inform your messaging, advertising, and overall marketing strategy. 

Marketing research is often used to: 

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Understand what your audience wants, where they are, and what messaging resonates with them to ensure marketing ROI. 

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Learn the topics, formats, and tone your audience prefers to deliver blog, video, and social content that wins. 

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Better align your messaging to speak the language of your customers. 


A mix of surveys, ad testing, messaging testing, and tracking studies be useful for this type of research. 

Market Research with SightX

SightX is an AI-driven market research platform that offers you a single unified solution for product, brand, marketing, and pricing research. While powerful enough for insights teams at Fortune 500 companies, our user-friendly interface makes it simple for anyone to start, optimize, and scale their research. 

And with our new Generative AI consultant, Ada, you can harness the power of OpenAI’s GPT to transform your marketing research and insights. Collaborating with Ada is like having an expert researcher, brilliant statistician, and ace marketer on your team, helping you ask the right questions, choose the best experiments, pick out key insights, and seamlessly apply them to your business. 

If you're ready to dive in click the button below to get started for free!


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Savannah Trotter

Savannah Trotter

Savannah is the Marketing Manager at SightX. She is our in-house expert for all things marketing and advertising.

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