How to Develop a Market Research Plan

by Perjan Duro, Founder

In order to understand the needs of your customers, you must conduct proper market research. However, just knowing what techniques you have available is hardly enough to pull this off. In order to acquire this knowledge and turn it to your benefit, you have to understand how all of these parts fit in together. In other words, you don’t just have to learn market research methods but also find a way to develop a proper market research plan. Here are several tips you might find useful.

1. Choose your goals and objectives wisely

The first thing you need to understand is that market research doesn’t make much sense until you know exactly what you’re researching. In order to start surveying your target audience, you need to know what you’re surveying them for, which is why you need to choose your objective wisely. While this may sound a bit daunting or challenging, it’s actually quite simple. All you have to do is determine what is it exactly that you want to know.

Most common questions are usually of the ideal customers and their commonly recognizable traits. Knowing exactly who you’re talking to can help when you try to market your products, as it helps form the message and pick the most suitable channel to send it through. Different demographic groups (age, gender, education) use different platforms, which could make a huge difference in your outreach efficiency.

2. The validity of your information

The next problem you need to resolve is one regarding the validity of your information. For instance, some websites prefer to block access to content with popups in hopes of forcing people to do a survey. As the end result, you are most likely to get one of the following two outcomes. First, you stand to drive people away and second, you also risk having them give random answers just so that they can access what lies behind. Either way, you end with useless data that you can’t act upon.

The best way to ensure that the information you get is really valid is to offer a real incentive for the survey participants. The simplest way to achieve this is with the use of paid surveys online. This is incredibly efficient in the long run. By doing this online, you get to save money on paper and printing in general, save time on data processing efforts and stand a chance at getting more reliable information by providing test participants with a higher level of anonymity.

3. Brand awareness vs. brand recognition

In one of the previous sections, we hinted at the idea that market research needs to be done prior to a product launch. However, it is just as a viable of a tool when it comes to the assessment of your progress later on. For instance, you can turn to surveys in order to check how great your brand recognition and brand awareness are. Naturally, you first have to learn the difference between the two. Brand recognition merely revolves around the audience being able to recognize (as the name suggests) your logo and products, whereas awareness requires a higher level of knowledge. Speaking of awareness, the above-mentioned surveys are probably the best way of determining its rate.

4. A/B tests for user behavior

Apart from surveys, sometimes you might be interested in the behavioral part of your market instead of the verbal one. Let’s be honest, some actions of your customers, even commercial and financial ones, are so subconscious that they can’t be revealed by simply asking a question. Your safest bet here lies in A/B testing. All you need are two opposite choices in a controlled environment and a large enough group of test subjects to draw meaningful conclusions. With present-day analytical tools and testing platforms, this can be done in a matter of days.

While there are so many test results out there published by other parties, you need to understand that a lot of them are either industry or situation-specific. In other words, what works for others doesn’t necessarily have to work for you. This means that you have to look for your own answers, rather than relying on other findings.

5. The key lies in continuity

The final piece of the puzzle lies in the fact that your work is never actually done. As soon as one stage of your market research is finished, another one is about to begin. As soon as one round of surveys and testing is over, you already have to think about another one. The reason behind this is the ever-shifting landscape of the business world that gets directly conditioned by new trends and changes in public opinion.


Knowing how to develop a market research plan is more than just getting to know your customers. It’s about learning how to get to the actionable information in the shortest time-span and by investing as little as possible. In other words, it is a skill that every ambitious entrepreneur needs to adopt prior to launching a new product or offering a new service to the market. In this way, they stand to maximize their ROI, boost their reach and overall stand a better chance at building customer loyalty from scratch.

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