Definition: Market research surveys are a tool used to collect information about a target market. These surveys allow businesses to understand market needs and preferences.
Your company can offer better products or services by understanding your target market. Often, market research surveys will also include questions about competitors. Competitor data help paint the complete picture of your target market.
Depending on your goal, you want to include different question types in your survey. Here are three general categories of question types to include:
- Customer demographic questions
- Product/service questions
- Company/brand questions
Customer Demographic Questions
These questions will help you to understand your audience better. In addition, this data can be used to create market segments.
- What is your age range?
- What is your marital status?
- What is the highest level of education?
- What is your monthly income?
- Which of the following online retailers do you use most often?
- How many hours a week do you spend doing [task]?
- How did you find our company?
Product or Service Questions
When researching a product or service, you want to find out what attributes customers find most valuable in addition to a proper price point. MaxDiff will help you determine what is least and most important for this type of research, while Gabor Granger and Van Westendorp will help you find the optimal price points.
Important note: Don’t ask customers what they would pay for a product or service using an input box. The data will be unreliable. Instead, we recommend using a Gabor Granger question to determine optimal price; this question mimics real-world buying decisions where random price points are evaluated.
Asking about competitors is also essential when drafting product or service questions. Understanding the competition will help your own company build better offerings.
- Of the following features, which are LEAST and MOST important to you?
- Does this product help solve your problems?
- Is there any feature you wish a competitor offered?
- Was our product easy to use?
- How would you evaluate the following price points when purchasing this product?
When asking questions about your company or brand, the key focus should be on asking the Net Promoter Score question. This question asks, “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” with options from 0 to 10. The overall score will range from -100 to 100 and can be benchmarked against other companies.
Some additional questions in this area could include the following
- Do you understand what our brand stands for?
- Of the following terms, which do you associate with our brand?
- When thinking of a new [product] to buy, which of the following brands first comes to mind?
Tips to Create a Great Market Research Survey
Create an Objective:
Once you get the data, what actions will you take with it? For example, do you want to research features or pricing? Whatever the objective is, make sure it is clear. This will ensure the right questions are asked to gather valuable data.
Determine How to Collect Responses:
Do you have a customer list or want general consumers’ opinions? We recommend using your own customers as a starting point for market research surveys. Then you can add in a targeted survey panel to grab more general consumer opinions.
Here is a sample size calculator to determine your needed sample size. This data will enable you to know how many responses you need to collect based on the overall population you are studying.
To spot hidden trends and relationships, use cross-tabulation. For example, you could create a cross-tabulation report for a MaxDiff question with gender. Then you can see what product each prefers features. This can be used for marketing or to decide what target market would be more profitable.
Keep Your Survey Short:
No one wants to be overwhelmed. A study by Survicate found that surveys with 1-3 questions had an 83% response rate. Use skip logic to hide irrelevant questions from users that do not meet specific criteria.
Offer incentives! Offer respondents a discount if they take your survey. This will help drum up new business and ensure you can collect the data you need.
Why Use Market Research Surveys?
Research a Target Market:
Your target market is the consumers who would find your product or service most helpful. So first, create a survey to discover opinions on a product or service and respondent demographics such as age, income level, or education level. You can segment your results from here and find out what characteristics make up your target market.
Now that you know your general target market, a more specific group of those people is known as a segment. With the dealership example, maybe you realize consumers in your area and target market love Audi but hate BMW. Luxury cars and people of the same income level drive them, but this difference in product preference is a segment. Knowing this is key to offering the correct brands or prices.
Often called SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), analyzing your competition is key to gaining market share. Go directly to consumers and ask about their opinions on competitors. Ask questions about what they do well or what you do well. Your survey results will help you identify opportunities for growth or ways your company needs to change to stay competitive.
Does your product meet your customers’ needs? Sending an online product survey to customers will help you gain insights that drive improvements, consumer satisfaction, and ultimately, sales. When measuring the importance of product features, remember always to include a MaxDiff question.
Types of Market Research Data
Of course, surveys are only part of market research. You might be able to shorten your survey if you can collect data from other places first.
Primary Information (aka Field Research):
Primary market research is information YOU collect specific to your objective. This type of information is most often collected via surveys! For example, you might want to open up an arcade in a small town in the United States. You can send out a survey to a sample of the town’s residents to get demographic information and if they are willing to visit your arcade.
Secondary Information (aka Desk Research):
Secondary market research is information YOU DO NOT collect specific to your objective. This type of data is already available to you in public government databases, journals, publications, or even Google! For example, let’s say you were interested in starting your luxury car dealership. You could look at government census data for income levels for your target market before conducting your detailed research. Secondary information should help narrow down what preliminary information you need to collect.