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What is market research?

We take an in-depth look at market research and why it is so important

Properly targeted market research is the key to a thriving business and can make the difference between success and failure, say experts. Good market research should be a cost-effective way of discovering what your customers want and matching products and services to what customers need.

Even better, good market research can help a small business to grow by keeping you up with current trends and with what your competitors are doing. Knowing the state of the market and how to improve your position within it can revolutionise those businesses which carry out proper market research.

“Unfortunately most companies shy away from market research, and then they wonder why they don't succeed,” says Simon Wieremiej, spokesperson for the British Market Research Association (BMRA). “Research, superficially, seems straightforward – you ask a few people a few questions, and get the information you need,” says Michael Warren, former director general of the Market Research Society (MRS) and now a freelance researcher and consultant. “But it isn't that simple and it is always advisable in research, as in every sphere of life, to consult with the professionals.”

For many small businesses, though, the cost of properly conducted market research using a research agency can be prohibitive.

But market research is a broad term which covers a great deal more than the lady who stops you in the street with a questionnaire in her hand, and you can do basic market research yourself – until you realise its value to your business, and decide that calling in the experts can actually save you money.


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