What are the best market research resources?

Market research resources: Understanding customer thoughts + The best market research books

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 Market research resources: Understanding customer thoughts + The best market research books
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If you think that your ideas are so original and efficient that they will bring any business to wealth and fame. Or if you have been called creative, innovative, clever, and such and you go around bragging about it, then you are probably putting your business at risk. Of course, the idea is very important, but one should keep in mind that 90% of startups and 95% of new products, which often claim brilliant ideas, never reach maturity.

This post is not about the analysis of these reasons, but rather it introduces market research resources, which if chosen correctly will be a road map to minimize the likelihood of failure as much as possible.

What is market research?

Market research refers to any process that evaluates the feasibility of providing a service or manufacturing a product. Market research will provide investors, companies, and organizations with an in-depth insight into the target market and allow them to make the best possible decision by deeply knowing their market.

Market research may be done by the service or product provider themselves, but there are also specialized companies to which you can outsource the entire market research process. Either way, you will have to conduct questionnaires, surveys, and interviews with audience, or look for relevant statistics and information that have been previously published in papers, books, and websites. In fact, to conduct market research, you will definitely need the market research resources examined in the following post.

The Complete Guide to Market Research and Marketing Research: Everything You Need to Know

Why market research?

There are many scandalous reasons for the failures of some startups, but according to the Business Student website, 42% of business failures are due to the lack of understanding of the market’s needs. To this number, add incorrect or insufficient knowledge of the audience, the activities of competitors, etc. The list goes on, all stemming from a lack of or incorrect market research.

However, the goal of market research is not always limited to simply answering the question “Is it profitable or not?”. Sometimes these processes are supposed to measure the possibility of increasing the price of a product or to define the situation of competitors in the market. In short, we can limit the purpose of market research to these seven items:

  1. Identifying new markets
  2. Maintaining or developing market share
  3. Evaluating customer expectations and needs
  4. Forecasting the future
  5. Reducing marketing costs
  6. Increasing product quality
  7. Identifying competitors

Types of market research

You cannot ignore the necessity of each of those goals. Now the next step is to know the types of market research and then find its key resources. If we divide market research based on the method of data collection, we will have two types: quantitative and qualitative.

Qualitative research: Observing and recording information in this method is usually obtained by holding a focus group, short two- or three-person interviews, detailed and long-term conversations, interviews, direct observation, participation in groups and meetings, etc.

Quantitative research: These types of research present information in quantitative or numerical form to make their analysis easier and their interpretation more understandable. Quantitative market research is obtained through a variety of traditional and online questionnaires and surveys or through the analysis of other numerical data.

In addition to this division, you can also categorize market research based on the area in which you are inquiring:

  1. Brand awareness: You should use the brand awareness survey and conduct research related to the fields of public relations, advertising, and product application carried out in this department.
  2. Targeting: This defines the profile of the audience, brand position, competitors, and market size.
  3. Acquisition: This shows the survey owner the effects that marketing plans, pricing systems, and product promotion will have on sales.
  4. Loyalty: This shows how the customer journey will be repeated by a single customer.

Types of market research resources

By now, you must have figured out that market research is a vital tool and process in any business. However, you should ask yourself in which resources you have to look for answers to your questions. Should we go for surveys or it would be more valuable to hold targeted meetings with a group of people? Or do you prefer the statistics of social networks or the official information of private and government institutions?

In order to choose the best resource, you must, first of all, have a detailed knowledge of their types. In general, market research resources are divided into two groups: primary and secondary.

Primary resources of market research: Expensive but valuable first-hand information

If you go directly to your current and potential customers and get information from them by asking them questions, you have used primary resources of market research. The most used primary resources are surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observation.


The most common method of collecting information is questionnaires or surveys, which provide effective analysis due to the small amount of data. If you have a proper understanding of surveys, you will achieve high-quality results at the lowest cost, especially if you use online tools.


Face-to-face or telephone conversations will provide you with the most accurate and valuable information, but they consume a lot of time and money. Face-to-face conversations allow you, the interviewer, to change the course of the interview based on the answers, and ultimately, explore the deepest minds of the audience.

Focus groups

The use of focus groups is one of the popular methods of research, which is also widely used in market research. However, the management and leadership of such meetings require experience and specialized knowledge. In addition, how to plan and obtain information should also be implemented by an expert.

Direct observation

Customer behavior when buying or choosing a product will provide valuable data to the researcher. Any of these behaviors may be a sign in line with your question. Customer behavior, especially in online activities, can be accurately and smartly observed, but it will not be an effective way to deeply understand the customer’s thoughts. Precisely for this reason, this resource should not replace surveys or interviews.

Secondary resources of market research: Be extremely careful!

If in market research you go to information that was previously prepared and analyzed by another organization, then you are using secondary resources or as the people of social sciences say, desk or library resources. Using secondary resources is much cheaper than primary ones. Besides, you will not need very special expertise. To access these resources, just google your question to get an infinite amount of information.

Such an advantage is the biggest challenge of using secondary or ready resources. For example, about 2 million scientific articles are published in the world annually, and there are nearly 30,000 official news agencies in the world that will provide you with a limitless amount of information.

To make the most of secondary resources of market research, you need to be purposeful and have a plan for each step. For example, you should determine in advance whether you will go to academic resources for information, review reports from public and private organizations, or even determine if you will go to competing websites to find your question. All these examples are external secondary resources.

Internal secondary resources

Organizations frequently seek external secondary resources although they themselves have more valuable data resources. In fact, they ignore their inner values and depend on others. Internal resources of market research are data that exist in various forms within the organization, and all you have to do is to turn them into information and useful results.

For example, your most important digital asset and resource is the figures and numbers provided by tools such as Google Analytics or other resources. Also, the data of previous customers is a rich treasure for conducting market research. Sometimes it is even possible that the work experiences of the employees will lead you to results that you cannot find in any external resource.

Resources of market research: a real example

In order to have a clearer understanding of market research and its resources, a real but simple market research example will definitely be helpful.

An example of market research resources

An online sales group is looking for an idea to start a completely specialized online store. The members of this group, who are fans of films and series, have decided that this store should offer digital physical products related to this field for cinema fans.

The premise of this group is based on the fact that anyone who is interested in a certain film will most likely be eager to buy clothes, collectible figures, posters, or any accessories related to that film. To confirm this hypothesis, the group will conduct market research. Their question, in a classic way, is to ensure feedback on the idea, and the purpose of market research is to estimate needs and identify potential customers.

Accordingly, for market research, primary and secondary resources were planned at the same time. Although considering that secondary resources cost less, the group was responsible for reviewing these resources in particular. You probably thought that the first resources are competitors, their websites, and social networks. Since there were similar stores in this area, their activities were fully observed to draw a complete SWOT table.

In addition, the group statistically analyzed the formation of conversations about films and series in virtual space to get an index of people’s interests. Besides, the number of downloads of famous films was also monitored to have an estimate of the minimum familiarity of potential customers with the masterpieces of international cinema.

Note that market research at this stage is focused on external secondary resources. However, none of these indicators and other assumptions are sufficient to invest in such an idea. For this reason, market research was pursued from primary resources. For this purpose, a survey was designed in Porsline and a group outside the organization was asked to hold focus meetings.

The analytical tables of the survey showed that about 80% of the target audience of the group watch films and series on a daily basis, but only 5% of these people currently own a collectible figure of a film or series. In fact, it seems that although people may have a strong interest in a certain film, they are not very willing to buy film figures.

The result of the focus groups also confirmed this idea but with a slight difference. These meetings showed that so-called cinephiles have a strong desire to participate in conversations about films and series. That’s why they clearly express their interests in groups of friends. This point makes the figures related to films a very suitable gift. However, the lack of brand awareness and the weak advertising have made such gifts not included in people’s shopping baskets.

Check again how this simple market research project is used and pay close attention to how resources are used. Have enough resources been used? Do the obtained results provide a clear image of the fate of the initial idea?

The best market research books

Don’t limit learning about market research to reading this post. Any standard book on the subject will direct you to the original resources. In addition, you can find a list of tools suitable for that type of research.

If you can find a market research Podcast, you will have different resources in this field. Here are some attractive options:

  • Happy Market Research Podcast
  • Stories of Market Research: The Insightrix Podcast
  • Real People, With Jason Dunstone

Generally speaking, any book published by a reputable author or publisher on the subject is a good resource for learning market research.

If you search a little more carefully, you may be able to find specialized books on your research topic.

  • Market Research in Practice (An introduction to gaining greater market insight), Paul Hague, Kogan Page, Fourth edition 2022.
  • Questionnaire Design (How to plan, structure, and write survey material for effective market research), Ian Brace and Kate Bolton, Kogan Page, Fifth edition 2022.
  • Handbook of Market Research, Christian Homburg, Martin Klarmann, ArndVomberg, Springer, 2022.
  • Essentials of Marketing Research, Joseph Hair, David Ortinau, Dana E. Harrison, McGraw-Hill Education, 2020.

Resources of market research in brief

If you wish to measure the success of marketing plans, you have no choice but to resort to market research for which you will need resources. If you do the work yourself and research your target market using surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc., then you have used primary resources. The second group is secondary resources, such as websites, prepared reports, annual reports, or any other resources that you did not prepare yourself. These resources will be cheaper and easier to access, but if you rely solely on them, you will usually not get the desired result.


kamal hani

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