So you’re ready to dive in and conduct market research. You’re excited to learn insights about your competitors, uncover your customers’ preferences, and unlock valuable consumer trends and demographics. You know that leveraging this data will create new business opportunities and strategies.
But market research isn’t one size fits all. Nor will only one type of research offer you the answers you’re working hard to find. You may be asking yourself, “How can I get the best answers to my research questions? Do I need to perform primary research?”
Both methods have their merits. But which one will offer the most detailed insights?
Primary research involves gathering information directly from relevant sources – usually employees and/or past, present and potential customers. The resulting data is based on specific questions you and your research partners create and the participants you choose.
If you’re seeking to answer specific questions about your consumers, primary research will benefit you the most.
During secondary research you gather information from existing collections of data. Typically, you can access the data for free or for a certain cost, depending on where you get the information from. Through secondary research, you can gain foundational knowledge on a particular industry, market, or demographic.
If you just need a broad overview of consumer trends, secondary research will do.
Secondary research is less time consuming and can be cheaper than primary research, but it will only take you so far. It lacks the ability to offer the latest insights about the consumer and risks being overly general.
Knowing exactly who your customer is and what they want (or think) can only be achieved through conducting primary market research.
True, you don’t have to conduct a focus group or create a survey when doing secondary research, which saves time – but primary research brings an authentic perspective, the latest results, and offers a better view of the market. Customers’ values, attitudes, and lifestyle can be identified through primary market research. Primary research leaves no stone unturned.
Primary research is best used when you’re trying to identify specific details, such as:
If you want to address your customers directly, primary research is your best option. You can ask specific questions directly to your customers, resulting in timely feedback that will contribute to building your brand and product.
Secondary research offers demographic stats, but those stats cannot answer your specific questions in real-time.
Collecting primary research is like being fitted for a custom suit. Each piece of raw data you pull during first-hand research will be tailored to your business’ needs. You won’t waste time wading through unnecessary data that doesn’t relate to your company’s goals. Secondary data has been collected for some other purpose; primary research is conducted for your needs, specifically.
Not only do you have control over what questions you ask and who participates, you also control how information is collected and shared. You determine the size of participants, location, and timeframe of the project.
Primary research generates data that you and only you have access to. Your company will have the “information advantage” when compared with competitors who have only compiled secondary research.
Think of secondary research as a springboard towards primary research, not a substitute for it. Using a combination of both will allow for all your bases to be covered.
If you’re looking for specific insight into who your customers are and what makes them tick, primary research is the way to go. Although it may take more time, you will eliminate barriers between you and the valuable data that will help your company rise above the rest.
A qualified research partner can ease the burden by designing survey questions specific to your goals, organizing and facilitating a focus group, and much more. Contact us for more info.