Grow Your Business: A Market Research Primer

Qualitative and quantitative methodologies are necessary to obtain big picture information to drive business.


There is no greater input for any marketing strategy than listening to customers in their own words express the impact of a product or service. Market research supports marketing in creating a deeper understanding of the marketplace, competitive environment, organization’s image and competencies, and customer needs and wants.

Two main types of market research exist: quantitative and qualitative. In this article, I will discuss the available options for each type of market research and their purpose.

Options for Quantitative Market Research

“When the market changes, you may be seeing all the new opportunities and problems the wrong way because of the solutions you’re used to,” marketing expert Seth Godin said back in 2009. This is particularly true when selecting what quantitative research method to use. A common pitfall of companies is to become too comfortable with a particular sampling method while ignoring better alternatives.
Here is a primer on the different options you have available for quantitative research.

  • Mail-back surveys are a particularly effective method with mature audiences that prefer more traditional and less intrusive communication methods; however it is the most expensive option due to ever-raising postage costs.
  • Phone surveys are an effective method for companies that are looking for statistical significance, which the marketing firm can achieve through cold calling randomly selected phone numbers.
  • Online surveys allow respondents to have the benefit of running the survey at their own pace, just like under mail-back surveys, but enable the company to both save postage costs and receive feedback immediately.
  • In-Person surveys are used by savvy marketing research firms that use downtown locations to provide respondents the convenience of filling out surveys during their lunch break, or before or after work hours. In-person surveys provide the double benefit of immediate reward and convenience to the respondent.
  • Hybrid surveys allow you to mix or match, depending on your company’s budget, types of polling methods to optimize the number of respondents to your surveys.

Just like Seth explained, take a second look at your business problems through a fresh marketing approach.

Damian Davila
Damian Davila
Damian Davila is a professional marketer living in sunny Honolulu, Hawaii. Since 2008 Damian has been writing articles on online marketing and reports on the latest SEO and startup news at his blog. Born in Ecuador, Damian has traveled extensively and held positions in Mexico, Germany, Italy and the United States. He has a MBA from the University of Hawaii and a Masters in Educational Technology from a joint program between the Tecnologico de Monterrey and the University of British of Columbia.  Website

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