Market Research Guide for Businesses

Learn more about the tools and techniques you can use to conduct your market research.

Any business looking to open a new office, launch a product or start a new company must conduct market research. It is important to gather as much data and analysis as possible in order to put your best foot forward when starting a business venture. Market research can be used for many purposes. It can help you determine your target audience, find your key demographic, and even add it to your pitch for small business loans.

Market research can be costly and time-consuming. Larger companies may have their own marketing departments for launching studies or hire an outside company to do so. Small businesses may not be able to afford a marketing agency for research because campaigns can run into the tens of thousands.

There are many ways to conduct this research yourself. There are many free tools that you can use to do market research if you are willing to spend the time.


Surveys online are a great way for consumers to voice their opinions and thoughts. Businesses often ask customers to complete surveys to assess the quality of their customer service. Many restaurants and stores include instructions for how to access the survey in the receipt. You can also use surveys to complete research projects. There are two main routes.

Google Surveys, Samplify, and AYTM let you send your survey to a group of panelists that are part of their network. These panelists can be opted-in survey takers and will provide honest answers. There are many factors that you can use to choose the demographics that you want to target. These services can help you create a research campaign that fits your budget. This will impact how many questions and how long it should run.

If you have customers to send surveys to, the second option is more affordable and better. Survey Monkey or Google Forms allow you to create your own surveys for free. These surveys are great if you have the email addresses of your customers visit the site. The survey can be sent to your customers in person, at their restaurant or store. Incentivize them to take part in the survey by offering them a discount or entering them into a contest. To avoid wasting time, keep the survey brief and easy.

To get an idea of the demographics that work best for your business, simply ask about their age, gender, income, education, and occupation. Ask for feedback on similar products and places they shop. Ask direct questions such as “Would you like to buy a product that does …”” or “Would you eat in a restaurant at …”?”

The third and final option is an in person interview that you conduct at your business, or elsewhere.

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