Market research | Business Strategies To Maintain Competitiveness and Examples of Good Survey Questions

Market research survey

Market Research

Market research are the work of marketing to analyze, measure and understand the true function of the forces at work in the market. This can maintain the competitiveness of your business or company, by finding out about your clients.

Market research is specific to a particular target market and to the customers. A market research is conducted with a particular question in mind by finding-out through your clients.

Why is Market Research Important?

Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets and customers: knowing about them, starting with who they are. It is a very important component of business strategy and a major factor in maintaining competitiveness. Market research helps identify and analyze market needs, market size and competition. Techniques include qualitative techniques such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnography, as well as quantitative techniques such as customer surveys and secondary data analysis.

This is an activity that is usually implemented as part of a marketing management approach.

Concretely – once the limits to be observed have been set – this includes the study of the behavior, judgments, needs and expectations of applicants and suppliers present in this market, as well as the conditions under which they act (or do not) to make appropriate exchanges for the satisfaction of objectives and their interests.

Market research uses quantitative techniques such as polling, panels, and qualitative techniques such as one-on-one interviews, group meetings. Information that can be collected:

  • Either in person from people who can be consulted via interviewers (face-to-face interviews at home or in class, telephone, on the road, etc.) or in a self-administered manner (sending paper or internet questionnaires).
  • Either by documentary research, compilation and analysis of all information from existing and relevant sources (primary sources, legal or financial publications, results from business intelligence or business intelligence processes, academic work, etc.).

Types of Market Research

Their objective is to help formulate problems, clarify hypotheses and finally locate the sources of statistical information necessary to answer the questions. They also allow you to choose the right methodology for the future.

They are used to study factors that are difficult to quantify such as perceptions, attitudes, and motivations. We are not trying here to evaluate the “how much?”, But rather the “why?”, To establish profiles to target for a quantitative survey.

Unlike the previous one, this involves collecting existing data on a domain. The techniques used are survey, census and observation. Here we find the quantitative surveys.

The objective is to demonstrate and explain the causal link between 2 elements. The experimental design is one of the techniques used for which we vary an element and observe the impacts.

The idea is to simulate an environment, a product, a service and measure the effects of an action: test shop, test market, concept test…

The main information to collect in the case of Btob market research

n ° 1: the competition study
More than in any other context, the study of competition in B2B is of crucial importance. In B2B, commercial strategies can indeed be better structured than in B2C, because they are prepared by larger companies, therefore with more resources than in B2C (which remains above all in local commerce the prerogative of small and medium-sized enterprises). In B2C the competition area (the equivalent of the B2C catchment area) is also much larger, which will force you to look well beyond your immediate geographic territory.

We therefore advise you to study your 3 main competitors in depth. Make a synthetic grid in order to achieve your benchmark. Here are some ideas of the factors to be assessed: financial factors (turnover, profits, margin, change from year to year); geographical factors (territories served, specificity of your market and adaptation according to it); customer satisfaction factors (are customers satisfied with your competitor’s products / services? how do your competitors respond to customer pain points?…); commercial factors (price levels, flexibility, speed of the commercial response, size of the sales force on the national market, etc.). To determine these factors, don’t hesitate to “brainstorm” with someone who knows the market well (see Market Research Method # 2: Expert Interviews). Indeed, while you can find a lot of factual information online (mainly numbers, but also opinions), the point of view of an expert cannot be better translated than during a discussion. It will also be an opportunity, by establishing a relationship of trust, to obtain information that may not have been made public.

n ° 2: qualitative interviews
As in B2C market research, you have to go through a qualitative phase in B2B. The method must however be adapted to the context. Indeed, professionals are not “targets” like the others and they must therefore be approached as it should be. We therefore advise you to proceed as follows:

Interviews with experts
Experts are people who have extensive knowledge of the market in which you are interested. They can be specialized consultants, members of professional organizations, or even diplomatic staff (each embassy has national economic experts who can be called upon, moreover if you are a national of country in question). The size of B2B markets and companies active in this niche justify people making it their full-time specialty. Their specialization represents significant added value for anyone wishing to carry out market research. This will include identifying them upstream in order to understand which expert profiles are most able to bring you added value.

n ° 3: environmental study
The previous 2 steps (competition study and qualitative interviews) will undoubtedly reveal new exogenous aspects which shape the market and determine its evolution. These aspects are said to be exogenous because you, as a company, cannot influence them. These may be aspects related to a country’s policy, the economic situation, fiscal policy, national or transnational legal aspects (European norms, standards, regulations or directives). Note that other external factors can impact your business such as demographics, culture, ethics and ecology. Well anticipated, these exogenous factors can turn out to be important growth levers. Your competitors might not have anticipated them, leaving you with the possibility of a better value proposition that customers would appreciate. This is what happened with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which allowed new companies to take market share, because companies had to adapt (often in a hurry) to this new law. The difficulty is of course to perpetuate the resulting activity, because very often the exploitation of such a business opportunity is more of a short-term strategy.

The main information to collect for btoc (Business to Client)

The purpose of the market study must be to collect certain information making it possible to optimize the desired action (generally the sale) towards a desired target or to be defined (generally customers).

Schematically, in the context of a company developing and marketing a product or service, market or opinion studies take place upstream during the research phases, during the design-development phases, and during the design of marketing phase.

Socio-demographic data and external characteristics of clients: age, sex, place of residence, socio-professional category and their possible segmentation according to criteria to be determined.

consumption and use behavior4;
purchasing behavior (frequency, period, places etc.);
media attendance behaviors.

Opinions and attitudes
notoriety: (spontaneous of the first rank (top of mind), spontaneous (function of proximity to the advertisement), assisted (in the event of risk of confusion), without notoriety);
the image: all tangible and intangible representations;
overall judgment, preference, satisfaction: qualitative scales and numerical scores, ranks, intentions.

The decision-making process and the selection criteria
the motivations and the brakes: psychological (hedonistic, rational, utilitarian, ethical), financial (purchasing power, debt capacity, elasticity of demand in relation to prices), technical or practical (capacity or competence to use fully the product) ;
the criteria for choosing between brands: ability to identify and weight the criteria;
the degree of customer involvement in the purchase of a product: consequence of the purchase;
the degree of premeditation of the purchase: intensity and duration of reflection before the purchase;
the sources of information and advice used by clients, impact of the person who influences the choice of products, services…

The characteristics of the surveys

To conduct a survey, you must ensure that you have defined:

  • The survey unit (type of entities: individuals, companies, etc.) and the profile (s) to be interviewed: For example, should a toy manufacturer interview the child? (final recipient of the product), or his parents? (alleged buyers of the product), or even both?
  • The size of the sample determines a degree of precision (square root function of the absolute size of the sample) but also a production cost: How to arbitrate between these contradictory notions.
  • The procedure for selecting the sample: constituting it randomly is in principle ideal but expensive. If we act by the quota method, what criteria should prevail?
  • The probability and consequences of sampling errors must be known and if possible measured (risk of a sample size that is too small, or of questioning an uncharacteristic or marginal population vis-à-vis the market studied) .
  • The methods of entering, centralizing and processing data represent the hidden face of the cost and time of obtaining surveys and should not be underestimated.

The characteristics of the questionnaires

Before implementing the questionnaire, particular care should be taken to:

  • Reception of the questioning by the interviewee: how far not to go in terms of its length, duration, understanding of the questions, and the effort required to answer them? If “reasonable” limits are crossed, the interviewee may be tempted to respond as quickly as possible to get rid of a questioning felt as “abusive”…
  • Take care that the questionnaire does not influence the answers of the interviewees. The order of the questions or the style used must be particularly studied and tested: The information collected is not identical depending on whether one is in a directive, semi-directive or non-directive approach. questions that can be written in open, closed, preformed mode (reaction to proposals or attitude scales). The mode of administration of the questionnaire should also be taken into account: Postal interview, Telephone interview, Face-to-face interview, Interview conducted by observation of the respondent.

The main pitfalls and mistakes to avoid are:

  • To ask questions that are too general or ambiguous which will prove to be unnecessary during their exploitation.
  • To focus only on a single aspect (eg customer needs) without sufficiently sweeping through related aspects where important factors may be hidden.
  • Ask questions that people cannot or do not know how to answer (which can lead to a reinterpretation by the operator responsible for recording the answers), or questions that are too brutal or felt as intrusive (inducing insincere answers).

If you want to offer a response scale, you have to make sure that it verifies the basic rules, such as:

  • the different categories must not overlap
  • they must cover all possible options
  • they must be understandable

Examples of Good Survey Questions

While creating your market research questionnaire, it is important for you to tailor its questions to specific contexts. For instance, if you are conducting product market research, you should ask questions that would provide useful information on product feasibility among other things.

Examples of Questions to Ask Customers

Use the following as survey questions, either post sale or as post-support surveys. Or use these market research questions to conduct a focus group, interview individual customers, or engage potential customers during the sales process. Make it a point to include respondents who are less than thrilled with your customer service. You learn more than if you only talk with happy customers. Ask:

How did you hear about us?
What made you choose us?
What features do you like most about our product or service?
Is our product or service easy, fast, convenient to use?
What do you wish our product or service did that it does not today?
Are you aware that we offer _________?
Were our personnel courteous in all dealings?
Did we answer all your questions or solve your support problem?
Can we help you get started using our product or service?
Were you satisfied with our promptness and speed?
Would you be willing to tell friends, family or colleagues about us?
How do you rate your experience with us?
Would you buy from us again?
Why have you decided to leave us / not renew?

Open questions questionaire

1. How old are you?
2. What’s your gender?
3. Which industry do you work in?
4. What is your favorite product?
5. Why did you purchase this product?
6. What important features are we missing?
7. What are you trying to solve by using our product?
8. Who else could find our product useful?
9. How can we be more helpful?
10. Would you be willing to pay in installments for this service?

Market Research Survey For products

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our product?
(grade 1 expresses a very bad, grade 10 reflects very good)

1. How satisfied are you with our product?
2. How often do you use our products?
3. How easy is it to use our product?
4. The value for the money of this product?
5. How is the varieties of our products?
6. The [company’s] payment process is simple and painless.
7. How satisfied are you today with our customer service?
8. How likely are you to recommend this product to others?

Demographic Questions

These questions will help you better understand who your customers are and also help you create an accurate buyer persona.  Knowing who your customers are and what appeals to them means that you would be able to focus your product on what appeals to them.

What is your monthly income range?
Knowing how much your customers earn gives you a hint of their purchasing power and how much they can typically spend on your product. This will inform the pricing of your product so that you do not price yourself out of business.

How much do you spend on shopping every month?
Just like you, customers work with a budget and are more likely to purchase products whose costs fit into this. Responses to this question will help you fix an appropriate fee on your product.

Where do you prefer to shop?
Catering to customer preferences is one way of securing repeated patronage. Responses to this question will inform your business expansion plan. For example, if your customers prefer shopping online, you can set up a Formplus online order form to allow them to place orders for items and make payments conveniently.

How old are you?
This question will help you identify the age group that your product appeals to the most. Knowing this would help you craft marketing and advertising campaigns that appeal to the members of this group.

Feedback Questions

These questions help you to collect insightful information about customer experience; that is, how customers perceive your product and overall delivery. Responses to these questions would let you know why your customers buy from you and how well your product meets their needs.

What specific needs does our product meet for you?
This question helps you to identify the unique selling point of your product. You would know why customers patronize your brand and you can leverage this information for better marketing and advertising.

How would you rate our product delivery?
Responses to this question are a direct reflection of your customers’ perceptions of your product delivery. For better insight, you can ask them to provide reasons for their ratings.

What challenges did you encounter while using our product?
These questions help you to identify business weaknesses from the point of view of the end-user. If left unattended to, competitors can capitalize on these weaknesses to increase their customer base.

How likely are you to recommend our product?
Happy customers are one of the most effective marketing tools as customers will only recommend a product they are satisfied with. If more people are eager to recommend your product, it means that your business and brand is on the right track.

Other market research question samples are:

How would you rate our customer experience?
Feedback on customer experience is important because it helps you improve your brand’s relations with its customers across different business touchpoints.

What do you think about product pricing?
This question would help you adjust your product pricing appropriately. If customers think your product is too expensive, they may stop buying from you.

How often do you use our product?
This question would help you track repeated patronage and to know how your product fits into your customers’ everyday lives.

Market Research Questionnaire Examples for Client 

Clients are individuals and organizations that you provide specific services for. Just like with customer market research questions, market research questions for clients help you assess your service delivery, identify clients’ unique needs, and gather useful insights via feedback. Here are 11 sample questions for you:

How would you rate our service delivery?
This is a feedback question that will help you understand how well your service meets your client’s needs.

What challenges are you experiencing with our services?
Responses to this question would highlight areas needing improvement in your overall service delivery.

Would you be willing to recommend us to your network?
If the answers to this question are in the affirmative, then you can be sure that your clients are quite impressed with the service you provide.

What specific needs do our services meet for you?
To clearly map out the value of your product from the clients’ perspectives, ask them to identify the specific needs your services meet for them.

How can our service delivery be better?
This is another feedback question that would help you improve your services to better cater to the needs of your clients.

For how long have you been a client?
This question helps you to gather meaningful data to improve your client retention strategies.

What do you like the most about our services?
This question would help you identify the unique selling point of your services.

How would you rate your last experience with us?
With this question, you’d be able to gather valuable information about a client’s experience with your services.

What do you dislike about our service delivery?
This question allows clients to highlight areas needing improvement in your service delivery. The data gathered would help you improve your services for the benefit of your clients.

Are our services helpful?
This is a simple question that requires clients to highlight the value of your services.

Why did you choose us?

Sources: Consultant4Companies, PinterPandai, Investopedia, HubSpot, Hot Jar, Management Help

Photo credit: Pixabay

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