Conduct Market Research


Conduct Market Research

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What is market research?

Market research is the process of learning, in detail, about your target market to better understand how successful your idea for a new product or service will be, how to best iterate an existing product or service you offer, and / or understand what brand perception your business has within your target market.

Why conduct market research?

You may think your product or service idea is a “no brainer” and everyone will want to buy it. The truth is, this likely isn’t true. Consider yourself for a second. Do you see every product or service out there and say, “I love that, I want that!”? Of course not! Just like yourself, your potential customers are all different and like different things. It’s up to you as the business to conduct market research to better understand what kind of customer would buy your product or service. If you try to sell to everyone, you will end up spending a lot of money trying to acquire a customer who may never buy from you simply because they aren’t in the “target market” for what you’re offering. 

What kind of things do you learn from market research?

Market research provides insight into a wide variety of things that impact your bottom line. This insight can help you tailor your messaging, branding, development of certain features or highlights of other features, and more. Here are a few more things you can learn about your target market:

  • How does your target audience research new products or services? Where does this happen?
  • Which of your believed competitors does your target audience look to for information?
  • Are your customers seeing trends in your industry that perhaps you hadn’t thought of?
  • What challenges do your customers face daily? Weekly? Annually?
  • What are the things that “convince” your target market to buy?
  • Does your target market talk about a particular product, topic, pain, or brand?
  • Is there demand for solutions like you are suggesting?
  • What’s their attitude about pricing of competitor products or services?

What are the two kinds of market research?

The two kinds of market research you can conduct are primary research and secondary research. Though it varies in how you obtain information about your target market, the goal is all the same: learn as much as you can to protect your bottom line.

Primary Research

Primary research is the process of obtaining information about your target market through first-hand interviews. During these interviews, you are creating personas of your target market which will aid you in your decision making later on. 

Secondary Research

Unlike primary research, secondary research involves finding valuable datasets, reports, and survey responses from a variety of sources – which includes but is not limited to government statistics, industry organizations, private research firms, and the internet.


Iowa Small Business Development Centers LogoSBDC Quick Tip: While asking friends and family on social media “Would you buy/pay for…..” seems like a good way to determine market potential, the most valuable information will come from more in depth primary research with a larger group to truly understand their needs, wants and past consumer behavior!


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Do you have questions about conducting market research? You should consider checking out our Resource Navigator. It houses the contact information of 400 of our most helpful partners from across the state, like the Small Business Development Centers, who provide no-cost confidential assistance to Iowa entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Understanding your target market is a key factor to your business’s success because it helps you tailor your products or services to meet the needs and preferences of your customers. It also allows you to craft your marketing messages to be relevant to your target market audience’s needs and wants.

Both primary and secondary research can be valuable for understanding your target market, and which one is better will depend on your specific research goals, budget, and timeline.

While it is not mandatory to conduct market research for your business, it is highly recommended. Conducting market research can help you gain a better understanding of your target market, competitors, and industry trends, which can ultimately help you make more informed decisions and increase your chances of success.

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