Six Types of People That Need to Understand Market Research

As the significance of data gathering and its subsequent analysis continues to grow, so too will the scope of people that benefit from a broad understanding of market research and business intelligence. The impact of research can alter a firm’s overall strategy, with far reaching implications.

Six distinct types of people that will benefit from an understanding of market research principles are:

  1. Entrepreneurs / Start-ups – As a fundamental principle for identifying a need for a product or service and validating business assumptions it is essential that those involved in early stage start-ups have a good grasp of key market research principles.
  2. Business managers – In established companies a good knowledge of market research is still required by those looking to understand their market better, whether to launch a new product or make improvements to existing ones. These people may also seek to have an understanding of how market research agencies work if they are looking to commission research for the first time. A sound understanding of the methods will allow them to make an educated decision as to which agency is most suitable for their needs and will also allow them to work closely with the researchers to get maximum value from the project.
  3. Other related areas of the business – The results of market research studies will have a knock on effect on those outside of the group that conducted or oversaw the study, such as product development or marketing. It is therefore beneficial for these employees to also have a high level understanding of the market research process to help them understand the context of the numbers and to empower them to ask intelligent questions about the origin and accuracy of the data, as well as any assumptions that have been made during the analysis.
  4. Students – Students are often asked to conduct research projects as part of their studies. A sound understanding of the techniques used by established agencies, as well as more innovative, ad hoc solutions employed by entrepreneurial ventures will help to ensure they get the best marks in these projects.
  5. Those looking for a career in market research – The market research industry offers a well established career path for those with an interest in collecting and analysing data to help understand the trends that drive business decisions. Competition for places can be fierce and an understanding of the core principles and terminology will certainly help to differentiate applicants from the crowd.
  6. Human resources – Market research techniques can be used within an organisation for things such as employee satisfaction surveys. Teams within HR therefore benefit from an understanding of the methodology of market research processes, to ensure that the correct questions are asked, in the appropriate way, to collect data required to address the specific HR issues at hand. It is also beneficial to understand how best to collate and analyse this sensitive data to derive the most valuable output.

The high level principles of market research, and innovative ideas of ways to test your market can be picked up in a relatively short space of time. Greater understanding of the specific techniques, particularly around how to craft questions in order to solicit the best responses or how to draw useful correlations from the data, can take years to develop.

Those looking to build a career in market research will develop these skills through a combination or further study and on the job experience. Entrepreneurs on the other hand, are often more likely to develop an ability for market research through wider reading and trial and error.

Ultimately, anyone who is keen to progress in their career, whether through self employment or in an established company, will benefit from understanding how they can incorporate the feedback from their customers to improve their product or service. Taking the time to develop these skills can reap dividends in the long run.

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