How to utilize surveys and unique market research strategies

Utilizing the latest in online technology, it is now more effective than ever to conduct surveys of consumers and businesses to help you gain key insights. Below are easy tips that will help you make the most of your own surveys and other market research projects, including competitive intelligence datasets.


1) Consumer studies—Design your market research project for multiple purposes, including:

•  Determine the strength of your brand

•  Understand consumers' product needs, likes and frustrations

•  Understand evolving consumer attitudes and desires

•  Understand how consumers search for products/services in your category

•  Understand what drives consumers’ final buying decisions

•  Identify areas where consumers are frustrated by choice, price or service

2) B2B and Industry studies—Design your project in a way that will develop strategic insights, such as:

•  Verify the size of your market and its growth patterns

•  Verify the need for a new product or service

•  Identify points of pain and frustration among potential customers

•  Understand your competitors

–  Who are they?

–  What are their strengths?

–  What are their weaknesses?

–  In which areas are they investing or innovating?

3) Build a competitive intelligence database—build a custom database that will enable you to better monitor competitors, disruptions and potential acquisition candidates, such as:

•  Competitor’s locations

•  Competitor’s products and prices

•  Competitor’s patents or R&D activities

•  Competitor’s structure and revenues

•  Identify potentially disruptive startups and new technologies

•  Identify foreign firms with the potential to take market share from you

•  Identify and rank/score acquisition candidates

3) Build a competitive intelligence database—build a custom database that will enable you to better monitor competitors, disruptions and potential acquisition candidates, such as:

•  Identify potential customers

•  Identify potential distributors or partners

•  Research and identify potential suppliers


SURVEYS: Due to the great sophistication of today’s online panels, it’s possible to efficiently survey exactly the segments of the population that you need, whether in your own domestic market, a nation you’re considering expanding to, or the entire world.

Communication is everything! Carefully craft the right questions. The way that a question is asked can skew the way someone might respond. The right questions will draw out the information you need in an unbiased manner. Use a mixture of yes-no and multiple-choice questions. Then add a few essay questions that require a short, written answer from the interviewee. Keep in mind that people can become discouraged if they must type out lengthy answers on a smartphone screen.

Timing is everything! Surveys can be lengthy. In many cases, however, the most meaningful and relevant responses can be attained with a survey length of less than 15 minutes.

Design is everything! Your survey must look inviting and easy to use, and it must be scaled right for use on a variety of devices, especially smartphones.

The right panel is everything! Get an expert to select the best panel and the best possible respondent characteristics. The right panel must be selected with great care. There are excellent panels available: business people, consumers, domestic and global. Each panel has its own unique advantages and characteristics to be taking into consideration.

Data is everything! Find a market research supplier who understands how to map and analyze the responses that you receive. It’s one thing to gather data—it’s another to understand how to use it!

What comes next? After your online survey is completed, consider a follow-up focus group or video interview of a small number of people who responded to the original survey—drill deeper with a lengthy interview of 8 to 12 people.


Plunkett Research offers outstanding resources to assist you in your market research projects, whether you’re a startup, an executive at a large firm, or a student working on a university project. See .



Now, more than ever before, our user tools and innovative data make Plunkett Research your go-to place for industry analysis, business trends and statistics.  For any further question contact us at | voice: 713.932.0000 | fax: 713.932.7080