Market Research in 5 Simple Steps

“Market Research” is a term that is constantly being used by recruiters, managers, trainers, educators & many more. It is a skill that the youth are continuously encouraged to acquire & develop. But why is that? There are various reasons behind this logic, the most important one being that it helps us “make educated decisions” as stated by IMS marketing. Therefore, it is a skill that adds a lot of value to an individual’s life & choices whether as a student, an employee, or an entrepreneur. An increasing number of organizations across different industries are requiring market research skills. But what is it exactly? According to IMS Marketing, “Market Research can be described as the action of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information to help solve challenges, understand the requirements of your target audience, consequently helping to understand what key messages you should convey & how to convey them.”

Woman working with charts
“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”- W. Edwards Deming.

Methods of Market Research

Market research is a combination of primary research and/or secondary research.

Primary  Market Research

According to the BBC, primary research is when you conduct “new research” to gather new information from existing or potential customers. It consists of interviews, surveys, observation, and focus groups. Individuals can use primary research when expanding to a different location, testing a new product, refining an existing one, and in various situations. 

Secondary Market Research

Secondary research, on the other hand, is the approach to research that involves using “existing data” that has already been researched, compiled, and organized into reports, data sets, textbooks, etc. This data can be found on the internet, at governmental and non-governmental institutions, public libraries(Research papers and books), or even educational institutions (schools, universities, etc..).

Which method to choose?

Despite their differences, the end goal is the same for both primary and secondary research. Choosing one over the other or choosing both simultaneously depends on many factors the most important of which are:

  • Scope of Research: Primary Research is often limited to a targeted area as opposed to secondary research which is less limited at times.
  • Time on hands: Primary research is indeed powerful and can provide adequate and precise feedback but it is also very time-consuming as opposed to secondary research which requires much less time. 
  • The recency of information: The data collected from secondary research can be outdated or inaccurate sometimes. To combat this issue, you can conduct primary research instead. 
  • Availability of Information: Sometimes, primary research is needed because the topic in that specific context hasn’t been researched and no “existing data” is there.

Five Steps to Conduct Market Research

Whether the method carried out is primary research or secondary research, implementing market research requires planning ahead and setting up clear objectives. This will help the researcher work more efficiently and attain the desired data. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to conduct market research:

1- Answer the following questions: “Why do you need this data? How will it help you?” Answering these questions by writing a list of goals and objectives can help you better choose the best way to approach the subject. 

2- Being aware of the subject of research. It is very important to pinpoint the target market and the market size. This should help the researcher know where to look and how to attain the needed data.

3- Choosing one or a combination of market research techniques (Primary or Secondary? Quantitative or Qualitative?)

4- In the case of primary research, locate the target audience by gathering important information such as their address, emails, phone numbers, etc… In the case of secondary research, identifying research sources is the best way to start.

5- Use data analysis techniques on the data collected to attain new information about the target audience. Make sure not to jump to any conclusions directly after analyzing the data; sometimes you need to examine the environment of the audience to validate the data.


Leading companies that survived and thrived during the most recent pandemic are the ones who continuously conducted market research. A great example of the effectiveness of market research in the corporate world is Apple. Apple has a research group called “Apple Customer Pulse” which constantly uses online surveys to gather data from customers, analyze it, & consequently implement & modify several products. The key lies in realizing & understanding that market research is an ongoing process that will continuously give new insights. These insights are what will give individuals & companies a competitive edge that will allow them to survive in tough times.

Head to Shabab Lab to learn about market research & a lot more! Through Shabab Lab, we aim to disrupt the traditional learning system by allowing the youth to submerge in real-life scenarios. Currently, we are introducing market research in our school programs. Check out the “Web for Change” program where market research is a core module. Through these programs, participating youth learn how to conduct market research with real users. Additionally, they learn to become successful entrepreneurs and social innovators who practice the art of research daily.

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