Use Market Research to Help Your Business

Do you feel as informed about your customers and their needs, or about your industry and recent market trends as you want to be? It’s easy to stay up-to-date when you work with a qualified professional to do market research for your business.

Market research can provide you with valuable information to help drive the strategic direction of your business, and your business will reap the benefits:

  • Uncover new opportunities in the marketplace (e.g. additional sales or new markets)
  • Identify potential weaknesses of your business model, product or service
  • Measure your progress over time
  • Differentiate your product or service from your competitors
  • Understand who your customers view as your competition
  • Tailor offers to your customers

But before you start a market research project, here is a quick overview on how to structure the project to maximize your investment:

State Your Objective

What is your objective for the research? This will determine the type and quantity of research you will need to conduct. Make sure you have a well-defined objective before beginning your project.

Identify Your Research Method

Answer the question of whether you want Primary or Secondary research. How would you like the information to be collected and analyzed?

Primary research involves the collection of new data such as a survey of your customers. Secondary research involves information that has already been collected such as census data, or industry studies.

Also – look into the differences between Qualitative and Quantitative research and which works best for you.

Qualitative research is great for generating ideas because it involves in-depth interactions with a person or group of people. You can conduct interviews and focus groups allowing to ask open-ended questions and follow up to get the detailed responses you need for your research.

Quantitative research is great when you need reliable statistics because its based on numbers and percentages. You can put together a questionnaire and survey your target market to find out what they like or dislike about your product or service and get the results you’re looking for. 


Who is the target audience that you will be gathering research on? Who is the audience for the final deliverable, i.e., investors, employees or yourself?


How soon do you need this research? Your timeline may impact your research method or vice versa. For example, if you need the research this week, qualitative research may be a good option. If your time horizon is weeks or months, a quantitative approach would work.


What is your budget? Primary research is generally more time consuming and more expensive than secondary research.

Other Considerations

Be sure to share any other information that you might currently have on your target audience or on the topics that you would like researched. This will not only help you define your research project, but will give your provider a good starting point.

Ready to Get Started?

Follow these steps to get your market research project completed on Elance.

1. Complete the project description with the following:

  • A detailed description of what you need to be researched and how it will be used
  • The type of research method you would like or you can have the service provider recommend the best approach 
  • How you want the research results delivered, electronic or hard copy

2. Once you start receiving bids, carefully review the provider’s qualifications and portfolio.

3. Choose a service provider and begin working on the project. The typical Market Research project will require the following steps.

  • Information gathering on the part of the provider
  • Initial draft of the questionnaire or a plan describing how the research will be conducted 
  • Information gathering
  • Compiling and analysis of the data
  • Final report on the results