How to do market research: A 6-step guide

How to do market research: A 6-step guide

What if you knew your customer’s needs before they knew themselves? What would that do for your business reputation for having products or services people wanted? You would quickly become a key player in your industry sector. And customers would know that you could quickly and easily solve their problems. We don’t often write at an online tactical level, but in this article entitled How to do market research: A 6-step guide, we will offer our thoughts on knowing what your customers want before they even know themselves. 

1. What do your customers want?

So what do your customers want? Well, this is a significant question. And with all the choices they have, it’s getting harder to answer it and understand what the customer wants. You can look at all the data in the world, but there appears to be a pattern to why certain products sell well, and others don’t. Customers used to rely on the salesperson, offering advice on choosing the best product or service for them. In many cases, the salesperson is now called Amazon, Google, Bing, eBay, YouTube, social media and review sites. But these sites are not just shops for your product or a place to show how great your company is. They are also valuable tools to conduct market research. And most of the tools available are free. 

Identifying your ideal customer is one of the most important things you can do. And I’m not just talking about their gender, age and general interests. It’s about getting to know them inside and out. You should be able to answer questions like:

  • What do they struggle with?
  • Also, what are their goals and aspirations?
  • What truly makes them happy?
  • And what causes them frustration?
  • Finally, how do they feel about specific topics?

2. Google Trends

Google Trends tracks your popular keywords. And suggests other popular search terms. And Google Trends is a primarily ignored tool, so using it, you’re gaining valuable insights which your competitors don’t know about. 

3. Keyword planner

You will need to set up a Google Ads free account. You don’t need to advertise, and it’s an excellent tool, and it allows you to use their keyword planner tool for free. Enter a keyword and receive the number of searches for the keyword and a list of other keywords that people are searching. 

4. Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights is a resource to find out what works. Sign up to a Facebook Business page, and you will be able to see what kind of service, products, and content is attractive with your target market. To use Facebook insights by posting different content on your business page and then see which posts get the most likes, shares, and comments. Then you can see the type of content attracts your potential market. So you can then start to create more content just like it to promote your products and services around. 

5. Twitter

Twitter allows you to see which Tweets get the best engagement. And again, use this tool to test your content and headlines that get the most response from your audience. Twitter has a tool called audiences that allows you to see what types of things interest your followers. Twitter Audiences has more detailed datasets, and you can get better and in-depth and understanding your potential customers.

6. Google Alerts

Google Alerts and Talkwalker monitor in real-time what’s happening with your customers. Place a keyword to track into the search bar; then you will get an email from Google when this keyword is seen online. We use this (and others) to track our company name “Octopus Intelligence”, but we get many many daily hits. 99.9% telling us how smart octopuses are. So, like everything, it’s not perfect.


Combine all six, will enable you to develop a clear and compelling picture of your customer’s wants, needs, and behaviours. And the better you understand them, the better you’re able to come up with value, providing services and solutions to their problems. In this article entitled How to do market research: A 6-step guide, we discussed our thoughts on knowing what your customers want before they even know themselves—using tactical tools from Google, Twitter and Facebook. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Market Research and Competitive Intelligence and associated drivers.

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Here are some case studies too. Also, for more information on ethics within Competitive Intelligence from SCIP
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