Market research often refers to either primary or secondary research. Secondary research involves a company using information compiled from various sources, which is about a new or existing product. The advantages of secondary research are that it is relatively cheap and easily accessible. Disadvantages of secondary research are that it is often not specific to your area of research and the data used can be biased and difficult to validate. Primary market research involves both qualitative research (such as focus groups or one-on-one interviews) and quantitative research (such as surveys) as well as field tests or observations conducted for or tailored specifically to that product. Primary research, which is also called field research or original research, is useful for finding new information and getting customers’ views on products. Its advantages are that it provides up to date, relevant, and specific information about your product. The disadvantages are that it is expensive to collect, time consuming, and needs a large sample size to be accurate.
From a business standpoint, market research is a way to get answers to important questions before investing a lot of time and money creating a new product or service. From a consumer standpoint, there are many people who enjoy being a part of the market research process. And they can even make a little money by participating in focus groups and surveys.