Market research can be defined as the “study of the requirements of specific markets, the acceptability of products, and methods of developing and exploiting new markets.” [source - merriam-webster.com]
That is to say, companies carry out research to better understand their target market, consumers and competitors. The goal is to find out if there is a sustainable market for new products or services. Researchers will establish if there is a need for the item and forecast if it can be profitable. Good research can find answers on how to grow business successfully.
For instance, if a baby product company wished to launch a new diaper, its researchers would first analyse the available data, such as current competition, other similar products and statistics on families with babies. If they decide to go ahead with the product, they may turn to small testing groups of parents, who will use the new diapers and provide detailed feedback. A focus group could be used to discuss the advertising campaign or a survey could be sent out to get opinions on the new and improved diaper. By receiving this type of feedback before mass production and distribution, our diaper company may tweak their product to better meet the wants and needs of its target market – young parents.
History of Market Research
In the 1920, not long after the boom in advertising, companies realized the important role demographics played in the success of their campaigns. Daniel Starch developed the idea of market research. He collected information by interviewing people on the street, and then used his data to determine guidelines for effective advertising. Later on, marketing research companies started to form and establish new techniques, building on Starch’s finds.
What Information Is Needed?
Research companies need information on what percentage of the market will likely buy their service or product. They need details about the different demographic groups, based on factors such as age, gender, income and location. This helps determine who they are selling to. These details will shape their business decisions, such as deciding how to price their product, what marketing techniques will be most effective, where to advertise, and potential profit to be made.
How Do Companies Collect Information?
To gather details about their potential consumers, today’s market researchers use many tools. Surveys, opinion polls, product testing and focus groups are used to gather specific information. This can be done by telephone, online, by mail or in person. Researchers also study available data, reports, statistics and economic trends to have a complete picture of the available market.
Market Research in Canada
Companies carrying out market research are now doing so globally. Many are large corporations serving clients from all over the world, including Canada. Many work from home opportunities for Canadians are based on product research in areas such as household consumables, technology, baby products and groceries. Other important areas of study are consumer lifestyle, income, living standards and home ownership. By having a complete picture of what Canadians want, like, have and spend, companies can better grow their business – and their profits.
Work at Home Options in Market Research
If you are interested in participating in market research, there are many opportunities to do so from home. From completing questionnaires to onsite research, there is a wide variety of options available.
- Online Surveys: Ranging from a few seconds to 30 minutes, various surveys are available to consumers. To get started, simply sign up with one of our top Canadian survey panels. When a survey becomes available, you’ll earn money or rewards if you choose to participate. For more information on partners, please read our paid survey write-up here.
- Product Testing: Before new products make their way onto store shelves, they are often tested by consumers like you. Some market research companies specialise in product testing. Testers must try out the new products, completing specific tasks and questionnaires. In return, they often get to keep the product. Some online survey companies also offer product testing opportunities, such as MySurvey and Toluna.
- Mystery Shopping: Large companies use mystery shoppers to get specific feedback on employee and store performance. By going undercover, you complete specific tasks and gather information on your experience. Once done, you fill out a questionnaire on your mystery shop. You may be paid a predetermined rate, or if at a restaurant, be reimbursed for your meal.
- Focus Groups: Online or in person, some researchers host a discussion about a product or service to receive more detailed feedback. Often carried out in small groups, you may be asked about your opinion or impressions of the product itself, the packaging and the advertisements. Participants are encouraged to talk freely with others in the group to have an interactive discussion. Focus groups are hosted by market research companies and opportunities are emailed to panel members when available.
How Will I be Paid?
There are different ways to be paid to complete market research jobs. Many research companies issue cheques or use Paypal to pay their panelists. Some can also issue gift cards, gift vouchers and free products as payment for your time. Each company provides detailed information on their payment policies to ensure members know what to expect.
By bringing market research online, a win-win situation has been created. Companies receive results quickly, efficiently and at a reasonable cost. Participants can complete the work from home, on a part-time or casual basis and get paid to do so. With a little research of your own, you can decide which companies and programs are a good fit for you. Have your say, and be paid to do it!