Market Research and User Research: Which One Do You Need?

In 2022, global market revenue hit $82.6 billion dollars and is still growing. Market research and user research are two important methods for gathering information about customers and their needs. While they may seem similar, there are key differences between the two that can impact the success of your business. In this guide, we’ll explore the differences between market research and user research and help you determine which method is best suited for your business needs.

Understanding the Differences Between Market Research and User Research.

Market research and user research are both important methods for gathering information about customers, but they have distinct differences. Market research focuses on understanding the overall market and industry trends, while user research focuses on understanding the needs and behaviors of specific users. 

Usually, market research is often conducted through surveys, focus groups, and data analysis, while user research involves direct observation and interaction with users. Understanding these differences can help you determine which method is best suited for your business needs.

When to Use Market Research.

Market research is best used when you want to understand the overall market and industry trends. This can include analyzing market size, competition, and consumer behavior. Market research can also help you identify potential opportunities and threats in the market. If you are launching a new product or entering a new market, product market research can provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions. Additionally, market research can help you understand the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and brand positioning.

Market research helps brands avoid disaster, fine-tune products, and discover opportunities.

Avoid Disaster

Nothing is worse than working hard on designing, creating, and shipping products that turn out to be unwanted and unbought. They just end up laying around warehouses. Doing market research will give you an idea of what is already on the market and what consumers actually buy. This reduces the risk of your product being badly designed or badly marketed from the start.

Fine Tune Products

So you have a basic idea of the products you can make, sell, and make a profit on, or you already have products that sell alright. How do you make them better, more attractive to customers, or just more efficient? Find common issues and pain points in the industry and with competitors products. Then implement solutions and features that solve those issues. Additionally, you can use your research to tweak prices and descriptions to compete with successful competitors.

Discover Opportunities

Use product market research to find possibilities for new products and services or advancing existing ones in unexpected yet desired directions. You can also combine items that are often bought together in bundles to encourage upsales. This will lead to both more desired products and more orders in total.

When to Use User Research.

It’s best to use user research when you want to understand the needs, behaviors, and preferences of your target audience. This can include conducting surveys, interviews, and usability testing to gather feedback on your product or service. User research can help you identify pain points and areas for improvement. It can also validate assumptions about your target audience. 

If you are looking to improve the user experience of your product or service, using tools for user research can provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions. Additionally, user research can help you prioritize features and functionality based on user needs and preferences.

Know Your Primary Users

Consumer research reveals not only who your primary audience is but also information about their demographic. What devices do they prefer? How much time do they like to use shopping? Do they know what they want, or do they browse for a bit? How much money do they tend to spend on this, and how much do they want to spend? What are their current pain points with what is available currently? Consumer research makes sure that you actually know your primary users. It enables you to craft your products, services, and marketing with them in mind.

Uncover Secondary Users

Sometimes you have users/consumers/audiences that are not the main ones you are designing your services or products for. Consumer research can help identify secondary users who you should try to attract through advertising, tweaks to existing products and services, and adding additional options to better cater to these users. 

For example, if you run a gym equipment online shop, you could find that your main audience are experienced exercise enthusiasts while a secondary audience are beginner runners. You could add a ‘tips for beginners’ book or blog to help entice and encourage them. Remember that if users give up or lose confidence in their ability to complete goals, they will give up and leave your site!

Find Pain Points and Opportunities

Consumer research is used to find how user friendly a website, items or services are to customers and/or visitors and find pain points and opportunities to improve the site or service. These are issues that make the user’s tasks harder to accomplish. After completing the research, you should have an idea what you need to focus on to make them pain point free. You may also find you need to add services or tools to allow users to accomplish other tasks. (Make less critical tasks be user friendly; how many services have you terminated when you couldn’t find how to contact customer support?)

On top of that, you can find that competitors already have additional services that you don’t or, even better, that they are lacking in an area you can expand in. Use consumer research to find opportunities for new products and services or other expansions to keep up in today’s market.

Creates a Basis for Your Business Strategy

Having good consumer research means you that you have data to base your business strategy in: 

people advertising with social media

Combining Market Research and User Research for a Combined View.

While market research and user research have distinct differences, they can also complement each other to provide a more complete view of your target audience and market. By combining both methods, you can gain a deeper understanding of your target audience’s needs, behaviors, and preferences, as well as the overall market trends and competition.

This can help you make informed decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and overall business growth. However, it’s important to prioritize which research method is most relevant to your current business needs and goals.

darts on dart board

Choosing the Right Research Method for Your Business Needs.

When it comes to choosing between user research and market research, it’s important to consider your specific business needs and goals. User research is best suited for understanding the needs, behaviors, and preferences of your target audience, while market research is focused on understanding the overall market trends, competition, and potential demand for your product or service. If you’re looking to improve your product or service based on user feedback, user research may be the best option. If you’re looking to enter a new market or understand the overall demand for your product, market research may be more relevant. Ultimately, it’s important to prioritize which research method will provide the most valuable insights for your business at this time.

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