2.2.1-2 Primary & Secondary Research

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Market research is the act of a business researching its customers or competitors in order to understand the marketplace better.

Primary research is research conducted by a business or individual. It is tailored to a company’s specific needs, for example, a quantitative sales estimate for a new Product.

Secondary research is research that already exists conducted by another. The research has already been carried out for other general purposes.

Respondents are asked questions from a set of written questions. It can be done face-to-face, online or via post.
Respondents watched and recorded. These can be disguised where the observees are not aware or non-disguised where they are aware they are being watched. Remember people tend to change their behaviour when they are being watched so being disguised could bring more realistic results.
Focus Groups
Respondents are asked questions in a group setting. A group discussion among people selected from the target market; draws on psychology to provide qualitative insights into consumer attitudes These can be done online or face-to-face
Respondents are asked questions and give verbal responses. These can be done in-person face-to-face, online via video call or chat or via the telephone. When done face-to-face or via video online you can see the person’s expressions and use this to get non-verbal market research.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Primary Research:

+ Up to date and new recent information.
+ More relevant to the business and specific to understand customers
— Can be costly and time-consuming using up valuable business resources
— Can be inaccurate if the sample isn’t big enough
— Misleading if the researcher is inexperienced

+ Quick and convenient to gather
+ More affordable than primary research
+ Internet has made secondary research widely available
— May be old or out of date
— Created for another purpose so may not be relevant
— Original researcher may have shown bias

Government reports
A document issued by the government that provides market intelligence, for example, a government report on unemployment. Government reports are unlikely to be biased. However, the business may have to pay for this data and it could also be out of date as the UK census is only conducted every 3 years.

Social trends are information about what the majority of people do in a society, such as the majority of the UK has weekends off work. The Office for National Statistics publishes this data. You can see a report here:
News articles
From newspapers, magazines or news channels. Businesses must beware of using tabloid newspapers as these are usually biased and gossip but ‘quality press’ papers are usually accurate. News articles are often free or very low Cost.
Competitor Data
Looking at reports from competitors, remember limited companies have to report financial performance to companies house.
Businesses can also easily access reviews and customer comments about their competitors online such as via Google Maps or Trustpilot.
Reports produced by market research agencies
Agencies like Mintel or Statistica will conduct market research and publish their findings about customers, trends and tastes for markets. Businesses can then purchase this data to make decisions about their operations. For example, see this website for research conducted into the luxury footwear market.
Trade Journals
Trade journals are magazines for a specific trade, for example, a Plumbing or Hairdressing magazine. Businesses can use this to keep up to date with developments in the industry, get tips and find out about trends and customer tastes. These are usually available on a subscription basis to businesses, e.g. £5 a magazine. They are also readily available.
Social Media
Social media is free for businesses to log in and use. They can easily access competitors’ pages to see reviews and customer comments and make changes to their Marketing mix to better compete.
Online Forums
Here customers can have a public online discussion site where people can communicate via posted messages. Businesses can access this to see what customers are talking about, it could strike inspiration for a new product or improvements that need to be made.

Primary or Secondary Quiz

2.1.1 Aspects of the Market

2.2.3-5 Data, Market and Orientation Types