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Defining market research goals

Thinking carefully about your goals will help you design a research project that gets the accurate, useful results you need. You need to be clear about your research objectives and how these will influence the methods you use. It's also important to identify issues such as the time frame and budget for your project.

When conducting research, be careful not to let your opinions and preferences, or those of your team, affect surveys or the results. Never decide the conclusion in advance. Be prepared to find market information that is unanticipated, as this builds a more accurate picture of your target market and will be more useful to your business.

Establishing market research objectives

Clearly define your objectives and the outcomes you expect from your market research, as unclear objectives lead to conflicting expectations and irrelevant data. Carefully consider and list your objectives and keep referring back to them during your research.

Determining key objectives

List the key information you want your research to uncover. For example, you may have questions about:

  • your product's performance or reputation in the market
  • new markets for your business
  • customer reactions to price increases or product changes.

Developing a list of questions

From your set of key objectives, you can develop a list of research questions such as:

  • Is there a demand for my product or service?
  • What sales can I expect?
  • Who buys my products (e.g. age, gender, income, occupation, lifestyle)?
  • What is the best price for my products or services?
  • How should my products look, feel, taste, etc.?
  • What is the best location for my business?
  • Are other businesses offering similar products or services?
  • Is there sufficient demand for my product to make the business viable?

Identifying potential research issues

Identify the issues involved in your market research. For example:

  • when you need the information by – allowing your research deadlines to slip may mean your results occur too late to effectively implement certain decisions
  • what your research budget is
  • how you want to use the information
  • particular problems or sensitivities you need to manage
  • the amount of time you can afford to invest
  • the size of the research project – those that become too large and time-consuming may fail to give you the results you need in the time you need them.

Understanding issues that could impact on your market research will help you set goals that are realistic and achievable. It will help you design a market research process that suits your needs and capacity. Considering these issues before you carry out your market research will help ensure you get the information you need, when you need it, without stretching your budget or wasting your time.

Also consider...

  • Use our market research kit to find key economic, demographic and statistical information about your industry.