Market research

We explain what market research is, its purposes and how to conduct it. In addition, we explore its tools, and more.

investigación de mercados
Market research gathers valuable data for a company’s marketing department.

What is market research?

Market research is a type of study that allows for the analysis and evaluation of market situations, company status, company products, and consumers. This research can be carried out through various tools, such as surveys, comparison of metrics or benchmarking, focus groups, and direct observation at points of sale, among others.

The market research process is extensive and requires meticulous work. Research tools allow for the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, which are then analyzed and provide information for the organization's decision-making, as before the launch of a new product, for example.


  • Market research is the analysis of the study of a company, its competitors, products, services and consumers.
  • Different research tools may be used depending on the problem to be solved and the types of data to be obtained.
  • The information gathered and analyzed from market research allows for better decision-making.

Purpose of market research

The purpose of market research is to gather information about a specific moment in time, for example: to understand the business situation of a competitor, solve a business problem, or find an improvement or innovative opportunity.

Information can be obtained in several ways, especially through the use of technology tools, such as platforms or software for data collection and analysis, which provide insight into the development of an advertising campaign, or the interaction of users with competitors.

Once the information is gathered and interpreted, better and more strategic business decisions can be made, such as planning the production year or deciding whether to launch a new product.

How to do market research

The market research process may vary depending on the industry, the needs, or the type of organization conducting the research. Nevertheless, there are common aspects in every market research process:

  • First: identify the problem. The aim of the research must be clear, be it a business problem, a product issue, a customer feedback problem, or the need to better understand competitors or the market.
  • Second: design the research. The tools that best fit the research purpose must be selected, and a specialized professional should be consulted. For example: To know customer satisfaction, it would be convenient to conduct surveys via email or at the end of online purchases.
  • Third: gather and analyze data. Adequate data management and processing will help understand the situation, identify problems or opportunities, and obtain answers to the problems raised at the outset.
  • Fourth: write a report. It is useful to produce a written summary that includes charts, graphs, or items to organize the data and results of the research, as well as a conclusion. The way the data is processed is crucial if similar research is to be conducted in the future, as data can be compared to analyze its evolution over time.

Importance of market research

Technology, internet, and social media-related changes in the market and consumer habits have resulted in an active role of customers. The reviews of consumers can benefit or harm a brand.

Market research is important because it provides companies with valuable information to understand and anticipate consumer actions.

Tools for market research

investigación de mercados
Surveys are one of several market research tools.

Among the main tools for conducting market research are:

  • Survey. This research tool consists of a series of closed or open-ended questions carried out on a representative sample of the total population. The questionnaire allows the collection of multiple data, such as customers’ opinions or consumer habits in a market sector.
  • Focus group. This research tool involves bringing together a group of people (who are a representative sample of the public to be studied) to interview them as a group and to hold a guided discussion. Participants are asked about certain stimuli, such as an image or a video, to find out and analyze their reactions. They are especially used in qualitative research.
  • Mystery shopper. This research tool involves direct observation and interaction at the point of sale, through a person who pretends to be a customer but is in reality an undercover researcher intent on inquiring into the conditions of the place, the service, and the product or service received.
  • Direct observation. This research tool involves observation, analysis, and research at the point of sale. Unlike the mystery shopper, the person introduces themselves and asks if they can observe and survey staff at the store.
  • Benchmarking. This research tool involves collecting and analyzing multiple indicators of competitors through the use of platform or software technology. For example: Evaluating the performance of an advertising campaign or consumer behavior on the digital store through platforms like Google Analytics or Semrush


  • BBVA, (2022). Las cuatro fases de una investigación de mercados. BBVA.
  • Santos, D. (2022). ¿Cómo hacer una investigación de mercados en 8 pasos?. Hubspot.
  • Nuño, P. (2017). ¿Qué es un estudio de mercado?. EmprendePyme.

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How to cite

DE AZKUE, Inés. "Market research".
Encyclopedia of Humanities. 29 September, 2023,

About the author

Author: Inés de Azkue

Bachelor of Arts in advertising (University of Morón)

Translated by: Marilina Gary

Degree in English Language Teaching (Juan XXIII Institute of Higher Education, Bahía Blanca, Argentina).

Updated on: 29 September, 2023
Posted on: 28 September, 2023

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