Top 5 Market Research Mistakes

Some of the top market research mistakes are things that may seem like common sense but you would be surprised how many businesses and campaigns fall victim to these 5 easy to avoid mistakes.

1) Not knowing your potential audience

I know, I know.  How are you supposed to know your potential audience if you’re only just beginning to do market research to find your audience?

But you can always make initial guesses about your audience, for example, if you’re a company trying to sell office supplies, you can imagine that you should probably be focusing on offices, right?  You wouldn’t be contacting the local circus to ask if they have enough pencils, would you?

Write down your product or main offering services and see if you can narrow down who your initial audience might be, then contact those people and try to narrow it down further into who exactly is going to be buying your products.

2) Poorly worded questions

Far too many times while we’re transcribing a market research interview we come across moderators who are asking the right questions… wrongly.  It’s definitely one of the biggest market research mistakes.

What’s the best way to ask if somebody uses a specific brand of paint?

 Option 1  Do you sometimes ever not decide to use another brand of paint but instead choose to use this one and if so what ones do you also use and why?
 Option 2  What brand of paint do you use?  Do you ever use this one?  Why?

As you can see, option 2 is much more precise and gives the respondent the ability to answer the questions clearly.

Respondents like to be able to answer questions clearly and the data will thank you for it.

3) Not knowing your goal

This one is super important.  If you’re going to perform market research, have a GOAL!

Have an endgame.

What do you want to know?  What do you want to find out?

This is an important one so make sure you’re not making one of these market research mistakes.  Find out exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve and configure your research model to fit it.

There’s no point spending 4 weeks interviewing people if at the end all you’ve found out is that 50% of people like the colour blue and 50% of people like the colour red.

What do you do with that information?  Change your logo to look like Pepsi’s?

4) Not transcribing your focus group/interview data

A major market research mistake people make during their market research is they end up with hundreds of hours of recorded interviews and focus groups and then try to sit there and listen through it all.

The average focus group or interview is 45 minutes long.  If you perform one focus group or interview a day across just one week, that’s 3 hours and 45 minutes of audio.  If you do it across two weeks, it’s 7 hours and 30 minutes.

If you do two interviews per day for two weeks, you’re looking at 15 hours of audio!


Can you imagine having to sit there and listen to fifteen hours of audio trying to find the best pieces of information from it?

That’s why it’s important to transcribe your information, ideally into a lovely Intelligent Verbatim format or if you’re a stickler for inclusivity, Full Verbatim.

Finding the right Transcription Service or freelance option should be near the top of your list when doing market research.

Just make sure your transcriber is in tip-top condition.

5) Overspending

Finally and, quite possibly most important, overspending.  Research your research companies, set a budget and stick to it.  It’s easy to just hand over cash to the first person who tells you they can increase sales ten-fold no problem.

A huge budget is not a requirement for decent market research.  Make every penny count.

Don’t make all of these market research mistakes.

Oh, and don’t spend too much on your transcriptions either.  Standish Typing Services offers Intelligent Verbatim transcriptions for as low as 6 AED per minute, can you believe it?  See how much you could save with our Quote Calculators.

market research mistakes

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

Now you’ve finished this, head on over to our follow-up with 5 More Market Research Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them).

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