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What Type of Market Research Is Right for You?

More and more, companies, investors and international organizations tackle the hard questions about their clients' needs and behaviors with numbers and data and we can all be glad. Numbers can tell us a lot! But sometimes, a few more in depth interviews can tell us so much more. Take EA Consultants' Market Research Quiz to see what might be the right approach to your research questions...


There is not one straightforward way to tackle any research question and yet there are so many methods at our disposal. Large representative samples can be critical to understanding the potential market demand for a product or service (answering how many people?), but they won't always tell us whether the actual demand will be significant (answering, why do people value this product?). Randomized trials can offer unbiased data on preferences and choices that people make, but they are hard to apply when trying to address differences in preferences between segments as they often focus on average results. Focus groups are great for getting rich insights on a product or service and its usefulness, but they fall short when assessing the size of a market.

Budget and resources are also a concern when determining a methodology. Sometimes, it's best to start with smaller in-depth exploratory research to build internal buy in around a new idea and lead up to a larger-scale effort. But it is important to remember that one methodology cannot replace another in asking a research question. A small in-depth study may not have the breadth or statistical significance to base an investment or policy decision on. For example, we may discover through focus groups that some women clients in a microfinance institution would appreciate a small area for children to play in at a branch. But this may not be enough information to make a decision. What if the other women and men would be bothered by it? How many of our women clients actually have young children? How many take them to the branch? Market research is both an art and a science. We generally start with the science of which methodology best answers the research question, then we add the "art" to make sure we get the answers we need!

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