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Market Research Services

Marketing is about providing value to your buyers. But value is a moving target. Buyers’ perceptions and value requirements are subjective, change over time, and can easily vary from one market to the next. Guessing what buyers value is a 50/50 proposition in your home market and decidedly more risky when marketing abroad. What would it be worth to your business to understand how to provide more value to your buyers than your competitors? That is the value of primary market research. 

What is primary market research?

Primary market research means conducting firsthand investigations to gather information directly from people as opposed to buying research reports from third parties. This can be done through surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. The purpose is to gather timely and specific data about consumers and their preferences, behaviors, opinions, and needs.

For example, if a company wants to launch a product in a new market, primary market research may involve surveying potential customers to understand their preferences, conducting focus groups to gather feedback on product prototypes, or observing consumer behavior in a retail environment to assess buying patterns and local cultural influences.

Primary market research is valuable because it provides direct and up-to-date information that is specifically relevant to the business’s marketing goals. It helps companies make informed decisions, develop effective marketing strategies, and create products and services that meet the needs and desires of their target audience.

How can market research reduce risk?

At the end of the day, research is about risk reduction. Every strategy is based on a number of facts bound together by hundreds of assumptions. It would be impractical to investigate every assumption but it would be imprudent to simply accept them all. For that reason, we flag the “weight-bearing” assumptions in our strategy work. These are assumptions that meet two criteria. First, it is at least plausible that the assumption could be incorrect. Second, if it is incorrect, it could have a significant negative impact on the outcome because the strategy relies heavily upon it. Together with our clients, we decide which of these weight-bearing assumptions merit the time and budget required for investigation and which do not.

Primary market research is the most cost-effective way to mitigate the risk of business ventures and gain a competitive advantage. This provides valuable insight into the people who buy the products or subscribe to the ideas your organization promotes. This is also known as Voice of Customer (VOC) research. Although buyers can be difficult to read, they hold the answers to most of the questions marketers have. You just have to know how to ask them.

Why not just buy market research reports?

This is a valid point since third-party research reports can typically be purchased instantly online for USD 5 to 15K. When sourced properly, these reports are the fastest way to get up to speed on basic market parameters. However, on their own, they offer limited value to your business.

Consider the end result of any marketing research: To gain unique insight for your business that we can use to build a sustained competitive advantage.

First, it’s hard to get unique insights for your business from generic research. Primary market research allows businesses to focus on specific aspects of their target market or marketing objectives. It helps in gaining detailed insights about consumer behavior, preferences, and needs that are directly relevant to the business.

Second, it is difficult to use research to develop a competitive advantage when your competitors are reading the exact same reports. Primary market research provides businesses with unique and exclusive insights to which their competitors may not have access. By conducting their own research, businesses can identify unmet needs, discover new opportunities, and differentiate themselves in the market.

Beyond that, consider these advantages of primary research:

  • Customization:  Primary market research allows businesses to tailor the research process to their specific needs and objectives. This ensures that the research findings are directly applicable to the business and its Marketing Strategy.
  • Fresh and Up-to-Date Information:  Third-party research reports are often based on data that may be outdated by the time they are published. Primary market research, on the other hand, provides real-time and current information.
  • Control over Data Quality:  With primary market research, businesses have control over the quality and accuracy of data collected. They can ensure the data is reliable and collected using appropriate methodologies.

While third-party research reports can provide a broader market overview and secondary data, primary market research offers businesses more control, customization, and specific insights that can directly inform their marketing strategies and lead to actionable outcomes. It allows businesses to gather firsthand information that is directly relevant to their unique circumstances and objectives. For these reasons, we use third-party research reports but only to provide a market overview and to understand what the competitors know. To gain true, specific, actionable insight for your business, we recommend primary market research.

Choosing the right market research technique

Getting the answers you need has a lot to do with how you ask the questions. Duffy Agency is able to deploy a variety of research techniques globally to help you get the answers you need. Our research is typically conducted in support of our Marketing Strategy services. This includes gaining a deeper understanding of markets, competitors, and buyers, as well as testing new concepts or products.

Duffy Agency, in cooperation with a global network of research partners, is able to offer a range of customized research methodologies suited to different lines of inquiry:

  • Ethnographic Research: Immersing researchers in a particular cultural setting or community to observe and understand consumers’ behaviors, preferences, and interactions within their natural environment, providing rich contextual insights.
  • In-depth Face-to-Face Interviews (IDIs): Conducting one-on-one interviews with individuals to delve deeply into their thoughts, experiences, and opinions on a particular topic.
  • In-depth Virtual Interviews (IVIs): Conducting one-on-one interviews with individuals remotely, using virtual communication tools, to gather detailed insights and perspectives.
  • Focus Groups: Bring together a small group of individuals to engage in a guided discussion led by a moderator, exploring their attitudes, opinions, and perceptions about a specific product, service, or concept.
  • Surveys: Collecting information from a targeted group of individuals through a set of structured questions, aiming to gather quantitative or qualitative data on their opinions, behaviors, preferences, or demographics.
  • Journal Studies: Examining and analyzing research articles published in academic or professional journals to understand existing findings, theories, and knowledge within a specific area of study.
  • Expert Panels: Gathering a group of knowledgeable experts from a particular field or industry to provide insights, opinions, and expertise on a specific topic or issue.
  • Neuromarketing: Applying neuroscience techniques, such as brain imaging or biometric measurements, to understand consumers’ subconscious responses and reactions to marketing stimuli, aiding in Marketing Strategy development and optimization.
  • Cross-Cultural Studies: Conduct comparative studies across different cultures to understand cultural differences, values, norms, and their impact on consumer behavior, marketing strategies, and market entry strategies.
  • Language Analysis: Analyzing linguistic aspects, such as language patterns, idioms, and cultural references, to gain a deeper understanding of consumers’ language preferences and communication styles in international markets. Particularly useful when assessing brand or product names. 
  • Comparative Market Analysis: Conduct a systematic comparison of different international markets, including market size, growth rates, competition, regulatory environments, consumer demographics, and cultural factors, to identify potential market opportunities and challenges.
  • Social Media Listening: Monitoring and analyzing social media platforms to gather real-time data on consumer sentiments, trends, discussions, and brand perceptions across different countries and cultures.
  • Desktop Research: Gathering information and data from existing sources such as publications, reports, and online databases to gain insights and support decision-making.

How can Duffy Agency help with my organization’s research needs?

Working together with our global network of field offices, local moderators, and research support teams, we can handle all aspects of research, from initial study design to acquiring panels or recruiting subjects, running the research, reporting, and providing analysis and recommendations from the results.

If you would like to use your own mailing list, buy your own panels, or recruit your own subjects, we are happy to work with them as well.

While episodic research can be very helpful, we would encourage your organization to consider establishing a regular flow of market intelligence into your marketing department by establishing an ongoing research program. Duffy Agency has programs we can discuss or we can create a custom program for your organization.

Get in touch if it sounds like you could use our help.

Contact us

Contact us to discuss which approach may work best for your organization.

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Duffy Agency maintains a meeting space in Malmö, Sweden and Boston, MA, USA, but as of June 2023, we have converted to a 100% remote work model.

Duffy Agency USA

Mailing Address:
5 Hutchings Dr Suite 100
Box 398 Hollis, NH 03049 USA
+1 (617) 800-9887 [email protected]

Duffy Agency Europe

Mailing Address:
Davidshallsgatan 27B
SE-21145 Malmö, Sweden
+46 (40) 123-451 [email protected]