Market research surveys: The complete guide

Your guide to create and distribute an excellent market research survey.

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What is a market research survey?

Market research surveys are questionnaires that collect responses from a target audience of consumers. A brand uses market research to identify pain points, preferences, and interests of their customers.

A market research survey seeks to understand patterns in a given market. Researchers might segregate markets based on geography, age, gender, or other demographics. Brands can then use Trend analysis, Conjoint analysis, and Turf analysis to analyze their findings and help create actionable insights for their business.

Key attributes of successful marketing research surveys:

Survey research in marketing involves sending customers a questionnaire containing questions about your brand, products, and competitors. Your customers complete the questions according to their preferences. Most brands use online surveys for fast, accurate collection of data.

Send your survey research via email, SMS, QR Code, or other electronic platforms. Participants respond on the web for instant responses.

At QuestionPro, we also offer an offline survey app. The app allows users to capture survey research responses on a mobile or tablet device from anywhere. This is ideal in locations that do not have an internet connection or suffer from an unstable connection.

The right survey questions are the most critical part of any market research. Attributes such as language, question type, and answer type help you customize your surveys to fit your needs. Easy-to-read questions that follow a flow receive higher response rates than jumbled, confusing ones.

What’s the best distribution method for high response rates? Will email surveys or a physical mobile kiosk receive higher engagement?

Email surveys remain the most popular form of market research surveys. The popularity of tablet-based kiosks is rising for many B2C businesses as well. These stationary tablets capture live responses from customers at stores and business events.

Specialized survey portals, such as QuestionPro Communities, help generate qualitative research. Through these portals, customers answer less restrictive questions. More open-ended questions pass on more ideas to the company.

You can’t do much with a bunch of survey responses alone – you need the power to analyze survey data. Online software makes it easy to create, distribute, and analyze surveys in one place.

QuestionPro features a complete set of analytics features:

A market research survey report showcases the conclusions of your analysis. Reports include current trends and projections of future customer trends and preferences. A good survey report provides company stakeholders with a complete thesis using the available data and analysis from the survey.

Reports streamline the survey result processing. An efficient report process opens the door to implement your findings. You’re able to dive into the innovation process to create products and services that directly help your customers.

Conducting market research surveys

Conducting a successful research survey requires thorough planning and structuring. Follow these tips:

Set clear objectives. Take the time to write questions that define your goals and resonate with your customers.

Answer two questions to help define your target audience:

Which geographic region does your research target?

What are the qualifying attributes of your ideal survey respondents?

This could include age, gender, household income, or other demographics that narrow your audience.

Survey creation is easy with online tools. Create and send in minutes using survey software. This will free up more time to collect responses and analyze your data.

QuestionPro offers a complete suite of survey creation options with over 350+ ready-made survey templates. Our advanced and standard survey question types allow you to customize surveys for specific demographics. Meet branding requirements with survey design customizations. Powerful logic and branching options help keep respondents engaged and lower drop-out rates.

Your survey distribution methods depend on the platform you choose. In QuestionPro, you can distribute custom online surveys through email, SMS, or QR code. We also offer the ability to collect responses offline using our mobile app.

QuestionPro Audience also allows you to purchase respondent data instantly.

Online survey platforms help you receive data in real-time and analyze it much faster. Manual survey input and analysis use Excel sheets. This takes additional time and effort, which reduces the cost-effectiveness of your market research survey.

Why should you conduct a market research surveys for your business?

Knowing the preferences and needs of your target customers is imperative to business success. Without this knowledge, you’re blindly putting out products and services with no idea how they’ll fare.

You need to collect information on the four “Ps” of your business:

Market research should look at customer behavior and preferences regarding your products and services.

A good market research survey provides insights into the most profitable way to position their product in the market. Creative product placements give your business a competitive edge over the competition. Discover the ideal placements through custom market research surveys.

Nothing dictates a product’s journey more than its price. How much are potential consumers willing to pay for a new feature? Will decreasing your product price give you a sales boost? Get the answers to these questions by asking customers.

Use the first three “Ps” to determine the promotion of your products and services. Whether you choose organic or paid promotions, formulate your plan using insights from your research. Successful businesses always conduct thorough market analysis using research studies before making a major promotional push.

Research methods: qualitative and quantitative research

Qualitative market research

A qualitative market research study focuses on collecting unstructured or semi-structured data from consumers. Information from qualitative research studies drives market insights.

Common methods of successful qualitative market research:

Focus groups

Focus group qualitative research involves getting a few people for a face-to-face discussion. Questions cover what-if scenarios around a specific product or subject of interest.

Platforms like Communitiesfrom QuestionPro reduce the need for in-person focus groups. Online portals allow for both data collection and market analysis.

On-call interviews

On-call interviews provide insights into the mind of business leaders or senior officials. This method allows the researcher to “open-up” the survey in the form of a regular conversation. The interview usually spans across several topics of interest.

Innovation research

Innovation research, also referred to as innovation games, seeks to use a group of consumers to generate innovative ideas. Platforms like Communities make it possible for businesses to conduct such qualitative research remotely and tap into global respondents. This allows organizations to get the best ideas from the best minds without the barrier of being physically present.

Advantages of qualitative market research :


Qualitative research happens on a smaller scale than quantitative research. This reduces the expense to conduct a survey, as you’ll send it to a small group of people.

In-depth insights

The open nature of questions and the freedom for researchers to dive deeper promotes detailed insights.


Researchers enjoy the ability to identify sub-topics of interest as the conversation naturally progresses.

Answering the "Why"

Qualitative market research is a popular option when the objective of the research is to discover why customers do something. Politely pressing respondents to answer crucial questions shows you the reasons behind customer actions.

Quantitative market research

Quantitative market research surveys collect data through structured questionnaires. They use statistical analysis methods to derive meaningful and actionable insights.

Once conducted through pen and paper responses, today quantitative research makes use of advanced market research survey software platforms. Online platforms add additional value to the quality of surveys, responses and insight.

Attributes of quantitative marketing research surveys:

Survey questions

While survey questionsmay appear to be simplistic, but proper use can elicit the answers you want from customers. Single-select questions, multiple-choice questions, and rating scale questions give you options when creating your survey.

QuestionPro’s survey platform provides a vast range of survey question and question-typeswith market research survey examples. Varying question types encourage participants to continue through your survey. It’s easy to create your first survey with over 350+ ready-made survey templates available. Simply select, edit, and send!

Survey design

Survey design refers as much to the look of the survey as it does to logic and branching techniques. Good survey design makes questions more precise for the respondents. Add custom logos and brand attributes to create a cohesive, visually appealing questionnaire.

Survey distribution

Email surveys dominate online survey distribution channels. Offline surveys that use kiosks are becoming popular for point-of-sale response collection.

Send or schedule your email market research study with QuestionPro. Our advanced platform also allows you to distribute surveys through QR code, SMS, or embed it on your website.

Survey collection

Survey collection depends on the method of distribution. Survey software platforms make survey data collection easy and allow you to collect data in real-time.

Even better, QuestionPro enables you to track responses. Filter respondents by those who have not started, started but not finished, and those who finished the survey.

Survey analysis

Survey analyticsin quantitative research includes conjoint analysis, Turf analysis and SWOT analysis.Business and academic researchers often use quantitative research due to the simple application of analytics for data-oriented insights.

In QuestionPro’s market research survey software completes analytics in real-time.

Advantages of quantitative market research surveys:

Fully data-oriented decision making:

The precise nature of quantitative research leads to decision-making based on data.

Zero scope for analytical errors:

Enjoy zero errors with analysis from QuestionPro. By using powerful computing software, our program eliminates human error when analyzing survey data.

Concrete projections:

Projections from the concrete data of quantitative research methods mean you have data-backed insights for your business. Use these projections to accurately predict the spending habits and preferences of your customer base.

Learn more: Marketing surveys

Statistical survey analysis techniques

TURF stands for Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency. Market analysis using TURF provides details on user frequency and marketing reach without any duplicates. This gives you a real estimate of market potential.

Conjoint analysis explores how different attributes of a given product or service range in importance to a customer. Online survey software makes Conjoint easier than ever before, allowing more businesses to put it to work.

MaxDiff analysis reads consumer preference across different attributes such as branding and advertising. MaxDiff analysis is similar to conjoint analysis, however, it is much simpler to implement.

Gap analysis measures actual performance vs. desired performance. Use gap analysis to determine how to move the needle to a more desirable position.

SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis takes a holistic view of an organization's key strengths and weaknesses from a business standpoint.

Trend analysis looks to collect data over time. It uses the data to identify plottable trends and relationships in the data changes. You can use this analysis to predict future trends.

Cross tabulation produces categorical data tabulation. Categorical data involves values that are mutually exclusive to each other.

Text analysis is a technique that researchers implement to arrange and bring structure to unorganized data. The process involves converting text from documents to computer-based language.