Use This Market Research Mix Framework to Overcome that “Now What?!” Moment

I’m ready to do some market research — Now What?!

I can’t begin to tell you how many meetings I’ve been in where the team has “questions” or is trying to make some kind of decision.

The first thing everyone defaults to is “I think” phrases.  This is when my red flag goes up to let me know that anytime I hear more than three people say “I think” in a meeting, it’s time to start thinking about doing some kind of market research.

But this often freaks people out.  They just don’t know where to begin.

Well, let me tell you a secret — I have a secret crutch that I use in these moments — and it’s called “The Market Research Mix”.

The phrase market research mix was coined in 2004. It is a framework that helps researchers in designing or evaluating market research studies. This name is similar to the Marketing Mix; the name was purposely kept similar to it. Like Marketing and marketing mix, marketing research mix also encompasses the four P’s. What makes it different from the “Marketing Mix” four P’s is that  the elements are not random but sequential. The elements also match each of the phases that should be followed. The four P’s of Marketing research mix are: Purpose; Population; Procedure and Publication.

All the four Ps are explained as follows:


The reason for conducting research is called as the purpose. Purpose is used in broad sense and can be defined or loosely explained .Some experts use the word “aim”, “”objective or “hypotheses” to refer this stage but purpose is more common.


Sampling is a very important component of the mix.  If you’re familiar with the phrase “consider the source” — this is exactly what’s at play here.  And if you haven’t selected the right source of your feedback, then you cannot count on the data in being able to help you make a good decision.

A simple example would be if you were trying to gage interest in a product targeted to teen girls, you want to make sure that your sample includes — teen girls; not just women.


This element defines the methodology of the market research. Whether it would involve a lot of people, like in quantitative research or would the research be with limited people as in qualitative research .What should be the timeframe of the research and where will the research be conducted.

The best research usually starts with looking at the secondary data. Secondary data is information that already exists. For example,  research papers, data inside your organization or even a literature review all count as secondary research.  In the most basic way, every time you search Google, you are gathering secondary research.  And this is where I have to insert a word of warning — PLEASE be sure that the sources that you are using as part of your secondary research are valid and credible.

But, what if that isn’t enough — or you don’t have access to credible secondary information.  This is where you want to consider PRIMARY research.  Primary research means that you are asking questions directly of your target audience — you are getting it straight from the “horses mouth” and that’s why it’s called primary research, because you are going to a primary source of information.

When gathering primary research, an online survey tool (like QuestionPro) is a huge help and makes it very easy to not only collect responses, but to expand beyond your existing network by giving you the ability to actually purchase sample and responses from a very specific targeted audience.


This is the final phase of the research project.  Most of us call this “Reporting” (but that doesn’t start with ‘P’ so we’re calling it publication)

The main purpose of this document is to answer the five basic questions; who, what, when, where and why.  You might even consider adding “How much” to this mix since reports often require recommendations and this is always an important component of any marketing project.

Before you sit down and write a report that is the size of “War and Peace” and has the excitement level of a brick wall, consider your audience and what matters most to them; what decision are they trying to make, what options are available, what is the best option and what is the impact?

QuestionPro (in my opinion) has the best and easiest to use reporting structure I’ve seen at this price point — especially if you’re not a professional researcher.

The Infographic feature allows you to pull out the most salient parts of the data and present the information in an easy to understand format.

You can also customize the report with charts, graphs and even colors.