6 Steps to Conducting a Market Survey | Market Research Company

Interested in conducting a market survey? Kudos to you for thinking outside of the box.

Many organizations immediately jump to surveying customers when they think of market research but, what about the untapped market of non-customers? A market survey flips that notion on its head. A market survey is an excellent way to survey a general population or target market where you promote your products or services.

In this blog post, our market research company will provide more insight into how to conduct a market survey in 6 easy steps.

conducting a market survey

Interested in conducting a market survey? We'll give you the 6-step process here.

What is a Market Survey?

A market survey is exactly how it sounds. A market research company surveys any given target market to evaluate customer expectations, gaps in the market, competitor analysis, pricing trends, etc. 

This type of market research methodology is most helpful for brands who are:

  • Developing a new product/service
  • Opening a new site location
  • Struggling to grow their business

Our clients often use information from a market survey to enhance their marketing and advertising strategies.

For example, a market survey for a car dealership shows that price is the top factor of choice for car buyers in Upstate New York. As a result, their marketing efforts should heavily reflect low-interest payments or price matching guarantees. 

The more businesses know about customer needs and expectations, the better they can serve them. 

Market survey sample questions

The questions chosen to include in a market survey are based on a brand's unique goals and objectives. However, to help give a better idea of the types of questions our market survey company typically includes Drive Research has provided some examples below.

  • What is your level of awareness of [INSERT BRAND NAME]?
  • What perception do you have of [INSERT BRAND NAME]?
  • How likely are they to consider purchasing from [INSERT BRAND NAME]?
  • Where have they seen or heard information about [INSERT BRAND NAME]?
  • What factors drove you to choose [INSERT COMPETITOR BRAND NAME]?

Step #1 in Conducting a Market Survey

Proposal 💍

Okay, not that kind of proposal - but an important step nonetheless.

The first step is finding a third-party market research company to assist you with your survey. Why? It is imperative that you separate yourself as the sponsor of the market research.

If survey takers know you are sponsoring the research they may not be fully honest or falsify data to impact your results.

Using a separate and third-party market research company ensures confidentiality and anonymity of the responses. By using an expert, they will not only teach you which questions should be asked and how, but they will also provide a layer of protection to ensure results are reliable and honest.

So, your first step in conducting a market survey (or really any kind of market research service) is contacting a third-party partner for a proposal.

Need help in this area? Here are 7 components of a market research proposal to help you understand what to expect.

Step #2 in Conducting a Market Survey

Kickoff and Workplan 🏈

Once you choose the right market research company to assist you, the next step is to set up a kickoff meeting.

This 30 to 60-minute kickoff meeting covers all of the main highlights of the survey, the process, the timeline, and the end deliverable. The market survey company will send out an agenda prior to the meeting to highlight the key objectives and topics of discussion.

This kickoff meeting sets the table for the entire project. Not only does your organization tell the survey company what you need answers to, but the third-party should also recommend best practice survey questions.

After the first meeting, a project workplan is designed. The workplan lays out the tasks, responsible parties, and timeline to completion.

This workplan helps keep all teams on-task and on-time throughout the project.

This kickoff meeting sets the table for the entire project.  Not only does your organization tell the survey company  what you need answers to, but the third-party should also recommend best practice survey questions.

Step #3 in Conducting a Market Survey

Survey Design and Programming 🎨

Now you are ready to draft a survey. We recommend keeping the survey to 15 to 20 questions. This means the length of the market survey should be 5 minutes on average.

Why? Particularly with a market survey where the sponsor is not revealed, it is crucial to keep the questionnaire quick.

Remember, in many cases since the survey is to a random population of people in your target market, they likely do not have strong ties or a relationship on the topic.

Therefore, they are looking for a quick and engaging way to share feedback in exchange for value or a reward.

A simple example: Could you get a customer to spend 15 minutes with you on the phone talking about a recent purchase?

✅ Although difficult, it can be done. Since the customer has a relationship with your brand they are more likely to share time.

Could you get a random person you dial on the phone to talk with you for 15 minutes?

❌ Very unlikely. Almost impossible. Although this is drastic, the same mentality needs to be applied to market surveys.

Keep it short. Keep it simple. Offer an incentive.

Once the survey is finalized on a Word document, the market research firm then transfers it into its online survey software and sends a test link. This link is used for in-house testing so you can try the survey out as a real participant using test responses.

To learn more about survey programming, watch this 1-minute video.

Step #4 in Conducting a Market Survey

Testing and Soft-Launch 🧪

You may be wondering, "how do I acquire non-customer survey responses?" 🤔

This is part of the value of going with a professional market research company. They can find respondents by:

  1. Using a panel or email list of target participants in a market.
  2. Utilize social media to acquire responses through random paid advertisements.

Both methodologies are excellent ways to acquire feedback from a targeted population (both B2B and B2C).

The programmed survey link is then used for the test drive or soft launch.

A soft launch is a process of acquiring a small percentage of survey responses prior to a full launch.

This soft-launch identifies any issues early, tests for question comprehension, and helps an organization understand response rates.

Interested in learning more about our process for surveying non-customers? We dedicated a whole blog to that, here.

Step #5 in Conducting a Market Survey

Fieldwork ⚙️

The second to last step of conducting a market survey is launching the survey. This is a full launch to the panel, email list, or through social media.

As the data rolls in, you'll want to audit it and make sure the responses pass your quality control checks.

How many responses should I collect?

Depending on the size of your target market, several levels of response options may be offered by a market research company, like Drive Research.

This may include 100 responses (offering a +/- 10% margin of error with a random sample), 200 responses, or even 400 responses (+/- 5%).

The level of 400 responses is considered best practice in the industry.

If you are lucky enough from a reliability and budgeting standpoint, aim for 1,000 responses.

This is the ultimate degree of statistical reliability for an organization looking to conduct a market survey and offers a lot of room for cross-tabulations and breakdowns of the data.

The level of 400 responses is considered best practice. If you are lucky enough from a reliability standpoint,  aim for 1,000 responses. This is the ultimate degree  of statistical reliability for an organization with a  market survey.

Why 400+ responses is industry best practice.

Think of it like this. If you want to compare the results of men and women and you obtain 100 responses that may include 50 men and 50 women.

The reliability of 50 responses is far lower than the 100 responses in total.

But if you acquire 400 responses, think about the reliability of breaking the data down by gender by 200 men and 200 women.

Step #6 in Conducting a Market Survey

Analysis and Reporting 📊

The last step the market research company will manage is the analysis and reporting. This deliverable adds tremendous value to your project.

A comprehensive report includes:

The market survey firm will guide your organization through interpretations and context tied to your results.

The insights assist you with the next steps and action items to ensure you do not sit still on the findings.

The appendix is not meant to undervalue the charts and graphs, but rather provide a ton of detail. In the appendix, you'll see breakdowns of genders, ages, and other categorizations for your market survey.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research firm located in New York. Our team works with organizations across the country to assist with all things market research. This includes defining objectives, managing fieldwork, and offering actionable insights.

Interested in partnering with our team for a market survey? Contact us.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.

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