Market Research Options for Manufacturing

If you work in manufacturing you are likely familiar with options. Your company likely offers anywhere from one hundred to hundreds of thousands of SKUs or more. When it comes to choosing a market research project, the landscape is similar. Lots of options.

We always recommend getting some advice from a manufacturing market research company. Regardless of whether you decide to use the consultant or continue in-house, the vendor should offer some insight and expertise into the right next steps for you.

This includes choice of methodology, survey questions, or other suggestions.

Here are some common types of market research projects if you work in the manufacturing field. Options are endless, but here are a few popular choices.


Option 1: Voice of Customer (VoC) Survey

Of all of the market research projects we work on with manufacturers, this is the most common type. VoC surveys are an excellent starting point and door opener to market research as well.

The majority of VoC surveys are completed online through email. We recommend asking about 20 to 25 questions maximum. This translates to about a 5 to 7 minute survey.

There are several questions and KPIs we recommend tracking in the survey including NPS, CES, and word associations.

Here is an in-depth review of VoC for manufacturers.

Option 2: Mobile Ethnography

This is a newer methodology that is catching steam in the manufacturing industry.

Because our team works with many clients who need to install their products as part of a larger systems solution, poor installation can cause issues. It becomes very difficult for the client to truly understand the problems and issues without visuals.

Mobile ethnography gives the user the opportunity to take pictures or video record installations and answer survey questions about the process.

Although uncommon, one could argue this is the most insightful methodology among the 5 discussed by our manufacturing market research company based on the ability to translate the feedback into actionable changes with the product.

Option 3: New Product Development Interviews

In manufacturing, we also realize product evolution and new product launches are a common venture. Before launching your go-to-market strategy, you should do some research up-front to help build the foundation around product features, price, marketing campaign, and other factors.

Conducting a new product development market research project early increases your chance of market success and reduces risk. It gives you the opportunity to center your new product benefits around user needs.

Remember: Better is the opinion of the buyer of the mousetrap, not the seller.

Option 4: Feasibility Research

In addition to new product launches, your team is likely considering expansion into new markets. The market quadrant gives manufacturing teams 4 options when it comes to growth.

They are: A new product to the same markets. A new product to new markets. The same product to the same markets. Finally, the same product to new markets. These are your 4 market development strategies.

The basic strategies of growth via Ansoff. This includes strategies for market penetration, product development, market development, and diversification.

Market research can help you understand one or many of these strategies and give you data and facts to choose the best tactic to move forward. Feasibility market research cannot only be completed to better understand products, but markets as well.

Drive Research can collect both secondary and primary data for markets and verticals to determine the most appealing market to expand into for your business.

Option 5: Customer Online Focus Groups

If you are a large manufacturer you likely have customers across the country or across the world. This can be problematic for focus groups.

You would love to get 10 to 12 of your customers or distributors in a room together and have a discussion but you understand the logistics of this would not be feasible or affordable.

Try using online focus groups.

Online focus groups are completely virtual. You can work with a market research company to recruit groups of customers or distributors to a platform and assign them a sign-up and passcode.

Then the moderator asks questions to the group as part of an online forum. Respondents are allowed to post pictures or video responses as well. They are encouraged to answer all questions from the moderator and comment on others' responses.

The groups typically last a period of a few days and participants are required to sign-up at least once or twice per day.

Contact Our Firm

Drive Research is a manufacturing market research company located in Upstate New York.

Our team works with manufacturing clients across the world to assist their organizations with market research projects including surveys, in-depth interviews, and new product development.

Our data guides decisions and strategy.

Interested in learning more? Contact us via email at [email protected]. Call us at 315-303-2040.

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