Crafting a content strategy - How marketing research can help

Market research, also known as marketing research, helps you understand your customers, find new opportunities in the market, learn from competitors, and use your resources wisely.

Crafting content strategy with marketing research - Types & examples

Market research,  also known as marketing research, helps you understand your customers, find new opportunities in the market, learn from competitors, and use your resources wisely.

There are various types of market research to choose from, each with its own methods and tools.  While traditional methods are still helpful, new technology has made market research easier than ever before.

But, first, let's start by talking about primary and secondary research.,

Primary research

Primary market research is original research conducted when a company needs specific, timely data that impacts its success or future.

This data collection can be done internally by a business analyst or a market research team, or it can be outsourced to a specialist provider like an agency or consultancy. While outsourcing primary research involves higher costs upfront, it's quicker and can offer benefits like expertise and an unbiased perspective.

Primary research provides recent data directly from trusted sources on the topic you're interested in. However, it takes time to gather this data from scratch compared to finding secondary data through online searches or library visits.

Primary research involves two forms of data collection:

1. Exploratory research: This type of primary research is conducted to understand a problem that hasn't been clearly defined yet. For instance, a company may want to explore the reasons behind declining sales. This could involve interviews, surveys, or focus groups to gather insights.

2. Conclusive research: This form of primary research is carried out to solve a problem identified through exploratory research or other primary data. For example, if exploratory research indicates a lack of customer satisfaction, conclusive research might dig deeper to identify specific issues causing dissatisfaction. By conducting primary research, like in this case, the company can take targeted actions to improve customer experience and satisfaction.

Types of primary research 

There are several primary research types available, and you probably already know them. Your choice will depend on your budget, time limits, research goals, and whether you're after numbers or insights.

  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Questionnaires
  • One-to-one interviews
  • Observation
Online surveys are a good fit if you’re looking to collect large volumes of data that can then be quantified. The interviews on the other hand can help you take a deep dive into the opinions and challenges of your target audience. They can’t be easily quantified, but are a good starting point if we’re starting from scratch. 

Research secrets - The 1st step in building a successful content strategy

Learn how we outsmarted big competitors on Google, grew our audience with SEO, and became leaders in the 150 billion dollar Project Management niche - all without cheap hacks.

Grab your copy for free

Secondary research

Secondary research involves using information others have gathered before your research study. 

It's usually the first step in any research project because it shows if someone has already studied the same or similar topic, which can provide a foundation for your own research.

Secondary research is cost-effective as much of the information is available online.

Even if your initial secondary research doesn't find a study matching your exact research goals, it still builds your knowledge base. This can help you improve and refine your research hypothesis and identify new market gaps you didn't know existed.

Secondary research covers a wide range of resources. Here are just a few places where you can find relevant information:

  • Industry reports
  • Books and magazines
  • White papers
  • Government reports and studies
  • Reviews of competitors’ products/services
  • Recently published research on relevant topics
  • Scholarly journals, often available in reference libraries
PMI, for example, publishes reports regularly and their yearly report can be a great starting point for producing relevant, up-to-date content in the project management space.

Qualitative market research

Qualitative market research gathers non-numerical data, which can't be easily measured. It adds depth to the information collected.

Instead of pinpointing exact truths, qualitative research summarizes and concludes.

For instance, it might explore a new target market's response to a product to provide insights for the company.

Qualitative market research uses open-ended questions and conversational methods.

It relies on focus groups, in-depth interviews, and other techniques, usually with a small but carefully chosen sample size.

A small sample size saves costs, and not having a fixed questionnaire encourages free, in-depth discussions. The interviewer or researcher usually guides the conversation.

Simple, direct questions are often used, which prompt straightforward answers.

Quantitative market research

Quantitative research often involves customer surveys, polls, and questionnaires.

If you want detailed information about your company, market, or target customers, this is the way to go.

It answers questions like who, when, where, how many, and how often. These questions seek specific, numerical data, not general exploration.

Customer market research

Customer market research explores what motivates your target customers and how your company can adapt to increase sales.

The goal is to deeply understand your customers and continually learn about their interactions with your company. This research includes:

  • Customer satisfaction research focuses on understanding what makes customers happy, as happier customers are more likely to stay with your company.
  • Customer loyalty research examines the experiences that foster stronger loyalty throughout the customer journey.
  • Customer segmentation research aims to identify who your customers are, their behaviors, preferences, and common traits.

Desk research involves looking at past purchase records, customer journey maps, segmentation data, demographics, and persona templates.

Primary research, like customer satisfaction surveys or interviews after support calls, provides additional detailed insights.

Competitor market research

Competitor market research involves understanding your competitors and comparing their strengths and weaknesses to your organization.

It helps you identify ways to differentiate yourself and plan for the future by keeping an eye on market trends and customer preferences.

While we’re all thought to never undervalue the feedback we receive on our own product or service, we often overlook an important factor. We’re not the only ones receiving feedback.

Whether it’s through Google reviews, opinions on Facebook, or their very own blog posts -  people like to share how they feel about things.

Take a look at what they’re sharing about your competition - good or bad. It will be an amazing resource for you that, if taken seriously, can help save you a lot of trouble.

Brand market research

Branding market research helps companies develop and nurture their brand identity. This includes aspects like the company's tone, visual elements, values, and overall identity.

Research methods can include interviews, industry events, focus groups, or surveys.

Other areas of brand research include exploring brand loyalty, how the brand is perceived, its market positioning, value, and identity.

The goal of the research is to figure out:

  1. How your brand compare to competitors
  2. Where you can enhance your brand efforts
  3. What strengths you can highlight to boost your brand's reputation

Product market research

Product market research ensures that your products and services are ready to launch and meet customer needs effectively.

The goal is to understand how customers view your product, whether it's providing value, and if it's working as intended. It also helps generate ideas for improvements and future product development.

Product research includes different paths:

  1. Product branding: Does the product's brand and design appeal to customers as intended?
  2. Feature testing: Assessing reactions to new or improved features at different development stages.
  3. Design thinking: Developing solutions for current or future customer problems.
  4. Marketing: Evaluating if marketing messages improve product memorability and sales, and identifying areas for improvement.

Primary research methods shine in this type of market research. Surveys can assess feature popularity, and in-person interviews provide direct insight into how customers interact with the product.

Market research is key to a successful product launch. By understanding your audience and market trends, you can develop the perfect product and effective marketing messages. Listen to your customers' feedback and stay ahead of the curve to ensure your product stands out.

Combine market research techniques and all-around insights

A strong marketing strategy blends various types of data:

  1. Qualitative and quantitative research
  2. Primary and secondary research
  3. Insights specific to your topic or focus area

Bringing together these elements helps you see the full picture of what your market does and why, giving you a better understanding of your audience.

Market research, or marketing research, is all about getting to know your customers, spotting new market opportunities, studying your competition, and making smart use of your resources.
Market research, or marketing research, is all about getting to know your customers, spotting new market opportunities, studying your competition, and making smart use of your resources.


The process is key in content creation.

No strategy or piece of content is perfect and what seems perfect at one point in time, might be a complete miss at the next. Keeping our minds open to new information is essential if we want to resonate with our audience in the long run.

To achieve this, research has to be a part of your creation loop. Alongside planning, creating, revising, and making changes, we suggest adding one more step: researching with each iteration. Stay updated on industry trends and client impacts to ensure your messaging aligns with your product. 

Remember, your content isn't static, and neither is your audience. Allow your content to grow and change the way it needs to for you to achieve long-term success.


What is market research and why is it important?

Market research, also known as marketing research, helps you understand your customers, identify new opportunities, learn from competitors, and use resources efficiently. It is essential for crafting effective content strategies and making informed business decisions.

What are the main types of market research?

There are two main types of market research:

  • Primary Research: Original data collected directly by your company.
  • Secondary Research: Data gathered from existing sources like reports, books, and online articles.

What are the methods of primary research?

Primary research methods include:

  • Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Questionnaires
  • One-to-One Interviews
  • Observations
  • Online Surveys

What is exploratory research in primary research?

Exploratory research aims to understand a problem that hasn't been clearly defined yet. For example, understanding the reasons behind declining sales through interviews, surveys, or focus groups.

What is conclusive research in primary research?

Conclusive research is conducted to solve a problem identified through exploratory research. For instance, addressing customer dissatisfaction issues discovered through initial research to improve customer experience.

What is secondary research?

Secondary research involves using information that others have gathered. It’s usually the first step in any research project to see if existing studies can provide a foundation for your own research.

What are some sources of secondary research?

Sources for secondary research include:

  • Industry Reports
  • Books and Magazines
  • White Papers
  • Government Reports and Studies
  • Competitor Product Reviews
  • Scholarly Journals

What is qualitative market research?

Qualitative market research gathers non-numerical data to provide in-depth insights. It uses methods like open-ended questions, focus groups, and in-depth interviews to understand customer behavior and preferences.

What is quantitative market research?

Quantitative market research involves collecting numerical data through surveys, polls, and questionnaires. It answers specific questions like who, when, where, how many, and how often.

What is customer market research?

Customer market research explores what motivates target customers and how the company can adapt to increase sales. It includes:

  • Customer Satisfaction Research
  • Customer Loyalty Research
  • Customer Segmentation Research

What is competitor market research?

Competitor market research involves understanding and analyzing competitors to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. It helps in differentiating your brand and staying ahead of market trends.

What is brand market research?

Brand market research helps develop and nurture a company's brand identity. It includes exploring aspects like brand loyalty, market positioning, and brand perception through interviews, focus groups, and surveys.

What is product market research?

Product market research ensures that products and services meet customer needs effectively. It includes evaluating product branding, feature testing, and marketing messages to improve product development and customer satisfaction.

Why is combining different market research techniques important?

Combining qualitative and quantitative research, primary and secondary data, and specific insights helps create a comprehensive understanding of the market. This holistic approach is crucial for crafting effective marketing strategies.

How can market research improve content strategy?

Market research informs content strategy by providing insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. It helps in creating relevant, targeted content that resonates with the audience and achieves long-term success.

How can I start with market research for my content strategy?

Begin with secondary research to understand existing information, followed by primary research to gather specific data relevant to your business needs. Use a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to gain comprehensive insights.