How to Conduct Market Research for a Successful Startup?

  • Aamir Qutub
  • | CEO of Beyond Grades
  • | Updated on September 1, 2023
guide to market research for startups

Establishing a startup is a race where everyone wants to be at the top. And you need to multitask while you’re at it. In today’s age, for a startup to succeed, you must race against time itself. Slacking off in the initial phases of building a startup might cost you heavily, and you might miss the train to a successful startup!

But before we go into the nitty gritty of establishing a successful startup, let’s get the basics cleared.

What is Market Research: The Basics.

Market Research is singularly the most critical step in strategizing before you finally launch your startup. It involves the systematic gathering, examination, analysis, and interpretation of data pertaining to a particular market niche or industry.

This sort of research usually deals with-

  • Product or service that you want to launch in the market.
  • Customer base, analysis of the target audience for your product or service.
  • Brands or companies that you will be competing in the market.
  • Market trends and current industry practices.

A well-detailed market research will pave the path for you to have an insight into your target group, giving you clues not just about their spending habits but also the overall viability of the product you want to bring into the market.

Researching the market properly will be a boon for you as it influences your actionable decisions defining your company. It provides you with a strong footing to establish and take your startup ahead.

Why is Market Research Crucial?

“Advertising people who ignore research, are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.” – David Ogilvy 

A lot of thought and research goes into building a startup from the ground. Market research is that magician’s key that helps you-

  • To have a competitive edge over other ventures sharing the same target audience.
  • In detailed strategy-making and identifying the right opportunities for your startup.
  • In adding great value to your brand building.
  • To have an idea of what kind of team you need to tailor for the best returns.

Types of Market Research

Ideally, there are two primary essential methodologies that veterans in the corporate arena employ to strengthen their market research game-


Types of Market Research for Startups

1. Primary research- It relates to data collected directly from the target audience/group you want to penetrate. These are usually the surveys, interviews, and focus groups you must have filled out countless times in the Google forms or the questionnaires you previously answered about a particular product to a salesman.

This data is just the tip of the iceberg compared to the potential value it holds for your startup. It gives you an in-depth analysis of –

  • The secrets of your customers’ preferences,
  • Their satisfaction level with a particular product
  • And their purchasing power.

This hoard of quantitative and qualitative data helps you know and understand your customers better. Motivate yourself to curate a product that meets your customer’s demands by thoroughly researching your target base and the market you wish to enter. It also determines the sustainability of your startup in the longer run.

2. Secondary Research- In this case, the research draws data from potential competitors sharing the same market base as you. Govt publications, data analytics, and market reports already available in the public domain are excellent sources to base your market research on.

Utilize the data that is already available from the sources mentioned to study the market till now and learn from the shortcomings and the loopholes in your competition’s business model.
Secondary Research gives you a scope to-

  • outline your brand’s basic dos and don’t s, as the data is already there and ready for you to work on.
  • Mitigate risk for your soon-to-be-established venture.
  • Gauge your competitor’s performance metrics, giving you insight into what’s keeping your competitors from performing their best in an increasingly competitive business landscape

The two Qs- Qualitative and quantitative

These two are the messiah of all things analysis and are used not just in the corporate sense but everywhere. Everything in the world that you see around you is either an amalgamation of data or analysis derived from it. From policy making to scientific research, these two Qs form the source and pillar of all data.

Let me give you a short insight into the two Qs to make your startup journey a little easier-

  1. Quantitative market research involves gathering and utilizing verified data of numerical information for statistical analysis. Use this approach when you need accurate snapshots of industry trends and market challenges, thus offering valuable insights for your startup.
  2. On the other hand, qualitative market research is more like investigating the reasons behind a customer’s action and why he/she chooses a particular product or service over others. This is very handy when you want to know your customer’s purchase habits, their inclination and affinity towards certain products, and overall satisfaction.

Both approaches serve and fulfill different aspects of market research and are crucial for establishing a startup, and one cannot be complete without the other as it complements each other’s purpose, thus helping you get an all-rounded perspective or a complete picture of the market you’re trying to penetrate.

Now that you are familiar with all the terms associated with Market Research in general, it is time to delve into the most important part-

Steps to Carry out Market Research for a flourishing Startup.

How to do market research for your startup company

1. Define the objective of your research- charting your path ahead.

Before you dive into data collection for your startup, it’s crucial to define clear objectives-

  • Why do you need Market Research?
  • How is it helping you with your brand?
  • Asking the right questions to get the correct results
  • Who are your target audience, and who are your competitors?
  • How do you need to adapt to the current industry trends?

Any market research would be incomplete without first answering these questions. Take a step back and ask yourself what specific information you need to gather and what insights you need to uncover. Clear objectives will help you stay focused and extract meaningful insights in the long run.

2. Embrace your target market- The key to a successful startup

Your customer is your god! Your target audience holds the secret to your startup’s triumph. They can either jump-start your success or drown you in shallow water.

For the perfect recipe to please them with your product and brand, you must –

  • Dive deep into their psyche and unravel their desires, pain points, and aspirations.
  • Understand what motivates them to pick a particular product off the shelf or add a specific item to their cart.
  • Create vivid customer personas that encompass demographics, psychographics, and behavioral patterns.

The more you know your audience intimately, the closer you will be to curating the perfect product for your customers.

3. Keep your consumers close and your competitors closer.

Knowing your competition is the key. Once you get a fair idea of what your competition is offering to the target audience, you will have the option to follow the same trends as your competition or make your own path ahead and stay ahead in the game.

Identify the gaps in the market and proceed in a manner where your competitors lack. Optimize your product to fulfill and satisfy your customers’ needs. Product optimization is a continuous process and not a one-time thing as the market for your product is also constantly changing and evolving.

Some of the best ways to keep track of your competition are-

  • Investing in a detailed study of your competitors’ pricing strategies, unique selling propositions, and customer engagement tactics.
  • Keeping track of what’s missing in their business strategies.
  • Researching what their customers’ wants and needs are and how they are catering to it.
  • Learning from their shortcomings and failure will help you craft a winning game plan for your startup!

4. Unleash the analytical beasts.

Today, data is power. To stay ahead in the game, you have to bring out the big guns- the two Qs. With the two Qs at your disposal, statistical analysis of your target group becomes child’s play.

Uncover trends, patterns, and correlations through data, interviews, and focus group sessions that reveal actionable insights into the market you aim to bring your product.

And, just numbers won’t be enough. Visualization and numbers are two sides of the same coin and go hand in hand. To bring in potential investors for financing your startup, try backing up your market research with good statistical data. Support it with captivating visuals, pie charts, and detailed graphs. It is a token of guarantee and proof for your investors that your startup has the potential to hit off and make a ripple in the market!

5. Ignite the spark of action.

Action and not words guarantee success. Use the market research that you and your team carried out to inspire and ignite action, bringing you closer to realizing your dream. Try translating your insights into tangible strategies that bring in results. It will set your startup apart from those who gave in their all but shied away from utilizing and incorporating their market research into their business plan.

And it is not a one-time gig.

To keep up with the ever-changing customer base and deliver an unforgettable brand experience for your startup in the future, you and your team have to realize the importance of translating key strategies and learning how to convert them into actions that generate results and motivate you to adapt and innovate.


Instead of wasting the energy of the entire brand in second-guessing every step forward and stumbling your way into uncharted territories, isn’t it better to know first and prepare a strategy for what you’re getting into?

Proper market research motivates you to narrow down your corporate hurdles and prepares you for anything that might come your way in establishing your dream startup! With these steps in mind, your dream startup will be a sure-shot success.

For more information, you can always head over to our website and book a session with our marketing and branding maestros for all your queries.

Aamir Qutub Aamir Qutub, the founder and CEO of Beyond Grades, has a sincere passion for innovation and startups. With over a decade of experience in entrepreneurship, he has successfully co-founded 4 technology startups and invested in dozens of other startups, focusing on real-world problems and their solutions. When not juggling with his reports and presentations, he loves to create unconventional recipes and cherish moments with his family.


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