The Power of Primary Research


In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, it can be tempting for brands of all sizes to rely solely on secondary research and/or anecdotal evidence to inform their marketing and business strategies. However, investing in primary consumer research is essential for the success of any brand. And it can be accomplished much faster and affordably than ever before.

For anyone who may be unfamiliar, I’ll quickly compare primary research to secondary.

Primary research refers to original research that is conducted by a brand or organization with the aim of collecting data directly from current customers, prospective customers, and other target audiences. This can include both quantitative and qualitative methods such as surveys, focus groups, interviews, and more. The information and insights collected through primary research can meet, and exceed, a variety of goals and objectives set by a brand or organization; everything from understanding product purchase drivers to which channels/mediums are best for paid advertising. Primary research provides answers to questions about what we call “the things that keep you up at night” regarding your brand.

On the other hand, secondary research involves gathering and analyzing existing data that has been collected from other sources. This can include data from government agencies, industry reports, academic publications, and other publicly available sources. The data obtained through secondary research is usually more general and may not be directly applicable to a specific brand’s needs.

While secondary research can provide valuable insights, especially when used to understand the market and competitive landscape, following with primary research is critical to understanding your position within that landscape. Conducting primary research allows brands to directly engage with their audience to gather actionable data. It allows for a more in-depth understanding of consumer behavior and preferences, enabling brands to tailor their strategies and offerings accordingly.

The case for primary research can also be made because it enables brands to stay ahead of emerging trends as well as their own customer sentiments and behaviors. By regularly conducting primary research, brands can quickly identify shifts in consumer attitudes and actions, allowing them to adapt and evolve their messaging, marketing tactics, investments, product enhancements, and much more. This is particularly important in industries that are prone to rapid change, such as technology, fashion, and media/entertainment.

Also, by actively seeking out customer feedback and insights on a regular basis, brands can build stronger relationships with their customers and develop a reputation for being customer-centric. Your customers want to feel like their opinion is being heard and that they matter.

Furthermore, primary research can also help brands identify potential problems or opportunities that may have been overlooked. For instance, feedback direct from customers can highlight pain points in a product or service that was not previously known, allowing the brand to make improvements and enhance customer satisfaction leading to repurchases and continued sales growth.

Finally, investing in primary research can also lead to cost savings in the long run. By understanding current and prospective customers’ sentiments, habits, perspectives, preferences, and more, brands can avoid investing resources into products or marketing campaigns that are unlikely to resonate with their target audiences and instead make investments to optimize growth and capitalize on opportunities based on what they now know.

In the end, there are countless benefits to conducting primary research on a regular cadence with your customers and prospects. If you don’t know what your customers want and feel, you’re missing the biggest piece of the puzzle and likely stifling your company’s growth. Does primary research cost money? Yes. But no one is saying you must drop six figures to reap the benefits. There are many affordable, scalable primary research investments that will reap benefits today, tomorrow, and from here on out. Primary research is more affordable than you think and much more valuable than you realize. We’re happy to discuss a customer-primary research approach that exceeds your needs within your budget.