Primary Market Research: Definition, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Before developing a product or service, businesses know they need to conduct marketing research first. And when the industry wants to gain insight directly from their target audience, they go straight ahead with the primary research method of data collection.

What Is Primary Market Research?

Primary market research is the original form of research used to help gather new information about customers and manufacture products or services tailored to their wants and needs.

This type of research also plays an important role in identifying trends before they become popular, thus giving brands a competitive edge. In this post, we'll go through the following concepts:

  • Definition of Primary Market Research (and other terms used)
  • Methods Used in Conducting Primary Market Research (with examples)
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Primary Market Research
  • Application of Primary Market Research to Your Business
primary research papers

Primary Market Research: An Overview

Primary market research (also known as primary research, primary data, and field research) has been around for centuries. People have been using it for acquiring data and discovering more about a certain industry and its general characteristics to better understand the needs and wants of a prospect.

But unlike secondary research analysis, primary research uses new data collected directly from the primary sources specifically customized to the current project.

Thus, we can see that primary research focuses more on qualitative observations where the research is exclusive and original.

Two Types of Primary Market Research

Primary research can be broken down into two categories: Exploratory research and Specific research. Let's take a closer look at each of these categories:

Exploratory Research

Primary research methods are often used for exploratory research (or initial market research), where the researcher aims to identify themes and patterns in what they hear from respondents.

This involves the process of surveying or conducting extensive interviews in order to learn more about a new product or service idea and discover people's attitudes and behaviour towards certain topics.

Specific Research

Specific research aims to find out what your target audience thinks about a particular product or service. It is usually done by asking a more precise and detailed question through a structured and formal interview.

Specific research is also frequently used during new brand launches when marketers need to collect information that will help them improve their existing offerings.

For instance, you can run experiments or testing methods to obtain feedback from your prospects on how well the product fits their certain needs and requirements.

Primary Market Research Methods

There are many ways an organization can collect information from its potential and existing customers. The most common types of primary research methods include:

  • In-depth interviews (one-on-one or in small groups)
  • Surveys (online, telephone, or through the mail)
  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Observations

Let's take a look at each one of them and see more real-life examples.

primary market research with focus groups


One of the most popular primary research methods of gathering information, interviews are carried out by searching for customers in person, phone interviews, or online surveys where respondents are invited to share their opinions on the company's products or services.

This method enables businesses to easily personalize their message and engage more deeply with potential customers through one-on-one or small group interviews.


When businesses have a highly specialized product or service that they want to evaluate with individuals, they normally conduct surveys. As a result, marketers can gather primary data from a large number of people all at once.

It can be conducted through online, paper-based questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups.

research done through questionnaires and surveys


Questionnaires are frequently distributed via email, in-person, or postal.

This method of primary data collection works well when marketers are trying to find out more about a particular target market segment that they already have some knowledge on (and they might want to explore further) or they want to ask a more specific set of questions.

They could ask open-ended questions which allow customers to express their thorough ideas or closed questions that are questions with limited answers.

Focus Groups

The less common method marketers use is where small groups meet and discuss a topic in an informal setting. Focus groups can also be likened to a group interview where one person leads the meeting, and a few people are allowed to express their thoughts and opinions openly.

By collecting information from a diverse range of people who have different backgrounds and experiences, marketers can get deep insight into why people feel the way they do about their products.

primary market research definition


What sets this approach apart from other primary data collection techniques is that marketers don't actually ask questions themselves; they just observe what's going on around them.

Observations can be done by watching people while they use the product or service, speaking with them about their experiences, or conducting interviews to obtain more relevant data.

Advantages of Primary Research

No matter how valuable a piece of information may be, it's not going to make any difference if you don't know what you're doing with it or implement its findings successfully.

But when done effectively, primary research can have some significant benefits for everyone involved! Some of these include:

Up-to-date information with relevancy

As the world is constantly changing, so does the need for updated information. Primary research ensures timely and reliable data about your sector, allowing you to make informed decisions based on current marketing conditions.

Acquire detailed insight from prospects and customers

When you conduct a primary research study, you can customize the objective, methodology and choose the number of audiences you'd like to partake in your research.

In other words, you can now have complete control over the entire process of the research and how it will fit your company's needs.

Complete Data Ownership

As you directly collect data from your target audience, the company holds every right towards the data collected. It will help avoid any misunderstanding or ownership claim in the future.

Moreover, this will allow you to look back and compare pre-existing and fresh data from previous years to assess how your organization is doing.

Disadvantages of Primary Market Research

Primary market research is an effective way to gather feedback from a targeted group of consumers, but it also has disadvantages.

It's time-consuming and costly.

Instead of simply going to the library or searching for information online, primary research requires contacting prospects or customers and asking specific questions tailored to their needs. This can take a lot of time on your end.

And unlike secondary market research, primary research is often conducted at an expensive cost, making it difficult for small companies with tight budgets to conduct the necessary research.

Risky of survey bias

Don't assume that customer's feedback is always reliable. Some respondents may be biased towards their previous experiences from a particular business.

This could make it difficult for them to provide accurate responses, which can adversely affect your company's strategy or marketing tactics.

Should You Conduct Primary Marketing Research?

what is primary market research and its importance

Primary market research is an essential component of any marketing campaign. It offers several benefits that show how businesses can yield more in-depth information about a specific topic or create products or services aimed directly at the target audience.

The primary research also provides valuable customer insights in determining the needs and wants of your target audience. As a result, you can use these as references and comparisons for your company's success over time.

But without an experienced and influential group of researchers, chances are, you cannot make the most out of primary research.

The good news is that our team at Appointment Setting UK has worked with incredible organizations that provide well-known market research services to produce a strategic methodology that is most suitable to your needs as well as your prospects.

At Appointment Setting UK, it is our goal to helping you reach your business goals by assisting you in collecting and analyzing data and making better brand decisions for the success of your business!

Contact our support today and get a free quote!

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