The Complete Guide to Consumer Research for Beginners

Feb 28, 2024 - 15 min read
The Complete Guide to Consumer Research for Beginners

What is Consumer Research?

When answering this question, it is important to first understand that consumers are not just customers. The concept of a customer often views individuals as mere monetary values, rendering them valueless by quantifying them. Consumer research does not solely focus on individuals; rather, it examines and addresses the communities and groups in which these individuals are involved. In this regard, the concept of sales alone is meaningless. When conducting consumer research, "sales" brings along concepts such as accessibility, usage, experience, and thought. You should not only focus on marketing the product and brand but also on what happens to your product after it is used.

Consumer Research Question Bank

Questions are invaluable for consumer research. Starting with who begins the research journey, you should also incorporate why, how, when, where questions along the way. Expanding your questions is a crucial step on the path to success. Continuing with the car analogy, this is a race, and learning the meaning consumers attach to your product, a crucial aspect brought along by "sales," will put you ahead on the track. Understanding the significance consumers attribute to your product will tether you to them invisibly.

Content Directory

On this blog post, I'm going to cover all steps of consumer research, types of consumer research and why it matters. Here is the content directory;

1- Methods of Discovering Consumers
2- The Art of Understanding the Consumer
3- The Iceberg Effect of Consumer Behaviors: The Unseen Part of Purchase Decisions
4- Setting Methodology in Consumer Research: Finding the Right Path
5- Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative from the Tative Family
6- Memorable Cookie Information
7- Social Research - Capture Quality Effectively With Social Research
8- Exploring the Consumer World: Target Audience Analysis

Now, let's start!

Methods of Discovering Consumers

Journey into the Consumer's World

For marketers, entering the consumer's world and understanding their desires, what they value, what they talk about, their motivations, why they want or don't want something, is crucial. A marketer who solves these questions moves one step ahead of their competitors. Because for the consumer, shopping is not just about buying a product; it's also about the impact of that product on our identity and how it makes us feel.

Ways of Understanding the Consumer: Rational or Emotional?

When a consumer makes a purchase, sometimes they act based on logic, and other times, they act on more emotional impulses.This situation alters their purchasing tendency. The key point for a marketer lies in recognizing these tendencies. If a marketer has deciphered the consumer's world, their job becomes much easier. Because a marketer who knows the consumer well provides better service and satisfies the consumer.

Following the Consumer

Understanding and keeping up with the consumer's world is extremely important for marketers. It's necessary to understand what consumers want, what they value, what makes them happy, their motivations, and what they talk about. At the same time, paying attention to trends and keeping up with new developments is also crucial. The consumer's world is constantly changing. Therefore, marketers must be able to adapt to this change.

The Art of Understanding the Consumer

Today, we'll explore some ways to discover and better understand the magical world of consumers. If you're ready, let's begin!

To understand the consumer, we can utilize "conventional methods and social listening." To delve deeper:

Conventional methods are more classical and traditional. You ask questions and receive answers. They can be costly and not very fast. Here are some conventional methods:

  • Surveys

Surveys explore the world of consumers by asking them questions either on paper or online. They seek answers to questions like which product is useful to the consumer and why they make purchases.

  • Focus Groups and Group Discussions

These are group studies conducted by bringing together consumers with similar tastes. The purpose of gathering groups of 6-12 people is to understand consumers' emotions, thoughts, and preferences.

  • Observation

Observation involves directly observing the attitudes and behaviors of consumers as a means of understanding them.

  • Purchase Data Analysis

In this method, sales data in businesses is examined to analyze consumer purchasing habits.

  • Social Media Analysis

Consumer behavior is analyzed by examining their social media posts and interactions.

  • Customer Feedback

Direct feedback is obtained from consumers through methods like online surveys and comments.

  • Prototype Testing

Products or services are tested with consumers in the early stages.

The other method, "social listening," is akin to detective work, aiming to understand the consumer's interactions, likes, what they talk about, and what they follow on social media. Here are the steps of social listening:

  • Tracking Trends: Trends are followed by tracking popular topics and viral content.
  • Customer Feedback: Feedback from consumers on social media is analyzed.
  • Brand Monitoring: Reactions are monitored by searching for products, brands, etc., on social media.

The Unseen Part of Purchase Decisions

If we start from the everyday part of our lives, the shopping process, we actually see that it is a complex psychological experience. When consumers purchase a product or service, they consciously or unconsciously evaluate many factors. Some of these factors are clearly visible, like the tip of the iceberg, while others are the unseen part of the iceberg at the bottom of the ocean.

The iceberg analogy can be a highly effective metaphor for analyzing consumer purchasing decisions. The visible part represents consumers' logical thoughts and clearly expressed preferences. However, the unseen part, which constitutes the majority of the real decision-making process, includes emotions, biases, experiences, and many other factors.

For example, when a consumer considers buying a cell phone, there are some visible factors they take into account, such as price, technical specifications, brand reputation, etc. However, beneath these factors lie deeper ones that actually influence the decision. Perhaps the consumer feels an affinity towards a brand they've known since childhood. Maybe the opinions of people around them have shaped their perception of the brand. Or perhaps previous positive or negative experiences have shaped their preference.

The consumer's unconscious thoughts and emotional responses are determinants of the purchasing decision. Therefore, as a marketing expert or brand, you should strive to understand and influence these deep factors of the consumer, rather than just focusing on the physical features of the product.

Understanding consumer purchasing decisions requires more than just focusing on the visible part of the iceberg. Understanding the emotional, social, and psychological factors lying beneath the surface of the iceberg will help you develop more effective strategies and better respond to consumers' real needs.

Setting Methodology in Consumer Research

Research plays a critical role in understanding target audiences for brands and providing products and services tailored to their needs. However, it's important to determine the methodology for effective consumer research.

The first step is to clearly define the purpose of the research. What questions are you trying to answer? Once these objectives are identified, the research design will take shape.

There are various types of data that can be used in consumer research. Would quantitative or qualitative data be more suitable for your study? Do you need numerical data or comprehensive descriptions? You should decide on this first, which will depend on your objectives and target group. You should also carefully decide which methods to use to collect your data. Among different methods such as surveys, focus groups, observation, etc., which one or ones will be more suitable for your research purpose, and you should also determine how to analyze the data after collecting it. The analysis of collected data will determine the quality of the research, and analyzing the data accurately is necessary to draw meaningful conclusions and make informed decisions. You can use statistical methods, data mining techniques, and qualitative analysis in analyzing your data. You should also ensure that the sample for your research accurately reflects the population it represents. Presenting the results of the research effectively is also as important as the other stages. Because, we know that an effective presentation can change everything!

Research Methods

1.Qualitative Research

Qualitative research methods are used to gain in-depth understanding and focus on better understanding consumers' emotions, attitudes, and behaviors.

Focus groups are a method where a small group of people discusses a specific topic in-depth. These groups typically consist of 6 to 12 participants and are facilitated by a moderator. 

  • In focus groups: the aim is for participants to express their opinions openly and share their thoughts with each other.
  • In-depth interviews: a method where the researcher conducts one-on-one interviews with a participant and obtains in-depth information. These interviews are used to explore consumers' personal experiences.
  • Ethnographic studies: typically involve the researcher physically going to the research field and collecting data through observation, interviews, focus groups, and personal interactions. Researchers use this method to understand the daily lives, interactions, behaviors, rituals, and beliefs of a specific community or group of people.

2.Quantitative Research

Quantitative research methods provide comprehensive information through the collection and analysis of numerical data.

  • Surveys: sets of questions administered to participants to answer specific questions. Surveys are typically applied to large samples and include standardized questions. Surveys can be conducted in various ways: face-to-face, by phone, online...
  • Neuroresearch: a research area that examines brain activity to understand consumers' behaviors and preferences. This method goes beyond traditional consumer research to focus on understanding the subconscious impulses, responses, and emotions underlying consumers' decisions.

Market research plays a critical role in helping brands better understand their target audiences and shape their marketing strategies. However, the reliability and effectiveness of these research efforts rely heavily on proper sampling. Representativeness stands out as one of the most crucial elements in market research, increasingly becoming the key to successful brand management.

Representativeness simply refers to the inclusion of a sample group in research that accurately represents the entire market. Incorrect sampling can lead to erroneous results, which in turn can result in misguided actions and failed brand management. Therefore, representativeness holds critical importance in market research.

  • Gender: Ensuring accurate representation of gender distribution in market research is important, as consumer behaviors often vary by gender.
  • Age: Representing different age groups allows market research to encompass a wide demographic range and understand the preferences of different generations.
  • Region: Geographic representativeness is crucial to understanding consumer behaviors and market dynamics in different regions. Ensuring representation across national or international markets is important.
  • SES (Socio-Economic Status): The socio-economic status of consumers is a significant factor influencing purchasing behaviors. Therefore, it's important to include participants from different income levels and socio-economic groups.
  • Market Share: Market research utilizes market share metrics to determine brands' shares in the overall market. Adjusting the sample based on market share serves as an indicator of proper sampling.

In the world of marketing, one of the highest goals for brands is to become the top-of-mind brand for consumers. At this point, the importance of generic brands gains significant momentum. Generic brands are those that represent a product category as if it were their own brand and symbolize the products in that category in the minds of consumers. Brands like Selpak, Gillette, and Aygaz are examples of generic brands.

Survey Flow Example: 

  • Demographic Information: The survey begins by collecting demographic information from participants (such as age, gender, income level, etc.). These details are important for better understanding and analyzing the results.
  • Awareness: Participants are presented with a list of brands related to a specific product category. This list includes the names of brands, and participants are asked to indicate whether they recognize these brands or not.
  • Usage: Participants are asked whether they use the brands they recognize. This step goes beyond awareness to measure whether brands are actually preferred by consumers.
  • Image: Finally, participants are asked to provide comments on the image of brands they do not use. This section is important for understanding the perceived value of brands and consumers' emotional thoughts about the brand.
  • 5-Point Scale: The most commonly used question type in market research is the 5-point scale. It is particularly popular for measuring satisfaction and preference.

How satisfied are you with the …………. brand product you used?

Very satisfied
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied

(NPS) Net Promoter Score: Net Promoter Score, a customer loyalty metric that calculates the likelihood of customers recommending brands based on a single question and shows it with a score between -100 to +100.

Question: Would you recommend the brand …… to others? Rate on a scale of 0 to 10. 10 stands for "Definitely recommend", while 0 stands for "Would never recommend".

Calculation of NPS:

0 – 6 = Detractors

7 – 8 = Passives

9 – 10 = Promoters

NPS = (Number of Promoters – Number of Detractors) / (Number of Respondents) x 100

“No one uses a brand they don't know, and they can't comment on the image of a brand they don't know.”

Read more on how Kimola Cognitive calculates (NPS) Net promoter Score.

kimola cognitive - net promoter score

Social Research

Draw Behavior Profiles.

Marketing research has evolved in many areas. Changing consumer behaviors have led to new marketing strategies at some point. Consumer behaviors are variable. These variations will be reflected in the interactions between consumers as much as they need for communication, and community models in which individuals interact can be determined from here. Indeed, communication is part of our social reality, and considering the digital world we are facing will also affect it entirely.

Determine research techniques to provide systematic information about what consumers need.

Consumers may compare the image of the products they purchase with their own image. Image perception studies for products can be conducted through email marketing strategies, digital marketing strategies; these are also fast and effective techniques widely used in the social media pool.

Collect consumer opinions on digital platforms. How is market research done via social networks?

The increase in mobile usage over time, consumers starting to turn to online shopping, and fluctuations in the performance of social platforms have begun to increase the conversion of ads to sales, which has become our focus while following the changing world.

Social media are becoming a collective element of monetization for many businesses with renewed products, and they are increasingly used by consumers to provide information about their needs, service experiences, share and file consumer complaints. It can also be used to conduct surveys and test concepts. When used well, consumer research management can be one of the most powerful research tools.

By collecting related data with social listening tools and uploading the data to text analysis tools, you can analyze social media data easily. 

Target Audience Analysis

Target Audience Analysis is a fantastic method for marketers to understand the consumer world. With this analysis, it is possible to determine the characteristics, needs, motivations and behaviors of the target audience that the marketer is aiming for. Target audience analysis examines consumers' lifestyles, what they like, and their interests. It generally includes demographic (age, gender, income, etc.), psychographic (interests, lifestyle, attitudes, etc.), and behavioral characteristics.

Methods in Analysis

1. Customer Feedback Analysis

Our machine learning and artificial intelligence-supported platform helps to analyze customer reviews, conversational data, customer-agent conversations, call-center conversations and more. 

If you're looking for a tool to analyze customer feedback, Kimola Cognitive offers a free trial for 7 days.

2.Demographic Analysis

It involves examining demographic characteristics such as age, gender, income level.

3.Behavioral Analysis

It involves examining how a consumer uses a product and their purchasing habits. This analysis is used to understand how the consumer responds to a product or service.

4.Focus Groups

Conducted with small groups of consumers to determine consumer thoughts and needs.


Through this method, questions are asked to consumers to analyze general trends. You can also analyze survey responses with Kimola Cognitive.

6.Social Media Data Analysis

Consumers' social media interactions are analyzed, and these data are used in target audience analysis. Kimola Cognitive covers social media data analysis too; it can analyze up to billions of conversations of any text based data.

Kimola Cognitive

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