Improve Your Market Research Game With These Top 7 Free & Paid Tools
The “age of the digital” should really be called the “age of information”, as it facilitates everything we do, and all decisions we make when it comes to our lives - professionally and personally. This bears mentioning because the misconception among many brands on the market these days, seems to be that by “going digital” it simply means going online, or taking advantage of social media. And why, yes, it could be interpreted that way for businesses who are none the wiser, what it means to the initiated is something different. Peel back the layers of the “digital” and there exists a plane of statistical data that can inform companies about their image in the eyes of the consumers, those who spend money to enjoy the products and services of said businesses. Understanding all of that information takes certain tools - both free and paid -, and it’s high time you learned about some of them.
So what are Market Research tools? And why do you need them if you’re a marketing or insights professional? It all boils down to target audiences - people who already comprise a brand’s loyal customer base, and those who could potentially be converted to a brand’s side from the middle ground, or across the aisle from a brand’s competitors. Knowing how to effectively profile, deeply understand, and cater to these people takes key insights derived from social listening platforms, and various other AI-supported software. The survival of your very brand’s marketing efforts depends on market research. Imagine trying to be a door-to-door vacuum salesperson: if you just randomly knock on doors you’re going to waste a lot of time, and in the sales world, “time is money”. By utilizing market research you could effectively find out WHO needs vacuums, WHERE they live, WHY they may need them, HOW much they can afford, and WHAT you need to do in order to appeal to their needs, interests, and desires.
We understand that this analogy sucked (pun intended) a little, but you get the general idea: attempting to market to consumers without first putting in the work to use market research to find out more about them = bad. Doing the same thing but WITH the preliminary step of utilizing market research to learn about your consumer base = good. It’s not rocket science, people.
Know Thy Consumer. Know Thy Market Strategy.
So, through market research, marketers can discover the ins and outs of the people they’re trying to engage with on social media, and this can come in the form of certain categorized segments, such as:
- Occupation & income bracket
- Personal preferences
- Emotional sentiments
- Political affiliations
- Likes & dislikes
- And much more!
By harnessing these tools, we’re able to lift the hood of consumers who’d otherwise be hidden from analysis via base assumptions that only the most rudimentary of marketing teams would utilize. More than all of this though, professionals should never forget, that although market research tools are effective, accurate ways to glean insights about whole swaths of people in order to better their businesses’ marketing position, never forget that there are human being behind those Twitter profile pictures, real men and women who deserve both a discerning eye, and an empathetic approach with any sort of marketing strategy. So be smart about developing consumer profiles to better understand your customers, but always include elements of concern, caring, kindness, and compassion (when applicable... which in many cases it is). This is the age of empathy, and it’ll help supplement these data points with a much needed dose of humanity. And with all that said, let's dive right into it…
1. Confirmit - Paid
If it’s helped notable businesses like SIEMENS, Virgin Money, and Philadelphia Insurance, then Confirmit certainly has enough going for it to help your next big market research undertaking as well. Marketed as a software that includes text analytics and mobile engagement, into its algorithms, Confirmit offers something different in the form of a market research tool with both flexibility and depth. Whether it’s offering businesses "Voice Of The Consumer" programs, or delivering strong research studies based on integrated customer data, these guys know a thing or two when it comes to both the research side of their tool AND the right kind of implementation for those stats.
Trust the right tools to help your specific project needs when attempting complex market research methods. In this case, Confirmit doesn’t just deliver in this regard, it goes above and beyond, while catering to cash-strapped marketing teams that need to make their budgets last, and their brand’s social media content engage more.
2. Digimind - Paid
Digimind, the social listening platform and AI-supported software has been assisting marketing and insights professionals for a long enough time to make a name for itself - a big enough name to be labeled A Strong Performer in the 2020 Forrester Wave industry review of social listening platforms on the market currently. It didn't acquire this most prestigious title for nothing. When it comes to Market Research, Digimind provides a suite of tools that can aid most teams in identifying key details regarding the overall sentiments of those blowing up social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, advanced demographic segmentation, and even in-depth geolocation for heavy conversation traffic.
On top of offering top-rate Market Research services, it also can bolster those findings with advanced 3rd-party integrations , like with it's partners Hootsuite and Socialbakers! With supplementary offerings like these, it's no wonder that the likes of Audi, L'Oreal, McDonald's, Canon, HP, Honda, FujiFilm, Lenovo, Nike, and more rely on Digimind to deliver fast, easily accessible, and comprehensive results that few other competitors can match!
3. Facebook (Audience Insights Tool) - Free
For Facebook Business users, this analytics tools shines as an example of service-specific software, that is, a market research tool specifically designed for the data derived from Facebook users. And even though this may seem like a poor tool to take advantage of considering the limited audience, remember that Facebook is one of the biggest arbiters of collective user data online right now, thus making it perhaps one of, if not the most important tool on this list, just by sheer statistical value. And that’s no hyperbole, nor any over exaggeration either! Forgetting that the tool is free for Facebook Business members, Facebook Audience Insights Tools is also a solid software that acts as a window into its users for the site, providing marketing and insights professionals with an ocean of information that’s relevant to content creation, social media conversation percentage tracking, customer profile breakdowns, business health reports, and a lot more. Almost everyone knows about Facebook, and many people use it religiously, so to discount this supplementary service just because of its "limited" reach is foolish at best, and haphazard at worst for a brand.
As far as market research tools go, this one certainly takes the cake for thorough investigations regarding real time data. Ever-evolving and ever-adding new features to its platform, Facebook Audience Insights Tools make for a formidable weapon in the hands of marketers willing to wield them for stronger social media content strategy results, and better engagement campaigns.
4. Living Facts - Free
Marketed as a free platform put on the market to keep people informed, Living Facts is still a fantastic tool to derive important data about certain segments of the population, utilizing easy-to-understand stats and images in order to cater to professionals of any experience level. Categorized into sections like Demographics, Health, Money, Trends, and so on, Living Facts is a tool that offers their base platform to everyone for maximum insights benefit, leading to results that are unlike others listed here. One thing to note about Living Facts though, is it’s a national site, meaning it only reveals information regarding the US market, and not other countries and regions.
Though this might not ruffle many feathers for most marketers who only deal with US customers, it's still a dealbreaker for some, so do keep that in mind before relying wholeheartedly on their site. Despite all of that, there’s no reason to deprive you and your team of this unique market research tool, especially considering how surprisingly deep their data can go.
5. Make My Persona (A HubSpot Tool) - Free
Something a little different, but certainly worth taking note of, Make My Persona is a free-to-use HubSpot tool that allows marketers to create a “Buyer Persona”, or in common marketing layman's terms, a customer profile, which can be incredibly useful for a marketing campaign. Though not technically a true market research tool, this platform deserves mentioning here as it can still be highly effective in providing teams with useful insights that can inform anything, from a target demographic’s background and education, to their professional information and working goals. When the whole 7-step process is finished, you have an entire persona customized for your every social media and digital strategy campaign needs. The fact that this is based on real time data means that whatever end result you get with the creation engine, it’s going to be grounded in real world statistics. Did we mention it's free? Yeah, it's free.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with relying on different kinds of market research tools, and Make My Persona certainly falls within this category; it’s how you make appropriate use out of your tools that determines whether pay-free service's like this are worth your time and energy.
6. QualtricsXM - Paid
Originally developed in the UK, and then rejigged with a US/Canada version (this this quick overview will be for the US/Canada version), QualtricsXM towers above the competition within the market research industry, with easy-to-collect feedback metrics, powerful AI-learning software that supplements its already impressive databanks, and helpful customer service built into the tool. Learning about your consumer base has never been this easy, and despite their demo offering being just that - a demo - their main pricing model is solid and fair, and it should be within most middle-to-low tier agency's budgets that want to adopt advanced market research platforms. What’s most notable about their service is QualtricsXM’s Market Segmentation offering, which tracks behavior and actions across multiple timelines on social media.
Discover more about your target audience through in-depth metrics and real time feedback using, QualtricsXM to guide your marketing ship in the dark. That there’s real people who can help marketing and insights professionals develop their approach to changing trends for their researched customer groups on social media is a true game changer, and something that isn’t always provided by other top-tier market research tools.
7. Questback - Paid
Going the extra mile and uncovering more about specific segments of a brand’s larger consumer base is exactly what Questback prides itself on, and it’s no surprise that this has resulted in a solid tool for marketing and insights professionals to work with. Having served a multitude of industries, like pharmaceuticals, automotive, energy, hospitality, travel, retail and finance, Questback has continued to excel at providing their clients with top-notch market research help. And speaking of those clients, this service has been adopted by such big name companies, like PFizer, New York Life, Lufthansa, and Deloitte.
There’s a lot to be gained from utilizing Questback for your next big market research project, whether it’s the mobile-friendly features that supplement their main platform, to scalable options for any-sized market research assignment, there’s a lot to be impressed with at the end of the day. Market research is simply easier and more efficient when using Questback, so check it out today!
Written by Micah Levin
With a background in creative writing, advertising, and psychology, Micah is a copywriter in name and a Digiminder at heart. When he's not developing content for agencies, you can find him crafting novels, cooking and running around in Brooklyn, NY.