Consumer Research 101: A Potent Key for Successful Product Launches

The world of product development is a high-stakes arena. Did you know that a staggering 95% of new products launched each year ultimately fail? Even industry titans like Google, Coca-Cola, and Colgate have stumbled in this regard.

A potent weapon for increasing your odds of product launch success lies in consumer research. When you truly understand what customers want, their problems, and how your product fits into their lives, you dramatically decrease the risk of joining those sobering statistics.

So, what exactly is consumer research? It’s the systematic process of gathering and analyzing information about your target customers.

This goes beyond just market research. While market research focuses on broader trends, consumer insights dig into the behaviors, motivations, and decision-making processes of your ideal customers.

Let’s explore why this type of research is so crucial to a successful product launch.

A woman and a man conducting customer satisfaction research through a video chat.

Why Consumer Research is the Backbone of Product Success

Think of excellent consumer understanding as the foundation upon which successful product launches are built. Neglecting it is like building a house without proper blueprints; a recipe for costly mistakes and potential disaster.

Here’s why this area of research is essential:

Identifies market trends to stay ahead of the curve

Analyzing consumer behaviors and preferences provides clues about the market’s direction, enabling you to proactively shape your product to fit emerging trends rather than playing catch-up.

Understand core customer desires (as opposed to surface-level needs)

Pinpoint unmet desires, pain points, and motivations. True product success lies in solving real problems for customers.

In-depth consumer research reveals those pain points, the gaps your competitors might be missing, and the deep-seated motivations that will ultimately drive someone to buy (or not buy!) your product.

Ross Wainright with a quote that says if you listen to your customers they will provide valuable insights into their wants and trends.

Defines competitive landscape for strategizing positioning and differentiation

Knowing who you’re up against is crucial. Sometimes, it’s not another company; it could be a different way of doing things.

Consumer research helps you map out the competitive landscape, understand your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses, and discover how to make your product stand out in a crowded marketplace. It also allows you to see how well your innovation and product roadmaps align with trends and new buyer preferences.

Save money, time, and reputation (reduced risk)

Launching a product that flops is expensive in every sense of the word. Consumer research mitigates risk by validating your product concepts early on, helping you refine (or abandon, if necessary) ideas before significant investment.

Improves marketing and messaging

Even the best products will struggle if your marketing messages miss the mark. Consumer research unlocks the language, emotions, and channels that resonate most deeply with your target audience, making your campaigns far more effective.

Consumer Research Fundamentals

Before diving headfirst into consumer data collection, it’s essential to lay a strategic groundwork. Here are the key fundamentals to keep in mind:

Begin with research questions: Outline what you need to know (don’t just collect data for its own sake)

Start by defining your product launch goals or the specific challenges you want to address.

Translate these goals into clear research questions—this will give your research focus. Are you exploring the viability of a new product idea? Are you trying to understand why an existing product is underperforming? Nailing down your research questions will focus your efforts and deliver more actionable insights.

Example: Don’t just ask, “What do customers like?”. Instead, ask, “What are the top 3 pain points this product should solve?” or “Do customers understand the unique value proposition compared to competitors?”

Need help with your research questions? Use our free discussion guide generator to jumpstart your consumer research.

AI Discussion Guide Generator for Qualitative Researchers CTA

Primary vs secondary research: The difference and when to use which

Primary research is the data you collect yourself, specifically designed to answer your unique research questions about your target consumers and product/service.

Here are some common examples of primary research methods in consumer research:

  • Surveys: Online or offline surveys allow you to gather a broad range of data and opinions from a large sample size of your target audience. They’re efficient for collecting quantitative data (e.g., demographics, preferences) and gauging general sentiment.

A subset of this is video surveys. This method uses short video responses from consumers to capture unfiltered reactions, emotions, and detailed explanations behind their choices, which is an effective qualitative research method.

  • Interviews: In-depth interviews with individual consumers provide some of the richest qualitative data (e.g., motivations, pain points, stories).
  • Focus groups: Moderated focus group discussions help uncover group dynamics, shared experiences, and emotional responses to product concepts or marketing messages.

On the other hand, secondary research involves using existing data collected by other organizations. Secondary research is a great way to gain background knowledge, identify trends, and understand the broader market landscape before diving into your primary research.

Here are some common sources of secondary research data:

  • Industry reports: Market research firms and industry associations publish reports on consumer trends, market sizes, and competitor analysis.
  • Government statistics: Government agencies collect a wealth of data on demographics, consumer spending habits, and economic indicators.
  • Academic studies: Research papers and journals can offer valuable insights into consumer behavior and market trends.

You use primary research when you need specific answers to questions about your target audience and product/service that aren’t available from existing data. It’s ideal for getting in-depth insights and understanding the “why” behind consumer behavior.

Secondary research is useful when you want to gain a foundational understanding of the market landscape, identify potential trends, and inform the development of your primary research questions. It’s also a more time-efficient and cost-effective way to gather background information.

Often, the best approach involves a combination of both. Secondary research can help you refine your primary research questions, and primary research can validate or challenge what you’ve learned from secondary sources. This combination helps you build a more complete picture of your target consumers and market.

“Consider these steps for product launches” Brian’s Bright Ideas by Voxpopme

Qualitative vs Quantitative methods in consumer research

Strategically combining qual and quant techniques gives you both the detailed “why” behind consumer behavior and the measurable “how much” that helps you make data-driven decisions.

Let’s explore how they work:

Qualitative methods explore in-depth opinions, motivations, behaviors, and the “why” behind consumer decision-making. They are ideal for understanding complex issues or generating new ideas.

Common techniques include:

  • In-depth interviews: One-on-one conversations for gathering rich, personal insights.
  • Focus groups: Facilitated group discussions to uncover attitudes, shared experiences, and the influence of group dynamics.
  • Observation: The researcher observes consumers in natural settings or during product use to uncover behavior patterns.
  • Video research feedback: Consumers record videos offering detailed feedback to survey questions, revealing emotions and nonverbal insights.

Quantitative methods seek numerical data to answer questions about “how many” and “how much.” It enables statistical analysis and helps identify trends within larger populations.

Common techniques include:

  • Surveys: Questionnaires distributed to a sample of your target audience, gathering data on demographics, attitudes, and preferences.
  • Experimental research: Controlled experiments to measure the impact of different factors on consumer behavior (e.g., A/B testing of website designs).
  • Market data: Analysis of sales figures, market share, and other numerical data to understand market trends.

While neatly categorized here, modern consumer research often combines elements of both. For example, a survey might include open-ended questions for qualitative insights alongside closed-ended questions for quantitative data.

AI-Powered Consumer Research

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the world of consumer research, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It enables researchers to do more with fewer resources — understanding customers and extracting valuable insights for successful product launches more efficiently.

For example, Voxpopme’s Live Interviews allows researchers to conduct and analyze in-depth interviews and focus groups with 91% efficiency. That’s massive.

Let’s explore how AI addresses traditional challenges and unlocks new dimensions of insight:

Larger samples, faster insights

AI-powered market research tools allow you to collect and analyze data at an unprecedented pace. You can reach broader audiences with less effort, translating into faster insights and greater confidence in your conclusions.

Analysis beyond self-reporting

Traditional research may rely on what consumers say they feel. AI analyzes factors like tone of voice, sentiments, and word choice to uncover deep-seated emotions and unconscious biases that shape decision-making.

Accessibility and cost-effectiveness

AI-enabled qualitative insights platforms streamline much of the research process. This frees up your time by eliminating busy work and reducing the need for expensive focus group facilities, making powerful consumer insights far more accessible to more businesses.

Voxpopme leverages AI to simplify and expedite video-based consumer feedback. Features like AI-generated survey questions, automated sentiment analysis, and ‘chatting’ with your qualitative data accelerate insights discovery.

AI in consumer research helps you process rich video data (from large samples of respondents) and delivers actionable insights straight to your dashboard at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional research methods. What would otherwise take weeks to watch and analyze video feedback takes a few hours to generate insights with Voxpopme, all in a secure, private environment.

Analyze qualitative insights 60x faster at the 35% cost.

A Simplified Consumer Research Plan

While complex research projects may require more intricate plans, this outline provides a solid foundation for getting started:

Step 1: Define your objectives: What do you need to learn?

Start with your business goals. Are you validating a new product concept, assessing customer satisfaction, or refining your marketing messaging? Be as specific as possible, listing the essential questions your research needs to answer.

Step 2: Select your methods: Blend techniques for a richer dataset

Consider the type of data that will best address your objectives. Do you need open-ended responses for idea generation (focus groups, interviews)? Numerical data for statistical significance (surveys)? Aim for a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods when possible.

Take advantage of AI-powered tools like Voxpopme, especially for rapid, in-depth video-based insights.

Step 3: Design your study

Precisely define who your ideal customers are and ensure your sampling methods align with them.

Word your survey questions neutrally to avoid bias. Ensure you ask inclusive demographic questions in your study.

Offering incentives to boost participation is a good idea, but remember these survey design best practices when designing your consumer research study.

Step 4: Data collection and analysis: How AI aids consumer research analysis

Traditional methods may require manual data entry and analysis. This is where AI platforms shine! AI can automate sentiment analysis, topic identification, and visualization of results from both quantitative and qualitative data. The rapid processing speed of AI-assisted tools means insights arrive faster.

Learn more: 20 Wide-Ranging Applications of AI in Market Research

Step 5: Translate Insights into actions

Share your findings and their implications across relevant teams (product development, marketing, etc.). Then, brainstorm how these acquired consumer insights can translate into:

  • Product feature improvements
  • Refined messaging that addresses customer pain points
  • New target audience identification
  • Competitive differentiation strategies

Remember: Consumer research is an iterative process. Be prepared to refine your approach as you learn more about your customers and the market. AI-powered consumer research tools offer the flexibility needed for this agile approach to keep your business ahead of the curve.


Launching a new product without deep consumer insights is a gamble businesses can’t afford. The risks are simply too high: wasted resources, missed opportunities, and the potential for damaging your brand’s reputation.

Don’t let your next product launch be a shot in the dark. Invest in listening to your consumers and understanding them on a profound level. If you’re ready to see how AI-powered research can supercharge your success, reach out to a Voxpopme expert today.

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