Not everyone has a degree in market research interview techniques. And that’s fine. Just about anyone can successfully conduct an interview, and draw out that vital information, by following a simple yet effective list of guidelines.  

There are three main components to consider when it comes to ensuring the success of any market research interviews. In a nutshell, these are the human element, the content or context of the interview, and of course, recording the interview so as not to lose any information throughout the interview process.

Solid Techniques for Conducting Market Research Interviews 

There can be no denying that surveys and questionnaires are a great way of conducting research. However, these methods are the ‘standardized tests’ of the marketing world. They’re good for testing the waters in a specific area of research, but they don’t delve very deep. 

Luckily, gaining deeper insight into the opinions or impressions of people about specific topics is easy to capture through face-to-face interviews. In-person interviews and focus groups will help you go more in-depth during interviews. Market research interviews are undoubtedly one of the best ways to get that valuable data you’re after. All you need is the right approach. As well as some solid interview techniques in your arsenal.

Choosing Market Research Interview Techniques

First things first: decide on an interview method. The method you choose should be tailored to the information you want to get out of the interview. 

Do you want the interview to be structured? Unstructured? Somewhere in between? Market research interview techniques vary depending on factors such as the number of people you are interviewing, as well as the type of answers you want for specific questions.

Preparation is Key: Have Your Questions Ready

For a structured interview, you need to have a concise and consistent set of questions ready. These questions will help prevent you from deviating from the script and going off on a tangent that doesn’t get you the information you’re after.

When it comes to unstructured market research interview techniques, you can have a blueprint of sorts ready to guide the interview. However, regardless of how informal the interview is, make sure you walk out with the information you set out to capture!

You will, of course, also need to have a plan of action for taking notes during the interview! Don’t get distracted by taking notes and then lose the thread of the conversation!

Questions: When, Where, Who, “Why”

When preparing your questions, set them up to cover every aspect of the data you need. It’s very important to include the “who, what, when, and where”. Keep the context and purpose of the interview in mind. Be sure to talk the interviewee through the purpose of the interview and provide them with context.

Other than keeping the interview on track, this blueprint of information and questions also helps the interviewee consider their answers. You really want to create room to draw them out and capture their true opinions and impressions.

Check the Tech!

This is important. All the market research interview techniques in the world mean nothing if your technology fails you. Whether you are doing phone, face to face or online interviews via platforms like Skype or Zoom: check your tech before you get started. Make sure your laptop has enough juice, that you have your charger ready, and that your wifi connection is solid.

Note: This is probably a good time to mention that you may need to brush up on your conference call etiquette before getting on that call! 

Read the Room 

When you’re dealing with people, you need to channel your inner empath. First of all, not everyone is the same, you need to asses what type of personality you are dealing with.

Secondly, use your intuition. One of the most important market research interview techniques is to make the person you’re questioning feel comfortable. Let them know you and truly interested in everything they are saying by actually being interested. You’ll be amazed at how much easier the conversation flows when you stay present! This is a great time to implement some tricks of the journalistic trade.

The most counterproductive thing you can do during an interview is lead someone down a path of questioning that gets them into a defensive stance. 

Use the Right Tools to Capture Your Data

Whether you are conducting marketing research, or research purely for academic purposes, you need a solid plan for recording that data. Do you have a plan for getting your data from the interview onto paper? 

Interviews are time-consuming. The last thing you need is to waste your valuable time worrying about how to get that audio translated or transcribed, or that video captioned with foreign subtitles. There are companies out there who are one click away, and who are more than ready to do the legwork for you!