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What Is Secondary Market Research?

Ryan Taylor

Mar 8, 2024

A woman performs secondary market research sitting at a computer.

RevBlogMarketingWhat Is Secondary Market Research?

Secondary market research refers to any data that comes from third-party sources.

But no matter which type of research you conduct, it can be a complicated undertaking. You need to consider the outcomes you want to achieve and plan your research methods upfront. Often, researchers find it helpful to start with broad concepts first, and then go more narrow. That’s why many researchers start with secondary market research first. But the best market research programs use a mix of both research approaches.

Keep in mind that primary research can be quite expensive. According to a recent study by Vernon Research, market research surveys can cost between $15,000 and $50,000. Focus groups can cost $4,000 to $6,000 per group. Conducting secondary research can help you keep costs in check early on in the process.

Before your next research project, you need foundational knowledge of secondary research, including insight into the common secondary market research tools and techniques. This awareness will help you maximize the value of the data collected. Let’s dive in!

A Brief Overview of Secondary Market Research 

When you hear the words “primary” and “secondary,” what comes to mind? You may assume primary research is more valuable, or that you would do primary research first. The reality is, market researchers typically perform secondary research first. And both types of research are essential.

In short, secondary research is data and insights that you do not collect yourself. It can include quantitative and qualitative information. There are many types of secondary research sources, such as: 

  • Published market studies
  • Competitive information
  • White papers
  • Analyst reports
  • Previous in-house studies 
  • Prior internal focus groups
  • Customer emails
  • Customer surveys and feedback
  • Recordings of internal and external meetings

By contrast, primary market research is research that you conduct yourself. You can customize your research approaches or target specific audiences to gather information. Primary research is also a useful tool to explore a hypothesis created through secondary research.

Why Perform Secondary Market Research?

You should perform secondary market research because it can give you critical insights into competitors, trends, and market size. You can use this information to guide decision-making and product positioning.

When designing studies, researchers want to know what relevant information already exists. Conducting a review of this research is an essential first step. This review will uncover secondary research sources that you can use to frame a new study. If you conduct secondary research, you may find that others have already examined your idea. You won’t want to waste resources researching the same topic. Instead, you may wish to refine your concept to study the issue at a deeper level.

Often, secondary market research sources are readily available. You may be able to gather information and draw meaningful conclusions in a short time. At times, an Internet search can be adequate. On other occasions, you may need to buy published reports from analysts or research firms. Also, you may have access to secondary research sources within your organization.

How Primary and Secondary Market Research Work Together

Consider this scenario. Imagine that you work for a company that wants to launch a new accounting solution for small businesses. You want to know how customers perceive your current solution portfolio. And you’ll also want insights on current global expenditures on accounting solutions. Plus, you need perspective on primary competitors and distribution channels. All of this information can be gathered through secondary market research.

In this example, secondary research can help make a smart business decision. You can gather information and decide if you should launch a new accounting product. If you choose to move ahead, primary research is a wise idea.

Primary research can tell you how people react to your design, product name, and messaging. You may use surveys or focus groups to refine your product and optimize your launch. Remember that you must abide by privacy-protection laws — such as the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR). You’ll need to ensure you have consent to collect data from research participants. Also, you’ll need to ensure that participants know how you’ll use their information.

As you can see, primary and secondary market research go hand-in-hand. Both approaches are necessary for a well-rounded research program.

Secondary Market Research Tools And Techniques

How can you perform secondary market research? First, you’ll need to gather secondary data from internal and external sources. Then you can determine the right approach to collect the data you need.

Here are the secondary market research sources marketing professionals should know.

Internal Sources

Internal sources are ones that exist within your company, such as:

  • Feedback from customer support or sales professionals
  • Emails from current customers
  • Prior market studies completed by your company

Make the most of any data collected. Perhaps you will use this research to identify valuable new product features. Or you could find that your onboarding process needs some refinement. All the information collected can inform your product design and launch.

Qualitative Internal Sources

Many companies have qualitative internal sources that you can use in secondary research:

  • Recordings of support calls that contain customers’ spoken-word feedback
  • Previous focus groups conducted by your company
  • Recordings of customer events or user forums

When it comes to gaining accurate insights from these recordings, you’ll need professional transcription services — they’re the easiest way to transform these recordings into written content that is easy to search through and pull information from.

External Sources

External sources exist outside your organization. These sources can include research firms and government organizations. Published articles, white papers, and studies fit into this category as well. While you can find free external data sources, some publications and reports do require purchase.

Qualitative External Sources

You can access many other qualitative external sources as well:

  • Social media is a significant source of external secondary research — you may think that social media is a primary source since you control your feed’s content, but you cannot influence posts and comments people share about your company.
  • Recordings of industry meetings or presentations in your research.
  • Notes or journals detailing information collected by other researchers are also secondary sources.

Often, these qualitative sources provide critical insights that aren’t available through statistical research.

How to Maximize the Value of Your Secondary Market Research

Secondary research is often widely available. But you may need to take specific steps to extract meaning. This scenario is especially true when working with qualitative, spoken-word sources.

For example, companies may have huge volumes of customer feedback from support calls. Remember that message that lets you know calls may be recorded for quality assurance? Too often, businesses capture those calls but never transcribe those audio recordings, meaning they are losing out on valuable direct feedback from their customers.

Similarly, companies may record company meetings or customer events. Chances are, those recordings exist in an archive. They may contain a goldmine of product, industry, and customer insight. But without transcriptions of those recordings, all that intelligence is difficult to access.

When conducting external research, you may uncover high-value recordings as well. These sources may include event proceedings, lectures, and webinars. 

Why Transcription is Essential in Secondary Market Research

You should seek professional market research transcription services for any recordings. This approach saves you significant time and improves the research process. Instead of needing to listen to recordings over and over, you can have accurate texts to review. Plus, you can make transcripts accessible to team members with ease. You can make your analysis and reporting much more efficient and meaningful.

With transcripts, you can also use keyword analysis techniques. These approaches are especially valuable when analyzing large volumes of customer feedback. You can search through transcripts to determine words that customers use often.

For example, you may find customers commenting often on “pricing,” “data input,” or “dashboards.” Then, you can explore those comment categories in more depth to identify themes. You can also assign sentiments, such as positive, negative, or neutral. 

Pro tip: Rev’s transcription services make this analysis easier than ever with AI Transcript Assistant. Simply ask the chatbot to pull all mentions of a particular keyword, or a list of commonly used words or phrases, and let the AI do the work for you.

With these steps, you can discern how customers feel about your company and products. Then, you can use that insight to improve products and increase customer engagement. 

Unlock the Power of Secondary Market Research

When conducting market research, it’s tempting to want to dive right into primary research. Study design can be fascinating. However, you need to perform secondary market research to ensure the best outcomes.

Secondary research provides important context for your primary analysis. You can go into any research project with clarity on industry and competitive trends. Also, you can use internal secondary data for perspective on customer expectations.

When conducting secondary market analysis, researchers often find many valuable recordings. But listening to recordings to capture insight is very time-consuming. It can take up to four hours to understand the content of one hour of audio.

Don’t waste precious time or risk missing enlightening points buried in audio recordings. Turn to Rev for transcription services of your secondary information collected in audio.

Affordable, fast transcription. 100% Guaranteed.