A Guide to 15 Must-Have Market Research Tools for Startups

According to one report, more than 20% of business leaders don’t know which audiences they’re targeting with their marketing campaigns. Does this sound like you?

If you’re at the helm of a fledgling startup, you know the only way to stand out is to create products or services your buyers will love and campaigns that effectively reach them.

Gone are the days when “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” was a smart outreach tactic. Today’s consumers crave content that’s tailored to their needs and interests. Thankfully, there are market research tools for startups that will help you narrow your focus and fine-tune your approach.

Not sure where to start? No problem. Today, we’re sharing 15 great tools that can help you identify your audience, learn what they want, and market to them successfully.

What Are Market Research Tools?

These days, there are so many startup marketing resources that it can be hard to know which ones you need. Before you dive headfirst into your next campaign, market research is one step you can’t afford to skip.

These tools are designed to do two things:

  1. Help you find your target market
  2. Learn how that market feels about your products or services

In today’s Digital Era, almost everything you need is available online. Some tools are free, some are subscription-based, and others have software options you can install on your local network.

No matter which kind you choose, your goal should be the same: To understand who’s interested in your offerings and use that knowledge to inform your marketing strategy. If you leverage them correctly, you’ll not only stand out in your niche, but you’ll do it better than your competitors.

Why Does My Startup Need Them?

Without market research tools, startups are floundering about in the water, trying to make strides without any real direction. Unless you learn who you’re selling to, your marketing approach will be a shot in the dark, at best.

These tools provide businesses of any size with key advantages. Some of the tasks they can help with include:

  • Identifying your target market
  • Analyzing your sales data
  • Analyzing customer behaviors
  • Monitoring current and future sales trends
  • Identifying industry competitors
  • Identifying and mitigating potential business risks
  • Identifying new business opportunities

With these capabilities and insights at your fingertips, it becomes much easier to reach your users. Everyone at your startup, from your customer support specialists and marketers to your sales team, can use this data to market your brand more intentionally and make better-informed business decisions.

The Main Types of Market Research Tools

As we mentioned, there are many different kinds of marketing research tools. Your startup doesn’t have to use all of these. In fact, we recommend taking stock of what’s out there and then discussing your options as a team.

The best ones will be user-friendly, affordable, and designed to cater to your unique niche. Let’s take a look at some of the most common categories.

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring tools allow you to look into the behaviors and actions of your target market. As you analyze different social and online channels, you’ll identify and determine what’s being said about your startup. In response, you can use these insights to strategically direct your marketing campaign.

Market Research Websites

Some startup marketing tools are website-based. Once you’re on the website, you can click around to learn more about your target market, key demographics, and other relevant statistics. Some will even connect you with experts who can share their opinions on how to disrupt and get noticed in your sector.

Data Analysis Software

If you plan to collect, share, and evaluate large amounts of market data from disparate digital sources, you need a way to organize it all. This is where data analysis software comes in.

This tool provides a central repository for all of your stored data. Some versions can even integrate with other analytical or statistical programs installed on your network, allowing you to turn collected insights into measurable, scientific metrics.

CRM Software

Similar to data analysis software, customer relationship management (CRM) software gives startups a central place to store related data. However, the insights here are directly related to your customer accounts.

You can use a CRM platform to track and manage all of a client’s interactions with your company. This helps support representatives provide more personalized services and improves satisfaction rates. It’s also valuable for marketers, who can reference your client connections to create more targeted campaigns.

Digital Recorders

Worried you’ll miss a critical piece of information when speaking to a customer? Digital recorders allow you to record interactions (including phone calls and online chats) so you can go back and read/listen to them later.

Virtual or Physical Surveys

Despite advancements in marketing ideas and strategies, old-fashioned surveys are still one of the most valuable ways to learn what your audience wants. You can conduct these online or in person, depending on your preference.

Competitive Intelligence Tools

To be an effective marketer, you need to know what others in your space are doing. Competitive intelligence tools help you track your competitors’ progress, giving you insights into metrics such as:

Predictive Analysis Platforms

As you implement some of these tools, you’ll likely get so much information that it can be overwhelming. By funneling your insights through a predictive analysis platform, it’s easier to recognize trends and patterns.

These tools use advanced algorithms to mine your data for key findings, helping you understand what the numbers mean so you can develop more accurate forecasts and reports.

Text Analytics

Customer feedback can be one of the most valuable resources for your startup. However, it isn’t always easy to read through all of your comments, reviews, and testimonials. Text analytics tools can help.

These solutions use algorithms to analyze written information about your brand, looking for core components such as:

  • Frequently used keywords
  • Common sentiments
  • Specific, repeated phrases

With these tools, it’s easier to understand what’s going on in your buyers’ minds. You can also identify areas to improve, as well as how to build upon what’s already working.

15 Market Research Tools That Work

Now that we’ve covered which tools can help improve your marketing skills and provide deeper insights into your target audience, let’s get a little more specific.

Below, we’re sharing 15 of the best resources in this space. While the list is far from exhaustive, it should be a great starting point for startups looking to give more direction and efficacy to their marketing strategies.

1. Think With Google

Digital innovation has changed the way brands interact with buyers, and Google has been monitoring this connection since the beginning. Think With Google allows companies to understand and analyze every aspect of digitization, and then use those insights to direct their marketing campaigns.

With this market research tool, you can get an in-depth look at what’s happening in all areas of digital marketing, including:

  • Marketing insights and updates
  • Consumer and cultural trends
  • The latest industry research

If you operate in the e-commerce space, you can combine this data with other Google tools (like shopper insights or the consumer barometer) to see how it relates to your specific brand. The best part? Everything is free to access and use!

2. Census Bureau

It might sound overly simple, but one of the easiest ways to learn about your audience is to analyze the latest census data. The U.S. Census Bureau is your one-stop shop for everything you’ve ever wanted to learn about your local buyers, which is especially helpful for startups with a brick-and-mortar presence.

With a few clicks, you can discover key details about your target demographic, such as:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Income
  • Education level
  • Race and ethnicity

There are many different ways to access and sort data on the free website. We suggest starting with the Bureau’s Data Profiles, which allow you to view statistics for your specific state, county, or town.

3. Statista

In the world of startup marketing, data and facts are everything. While emotions and sentiments play a role in effective outreach, you also need concrete numbers to inform your strategy.

This is where Statista comes in. This market research tool has relevant statistical data on more than 80,000 topics, combining research from more than 20,000 different sources.

Available in a range of languages including English, Spanish, and German, Statista is known as a freemium tool. This means you can access general stats for free, but you’ll pay around $50/month to access all the information. If you want a more customized approach, you can also pay for special services, such as individualized research requests and personalized infographics, videos, publications, or presentations.

4. Make My Persona

How would you describe the ideal customer for your product or service? Creating a buyer persona allows you to hone in on the characteristics and attributes your key users will have.

For instance, your persona might be a working, tech-savvy mom in her mid-30s, looking online for parenting advice for her toddlers. Or, you might target businesspersons in their late 50s to mid-60s, with a high income level and knowledge of B2B sales. There’s no right or wrong answer, but you need to be clear on who you’re selling to.

Make My Persona makes this step easy. Startup marketers can use this free tool to create a digital representation of the buyers they want to attract, hand-picking traits such as their:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Career
  • Challenges and frustrations

This puts a face and name to your sales, helping you focus on those who are most likely to interact with your brand in the future.

5. KNIME Analytics Platform

KNIME is a free, open-source data analytics platform that helps users take a closer look at the data they’ve accumulated. You can use it to access, combine, and transform information from any source. While the inner workings can get a little technical, the most important benefit it provides is visualization.

On their own, numbers can get dense and hard to read. It’s especially difficult to read them and see patterns, or trends you can analyze. KNIME translates your data into interactive charts and reports, so you can manipulate it and understand it better.

Marketers can use this tool to combine their sales, marketing, and customer data into one, complete view. With these insights, they can model buyer behavior, improve their targeting efforts, and personalize the customer journey.

6. Survey Monkey

Want to distribute a survey to your buyers, but aren’t sure where to start? Turns out, there’s an art to asking the right questions, and Survey Monkey knows how to get you there.

This online tool walks you through the steps required to create targeted, in-depth marketing surveys that reveal the innermost opinions, needs, and preferences of your customers. Once you get your responses back, you can use the built-in dashboard to sort and search the results for specific keywords.

If you want to keep it simple, the free version is fine. Otherwise, there’s a paid SurveyMonkey platform that provides extra features for more advanced inquiries.

7. Pickfu

While surveys are a great way to learn what your buyers want, it’s also helpful to get real-world feedback from people who haven’t heard of your startup or used your services before. When this is the case, Pickfu delivers.

This unique market research tool allows you to share and test out your ideas on people whom you might have otherwise missed, connecting you with users outside your immediate network. The coolest part? It creates that connection in a matter of minutes.

Once you create a poll, Pickfu will distribute it immediately. Not only will you receive unbiased, unfiltered results, but you’ll also understand why respondents voted the way they did. The tool shares demographic information about all participants, so you can break down and sort responses by age, gender, income level, etc.

If you want to target a specific demographic with your questions, you can select that option, too. While it’s free to create and send a poll with Pickfu, you’ll pay $1 per response.

8. Loop11

Did you know that the responsiveness of your website design can make or break a user’s interaction with your brand? Research reveals that nearly 80% of web visitors will leave your site if it’s not optimized for their devices. This is especially the case for mobile users, who are five times more likely to abandon your brand if their customer experience is sub-par.

When you’re in the design and development stage, it isn’t always easy to check how responsive your site is across different kinds of devices. While testing and de-bugging can make sure it’s technically fit, it’s hard to test for more subjective aspects such as navigation and user-friendliness.

With Loop11’s subscription service, you can create short surveys for consumers to complete. On each survey, they’ll rank how easy or difficult it is to perform certain tasks on your startup website. You can use this knowledge to make your site sleeker and simpler to navigate.

9. Facebook Audience Insights

Audience Insights is a free social media monitoring tool that allows startups to learn more about the actions and behaviors of their target audience. Once you establish your target persona, you can take a close look at how those users are interacting with your brand, monitoring aggregate information such as:

  • Demographics
  • Geography
  • Language
  • Purchase behaviors
  • Facebook use
  • Social media connections

This tool is different from a similar Facebook resource, Page Insights because it identifies trends that affect your current or potential customers only. On the other hand, Page Insights looks at how your followers interact with your Page, providing insights on your number of likes, shares, and comments.

10. Pew Research Center

The more you know about your audience, the better. When marketing your startup, you can never get enough data on who your buyers are, what they’re looking for, and what characteristics they share.

Pew Research Center is a free, online fact tank that provides timely insights on issues, attitudes, and trends that affect the world on a global scale. At the same time, you can also comb it for more detailed information on a given demographic, with insights that include:

  • Economic statuses
  • Social media use
  • Political affiliations

As you build and appeal to your target audience, these characteristics will matter. You can also search Pew Research Center’s extensive article library for keywords that relate to your startup.

11. BrandMentions

You might be confident in your startup’s reputation. However, do you really know what people are saying about your brand? The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vast frontier, and there are countless platforms on which users can share their insights, experiences, and opinions.

Monitoring this feedback is essential, especially as 84% of people now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family members. With BrandMentions, you can search for all mentions of your startup name online.

This social media marketing tool allows you to search for specific keywords related to your company. Then, you can find posts that use these words, and analyze their context. You can also perform a sentiment analysis to gauge the emotion behind the text.

While you have to pay to access the subscription service, the insider view you’ll achieve is priceless.

12. Google Public Data Explorer

If you’re interested in viewing your startup demographics on a wider scale, try Google Public Data Explorer. This free online tool turns large datasets into explorable charts and maps that you can use to visualize where and who your buyers are.

Once you isolate your target market, you can break the data down even more by filtering for factors that include:

  • Economic
  • Health
  • Social

This data comes from a variety of different sources, including non-governmental organizations, research institutions, and national statistical offices.

13. Typeform

Typeform is another market research tool that startups can use to create and send surveys directly to their target audience. One feature that sets this platform apart is that the questions are more casual and conversational, allowing users to choose from several different question types.

You can also customize the appearance of your survey to reflect your brand’s themes and colors. There are four plans to choose from, including a basic free option.

14. Answer the Public

Increasingly, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a make-or-break aspect of digital marketing. If your content doesn’t align with how users are looking for your products or services online, your visibility will naturally decline.

With Answer the People, you’ll simply enter a keyword or phrase into the tool’s search bar. From there, you’ll see a list of questions that users commonly ask about that word. You can use this information to create more relevant, helpful, and engaging marketing campaigns.

15. Glimpse

Glimpse is a great way to run short surveys on real-time trending topics, helping you get an accurate pulse on where your users stand and what they’re into. If you want to go a little deeper to uncover emotions or sentiments, you can leverage the tool’s natural language processing and AI capabilities to ask more probing, open-ended questions.

Staying ahead of the curve is critical to establishing thought leadership and credibility in the startup space. You can use Glimpse to identify trends before your competitors, so you’ll be the first one to give your customers what they want. For each trending topic, you’ll see a range of metrics, including:

  • Search volume
  • “People also search” keywords
  • Five-year growth chart
  • Channel breakdown
  • Trend alerts
  • Forecasting reports

Try These Market Research Tools for Startups

Launching a startup is a risky yet rewarding endeavor. As you work to get your ideas off the ground, you need to know who you’re trying to reach. Market research should be an early part of any marketing campaign, helping you identify, learn about, and ultimately cater to your target buyers.

These are just a few of the market research tools for startups. Explore each one to see what benefits it could bring, then reach out to us for additional support!

At Triaza, we specialize in every aspect of digital marketing, from brand building and content creation to SEO and website maintenance. Contact us here to get in touch!

About the Author

Joshua Wendt
Joshua Wendt
With over 13 years leading a successful marketing agency working with thousands of businesses, Joshua Wendt is a seasoned expert in digital marketing. His strategies, rooted in a deep understanding of digital trends, have driven significant online success for various businesses. A mentor, operator and speaker, Josh continues to influence the digital marketing field with his innovative insights.

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