Sounds pretty obvious to some however, it still raises some questions on what is the difference. Let’s break it down.
I often see it as marketing as an external element to understanding the potential users and product-market fit, whilst UX researchers dive deep into understanding the user needs when comes to interacting with the product.
What is UX Research?
“What problem are we trying to solve?” “What do our users need?” are some of the top questions researchers.
UX researchers investigate what user goals, frustrations, and motivations are they dig into the core problem and understand why something may cause a person to feel or react in a certain way. Importantly, when the data is collected it should help inform the design process throughout the product team.
Generative research is a great place to start when understanding the target market and product fit. The purpose is to examine who the person is and what they experience in their everyday lives. In one of our studies, we found out that all our participants had worked odd hours of the day for their children and to make time for them. If it weren’t for generative research we wouldn’t have known about their situation outside of work.
Generative research surfaces the important stories about their lives that go beyond a product or service. It is understanding the why behind their actions and behaviours.
Generative is one part of research amongst many others. UX researchers will synthesize the collected data to help product teams prioritise goals for development and improvements.
What is Market Research?
Market research is to understand the market with a particular product or service and decide how the audience will react to a product or service. Market researchers work closely with the sales team to understand the pricing benchmark and how to determine a suitable price for a buyer.
Depending on the size of the company and the business, there would be a handful of in-house market researchers, whereas some companies resource externally.
Market researchers will gather details about the customer's perception of the brand and the organisation. They may conduct surveys or focus groups to receive feedback regards to a product or service.
The goal of market research is really to understand customer perceptions, attitudes and priorities so that you better craft ads that resonate with them. Ultimately, find the right path to achieve sales and business goals.
The work is in service to the brand, not the user.
What methods do they use?
There are lots of methods that fall under both umbrellas, you may notice some overlap such as focus groups, interviews, competitor analysis, and field studies.
∆ Stakeholder interviews: Speak to those requested for this product, brief or service to understand the why and what is needed before speaking to the users.
∆ User interviews: gather information by starting to have a conversation with users, ask questions on specific topics and synthesize the answers later with your team.
∆ Surveys: To gather quantitative data, sending out surveys and questionnaires is a great way to see what potential users would like, this may also inform your hypothesis.
∆ Field studies: This is a very exciting activity that takes place in the user’s environment, rather than on Zoom, office, or lab. It’s a great way to see how users go about their everyday lives in their habitat whilst collecting in-depth user stories.
∆ Diary studies: This method is when a user is used to collect and gather photos, and notes of certain elements in their workflow and log them into a notepad, or laptop. The only downside of diary studies is that it is time-consuming for the user to explain their activities, and highlight certain things that might’ve stood out to them.
∆ Testing: This may include rapid prototypes, guerilla, A/B and usability tests. You want to let users influence your decisions based on qualitative and quantitative data that will flesh out designing for the right users.
∆ Testing: Focus groups (5–10 people) those who respond to a screener survey. Then brought into a room to be asked more complex questions and get to understand each person's perspective. The downside to focus groups is it may cause biases toward other participants and may be difficult to get honest opinions on touchy subjects.
∆ User interviews: same as UX researchers, although marketers focus on the brand and identity of the company.
∆ Secondary Market Research: Outsource information from media, newspapers, magazines, books, websites, government agencies and etc.
∆ Commercial sources: Local newspapers, magazines and journals are great ways to collect information.
In summary, market and UX research are both quite similar in practice, they also need to work together to understand the personas, target market and competitors in the field. In the end, UX research purpose is to validate its assumptions about people in the field, reduce the cost of deliverables and keep products in high demand — ahead of competitors.
In UX research, it’s all about advocating for the end-user. Market research explores ways to advertise the brand and forecast whether the business can get an apprehensive idea about the direction of the economy and the direction of the company.