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Market research questionnaire: examples and complete guide

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How to make a market research questionnaire? What questions to ask? When you do market research, the questionnaire is a must. So much so that questionnaires and market research are often used interchangeably. However, it is only one step in a complete process that allows you to get closer to the truth of the market. In this article, we address all these issues and propose complete examples in B2B and B2C to download.

For more real-life examples, we refer you to the website etude-de-marche.online, where we list and comment on the questionnaires we find online. You can also find our guide to writing your questionnaire here.


All about the market research questionnaire in 30 seconds

  • The questionnaire is a market research technique. It aims to obtain a quantitative assessment that complements the qualitative view offered by techniques such as individual interviews or focus groups.
  • Questionnaire and market research are too often considered interchangeable terms. It is essential to understand that we must combine several techniques to approach the reality of a market. The administration time for a questionnaire should not exceed 10 minutes. This corresponds to about 25 questions.
  • The questionnaire is divided into 3 distinct parts: 1) the introduction, 2) the questions specific to the market research, and 3) the collection of information on the respondent’s profile
  • 5 questions are recurrent in any market research questionnaire: screening questions, buying habits, needs, buying intentions, and pricing.
  • A B2C market research questionnaire will differ from its B2B counterpart. The latter will focus more on competitive aspects, the decision cycle, and the price currently paid by the company.

Summary


What is the place of the questionnaire in global market research?

Questionnaires and market research have become synonymous. However, they are not. The quantitative questionnaire is one market research method among others.

Understanding a market involves approaching it from several angles. Classically, market research is done in 3 phases:

To know more about the market research process, visit our free online guide. You can browse the right infographic, representing the global method we have conceptualized. The questionnaire section is #6.

Most questionnaires are now administered in the form of online surveys. As far as our market research firm is concerned, we have to admit that it has been a long time since a customer asked us to conduct a face-to-face administration (on the street, for example) or by post.


Duration and number of questions not to exceed

We advise our customers never to exceed 10 minutes and 25-30 questions. This avoids problems such as:

  • Attrition: Respondents give up along the way when the questionnaire is too long.
  • Fatigue: questionnaires that are too long will tire respondents, who tend to be more distracted and answer poorly. The quality of the answers will be inferior, and your results will be less reliable at the end of the questionnaire.

Two examples to download are waiting for you at the end of this article.


Questionnaire and market research are too often considered interchangeable terms.



The 3 parts of a market research questionnaire

In this paragraph, we propose to go through the ideal structure of a market research questionnaire:

  • Introductory text
  • Recurring themes
  • Respondent profile

Part 1: The introductory text

Your questionnaire can start with a short introduction presenting the purpose of the market research. It should not be too long but clear enough for the respondent to understand:


Part 2: questions specific to the market research

In B2C and B2B, some themes are almost always present in all market research questionnaires. There are 5 of them:

  • screening of the respondent
  • buying habits
  • needs
  • purchase intention
  • pricing

As you can see, these questions follow a certain logic. You will first check that the respondent has the right profile to answer (screening), then ask them about their buying habits (the current situation) before moving on.

We propose the following table to give you an overview.

Type of question Objective Recommended number of questions Point of interest
1 Screening Check that the respondent has the right profile 1-3 Avoid overly intrusive questions. Use only factual questions.
2 Buying habits Understand the current habits and the solutions used to satisfy the respondent’s needs and possibly obtain information on known competitors. 5 Don’t get lost in the details. Focus on the most important aspects of the respondent’s habits, those that will impact you.
3 Needs Projecting into the sources of dissatisfaction and perceived needs (pains). 4-8 This part is very important because it allows you to collect essential information that you can use to improve your product/service.
4 Buying intentions Test the respondent’s interest in your product/service 2-4 The control variables will allow you to create customer segments based on their interest. Your go-to-market strategy can then be based on them.
5 Pricing Find the ideal pricing or test the respondent’s interest at several price levels 2-4 Testing pricing is a very delicate exercise. Many biases can taint your results. Avoid testing several price levels with the same respondent. Prefer a “2×2 in between” design.

Part 3: Questions about the respondent’s profile

You will finish your questionnaire by asking questions about the respondent’s profile. Age, sector of activity, gender, etc., are all variables that will allow you to cross-reference the results and better segment your target population.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the control variables we use most often in our research.

B2B (for products or services sold to companies):

  • company size
  • sector of activity
  • hierarchical position of the respondent
  • geographical location (postal code, region, country)

B2C (for products or services sold to individuals)

  • gender
  • age
  • family status
  • level of research
  • household income

How to adapt your questionnaire for B2B market research?

In a B2B context, a market research questionnaire must undergo certain adaptations.

These concern, of course, the questions on the respondent’s profile. Demographic aspects are little important in B2B. However, the hierarchical position, the company’s size, and its sector of activity must be recorded.

Above all, the questions asked will be different. You will probably have to ask more questions to determine the company’s current practices and gather information on the competition. In this respect, B2B market research will also be interested in the price currently paid by the company if it already has a competing solution. In a B2C context, this price aspect may be less important, especially if it is a regular purchase. Do you remember the price of everything you buy in the supermarket as a consumer?

In the B2B context, you will also have to put more emphasis on decision-making. In B2C, the consumer decides alone most of the time. In B2B, this is never the case because there are procedures to follow within any company.


Example of a B2C market research questionnaire

The questionnaire below concerns research on car purchases by individuals. It is, therefore, B2C market research. It includes 26 questions. You can find the internal instructions (in blue) that we put to check that the programming of our questionnaire is correct.

B2C market research questionnaire EN

Example of a B2B market research questionnaire

The questionnaire you will find below concerns research on hygiene in companies. It is therefore intended for a professional audience.
You will note that we have provided an explanatory text (in blue) for some questions. This is a good practice when the question is complicated or needs to be contextualized.

B2B market research questionnaire EN

Download other examples of market research questionnaires

Many examples of market research questionnaires are available on our dedicated website, www.etude-de-marche.online. You can find the complete questionnaire, all the questions, and our explanations and reviews in the video.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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