Tips for Effective Market Research in The Healthcare Industry

 In Blog, Business, Health, Marketing

What is Market Research?

When it comes down to it, the success of your product or service relies greatly on the quality of your market research. Market research is the gathering of rich data surrounding your target market of customers.

In order to understand the behaviours and potential actions of your customers in regards to your product, market research is the key to unlocking the answers. Market research looks at factors that affect the consumer’s behaviours such as societal, psychological, cultural and personal influences.

The research can be divided into two: primary and secondary. Primary research is that of data collected first hand, for example through interviewing a consumer or holding a focus group. The secondary is the process of gathering data that has previously been collated from others about the behaviours of consumers. This can be from studies or reports within the industry that have found a set of results. While conducting market research, both primary and secondary research can be used in combination or on their own.

Why Market Research Is Important in The Healthcare Industry?

When it comes to the many industries and sectors within them, market research is essential in selling a product or service. However, for the healthcare market, it is especially important to conduct effective market research as it can often result in saving lives.

Market research that is conducted within the healthcare space is vital in making sure that businesses stand out amongst the sea of competition. With the healthcare industry expected to be worth $11.9 trillion in 2020, market research is essential in helping businesses to continue to be innovative and stay profitable in the healthcare industry.

Not only does market research help service providers to stand out, but it also enables them to pinpoint the factors that are considered when one chooses healthcare. Organisations are further able to understand the consumer and their experience during their treatment. All of this data can be collected to ensure that the needs of the target market are being met and that there is a demand for a product or service.

Additionally, completing in-depth market research can help to understand the health and care regulations in different countries globally. Regions such as Asia and Africa, are expected to see substantial growth within the healthcare sector. When organisations fully understand their consumer’s needs, the higher chance of success for their product or service.

Market Research Methods

There are endless methods businesses use to conduct market research, however, when working within the healthcare industry these are the best methods to use:Tips for Effective Market Research in The Healthcare Industry


Surveys or questionnaires are presented in the form of a written interview and can be completed face to face, online or over the phone. The most obvious advantage to a marketing division within healthcare is that conducting a survey is relatively cheap to create and is mostly a quick and simple process.

The questions can be open or closed, allowing leeway for extended responses or answers that are short and straight to the point. With health issues and conditions being a sensitive topic to some, this can be effective as the participants have the choice to remain confidential.


There are two types of observational methods that can be used, overt and covert. Overt is when the participants are aware that the observation is going on. This can have problems involving reliability as people tend to behave differently when they know they are being watched.

Covert observations are conducted where the observer is acting as if they are part of the group. This method is commonly used, however, there are ethical issues that can arise when conducting a covert observation as the people might not be able to give their consent to the study.

The healthcare industry is responsible for caring and serving people with their best interests in mind, so it is important that the market is understood and the data is as reliable as possible.

Focus Groups

This methodology is mainly used in the early stages of product development to reduce the damage to production costs.

It involves a group of people gathering in a room to discuss a product. The participants are randomly selected to gage a potential target market or even selected to match the assumed target market of a product. For example, selected from specific demographics such as age group or level of disposable income.

Feedback is gathered on all aspects of a product. In a healthcare setting, it is particularly important that all voices are heard and acknowledged.


When conducting an interview one-to-one, rich qualitative information can be gathered on each individual. The depth of the data gathered depends on the structure of the interview.

Interviews with little structure and more of a conversational flow are significantly better at collating expressive and emotional feelings from individuals on a particular topic. This is specifically useful when doing research in the healthcare market as health conditions tend to be a much more complex issue with different factors affecting the individual.

Ethnographic Research

Ethnography refers to the observation of societal behaviours and people within different cultures. In the healthcare industry, people’s actions can be observed to find out behaviours. For example, how they seek out healthcare products or services and whether they ask family members first for medical advice or go to the doctor, or mapping their actions within a healthcare website.

How to Do Effective Market Research

Create Your Virtual Client

Envision your target market in an individual in terms of the characteristics and qualities that they would or do hold. Consider these features when creating a virtual client:

  • Disposable income
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Job
  • Family Size

Creating this virtual persona enables you to think in the shoes of that customer and ask questions about their behaviour. By using this generalisation of a target consumer, you can alter your marketing campaign, the method of communication you use and the way you create and write content which overall makes your marketing practices more effective.

Talk to Your Virtual Client

Once you have identified a specific potential persona for your product or service, create a way to communicate with a group of them. This group must be a good representation of the target audience. You can choose how you’d like to meet with them, whether it be a focus group, interviews or surveys.

This group should be curated of people who are interested in your product or of people who purposely didn’t purchase your product. In this meeting, you can establish the reasoning for the purchase or why they chose not to purchase. Also, meeting potential consumers can help you to understand their needs and demands, likes and dislikes and anything else important.

Observe CompetitorsTips for Effective Market Research in The Healthcare Industry

A cheaper way of conducting market research is to look at what your competitors are doing and if it is effective.  f it is, can you do it? If it is not effective, what are they doing wrong and can you avoid that? By observing the actions implemented by your competitors, you are able to save considerable amounts of time and money testing different marketing strategies to see which work and which don’t. Monetize on the failures of your competition! For example, are they handing out leaflets in GP surgeries and doctors waiting rooms? Are they using the Messenger to market their products or services in gyms? What are they doing that is successful?

Clarify Your Unique Selling Point

What is it about your product that stands out from the rest and will it make people want to purchase it over your competitors? This unique proposition should offer the consumer value that they have not yet received elsewhere. In order to establish this, you can collect the data of what your consumer’s think about your unique selling ideas and ask them what they think.

Mistakes Made When Conducting Market Research

Often the failure of a marketing campaign can be blamed on the market research being half-hearted. With the exercise to save costs and time, only one type of market research is conducted, therefore making the results unreliable. For example, collecting all of your research on secondary platforms such as the internet can have bad side effects.

It is important that the research is as thorough as possible and collected from as many different people and platforms as possible so that the findings are reliable and have all concerns of the consumer considered.

Final Thoughts

When conducting market research in the healthcare industry it is vital that there should be very little shortcuts. The research that is conducted should be thorough and the consumers you are providing your services and products to should have a clear desire for your product over competitors.

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