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Cornwall Innovation Club: Market Research

18 September 2020

Our market research themed knowledge sharing session was led by Robert Rush of PFA Research, who gave a witty insight into the world of getting to know your market. “How do you know you know?” asked Rush, as he challenged the attendees to answer to some fun Cornish polls (see image below).

True to the core of Cornwall Innovation Club, Rush focused his presentation on market research for innovation, in particular looking at proof of market and commercial viability for new products, services and processes. As we moved onto the more serious stuff, the importance of “user design” was highlighted, adding that it’s a “complex thing” where consumers needs and wants need to be aligned with design and feasibility, as depicted in the venn diagram below:

There were also lots of tips and practical knowledge given to help any businesses thinking about conducting their own ‘DIY’ research. Effective market research is systematic and requires: Objectives, Evidence, Analysis and Action.

Dominant data collection includes quantitative (online surveys) and qualitative (in person focus groups), whereby Rush pointed out that if businesses are going to undertake online surveys, then you need to be aware that 14% or surveys are answered on mobile – “so keep it simple” he says.

Although market research does take time and resource, costs can be kept low and there’s lots of DIY research that business owners can be doing themselves, such as:

Desk Research:

  1. Study competitors’ web sites
  2. Search engines
  3. Industry research (
  4. Government sources (,
  5. Directories
  6. Just ‘investigate’

Quantitative Data & Surveys

  1. Do a “Surveymonkey” (& others!)
  2. Social media polls
  3. Customer satisfaction ratings
  4. Sales figures
  5. Just recording data!

Qualitative Research:

  1. Listening to customers
  2. Observations
  3. Blogging / bulletin boards
  4. Depth interviews
  5. Conversations
  6. Focus groups


To see PFA Research’s full deck of slides, click on the following link: CIC Market Research Presentation.

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