User research and market research . . .  similar names, very different disciplines.

Classic market research and user experience are different, but at their core, they are very similar in terms of processes and goals. Both of their end goals are to figure out how to improve the product and services to make customers more satisfied.


User research focuses on users’ experience with products and services. Did the user like or dislike their experience with the product/service? What would the user change about it? The users’ experience can be observed through various techniques such as persona building and benchmarking

On the other hand, market research emphasizes on interviewing consumers’ preferences and desires of products and services. Market research can be performed through in-depth interviews, surveys, and focus groups

Both of these disciplines are in the pursuit to find one answer: what does the consumer/user want, prefer, and need? When these two disciplines are used together, they generate excellent results. Yet, not many companies realize they should be using both market research and user research. Companies who use both research strategies have an advantage compared to their competitors.

Turf War Turmoil

The turf war between user research and market research is intense and potentially harmful to companies. The turf war between these two disciplines normally happens by either:

  • Large companies where people need to justify their existence within the corporate, political landscape
  • Providers who are trying to sell you on their expertise in one realm or another
What kind of turmoil can happen if companies are subjected to the “turf war” and only use market research or only use user research?
  • Blinds companies to all else that is possible
  • Causes companies to miss opportunities with already qualified research participants
  • Causes overlap in research initiatives
  • Slows down improvement strategies
  • Wastes already stretched research dollars
What’s the solution?

Companies who are looking to flourish and to succeed need to be using both disciplines. Market research and user research should be used hand-in-hand, to produce the most credible results.

“Market researchers skillfully measure emotions, attitudes and opinions. UX researchers are very good at analyzing and interpreting behavior and have an ongoing role to give actionable recommendations on the actual design of the product. The key is to combine these skill sets” (Bosenick, 2012).

Best of all, Discida offers both market research and user research. Let us help you flourish your company.

The Takeaway

As researchers, we need to be knowledgeable in both disciplines to help our clients flesh out when to use what and in the end, deliver the best results to our client.

Additionally, we need to be willing to use aspects of each discipline to expand and to improve our research.

Lastly, we should push for collaboration between these two disciplines, to truly gain the most from our findings. Thus, making the most of the research dollars available.

Makayla Reeves contributed to this article.


Bosenick, T. (2012, September 21). The Synergy Between Market Research and UX [Web Blog Post]. Retrieved August 3, 2017, from