Marketing research is a process that simply cannot be omitted. For any successful business, it is a foundation, an essential component that serves a number of various purposes. Marketing research is what helps business owners and their representatives make well-informed decisions. It may also help a business reach its full potential and always remain on track with the important market trends.
Marketing Research Definition
Marketing research is a rather comprehensive concept. It includes numerous processes, techniques, and research subtypes. Generally, marketing research is defined as a systematic process of gathering information and data concerning a business’s marketing-related decision-making process, studying and analyzing that info, and developing possible solutions to the market-related issues. In other words, it is a process of studying the market and all of its components in order to conduct business in the most effective way as well as to satisfy the customers.
Being a rather extensive notion, marketing research includes all of the following except the study of a business’s internal processes and constituents:
- Market research. This process involves studying the peculiarities of a specific market a business is operating in, its size, potential and existing competitors, as well as other important characteristics.
- Customer research. Such a study implies defining the consumers’ preferences, buying behavior, response, and demand.
- Product research. This type of research involves studying a product or service and figuring out whether it is able to satisfy the current needs of the market and consumers.
Marketing research is more than important to any business, as it helps businesses reach the following objectives:
- an improved advertisement process;
- a stable and informatory base for the future business planning;
- increased sales in the long run;
- a better understanding of what customers prefer and dislike;
- more product distribution opportunities on new markets;
- a thorough analysis of the factors that influence a business’s operation;
- a better understanding of the competition.
Types of Marketing Research
Marketing research, being a complex process, involves numerous methods, tools, and techniques. It can be executed in various forms, each of which has its own peculiarities. Here are the most prevalent marketing research methods:
- Client surveys. They may be conducted in person, via phone, on paper, or online. Basically, each customer survey is presented as a list of questions, which may give a business the best possible insight into the customers’ needs as well as show what clients think about a product or service offered to them, reveal how they feel about a certain business’s brand, and tell whether they are satisfied with the overall service and experience a business provides for them.
- Focus groups. This research type may be quite expensive, but it is a very effective way to gather feedback from certain groups of people that share some specific characteristics (like buying habits or location). It typically involves small groups of around 8 to 10 people that participate in a discussion concerning certain products or services. A company’s manager or coordinator is always present to study the feedback.
- One-on-one in-depth interviews. It is a great way to ask a customer all of the questions needed to figure out what a certain product or service lacks.
- Observations. This is an effective method used to help businesses learn how customers actually interact with their product. This research type is rather time-consuming but can provide an unbiased info.
What Is the First Step in the Marketing Research Process?
An effective strategy is not possible without a thorough marketing research. And there’s always one step a research should start with: gathering the info. There are different types of information you may receive through the marketing research:
- Primary. This is the data that has been collected from original sources. In other words, it is the first-hand info gathered by a business itself.
- Secondary. This type implies all the data that is taken from the secondary, publicly available sources like reports or newspaper articles.
- Quantitative. This one includes all the numbers and statistical data.
- Qualitative. This type implies the info that shows customers’ satisfaction, needs, and feelings about the product.
Marketing research is just one segment of any business’s operation. However, it can be executed on any development stage for various reasons, while remaining an effective and reliable marketing tool in general.