Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information - information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the methods for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyses, and communicates the findings and their implications.
American Marketing association - Official Definition of Marketing Research
Obviously, this is a very long and involved definition of marketing research.
Marketing research is about researching the whole of a company's marketing process
This explanation is far more straightforward i.e. marketing research into the elements of the marketing mix, competitors, markets, and everything to do with the customers.
The Marketing research Process
Marketing research is gathered using a systematic approach. An example of one follows:
1. Define the problem. Never conduct research for things that you would 'like' to know. Make sure that you really 'need' to know something. The problem then becomes the focus of the research. For example, why are sales falling in New Zealand?
2. How will you collect the data that you will analyses to solve your problem? Do we conduct a telephone survey, or do we arrange a focus group? The methods of data collection will be discussed in more detail later.
3. Select a sampling method. Do we us a... [continues]
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