The Principles of Marketing Research

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Marketing research is the systematic gathering, recording, and analysis of data about issues relating to marketing products and services. Marketing research can be defined as a systematic procedure for providing managers with actionable decision making information. As such marketing research provides information that is useful in both the identification and the solution of marketing problems. The need for marketing research begins when a marketing manager faced with a decision realizes the need for additional information on which to base the decision. It is an essential aspect to the control component of the marketing management process. Sound marketing decision whether made as part of the planning process, or otherwise, require accurate and timely information about markets, competitors and consumer behavior. However, no research project should be implemented unless management is committed to using the findings as an input for decision making.

The marketing research process can be defined as the necessary steps in designing and implementing a market research project. It is imperative that as a marketing manager you are familiar with the process so that you can participate in key decisions in research design and evaluation of the validity of the marketing research process. Familiarity with the process will also enable you to ascertain the true value of the information provided by marketing research.

THE MARKETING RESEARCH PROCESS
1. DEFINE THE MARKETING RESEARCH PROBLEM & OBJECTIVE
Classification of the problem
Preliminary problem definition
Exploratory investigation
Final problem definition

2. DESING THE RESEARCH
Information requirements
Data collection approach
Contact method
Sampling plan
Data collection instruments

3. IMPLEMENT THE RESEARCH
Select/control interviewers
Collect & edit the data

4. ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION & PRESENTATION
Analyze & tabulate data
Interpret the findings
Evaluate the data against the research objectives
Prepare the report

Successful market research requires a disciplined approach to problem specification and data collection and analysis; it is not simply a matter of asking questions. Many market research projects fail to influence decision making because of weaknesses in planning, execution, analysis and presentation. Both managers and researchers are more likely to obtain findings that will be useful for decision making if they follow a systematic approach to doing market research. Organizations engage in marketing research for two reasons: (1) to identify and (2) solve marketing problems. This distinction serves as a basis for classifying marketing research into problem identification research and problem solving research. Problem identification research is undertaken to help identify problems which are, perhaps, not apparent on the surface and yet exist or are likely to company image, market characteristics, sales analysis, short-range forecasting, long range forecasting, and business trends research. Research of this type provides information about the marketing environment and helps diagnose a problem. For example, The findings of problem solving research are used in making decisions which will solve specific marketing problems. Marketing research techniques come in many forms, such as Ad Tracking, Brand equity research, Brand name testing, Online panel, Positioning and Test marketing. All of these forms of marketing research can be classified as either problem-identification research or as problem-solving research. Marketing research is also often partitioned into two sets of categorical pairs, either by target market: Consumer marketing research, and Business-to-business (B2B) marketing research

Or, alternatively, by methodological approach:
Qualitative marketing research, and
Quantitative marketing research

Marketing research uses the following types of research designs: Based on questioning: Qualitative marketing research - generally...
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