Marketing Research process way through which marketer evaluate the market, analyze the opportunities and threats, and try to show a best possible solution for addressing this situation. Actually, marketing research is conducted in order to get information about certain factors like customers, competitors or any other factor related to the external environment. All of such information collected is then utilized in the decision making process in the organization. Marketing research can be utilized to achieve the following outcomes.
- To measure the potential of the market.
- Sales analysis.
- Market share analysis.
- Identification of the characteristics of the market.
- Analysis of business trends.
- Analysis of the products of competitors etc.
Process of Marketing Research
The Process of Marketing research is comprehensive and divided into the following steps.
- Specification of the problem and research objectives
- Preparation of research plan
- Interpretation and reporting of conclusions
Now all of these steps are discussed one by one.
- Specification of Problem & Research Objectives
This is the first step in the marketing research process in which marketing manager and the researcher work together to define the main problem or purpose of the research. It is done carefully because if any mistake has made in this step, then that mistake would lead the whole research process into the wrong direction. After the specification of the main problem, the research objectives are also set by the marketing manager together with the researcher.
The research objectives may take the following three forms.
- Exploratory Research:
It is helpful in to obtain the preliminary information that supports to clear specification of the problem and suggesting of the hypothesis for solution.
- Descriptive Research
This type of research is fruitful in such cases where the things need to be described like, demographics and consumer behavior or market potential of a certain product or service etc.
- Casual Research
It is done in order to testify the cause-effect relationship of a hypothesis.
The specification of the problem and the research objectives should be kept in written form so that every member of the research team understands the direction of the research efforts.
- Preparation of the Research Plan
In this step of marketing research the main work is to obtain the necessary information (secondary data) and its effective presentation to the management. It involves a number of steps like contact methods, research approaches, sampling plans along with instruments etc. Moreover, the company should know what kind of information is already available and what kind is to be further required. Following activities are included in this step.
- Determination of the required information
- Obtaining secondary information
- Planning about the collection of primary data.
First the research objectives are converted into the required information that should be obtained. Then the secondary information is collected which is already available at anywhere from both the internal and external sources. At last the collection of primary information is made for a specific purpose.
Planning about the Collection of Primary Data
It includes the following steps
- Research Approaches:
Research approaches have a further more three types, which are as below.
- Observational Research:
In this research approach, the relevant actions, peoples and situations are observed to gain information. However the attitudes and private behavior are not observed completely. This is used in such cases where people are unable and unwilling to provide the required information.
- Survey Research:
In this type, people are asking different questions about their attitudes, knowledge, buying behavior to get required information. Descriptive information is effectively collected through this research approach. It is most widely used approach that has much flexibility, but it has a limitation in case when the respondent gives wrong answers or has no time to give answers.
- Experimental Research:
In experimental research different subjects are grouped together, and passed through different conditions having certain factors as controlled so that the different responses of these groups can be checked to get required information. Mostly the cause- effect relationships are explained in this research process. Surveys and observations may employed to get the causal information of the research.
- Contact Methods:
Contact methods may be of the following types
01– Mail Questionnaires are employed to get enormous information at low cost.
02– Telephone Interviewing is the quickest method for obtaining information.
03– Personal interviewing can be either individual or group interviewing.
04– Computer Interviewing is latest form through the use of computers in which consumers answer according to the questions shown on their computer screens.
Besides contact method, proper sampling is also made in the marketing research process, because it very difficult to cover the whole population in the research process. In this whole there are two types of research instrument used, which are as below.
- Mechanical Devices
This is the action stage of the marketing research in which the prepared plan is properly implemented to get the required results. In this step, the data or information is collected, processed and analyzed by either the company own staff of marketing research or by the outside team. If the company uses its own staff, then it has more control over the whole process. But there are certain specialized firms that can perform this job more effectively.
The information collection phase is more expensive and sensitive in the implementation phase of the prepared plan. In order to avoid the errors and mistakes of the respondents, the researcher should monitor the field properly.
04- Interpretations and Reporting of Conclusions
This the last step of the Marketing Research Process in which the final conclusions are presented to the management. In this step the researcher should avoid certain mistakes in the presentation. This means that the researcher should not provide the overwhelm numbers and statistical techniques. Instead, he should provide the important points that are helpful to the managers in their decision making situations. Another important point in this regard is that the researcher does not reach at the conclusion by himself alone through interpretation. The managers should also involve themselves in this step as they have already know-how of the main problem of the research process. This means that he does not blindly accepts the reporting of the researcher. So, the researcher and manager work together to reach at a certain result after interpretation, so that proper decisions are made in this regards.