Marketing research refers to the process that links consumers, customers and end users to the marketer. It refers to the gathering of information and data, analyzing it so as to provide facts that managers need in order to make more important decision about the product. The researcher gathers information about the markets size and trends but may cover a wider range of activities.
The information gathered by the researcher will be useless unless it is used. The value of the information gathered is determined by:
• The willingness to act on the information gathered
• How accurate the information is
• How important the information is to decision making
• The risks involved if the information is ignored
• The reaction of competitors to improvements made from the gathered information
• The cost of the information gathered in terms of money and time.
The research process
The research process involves the following:
• Defining the problem
• Coming up with the research design
• Identifying types of data and the sources of such data
• Preparing questions and designing questionnaires
• Determining sample size and coming up with a plan
• Collecting the data
• Analyzing the data gathered
• Interpreting the data
• Preparing a research report from the data collected and the results of the analysis
Defining the Problem
The management must outline the problem it faces which it want solved by the research. The problem must then be translated into a research problem by forming a question that defines the information to be gathered. It must briefly state how the information will be obtained and how it will be analyzed.
The objective of the research must be well defined. The researcher must outline the possible scenarios of the research and the results he expects. This is important because it helps him formulate an action plan based on the scenarios and the expected results.
Marketing research can be classified as:
• Causal research
• Exploratory research
• Exploratory research
Exploratory research- it formulates the precise problem or could be meant to clarify concepts, gain insight, eliminates impractical ideas and forming a hypothesis. It can be carried out using surveys, case studies and literature review. It provides insight into a relationship that exists among the variables.
Descriptive research – it seeks to describe users of a product and help in predicting the future demand of the product. It defines the question, the people to be surveyed and the method to be used in analysis and interpretation of data. It could be longitudinal where a series of studies are carried out on the same individual or cross – sectional where a sample of a population is surveyed.
Causal research- it focuses on finding cause and effect i.e how variables relate. It uses both laboratory and field experiments.
Sources of information
Research can be done using different types of sources. Some of the most common ones are:
• Secondary data- previously collected data it could include data from invoices, government census and many more
• Primary data – data collected from the field using questionnaires, interviews or observation
Generally, a marketing research is meant to investigate how a product is performing or will perform in the targeted so that it can be improved on.