Market research. What it is, importance, types, benefits

Market research is the process that includes the actions of identification, collection, analysis, and dissemination of information to improve marketing decision-making.

Its implementation occurs for two reasons:

  • To solve problems, for example, to determine the potential of a market;
  • To identify problems, for example, to know why a product does not have the expected consumption. In essence, it seeks to know the customer, thus fulfilling the first premise of marketing.

Below, through a bibliographic exploration, some of the characteristics of market research are presented, one of the most important topics within the marketing function.

What is marketing research?

Below are several definitions of what multi-author markup research is.

  • It is the systematic collection, recording, and analysis of data concerning a particular market, where the call refers to a specific group of customers in a specific geographical area. (American Marketing Association)
  • It is the search for consumers’ needs, desires, tastes, and preferences about a product or service. (Harrison, p.1)
  • It consists of searching and obtaining relevant, timely, efficient, and accurate data to reduce risk in commercial and marketing decisions. (del Castillo, p.19)
  • Marketing research comprises a set of activities that seek to define, collect and analyze, in a systematic way, information that allows feeding the decision process in marketing to make it more effective. (d’ Astous, p.7)
  • It is the identification, collection, analysis, dissemination, and systematic and objective use of information to improve decision-making related to identifying and solving marketing problems and opportunities. (Malhotra, p.7)

Types of market research

The methods to be applied to investigate the market vary depending on the purposes and circumstances of each particular case. The most common are the following:

Background research

It is the one that happens to the so-called secondary data that consist of information and statistics that exist somewhere (chambers, companies, databases, etc.) and that can be used to take knowledge of the commercial phenomenon in question. Although its cost is low, the information obtained in this way is very general and serves only as a first approximation to the subject. In any case, the researcher must ensure that it is reliable, updated, and relevant to the purposes pursued.

Quantitative research

It aims to obtain primary data by conducting surveys of those involved in the commercial process. Both its cost and usefulness are much higher than in the previous method. Statistical procedures are used to obtain respective samples of what is to be investigated to ensure that the results have reasonable validity. The design of the questionnaires, the examples, the entertainment of the interviewers, the supervision and control of work, the processing of information, its analysis, and the formulation of conclusions are all factors that, in this case, acquire fundamental relevance for the success of the effort undertaken. The method is one of the most used to investigate the market.

Qualitative research

It delves deeper into each survey, with a view to obtaining more precise and detailed information, although covering a much smaller number of cases.

Motivational research

It consists of sessions with small groups of people conducted by a psychologist specializing in commercial inquiries. This works based on a guideline guide designed to guide you about the aspects to investigate. The information that is possible to obtain in this way is of much greater depth than in the previous methods. Both motivational and qualitative are usually combined to confer the study’s statistical validity.

Experimental research

It involves experimenting with consumers to assess their relationship to a particular commercial action.

Market research can also be categorized according to the stage of the marketing process in which the information is collected. From this point of view, three types can be identified:

Exploratory research

It is appropriate in the initial stages of the process. It is designed to obtain a preliminary notion of the situation with minimal cost and time. Research design is characterized by its flexibility to be sensitive to the unexpected and to discover other previously unrecognized points of view. Broad and versatile approaches are employed. These include secondary sources of information, observation interviews with experts, and group interviews with specialized people and cases.

The conclusive research

It provides information that helps managers evaluate and select a course of action. Its design is characterized by focusing on formal procedures. This includes clearly defined research objectives and information needs. Generally, a detailed questionnaire is written along with a proper sampling plan. Possible research plans include surveys, experiments, observations, and simulations.

Performance monitoring

It is essential to control marketing programs according to the plans drawn. Deviation from the project may result from inadequate program implementation and unanticipated changes in context factors.

Effective performance monitoring includes marketing mix and context variables and traditional performance measures such as sales, market share, profits, and return on investment.

Work teams of the company can carry out different types of market research, but in most cases, they are entrusted to specialized firms.

The marketing research process

The market study is composed of five stages (Gitman and McDaniel, pp.437-440):

  1. Definition of the marketing problem and research objectives. Two key questions allow you to define the marketing problem correctly, what is the information required? And do you already have the information?
  2. Choice and design of a research method. There are three methods: the survey, the observation, and the experiment. Survey research uses questionnaires and can be personal or impersonal. The observational study observes how individuals act but does not interact directly with them. In experimental research, the researcher changes one or more variables and observes the effects of these changes on another variable.
  3. Data collection. Two types of data are used, the primary ones, which are gathered directly from the source, and the secondary ones, which were collected before for another project and can come from several sources, such as government entities or academic researchers.
  4. Data analysis. All data obtained are interpreted to conclude.
  5. Presentation of data. Conclusions and recommendations are presented to decision-makers.

Types of questions in a market research survey

According to the answer, they admit:

  • Open (questions that only ask the questions without establishing answer categories) They should be used very little in surveys because they have to be closed and standardized after the study.
  • It is closed: Dichotomous (establish only two answer alternatives, “Yes or No” and sometimes Ns/Nc). They should be used only for very well-defined topics that support these two alternatives as an answer.
  • Categorized (in addition to the question, they establish the answer categories): in turn, they are subdivided into:
  • Spontaneous response: The interviewer should not read the respondent’s answer.
  • Or suggested answer: the interviewer reads the questions to the respondent.
  • Rating: The interviewer reads a scale of increasing or decreasing the intensity of response categories.
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Andrew Smith

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