The Steps in Marketing Research Process
Marketing research is a systematic search, gathering and analyzing of the facts and data on how to meet consumer desires and needs. In other words it is a means of gaining information on marketing problem and opportunities. Marketing research also serves the purpose of keeping up with competitors’ market strategies. It is a systematic method of finding new concepts or ideas, getting feedback on proposed advertising or gaining insight into attitudes and opinions about a new product. Marketing Research is also helpful in variety of business decisions and to prepare a credible business plan such as capital planning, cash flow forecast, sales projections, pricing strategy, supplies and number of employees to be hired etc.
Steps in research process:
Marketing research process starts with defining the problem and formulating the research question. The process starts with addressing and determining the organization needs and where to look for the information. Next is to decide on research approach, which is most appropriate for research question and most suitable research method then comes the plan for process of conducting research, after the research is conducted the final step will be analyze and report the finding and recommendations.
1. Define the problem and determine and formulate the research question: If you are considering conducting Marketing research chances are you have already identified a problem or the research question. To be effective, a research study must be both well designed and narrowly focused, this will help you identify the key terms and concepts you should use when searching electronic databases and print research resources. If the research question is too broad too much information will be obtained and large amount of resulting data will be difficult to analyze and there for of little use to organization.
2. Decide on the sources of information and sample profile: Different sources of data are categorized as primary data that researcher collects and secondary data that already exists. Secondary data can further be classified as internal data which as the name signifies a company already has and external data which must be gathered from other sources. Researcher need to plan the sources well from which information can be obtained.
3. Consider your resource options and select the appropriate research approach:
Next step is to consider your resource options and choose a suitable research approach. The process of primary research starts with whether question calls for descriptive, exploratory or casual research and choice depends whether research question needs to be answered with quantifiable facts and how an organization plans to use the information helps in making an appropriate decision. If the organization wishes to prove a fact about the demographic composition of its customer then descriptive study would be appropriate, but if wishes to find out about falling sales then it will need to conduct exploratory research and casual research will determine the effect of proposed change.
4. Plan the research method: Depending upon how research would be conducted, available Research method will include surveys, focus group, interviews, and observation etc. For example for exploratory research the emphasis is not on sample size but choosing the correct participant and the analysis of information they provide.
5. Conducting the research and collecting the data: There are many methods of conducting the research. Mail surveys are quick and relatively inexpensive, they are ideal for seeking extensive feedback on customer satisfaction or other detailed surveys Telephone interviews allow you to rapidly obtain feedback from customers in a cost-effective. Focus groups are facilitated group discussions where customers and prospects explore a particular topic, usually under the guidance of a researcher. They are useful for gauging customer concerns or for getting their thoughts on potential changes. Personal interviews occur when a researcher interviews a customer one-on-one. This type of research is ideal for getting detailed information on customers’ attitudes or how they perceive products or services. Observing customers at various points of contact in your business provides unbiased feedback about a product or service.
6. Performing data analysis and report the finding and recommendations: When analyzing data, always start from review of your research goals, this will help you organize your data and focus your analysis.
Reporting and presentation, is one of the most important of the steps in marketing research. There are as many reporting styles as there are research reports. As for reporting the results, the level and scope of content depends on to whom the report is intended.
The end products of marketing research are conclusions and recommendations. Data is converted into information and conclusions are drawn, it is this final information which management needs to reduce the risks and uncertainties in management decision making.
Marketing research serves marketing management by providing information which is relevant to decision making. To be effective, marketing research has to be systematic, objective and analytical, and final conclusion of the research should meet the objective of the project.
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