As we note in the Marketing Research Tutorial, marketers engage in a wide range of research from simple methods done spur of the moment to extensive, highly developed research projects that take months or even years to complete. While lower-level research rarely requires a formal plan, research projects that are intended to offer critical information to support marketing decisions generally involve a formal plan outlining how research will be conducted.
This research plan consists of multiple steps which under most condition are developed before research takes place. For instance, a researcher hired to perform work for a client presents the client with a written description of what is to be done prior to undertaking the work. This serves the purpose of making sure the client agrees with what is being done and also understands the commitment needed (e.g., costs, time, personal involvement) to complete the project.
In this part of the Principles of Marketing Tutorials we examine the process researchers follow to acquire information. Understanding this process is not only important for anyone carrying out marketing research but is also of value for marketers purchasing research from third-party sources. As we discussed in the Marketing Research Tutorial, relevant research must meet tests for research validity and reliability. For those purchasing research, the material presented in the this tutorial will help in that assessment.
The planning for marketing research consists of several steps that should be carried out in order. These include:
1. Determine the Research Purpose
2. Identify What is to be Learned
3. Research Design – Basics
4. Research Design – Data Collection (Secondary and Primary)
5. Evaluate Data
6. Analyze Data
7. Communicate Results