Marketing Research Tutorial

marketing research

Many organizations find the markets they serve are dynamic with customers, competitors and market conditions continually changing. And marketing efforts that work today cannot be relied upon to be successful in the future. Meeting changing conditions requires marketers have sufficient market knowledge in order to make the right adjustments to their marketing strategy. For marketers gaining knowledge is accomplished through marketing research.

In this part of the Principles of Marketing Tutorials we begin a multi-part discussion of research in marketing. We explore what marketing research is and see why it is considered the foundation of marketing. This tutorial also looks at the elements of good research including factors that distinguish good research from poor. We examine the risks associated with marketing research and see why it should be used to aid decision-making, but never used as the sole reason for making decisions. Finally, we look at the trends shaping marketing research.

Note:  In this tutorial we use the terms “marketing research” and “market research” interchangeably. Many feel there is a distinct difference, with “marketing research” covering a broader array of research efforts associated with marketing decisions while “market research” is specific to understanding nuances of a particular market. For the purpose of this tutorial we treat these as the same.

Planning for Marketing Research Tutorial

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 – Research Data Collection (Secondary and Primary)
5. Evaluate Research Data
6. Analyze Research Data
7. Communicate Results