Market Research is the identification of a problem, the process of finding solutions to that problem, the results of which are implemented in the production, sale or distribution of a product or service. Market research is an organized attempt to gather data on potential customers and target markets: learn about them, beginning with who they are. It is a key ingredient in maintaining a competitive edge and a vital element of business strategy. Without market research, the companies would spend their time, resources and monetary investment without a purpose. A company should conduct market research to understand the existing and prospective tastes, preferences, purchasing power and other parameters of the targeted consumers.
Market Research can be conducted through direct sampling, such as focus groups, or via mailed questionnaires, focus group interviews, web-based surveys, or online surveys. Direct sampling offers the best opportunity to get honest opinions from the target market. However, it is difficult and costly. Direct sampling is not appropriate for researching new products or ideas, because new products are almost always in demand, are complex products with broad appeal, and/or are already known to a large segment of the target market. Also, direct sampling is not well suited for analyzing marketing research results for small organizations with a limited number of employees. Surveys are preferred because it is less expensive, more convenient and more reliable.
The process of conducting market research has changed quite a bit over the years and there are now four Ps for conducting marketing research that companies must keep in mind. First, Market Research is an analytical process; therefore, insights from marketing research are only attainable after a careful analysis of the data. Second, Market Research results provide an insight into the current market situation, which in turn can be utilized to shape and develop future marketing strategies. Third, Market Research can provide companies with in-depth information regarding target consumers, which is essential in the development of new product lines and the improvement of existing ones. Finally, Market Research results provide quantitative data that can be used to establish trends and the like.
There are four basic aspects of market research that must be taken into consideration. First, companies must choose the right type of market for the type of product or service they wish to provide. Next, companies need to know their target audience and find out what kind of marketing research they should conduct to build awareness among this target group. The next aspect is to know the current status of brand awareness. Companies that do not take this step may find that they are already behind the competition and this is why they must gather information about brand awareness.
The process of gathering market research data also involves gathering information about the current status of the company’s marketing campaigns and how effective they are at getting results. Companies should make sure that they understand what kind of campaign they should engage in to gain the most from their marketing efforts. Next, companies must decide how they intend on using the collected data to further improve their products and services for the target market. Companies should also determine the appropriate tools that they should use in order to gather more detailed data about their target market.
There are really four Ps. involved in the process of market research. This is why companies who are planning to engage in a marketing research should always keep these four Ps in mind. These Ps should help them in formulating an effective plan so that they can effectively gather more information about the market.