Brand Experience

Market Research vs. Marketing Research — What’s the Difference?

Have you ever wondered about the difference between Market Research and Marketing Research? Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, they have some differentiating qualities. The core difference between Market Research and Marketing Research is the scope of the concept.

First, Market Research is a more narrow concept because it is research focused on a specific market, place or location.

What is Marketing Research?

Marketing Research, however, scales on a much broader level. It encompasses areas such as:

  • Research into new products
  • Modes of distribution
  • Product development

It can also include promotion research, pricing, advertising and public relations. Both concepts are integral parts of marketing, which is essentially everything that happens before the sale of a product or service. Here's a quick way to sum it up: market research is a subset of marketing research.

Using the "Four P's" to make the Distinction

Product. Price. Place. Promotion. These outline the four P's of marketing.

Marketing Research covers all four of those possible measures to identify and understand consumer preferences. Where on the other hand, Market Research typically covers one of those four measures--place. Place includes an analysis of a specific market or segment. Market Researchers argue that what they do is customer-oriented and the measurement of market demand only.

The primary difference between marketing and market research is:

Marketing Research: Getting information about product and consumer preferences.

Market Research: Getting information about place--customer, competition and the industry in general.

Similarities Between the Two Types of Research

Though they have different purposes, both provide opportunities for asking questions, finding answers and using those answers to be a better marketer. Because Market Research is a subset of Marketing Research, it is easy to see why the two terms are often confused. They are both related to each other in great extent and are widely practiced.


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This post was originally published in June, 2010 and was updated January, 2020

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