Introduction to Marketing Research
If you’re in marketing, you know that it’s a restless, changing, and dynamic field. The role of marketing itself has changed dramatically due to evolutions in society: new tech, new societal norms, globalizations, material and energy shortages, inflation, economic recessions, dying industries, dying companies, and rapid industry changes.
Because of rapid change, marketers today aren’t just focused on writing funny ads and attention-grabbing copy. Marketers have gone from being quirky to being quantitative. They’ve become more market-driven in their decision-making by being more data-driven. This is where marketing research has played a greater role than ever before.
Marketing research is vital to any business that wants to avoid expensive mistakes, launch successful products, and know how to make customers happy. Does this sound like your business? Then read on as we deliver a primer on the basics of marketing research.
What Is Research?
Research is an objective investigation of a subject in order to discover new insights. Research usually takes one of two forms: Fundamental or Applied. Fundamental research, frequently called basic or pure research, seeks to extend the boundaries of knowledge in a given area with no necessary immediate application to existing problems. One example would be the development of a research method that would be able to predict what people will be like x years in the future.
In contrast, applied research attempts to use existing knowledge to solve a given problem or set of problems.
How Market Research Works With Marketing
Marketing research helps marketers look like rock stars by helping them avoid mistakes, stay on message, and predict customer needs. It’s marketing’s job to leverage research to reach the best possible solution based on the research available. Then, they must implement the solution, modify the solution, and successfully deliver that solution to the market.
Many marketers consider market research as a servant function of marketing. However, most marketing teams function better when market research is considered part of the marketing approach instead of subservient to it.
Marketing research often focuses on understanding:
- The customer (purchasers, consumers, influencers)
- The company (product design, promotion, pricing, placement, service, sales)
- The competitors (and how their market offerings interact in the market environment)
Many types of market research studies can assist with this “Company-Customer-Competition” scope, such as:
- Monitoring customers and markets
- Measuring awareness, attitudes, and image
- Tracking product usage behavior
- Diagnosing immediate business problems
- Supporting strategy development
Outcomes of Good Market Research
Market researchers often conduct survey research that uses sampling and statistics. Different types of surveys focus on a specific area of research and involve the development of conceptual models that predict or explain a specific type of behavior.
Good research delivers 4 key outcomes:
1. Clarity. Simple explanations of relationships and interactions
2. Objectivity. Telling the truth without bias
3. Communication. Helping all team members understand the problem and its solution
4. Improvement. Provoking change through insights
Now that you understand the main roles and goals of market research, the next step is to learn how to conduct market research using sampling.