1. N. Durga Chaitanya Prasad M.Com, MBA (SITE) 1
Marketing Research has two words, viz., marketing and research.
1. Marketing means buying and selling activities.
2. Research means a systematic and complete study of a problem. It is done by experts. It uses scientific
Thus, we can say, “Marketing Research is a systematic method of collecting, recording and analyzing of data,
which is used to solve marketing problems.”
A company faces many marketing problems. It faces problems about consumers, product, market competition,
sales promotion, etc. Marketing research helps to solve these problems.
Definition ofMarket Research:
There are many definitions of marketing research. Some important ones are:
1. According to American Marketing Association (AMA),
“Marketing Research is the systematic gathering, recording and analysing of data about problems relating to the
marketing of goods and services.”
2. According to Philip Kotler,
“Marketing research is a systematic problem analysis, model building and fact finding for the purpose of
improved decision-making and control in the marketing of goods and services.”
3. According to David Luck, Donald Taylor and Hugh Wales,
“Marketing Research is the application of scientific methods in the solution of marketing problems.”
Marketing research is a systematic process. It first collects data (information) about the marketing problem.
Secondly, it records this data. Then it analysis (studies) this data and draws conclusions about it. After that, it
gives suggestions (advice) for solving the marketing-problem. So, marketing research helps to solve the
marketing problems quickly, correctly and systematically.
Connected with MIS - Marketing research is a component of Marketing Information System (MIS). Marketing
research and MIS are interrelated. Both are used to solve marketing problems and to take marketing decisions.
Collection of Information:
Marketing research collects full information about consumers. It finds out the needs and expectations of the
consumers. So the company produces the goods according to the needs and expectations of the consumers.
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Tool for decision-making –
The marketing manager has to take many decisions. For this, he requires a lot of data. Marketing research
provides correct and up-to-date data to the marketing manager. This helps him to take quick and correct
decisions. Therefore, marketing research is an important tool for decision-making. Marketing research helps the
company to make its production and marketing policies. It helps the company to introduce new products in the
market. It helps to identify new-markets.
Marketing research also collects full information about the competitors. The company uses this information to
fight competition. It also helps the marketing manager to take decisions.
Marketing research is a continuous process. It has a few limitations. However, a company cannot survive and
succeed without it. Marketing research is a special branch and soul of 'Marketing Management'. It is of recent
origin and widely used by manufacturers, exporters, distributors and service organisations. Marketing research
is very systematic, scientific, objective and organised. It has a wide scope. It includes product research,
consumer research, packaging research, pricing research, etc.
Uses different methods –
Marketing research uses three methods for collecting data, viz., Survey Method, Experiment Method and
Observation Method. All three methods are scientific. The researcher has to use a suitable method for collecting
a reliable data.
Objectives of Marketing Research
The main objective of Marketing Research (MR) is to provide information to the marketing manager. The
marketing manager uses this information to make marketing decision and to solve marketing problems.
The purposes or objectives of marketing research are listed below.
1. Identify the consumer response to the company’s product.
2. Know the consumers’ needs and expectations.
3. Seek maximum information about the consumer, i.e. the know consumers’ income range, their location,
buying behavior, etc.
4. Know the nature and extent of competition and also the strength and weaknesses of the competitors.
5. Check the reaction of the dealers to the company policies.
6. Evaluate the reputation of the company in the market.
7. Identify and solve the marketing problems of the company.
8. Search for new marketing opportunities.
9. Find out alternative uses of the existing products.
10. Estimate the cost of marketing of goods and service.
Functions of Marketing Research:
The five main functions of marketing research (MR) are:
4. Prediction, and
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5. Aid in decision making.
Now let's discuss these prominent functions of marketing research.
1. Description: Marketing research gives full description about the consumers. It describes their age, sex,
education, income, etc. It also gives a description about the competitors and the market situation. This
description is used to take marketing decisions and solve marketing problems.
2. Evaluation: Marketing research helps to evaluate the company's performance. It helps to evaluate the
company's production and marketing policies. It finds out the customer reaction to the quality of the
product, price, packaging, advertising, sales, promotions' techniques, etc. If the consumer reactions are bad,
then the company must change its policies. It also compares the company's policies with the competitors'
3. Explanation: Marketing research gives explanations (answers) for all the marketing problems. For
example, it answers in detail, why are the sales falling, why are the retailers giving negative reaction, etc. It
gives all the causes or reasons for the problem. It also tells how to solve the problem.
4. Prediction: Marketing research also gives predictions. Predictions mean to forecast or guess about the
future. It gives a prediction about the future sales, future market opportunities, future risks, future marketing
environment, future consumer behavior, etc. All the prediction may not be correct. However, these
predictions help the company to make future plans and policies. It helps to take advantage of future
opportunities. It also helps to avoid future risks.
5. Aid in decision making: Marketing research helps the marketing manager to take decisions. It provides all
the concerned data, which is necessary to take decisions. Decision making means to select a course of action
from two or more alternatives. Decision making requires up-to-date and correct data. MR helps the
marketing manager to take decisions. It provides all the data, which is necessary to take decisions. It also
provides alternative course of action. It gives the merits and demerits of each course of action. It also helps
the marketing manager to choose the best course of action.
Scope of Market Research:
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1. Product Research:
Product means the goods and services which are sold to the consumers. It includes consumer products and
industrial products. Product research studies the individual product. It studies the making and marketing of the
product. It studies the colour, size, shape, quality, packaging, brand name and price of the product. It also deals
with product modification, product innovation, product life cycle, etc. The product is modified (changed) as per
the needs and wants of the consumers. Therefore, the product will not fail in the market.
2. Consumer Research:
Consumer is the person who purchases the goods and services. The consumer is the king in the market.
Consumer research studies consumer behaviour. It studies the consumers needs, wants, likes, dislikes, attitude,
age, sex, income, location; buying motives, etc. This data is used to take decisions about the product, its price,
place and promotion.
3. Packaging Research:
Packaging research is a part of product research. It studies the package of the product. It improves the quality of
the package. It makes the package more attractive. It makes the package more convenient for the consumers. It
reduces the cost of packaging. It selects a suitable method for packaging. It also selects suitable packaging
4. Pricing Research
Pricing Research studies the pricing of the product. It selects a suitable method of pricing. It fixes the price for
the product. It compares the companies price with the competitor's price. It also fixes the discount and
commission which are given to middlemen. It studies the market price trends. It also studies the future price
5. Advertising Research
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Advertising research studies the advertising of the product. It fixes the advertising objectives. It also fixes the
advertising budget. It decides about the advertising message, layout, copy, slogan, headline, etc. It selects a
suitable media for advertising. It also evaluates the effectiveness of advertising and other sales promotion
6. Sales Research
Sales research studies the selling activities of the company. It studies the sales outlets, sales territories, sales
forecasting, sales trends, sales methods, effectiveness of the sales force, etc.
7. Distribution Research
Distribution research studies the channels of distribution. It selects a suitable channel for the product. It fixes
the channel objectives. It identifies the channel functions like storage, grading, etc. It evaluates the competitor's
8. Policy Research:
Policy research studies the company's policies. It evaluates the effectiveness of the marketing policies, sales
policies, distribution policies, pricing policies, inventory policies, etc. Necessary changes, if any, are made in
9. International Marketing Research
International marketing research studies the foreign market. It collects data about consumers from foreign
countries. It collects data about the economic and political situation of different countries. It also collects data
about the foreign competitors. This data is very useful for the exporters.
10. Motivation Research:
Motivation research studies consumers' buying motives. It studies those factors that motivate consumers to buy
a product. It mainly finds out, why the consumers buy the product? It also finds out the causes of consumer
behaviour in the market.
11. Market Research:
Market research studies the markets, market competition, market trends, etc. It also does sales forecasting. It
estimates the demand for new products. It fixes the sales territories and sales quotas.
12. Media Research:
Media research studies various advertising media. The different advertising media are television (TV), radio,
newspapers, magazines, the internet, etc. Media research studies the merits and demerits of each media. It
selects a suitable media for advertising. It does media planning. It also studies media cost. It helps in sales
promotion and to avoid wastage in advertising.
Market Research Process
The market research process is a systematic methodology for informing business decisions. The figure below breaks
the process down into six steps:
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Step 1. Define the Objective & Your “Problem”
Perhaps the most important step in the market research process is defining the goals of the project. At the core
of this understands the root question that needs to be informed by market research. There is typically a key
business problem (or opportunity) that needs to be acted upon, but there is a lack of information to make that
decision comfortably; the job of a market researcher is to inform that decision with solid data. Examples
of “business problems” might be “How should we price this new widget?” or “Which features should we
By understanding the business problem clearly, you’ll be able to keep your research focused and effective. At
this point in the process, well before any research has been conducted, I like to imagine what a “perfect” final
research report would look like to help answer the business question(s). You might even go as far as to mock
up a fake report, with hypothetical data, and ask your audience: “If I produce a report that looks something like
this, will you have the information you need to make an informed choice?” If the answer is yes, now you just
need to get the real data. If the answer is no, keep working with your client/audience until the objective is clear,
and be happy about the disappointment you’ve prevented and the time you’ve saved.
Step 2. Determine Your “Research Design”
Now that you know your research objects, it is time to plan out the type of research that will best obtain the
necessary data. Think of the “research design” as your detailed plan of attack. In this step you will first
determine your market research method (will it be a survey, focus group, etc.?). You will also think through
specifics about how you will identify and choose your sample (who are we going after? where will we find
them? how will we incentivize them?, etc.). This is also the time to plan where you will conduct your research
(telephone, in-person, mail, internet, etc.). Once again, remember to keep the end goal in mind–what will your
final report look like? Based on that, you’ll be able to identify the types of data analysis you’ll be conducting
(simple summaries, advanced regression analysis, etc.), which dictates the structure of questions you’ll be
Your choice of research instrument will be based on the nature of the data you are trying to collect. There are
three classifications to consider:
Exploratory Research – This form of research is used when the topic is not well defined or understood, your
hypothesis is not well defined, and your knowledge of a topic is vague. Exploratory research will help you gain
broad insights, narrow your focus, and learn the basics necessary to go deeper. Common exploratory market
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research techniques include secondary research, focus groups and interviews. Exploratory research is a
qualitative form of research.
Descriptive Research – If your research objective calls for more detailed data on a specific topic, you’ll be
conducting quantitative descriptive research. The goal of this form of market research is to measure specific
topics of interest, usually in a quantitative way. Surveys are the most common research instrument for
Causal Research – The most specific type of research is causal research, which usually comes in the form of a
field test or experiment. In this case, you are trying to determine a causal relationship between variables. For
example, does the music I play in my restaurant increase dessert sales (i.e. is there a causal relationship between
music and sales?).
Step 3. Design & Prepare Your “Research Instrument”
In this step of the market research process, it’s time to design your research tool. If a survey is the most
appropriate tool (as determined in step 2), you’ll begin by writing your questions and designing your
questionnaire. If a focus group is your instrument of choice, you’ll start preparing questions and materials for
the moderator. You get the idea. This is the part of the process where you start executing your plan.
By the way, step 3.5 should be to test your survey instrument with a small group prior to broad deployment.
Take your sample data and get it into a spreadsheet; are there any issues with the data structure? This will
allow you to catch potential problems early, and there are always problems.
Step 4. Collect Your Data
This is the meat and potatoes of your project; the time when you are administering your survey, running your
focus groups, conducting your interviews, implementing your field test, etc. The answers, choices, and
observations are all being collected and recorded, usually in spreadsheet form. Each nugget of information is
precious and will be part of the masterful conclusions you will soon draw.
Step 5. Analyze Your Data
Step 4 (data collection) has drawn to a close and you have heaps of raw data sitting in your lap. If it’s on scraps
of paper, you’ll probably need to get it in spreadsheet form for further analysis. If it’s already in spreadsheet
form, it’s time to make sure you’ve got it structured properly. Once that’s all done, the fun begins. Run
summaries with the tools provided in your software package (typically Excel, SPSS, Minitab, etc.), build tables
and graphs, segment your results by groups that make sense (i.e. age, gender, etc.), and look for the major trends
in your data. Start to formulate the story you will tell.
Step 6. Visualize Your Data and Communicate Results
You’ve spent hours pouring through your raw data, building useful summary tables, charts and graphs. Now is
the time to compile the most meaningful take-away into a digestible report or presentation. A great way to
present the data is to start with the research objectives and business problem that were identified in step 1.
Restate those business questions, and then present your recommendations based on the data, to address those