Marketing research is the process that links the consumers to the marketer through information. Marketing research helps a marketing expert gather information that can be used for defining marketing problems and opportunities. It helps the marketers understand consumers’ requirements and position their product in the market properly for maximum sales. If you have never done marketing research before, then don’t get afraid. It is not as complicated as people generally think of it to be. We can divide marketing research in six stages or steps. Let’s take a look at each one:
Define the problem and research objective
The first step of any marketing research project is to define the problem and then decide the objective of the research. When you are facing a problem, you must take a decision to solve it. However, to take the decision, you need quantitative data and market researcher provides that data. Here is an example of a problem- “I have developed a new fairness cream. Which feature should I highlight in my marketing campaign to attract customers?”
Once you know the problem, your objective becomes clear. For example, in this case, your objective is to identify the “feature” that will lure customers. The objective can be achieved by taking consumer surveys, talking with the industry experts and having a discussion with the decision makers.
Determine research method
There are mainly two types of research: primary market research and secondary market research. Primary market research can be done using four methods and they are
- Focus groups
- Experiments and field trials
When it comes to market research, survey is the popular weapon in a marketer’s arsenal. It helps you measure something very objectively, because it allows you to measure something specific. For instance, how many people are buying my product? If 100 people take the survey and 40 people say that they are buying your product, you get clear data.
2. Focus groups
People belonging to a focus group sit in a room together and discuss about a specific topic. What makes focus groups different from others is the fact that the group members have something in common. For example, working women in IT industry, below age 40 and earning $5000 a month. Focus groups are great for exploratory research.
Interview is like a miniature version of focus group. You talk with one consumer at a time, face to face. This is done when the objective of the marketing research is to dig deeper about a specific issue. For instance, customers said that they are dissatisfied with the after sales service. Did you say something in your promotion that is not fulfilled by the customer care team?
4. Experiments and field trials
Experiments and field trials are done to decide which marketing style will work better. For example, you pack your energy drink in two different types of cans. One can is colourful, graphics rich and another just features one colour and your logo. Release two cans in the market to see how the market responds.
This is a great research technique to validate the data of survey. For example, you can simply watch the shoppers’ activates inside a store. What do they like? How do they respond to the offers? They may have said in the survey that they like discount offers, but in-store activities may reveal that they prefer “buy 1, get 1 free deals”.
Secondary market research- It is all about seeking existing data. For example, US census data may reveal that there are total 1 million people in USA aged below 18 years. If you own a game console business, this can be a valuable data for you.
Data collection and analysis
So, you have spent time taking surveys and interviews. Now is the time to collect the data in a spreadsheet. After that, analyse the data and build tables, charts, graphs etc. so that the collected data starts making some sense.
Communicate the data visually to the decision makers by creating meaningful graphs and charts. You can make the charts and graphs interesting by using 2D, 3D images and let the charts be user interactive.
Analyse and interpret
Your charts and graphs should provide insights, answers and recommendations. It should help you reach your research objective.
Marketing research report creation
The entire research should be documented in a report that describes the research questions, data collection process, data analysis procedure and presents the final findings after data analysis. The report should be delivered in a comprehensible format so that it can be immediately used in the decision making process.
Marketing research will help you understand the market in a better way and you will be able to get the best out of your marketing efforts. Next time when you start marketing research, follow the steps mentioned in this article for sure success.