You are probably looking for a way to start researching the market for your business niche. Or, perhaps you want to enhance your knowledge about the same. As an owner, it might get taxing if you have minimal understanding of the marketing research process.
According to the Small Business Administration, marketing research is the blend of economic trends and consumer behavior. It improves your business operations if you follow the processes intricately.
Did you know that the first step of the research process is crucial? The first stage involves defining the problem. You can refer to this as the problem definition stage, where you get to understand the topic at hand.
Source: Amazon AWS
Without this step, the following processes would become null and void. If you find this intriguing, read on to know more about the steps in the marketing research process.
What is Marketing Research?
Ideally, experts refer to marketing research as an organized initiative to accumulate data on targeted consumers and markets. You can systematically gather, analyze, and record qualitative and quantitative data from marketing services or product problems.
So, what is the goal of the marketing research process? It assesses and identifies the changing elements in the marketing mix and how it affects the buyers’ decisions.
Some define it as the process of understanding the viability of newly launched services and products.
Undergoing proper research for the chosen market is crucial because it helps businesses understand the persona of potential customers.
It allows your company to determine the interest level and discover opinions about the services and products. All organizations must undergo this effort of gathering information as it acts as constructive criticism or feedback. Furthermore, it allows you to compare your services or products with the competitors effectively.
Based on this vital component, you can tweak or change your business strategies while maintaining competitiveness in real-time.
How to Conduct Marketing Research?
You can gather data directly from your company and analyze it with statistics from any outside entity. It is mainly because of the combination of primary and secondary information. Therefore, making it a critical element in the R&D of new services and products.
That being said, you can conduct marketing research in the following ways:
- Hire research associates who would do it in-house for your company
- Team up with third-party companies who specialize in research for your niche
This way, you can access product testing and surveys to analyze the initial effect of your services. In some cases, companies employ the help of focus groups who get compensated with samples or get a small stipend for the process.
Fun Fact: The global revenue from marketing research companies is USD 76.42 billion.
Why is the Marketing Research Process Necessary?
There are various categories in the marketing research process. It includes brand research, campaign evaluation, competitor and consumer research, etc.
Your company must undergo proper research to access the perfect development and operational usability. At the same time, you need to understand the benefits you could gain from utilizing this.
- Maintain a customer-oriented approach
- Effectively connect with your audience
- Identify the opportunities for growing your business
- Reduce the risks by testing your concepts
- Access to data ensures that you take an informed decision
- Efficiently compete with other companies in your niche
Apart from these benefits, you also get to stay on top of the market trends. However, none of these would successfully affect your business without addressing the crucial first step of the marketing research process.
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The Importance of the First Step in the Process – Problem Definition (#1)
The very essence and productivity of marketing research stem from the first step. So, what is the hype of the first stage?
The researchers must analyze the objectives by defining the problem in this step. Any marketing research study needs to go through this initial step to achieve the end goal. Otherwise, the entire purpose would become redundant.
With the first step, companies can gather data about the marketing conditions. Consequently, they can organize, use and evaluate this information for their gain.
As mentioned earlier, you can either perform this step alone or hire someone else. Either way, the marketing research will start the same way. Defining the problem is essential as it structures every step that follows.
Researchers would consider the purpose by analyzing relevant and required data. Doing so would give them a better picture of the usability of decision-making.
In the problem definition step, you must have a planning or discussion session with the decision-makers in your business. Moreover, it involves interviews with experts and the analysis of secondary data. This way, you can gain qualitative research to help reach the different objectives.
The Objectives of Problem Definition
Before starting your initial research, your company needs to determine the learning objectives. Only then can you gain a clear understanding of the issues. At the same time, it will help you determine and craft the objectives in a way that presents an eventual workable solution.
Apart from that, the defining process must have the following objectives:
- Exploratory research – You can scout and better define the opportunities by undergoing in-depth discussions.
- Descriptive research – You can assess a situation in the market specific to consumer attitudes towards your products based on surveys.
- Casual research – You can use this to test the cause and effect through estimation between your customer and your company.
Based on these objectives, you must formulate a research design on the framework of problem definition. It will help you conduct and make the marketing research process more accessible and efficient.
How Do You Define the Problem in Marketing Research?
Diagnosing the problem statement will help you clearly define the issues. To develop a problem statement, you must have a specific and distinct objective, but how do you define the problem?
Mentioned below are the main components to make your research problem solid:
- Understanding the basis and background
- Analyzing the specific issues and segregating it
- Determining the scope
Once you perform in-depth research, the problems will get defined automatically. Once it is done, you can move on to the other steps.
The Consequent Steps in Marketing Research
If you follow the SMART approach, your marketing goal will be relevant to your company’s wishes. You can grow, compare, develop and measure your business after gathering the background information and identifying the problem.
You need to follow these consequent steps to ensure all your efforts become fruitful.
Step #2: Developing an Approach to the Problem
The next step should be to develop your research plan. You need to formulate a theoretical or objective framework based on an analytical model and analyze specific hypotheses.
Take guidance from industry experts, management, and previous case studies in this process. At the same time, this is where you analyze the qualitative and secondary data through pragmatic considerations. So, you can interview prospects, conduct A/B testing, a survey, and research online.
Step #3: Research Relevant Design Formulation
This step involves the development of a framework that helps conduct the marketing research process. Such a blueprint will help produce and obtain the required information, leading to possible answers.
Here, you need to decide the type of data to obtain through surveys from consumers.
In a way, you can create a sampling plan featuring a questionnaire to formulate the research design. However, remember to perform secondary data and qualitative research. In this step, you can plan for the data analysis by sampling the process and developing a measurable and scalable procedure.
Step #4: The Initial Fieldwork and Collection of Data
In the fourth step, you will require a field force. Here, the collection of data happens through personal interviews or focus groups. Moreover, you can even communicate via mail or telephone to collect survey data.
To make this step successful, you should train, supervise, select and evaluate the field force efficiently.
Doing so will ensure no errors in this crucial data-collection phase. Apart from the first step, this is important because you will formulate the plan based on the information gathered. The best example of collecting primary research data could be conducting in-store or in-home ethnographies or shop-along.
Step #5: Data Analysis and Preparation
The next step is to process the data through a cleansing, inspection, and transformative modeling process. The goal here is to highlight the valuable data and eliminate the redundant ones. Undergoing proper data analysis helps prepare and suggest conclusions that support the decision-making phase.
You can encompass diverse techniques like data mining in this analysis stage. This way, you can model the knowledge discovery based on a descriptive approach.
Utilization of databases would be wise if you want to extract information to identify customer behaviors, characteristics, and patterns. To ensure effectiveness, you must avoid bias and communicate the interpreted data properly.
Step #6: Report Preparation
The last step is preparing a report and presenting the accumulated solution to the marketing issue. Your report must describe the approach and underline the data analysis procedures used for data collection. Moreover, it should have conclusions and insight into the research design.
This is an integral step in the marketing research process as it recommends how to apply the research and enhance business operations. Therefore, ensure that the format is comprehensive and actionable and the presentation has the decision-making essence.
A successful report presentation should include remarkable facts, graphs, and figures. It will help you take the necessary actions.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the five steps in the marketing research process?
The initial step in the marketing research process is the definition of the problem. Based on the problem analysis, the researcher will develop a plan. It leads to collecting relevant information, which gets analyzed and reported.
The last step is to take actionable steps to solve the initial issue.
2. What defines the problem in marketing research?
Problem definition is the first step in the research process, and it is the most crucial one. The stage involves the presentation of the general problem. Moreover, in this stage, the researcher must state the issues while identifying their components.
Doing so will ensure that the problem gets clarified and clearly defined before conducting the proper research.
3. What is the difference between marketing research and market research?
Experts often use both these terms interchangeably, but technically, there is a difference. Market research deals with data gathering about market size and trends. On the other hand, marketing research consists of an investigative approach covering multiple activities.
Market research deals with consumers and distribution, but the latter involves consumer behaviors, marketing effectiveness, and much more.
4. What is the best example of marketing research?
The best example of marketing research is the utilization of online surveys and polls. Conducting these has become a patent technique because it is the best way to gauge opinions. As a researcher, it would become easier to understand the target audience and the market wants.
Besides, this is a cost-effective way of performing marketing research and connecting with your audience through critical feedback.
5. What is marketing research?
Marketing research is a broad umbrella term that defines gaining data through proper analysis of consumer opinions.
You can systematically analyze and record the qualitative and quantitative data produced from feedback on marketing products or services. Moreover, it is an organized initiative that helps assess or identify the changing elements based on consumer decisions.
Marketing research is necessary if you want to do business in a competitive field. Only then can you strategically and efficiently rule your industry. Consider the results as constructive feedback for the new products and services you released.
First, you should conduct generic and in-depth research based on the abovementioned processes. This way, you can analyze the viability of your product or service.
The first step in the marketing research process is defining the problem and issues at hand. After that, you can develop an approach and research for the design formulation.
The research process moves on to data analysis and collection. You can create a report to help you make adjustments based on the customer’s desires.
You can either do this in-house or get help from third parties. Either way, the process will remain the same and will eventually bring colossal ROI for your company.