Market research helps to gather information that can provide critical insights into consumer buying habits, needs, choices, and opinions. It helps the organization to implement the most suitable marketing mix for the success.
Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information - information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the methods for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes, and communicates the findings and their implications.”
American Marketing association - Official Definition of Marketing Research
Further, market research provides current and meaningful information about the current market situations. Market research can help to gain competitive advantage in the short term as the information gathered would be just limited to the use of company and competitors may not be able to match the knowledge a firm has gathered. Market research involves gathering, and understanding all the available information which will assist a business to understand its market and competitors. It answers the basic questions like the target audience, their needs, competitor information and other market variables. There are two main sources of marketing research information:
Primary Research: This kind of research involves the collection of new information by conducting market surveys, telephonic interviews, questionnaires and focus group interviews. This information is gathered by directly contacting the customers. This research is customised according to the research requirements of the company. Firms can gain insights about the target markets by means of focus groups, surveys, interviews or observation. Primary research is generally based on sampling techniques and requires statistical methodologies. The sample size could be as small as 1 percent of the market and thus the information and results gathered are highly accurate.
Secondary Research: Secondary research involves processing data that has already been collected by previous researchers. It refers to consultation of previous studies and findings such as reports, press articles and previous market research projects in order to come to a conclusion. This type of research is based on information gathered from studies previously performed by government agencies, trade associations, and other organizations. This type of research is less expensive as opposed to the primary research as it does not require new research methods. However, its main disadvantage is that the information gathered may be old and obsolete and therefore results of analysis may be inaccurate. Further, it is not necessary that the earlier studies were conducted with the same objectives as required in the current situation.
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