Marketing Research

Lesson Objectives: marketing research

  • know and understand terms and definitions of marketing research according to Kotler
  • search definitions of primary research, secondary research, survey and experiment
  • explain the marketing research process
  • design a research plan
  • carry out a survey

What is marketing research?

Companies need information about the market to answer the questions:

  • Who are our competitors?
  • What do consumers expect? Which features of our product do they want?
  • Are our products up-to-date?

“Marketing research is the systematic design, collection, analysis, and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation facing the company.”

Kotler, Philip: Marketing Management. Millennium Edition. Prentice Hall.

The company might obtain data in various ways. The procedure contains

  • collect data
  • edit and analyse data
  • make decisions

Types of marketing research:

Primary research:
survey – observational research – focus group – behavioural data – experimental research

Secondary research
using internal or external sources.

Large companies have their own marketing research department. Small companies can hire agencies or conduct research in affordable ways, such as

  • engage students to design and carry out a project
  • use the Internet
  • check out rivals.

The Marketing Research Process

Step 1: Define the problem and research objectives
Research projects can be exploratory, descriptive and causal.

Step 2: Develop the Research Plan
This stage requires decisions on data sources, research approaches, research instruments, sampling plan, and contact methods.

Data sources
Secondary data do exist already, primary data have to be gathered for a specific purpose.
Sources of secondary data: customer data base, data warehousing and data mining

Research approaches
Observational research – listen how customers talk about the company, use competitors’ products or services
Focus groups – 6-10 persons discuss the products or services guided by a skilled moderator
Survey research – descriptive research – carried out to learn about knowledge, beliefs, preferences and satisfaction of customers
Behavioural data – customers leave traces everywhere – on the web, when ordering from catalogues, using credit cards
experimental research – to find cause-and-effect relationships, most scientific method.

Research instruments
Questionnaires: are the most common instrument to collect primary data. A questionnaire consists of a set of questions presented to respondents for answers The marketing researcher develops the form, wording and sequence of the questions.

Closed-end and open-end questions can be used. Closed-end questions provide answers easier to interpret, but narrow respondents’ answers.

The questionnaire should be simple, use unbiased wording and be pretested before large-scale use. The lead questions creates interest, difficult questions are placed at the end to prohibit anger, the questions should follow a logical order.

Sampling plan
Sampling unit – who is to be surveyed? (target population)
Sample size – how many people should be surveyed?
Sampling procedure – how should the respondents be chosen?
Representative samples require a probability sample. Non-probability samples are less costly.

Contact methods
Marketing researchers can choose between mail, telephone, personal or on-line interviews.

Step 3: Collect the information

This phase is the most expensive and source of  problems: respondents are not at home, refuse to cooperate, give biased or dishonest answers. Some interviewers might be biased or dishonest. Thanks to computers and telecommunication data collection methods are improving.

Step 4: Analyse the information

Extract results from the collected data via tabulating and developing frequency distributions.

Step 5: Present the findings

The researcher presents the findings to the relevant parties.