How to Use Market Research For Your Business

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By: Site Engineer, Staff

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Marketing research can be defined as the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services. It may be undertaken by impartial agencies or by business firms or their agents for the solution of marketing problems.

Marketing research seeks to find the business locations, needs and wants of the consumers, the nature of competitors, the market generally, the promotional methods, the channel of distribution, the product features and the appropriate price for them.

Generally speaking, marketing research consists of a formal procedure for collecting and analyzing information, which is normally used to help solve one-of-a-kind problems of a special situation.

American Marketing Association in 1961 defines marketing research as

“the systematic study of those factors that affect business sales.”

These definitions underscore the importance of the research department of a firm. The entrepreneurs should embark on market research to find out such things as:

  • What products do consumers want?
  • What forms, colors, packaging, price ranges, and retail outlets consumers prefer?
  • What types of advertising, public relations, and selling practices are most likely to appeal?

The Purpose of Marketing Research

A lot of information and up-to-date information is necessary concerning the consumer, the market and the nature of the product to be produced to meet the need of the consumer and of the market.

Therefore, marketing research is an aid to the entrepreneur. It assists him in minimizing risks by providing him with systematic information that would enable him to reach a better decision.

Marketing research is equally necessary to find out the followings:

  • The nature of competition.
  • The market generally the buyers’ behaviors, the population, income distribution, market segments, purchasing power, etc.
  • The location of the business.
  • The needs and wants of consumers.
  • The promotional methods to be used to influence consumers.
  • The channels of distribution.
  • The product lines that should be used.
  • The price to fix on the products.
  • The features of the products.
  • The potential market demand for the products.

How to Conduct Market Research

The entrepreneur can embark on the market research himself or engage an external management consultant or independent marketing research organization. Therefore, some systematic procedures must be followed thus:

(i)         Definition of the Research Problem

The objectives of the research problems should be precisely stated. What information do I need generally about the consumer, market, and product? What is the research going to achieve? What specific problems will the research assistant in solving? These few questions will help the researcher to have a clear idea of what he is set to achieve. In some instances, these questions may be asked to determine whether a problem exists despite the increase in sales being recorded.

(ii)        Decide on the Practicability of Solving the Problem

This step necessitates the close study of the significance of the problem, a preliminary investigation of available materials bearing upon its solution, and discussions among members of the research staff, company officials, customers and other persons in whom the entrepreneur has confidence. Once this job is completed, judgment can be made as to the solvability of the problems and the costs involved.

(iii)       Review and Appraisal of Secondary Materials Available

If the preliminary investigation referred to above results in a decision to go ahead with the project, the next logical step is to assemble, analyze and appraise all-important available information on the particular subject.

(iv)       Planning the Gathering of Primary Materials

If a review of available materials reveals that it is inadequate for the purposes intended, a plan should be drawn up for securing data from primary sources.

(v)        Deciding on the Sample

No step in planning a survey is more important than deciding upon the sample to be employed; that is, the number and kinds of people or the forms to be covered. As a practical matter, the representativeness of the sample determines the validity of the conclusions and thus the value of the entire investigation.

(vi)       Actual Gathering of the Materials

This step refers to the methods and devices employed to obtain the data desired. Broadly speaking, it involves decisions on the procedures to be followed, the form of investigation to be used; that is, for example, mailed questionnaires or personal interviews or others.

(vii)      Summarizing and Analyzing Data

When the information has been collected, it should be summarized and analyzed. First of all, the forms upon which the information is recorded should be edited to make sure that only those filled out properly are used. When editing has been completed, the data should be reviewed to determine their adequacy and statistical validity. Provided that these tests are passed, usually, the next step is tabulation. If the forms are properly coded when the investigation is planned, this task is relatively simple. Once the information is tabulated, a careful analysis of it will usually lead to the preparation of certain statistical summaries, such as averages, frequencies, and corrections of various types.

(viii)     Interpreting Data and Formulating Recommendations

It is in connection with the interpretation of the information and the formulation of recommendations that the real ability of the marketing research man is tested. All recommendations should be subjected to scrutiny and reappraisal before they are released. Only supportable conclusions, well-founded in facts, are acceptable.

(ix)       Preparing the Research Report

Marketing investigations typically culminate in a report which is presented to the executives and which often recommends specific courses of action. This report should present the results of the investigations. To conserve top management’s time, many successful research men make good use of a summary of their recommendations as well as important facts and relationships revealed by the study.

(x)        The Follow-up

The market research director or the individual responsible for the recommendations should be fully prepared to support his findings and recommendations and do what he can to bring about their adoption.

Marketing and Selling

Many people generally misunderstand in marketing and selling. People often think that these two words are the same not knowing that selling is just an aspect of marketing.

Selling has to do with giving the thing that you have, not trying to find out what the customer wants but to persuade the consumer to buy whatever is offered.

Selling has to do with giving people what you have, persuading them to buy what you have, not minding what his needs and wants are marketing emphasizes on the customers’ needs and wants and seeks ways of satisfying those needs and wants.

In selling there is no retreating, if you go today, next time you go again. In selling you do anything to get the product sold, hence selling is aggressiveness. In selling emphasis is on the products and company (sellers) a need.

On the other hand, marketing differs from selling. In marketing, the emphasis is on the customers’ needs and wants. In marketing, the firm bends its products to fit the consumers, while selling the company bends the consumers to fit the company’s products.

 

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