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Marketing research important to your business

businessmeeting33030027.jpgMany business owners begin to feel overwhelmed just by the phrase market research. However, by understanding what it is and why it is important, can give you valuable insight into your business. One of the major points of confusion is the difference between the terms, "market research" and "marketing research".

  • Market research-This is defined as when you have narrowed down a specific "target" and you are delving into the behavior of that target. In other words, this is research into a very narrow group of consumers.
  • Marketing research-This is different because it's dealing with a broader range of consumers. Marketing research includes "market" research, but it also delves into new product research and distribution methods. The best way to differentiate the two is to understand that marketing research is about researching the marketing process of a company, not just who they are targeting.
  • Effective marketing research should include the following steps:
  • Problem Definition-This should be the focus of your research. Remember you are determining how to market your product or service, or revitalize one where sales are down. You need to determine the best approach to make the product or service, profitable and viable, for your business.
  • Data Collections methods and needs-This part of marketing research is about determining how you will collect the data that you will need to solve the problem. This will be specific to the product or service, and the needs of the consumers. There are various ways to do this that include: surveys, telephone calls or focus groups (either in person or online), as well as many other methods.
  • Determine Sample methods-Sampling means who you will be collecting the information from. At this point you will need to decide what sampling method you will use. Different methods include: random sampling, a sampling that contains a similar element or a natural sampling.
  • Data Analysis-You will then need to determine who you will analyze the collected data. This can be done by software or even by hand. However, the reliability of the results should be considered as well.
  • Determine Budget and Timeframe-Marketing research like every other component in a company, will have a budget and timeframe that it needs to be completed in. You must have a clear understanding of how much you are willing to spend on research. In addition, you will need to have concrete dates as to when the marketing research should be completed. This way you are not trying to rein in a runaway research project, that has cost too much and taken to long.
  • Analysis of the Data-After the data has been collected it will need to be analyzed. This way a marketing plan can begin to be developed that will address the specific needs of the company. Every step of the process from development of the product or service, to the final marketing effort will fit into this data. If the marketing has been done right, then a plan begins to come together.
  • Error Check-At this point there should also be a check for errors in data. Keep in mind that is not uncommon, for errors to be found in data collected. Errors can be in the sampling method, data collections as well as just analytical mistakes. Marketing managers must be aware of the ramifications of possible errors and be prepared to make adjustments if needed.
  • Create Your Report-The final step of marketing research is to draft a report on the findings. The report should contain tables, charts, and or diagrams. It's important that the marketing report clearly communicate the results that were found in the research. Remember that bottom line is that the findings should lead to a solution to the problem that was identified in Problem Definition.
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