Marketing research is the systematic gathering, recording, and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data about issues relating to marketing products and services. The goal is to identify and assess how changing elements of the marketing mix impact customer behavior.
This involves specifying the data required to address these issues, then designing the method for collecting information, managing, and implementing the data collection process. After analyzing the data collected, these results and findings, including their implications, are forwarded to those empowered to act on them.
Market research, marketing research, and marketing are a sequence of business activities; sometimes these are handled informally.
The field of marketing research is much older than that of market research. Although both involve consumers, Marketing research is concerned specifically with marketing processes, such as advertising effectiveness and salesforce effectiveness, while market research is concerned specifically with markets and distribution. Two explanations given for confusing Market research with Marketing research are the similarity of the terms and also that Market Research is a subset of Marketing Research. Further confusion exists because of major companies with expertise and practices in both areas.
Market research is an industry that overlaps with and is often referred to as the “insights” industry. However, the distinctive methods and techniques of market research do not always correspond to the digital-first approach of insights vendors. The emergence of insights focusing on data analytics rather than fieldwork is competing with market research for managerial attention and funding. Current research with market research practitioners shows two pressing concerns for the industry: online data commoditization and the increasing distance between market researchers and top management within client organizations. Both concerns boil down to the risk they perceived of market research becoming a legacy activity of the marketing department rather than the cornerstone of business strategy.
Market research aims to produce so-called “actionable knowledge” that firms find useful in their operations:
1. Framing managerial anomalies: an anomaly is a puzzle or a perplexing situation that the market research report is meant to solve.
2. Loading instruments with meanings: translate observations of commonplace social practices into the marketing ontology.
3. Signposting prescriptions: guide an intended reading to reduce interpretive flexibility.
The purpose of marketing research (MR) is to provide management with relevant, accurate, reliable, valid, and up to date market information. Competitive marketing environment and the ever-increasing costs attributed to poor decision making require that marketing research provide sound information. Sound decisions are not based on gut feeling, intuition, or even pure judgment.