Market research

Market research

INTRODUCTION

Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets and customers: know about them, starting with who they are.

It is a very important component of business strategy and a major factor in maintaining competitiveness. Market research helps to identify and analyze the needs of the market, the market size, and the competition.

Its techniques encompass both qualitative techniques such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnography, as well as quantitative techniques such as customer surveys, and analysis of secondary data.

It includes social and opinion research, and is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organizations using statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences to gain insight or support decision making.

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 about marketing processes, such as advertising effectiveness and salesforce effectiveness, while market research is concerned specifically with markets and distribution.

Market research

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.

THE PURPOSE.

The purpose of market research is to ensure you have sufficient information on customers, competitors, and markets so that you can be reasonably confident that enough people want to buy what you want to sell at a price that will give you a viable business proposition.

You do not have to launch a product or enter a market to prove there are no customers for your goods or services; frequently, even some modest market research beforehand can give clear guidance as to whether your venture will succeed or not.

While big businesses may employ market research agencies to design and execute their research, an MBA should both understand the process and be able to carry out elementary research themselves quickly and on a low budget.

The fundamental goals of market research

The purpose of market research from an MBA’s perspective is twofold:

To build credibility for a business proposition. The MBA must demonstrate, first to his or her own satisfaction, and later to colleagues, superiors, and eventually to financiers, a thorough understanding of the marketplace for the new product, service, or strategy. This will be vital if resources are to be attracted to execute the proposal.

Market research

To develop a realistic market entry strategy for the proposed course of action, based on a clear understanding of genuine customer needs and ensuring that product quality, price, promotional methods, and the distribution chain are mutually supportive and clearly focused on target customers.

You will need to research in particular:

Your customers: Who will buy your goods and services? What particular customer needs will your business meet? How many of them are there? Your competitors: Which established companies are already meeting the needs of your potential customers? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

Your product or service: How should it be tailored to meet customer needs?

What price should you charge to be perceived as giving value for money?

What promotional material is needed to reach customers; which newspapers, journals do they read?

Whether or not your operational base is satisfactorily located to reach your customers most easily, at minimum cost. 

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