Market Research is a process of investigating and answering the questions about human behavior. The key role of the market research function in an organization is to provide reliable evidence which will help managers take better decisions.
This aspect of marketing is seen differently by managers as the real marketing. Such Market Research is seen as difference between marketing and selling. Market Research is analogous with listening. Conventional theory of selling is about the salesman talking. But, real marketing begins when one listens to one’s customers. Before providing the answers one must listen to the questions.
The marketer is often faced with a degree of uncertainty and can never be quite certain that even the best laid plans will achieve their objectives in exactly the manner expected. Uncertainty is normally greater in those markets which change rapidly. Unfortunately, many markets are experiencing change frequently in the recent years.
Much of marketing intelligence in general and marketing research in particular is gathered in response to a certain stimuli. This information collected is used in the development of new products or new marketing campaigns. The first elements of information which are available for the marketer come from within the organization.
The main Internal Sources of information include: Performance Analysis, Sales Reports, Informal or Oral Reports and other Written Reports.
The External Sources of Information include: Market Research Reports, Exhibitions and Conferences, New Media, Trade Associations, Directories and Libraries.
Primary Research, Secondary Research and Explanatory Research:
Explanatory Research: The Explanatory Research is intended to verify the scenarios that have been developed. It is used for gaining background information, defining terms of research, clarifying the research problem or hypothesis and establishing research practice.
Secondary Research: In many cases a company will seek out secondary data prior to undertaking primary research. Such data or information may provide valuable insight for the research team in preparing for the primary research. However, it is important that secondary data is evaluated effectively because not all information will be reliable, relevant and/ or valid for the current research project.
Primary Research: Once the Secondary Research has been completed, any gaps in the available data should normally become obvious. These gaps will need to be filled before the data is collected and can be analyzed properly and used in the decision making process. This can be achieved only by undertaking a primary research. This may require the data to be collected of a qualitative, quantitative or pluralistic nature.
Qualitative research is the collecting, analysis and interpreting of data by observing what people say and do.
Quantitative research involves the use of structured questions where response options have been predetermined and a large number of respondents are involved.
Pluralistic research is a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research, where the advantages of both can benefit the research. It is useful to consider the use of qualitative research first as it often the most useful to marketing decision-maker.
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