Marketing Research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets or customers. It is a very important component of business strategy and definitely useful. Knowing the right techniques and methods to use would be ideal for you to take note of. Although, a part of it covered in the business plan, it is at this stage that you head out into the market and conduct the research.
Basically, it is a systematic gathering of, recording of and analysis of qualitative/quantitative data about issues related to marketing. It also identifies and specifies information that is required to address marketing issues. It also assists you in reaching out to the right audience, using the right channels, it is recommended that you invest a certain amount of capital and time in conducting market research.
In simple words, the entire marketing process can be broken down into 3 sections:
Firstly, the designing of information collection method. This refers to the decision of whether you would be using surveys, focus groups or opting for just quantitative info.
Secondly, the management and implementation of data collection process. This would be when you go into the field to actually conduct your surveys and other chosen alternatives.
Lastly, analysis of the results and communicating the findings, as well as their implications. This is the final step and usually the most crucial one. It highlights the areas of focus and allow you to work on factors that might need attention.
Market Research VS Marketing Research
A lot of people confuse market research and marketing research and tend to believe that it’s the same thing, with just different names. As similar as they sound, they have different goals.
Market research refers to the analysis of the market to identify if the sizes of the market and if the products can sell in the highlighted markets. Whereas, marketing research looks at the processes by which you can improve your marketing in your chosen market.
You research can be done in different ways. You could choose to do an experiment, where your results are analysed with variables changing one at a time. Another method would be to conduct an observation, in which you monitor patterns and behaviours. Finally, you could decide to carry out sample surveys where you ask direct questions to your sample size.
It is also ideal for you to know how to select the appropriate sample size. It all boils down to your initial data – your target group. Based on that data, you would be able to figure out what the right target sample size should be. Also, focus on how you can avoid biasness in the survey. There is no upfront answer for these areas as they are dependent on the situation and information at hand.
An example is shown on how to effectively input data upon surveying a sample size.
There are different ways of conducting surveys as well. It can be done in various ways, both face-to-face or virtually such as personal interviews, email surveys, telephone interviews or simply through the net. Some of the ways are discussed here.
Firstly, face-to-face interviews. These are good because you can reach the right audience by going to the right places. As a surveyor, it is also beneficial for you too as you would get a chance to probe further and probably get better quality answers. Also, the respondent would also benefit from it they can have the look and feel of the product and if need be, test it too.
However, there are certain downsides to it as well. The interviewer, one way or another, might influence the answer of the respondent or create some sort of a bias through the locations scouted for the survey. It is also more expensive to carry out this method.
These survey allow a light bit of anonymity and are also, not a very expensive method. It can help you reach a greater target size in a shorter time and usually is a wide random base. It is, also, not as intrusive as a telephone interview.
However, the surveyor might face difficulty in retrieving the required contact information and when you do, there is a chance that respondents might be unwilling, as many people hate unsolicited mail. This may also lead to a biased sample especially if the location isn’t wide enough. Usually, in such survey, they might be a need to provide incentives to get honest and quality responses.
These interviews are similar to mail interviews and cost less than a face-to-face interview plus, the results are attained fast. However, the interviewer could face a certain amount of reluctance from respondents and usually there is a short window of interaction. In such cases, there is also limited product and customer interactivity hence, that might affect certain responses received.
The internet is widely available and easy to use hence the response rate and time is generally fast. There tends to be lesser chance of interview bias and missing data, if any, is captured almost immediately.
However, for the interviewer, anonymity can be considered both a boon and a bane. It does create a sense of confidence amongst respondents but can also cause inaccurate answers. Also, for some respondents, to get the answers, there would be a need to have a smart device which, can be an issue in certain areas.
In an effective survey, the questions play a crucial part. Thus, in order to ask the right questions, be aware of the factors in your experiment. Firstly, decide on the hypothesis that needs to be tested followed by the analysis method. Consider the variable and how they will play a part in your survey.
Create sample questions and carry out a focus group activity to test out those questions, use their response to gain feedback on the questions prepared and how they can be improved.
Finalise survey forms structure and lastly, conduct the survey.
Question Formats : Categorical (Nominal)
There are different ways of phrasing questions and each achieves a different goal/outcome. The first one would be ‘categorical’ (Nominal). This usually a yes or no question (direct to the point) or the picking of one choice from a list of multiple options.
Question Formats : Ordinal Questions
The second kind is ordinal questions. This isn’t usually an open ended question but it is a preferential one. It usually expects respondents to rank or put options in order of certain attributes.
Question Formats : Likert Scale Questions
Likert scale questions refer to the use of feelings to associate to an option. The response is usually given in terms of a range of feelings about the attribute. Once again, it tends to not be open ended.
Choosing the right analysis method for your survey can save you a lot of time and provide you with efficient information at the same time. The surveyor can perform a cluster analysis and generally this is the easiest method of understanding the results. You basically put the data in a cluster map and get a good feel of the effect. Not applicable to all hypothesis but generally gives you a rough idea.
Secondly, measuring the central tendency and standard deviation. This is direct to the point and shows you exactly where the mid-point of all the data collected is and also indicates how widely spread the responses are hence, indicating if the likes/dislikes are commonly shared or not.
Next, undergoing a regression analysis. This technique usually measures the correlation between a set of 2 variables, identifying a pattern. Used to understand consumer behaviour’s and certain relationships between variables. Lastly, hypothesis testing. This allows you to make certain predictions of the relationship between one or a few variable, basically displaying if there is a cause and effect scenario present between the question and response.