Marketing research provides any marketing initiative substantial information in which strategy is based upon. Furthermore, marketing research is a means for the company to acquire useful knowledge that helps in the firm’s decision-making process (Baines & Chansarkar, 2002). The marketing research process sets a framework of information gathering thereby leading to knowledge acquisition. As a process, the approaches in research follow the basic design looking for quantitative and qualitative data. The following stages make up the marketing process (Baines & Chansarkar, 2002).
• Problem definition – before any research takes place, it is elementary that every firm identifies the problem or issues that need to be solved or at least addressed. In the context of marketing research, the problem can be usually based on looking for fundamental elements for marketing strategy or addressing a decline in sales or researching new information for product development purposes. • Designing the research plan – the research plan determines the approach to the research. This includes identifying who is going to be interviewed or the sample, the method of interview, the procedures, and the location and time of the process.
The research plan is also designed according to the research’s objectives as also defined during the problem definition stage. At this stage the research initiative also determines whether the methodology is quantitative or qualitative. • Data gathering – from the research plan the research initiative further gains more detail in terms of its methodology. The techniques and procedures are finally decided such as, for instance, whether the research is done through a focus group or through random online questionnaires.
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The collected data from the methodology is then documented according to the designed system. • Data analysis/interpretation – from the collected data, the information are then analyzed and interpreted. There are certain methodologies used for this process including coding and transcription; after the organization of the data statistical methods and univariate techniques are applied in order to come up with valid results. • Report preparation and presentation – from the raw and analyzed data, a report is then created which makes the information more accessible and comprehensible to those who need to read it.
The preparation and the presentation approaches include creating tables, graphs and other visual tools that can help in creating a snapshot that explains the problem and the means that can be used in order to address them. In the marketing context, the research therefore ensures that the results contribute to the many operational functions of the firm that can contribute to its marketing success. Hence, market research can include product development to helping the firm define more effective management strategies that improves significantly its relationship with its customers.
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