One of the main components of business research is marketing research. Marketing research is concerned with the application of theories, problem-solving methods, and techniques to identify and solve problems in marketing. Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, producer, and public to the marketer through information.
This information is used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; to generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; to monitor marketing performance, and to improve understanding of the marketing process.
Marketing research specifies the information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications. To offset unpredictable consumer behavior, companies invest in marketing research.
Increased customer focus, demands resource productivity, and increased domestic and international competition, all these have prompted an increased emphasis on marketing research.
Managers cannot always wait for information to arrive in bits and pieces from marketing departments. They often require formal studies of specific situations. This official study, whether performed internally or externally, is called marketing research.
We first define and discuss what marketing research refers to.
Marketing Research Definition
Marketing research is the systematic and objective identification, collection, analysis, and dissemination of information about issues relating to marketing products and services for the sole purpose of assisting management in decision making related to the identification and solution of problems and opportunities in marketing.
The goal of marketing research is to identify and assess how changing elements of the marketing mix impacts customer behavior.
The term is commonly interchanged with market research; however, expert practitioners sometimes draw a distinction, in that market research is concerned specifically with markets, while marketing research is concerned specifically about marketing processes.
Marketing research is often partitioned into two sets of categorical pairs:
- Consumer marketing research
- Business-to-business (B2B) marketing research
Consumer marketing research is a form of applied sociology that concentrates on understanding the preferences, attitudes, and behaviors of consumers in a market-based economy, and it aims at understanding the effects and relative success of marketing campaigns.
Arthur Nielsen pioneered the field of consumer marketing research as a statistical science with the founding of the ACNielsen Company in 1923.
Marketing managers make numerous strategic and tactical decisions in the process of identifying and satisfying customer needs.
They make decisions about potential opportunities, target market selection, market segmentation, planning and implementing marketing programs, marketing performance, and control.
Traditionally, marketing researchers were responsible for providing relevant information, and the managers made marketing decisions.
However, the roles are changing, and marketing researchers are becoming more involved in decision making, whereas marketing managers are becoming more involved with research.
The role of marketing research in managerial decision making is explained further using the framework of what is known as the DECIDE model. The structure of the model is as follows:
- D: Define the marketing problem;
- E: Enumerate the decision factors;
- C: Collect relevant information;
- I: Identify the best alternative;
- D: Develop (and implement) a marketing plan;
- E: Evaluate the decision and the decision-making process.
The DECIDE model conceptualizes managerial decision making as a set of six steps. The decision process begins by precisely defining the problem or opportunity, along with the objectives and constraints.
Next, the possible decision factors that make up the alternative courses of action (controllable factors) and uncertainties (uncontrollable factors) are enumerated. Then, relevant information on the alternatives and possible outcomes are collected. The next step is to select the best option based on chosen criteria or measures of success.
Then a detailed plan to implement the alternative selected is developed and put into effect. Lastly, the outcome of the decision and the decision process itself is evaluated.
A specialized form of marketing research is the so-called advertising research. The sole purpose of conducting this research is to improve the efficacy of advertising.
It may focus on a specific ad or campaign or may be directed at a more general understanding of how advertising works or how consumers use the information in advertising. It can entail a variety of research approaches, including psychological, sociological, economic, and other perspectives.
Another component of marketing research is product research. Product research looks at what products can be produced with available technology, and what new product innovations near-future technology can develop.
Marketing Research Examples
We cite two practical examples of marketing research.
Real estate marketing is a relatively new idea and concept nowadays, all over the world, including Bangladesh. It is now recognized as a fascinating topic of research.
Bangladesh is a small South Asian country with a dense population. The urban areas of the country are even more densely populated, suffering from serious housing problems, among others. The projected number of residents in urban areas in Bangladesh will exceed 80 million by the year 2020. This is almost equal to the population size of the country as a whole in 1977.
The land is very scarce, making further horizontal expansion nearly impossible. A large number of population lives below the poverty line and is deprived of habitable shelter along with other basic needs.
The weak housing conditions reflect our poverty. Several studies have been conducted in Bangladesh to identify the relative performance of real estate marketing problems.
But these studies failed to emphasize the customers’ needs and wants to apply marketing knowledge and strategies.
In this backdrop, Azad designed a study to examine the marketing practices of the real estate business run by the real estate companies operating in Chittagong City Corporation in 2010 (Azad, 2010: 50).
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MBA degree from the World University of Bangladesh, Shipra Rani Saha in her thesis entitled ‘Multivitamin Marketing Strategy of Incepta Pharmaceuticals’ studied the problems and prospects of the company above with the general objective of designing a winning strategy so that Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd can withstand the competition and take the lead in A-Z multivitamin-multimineral market.
In doing so, the author attempted a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threat) analysis. The specific objectives set to achieve the general goal were to:
- Analyze the status and possible trends in the business of pharmaceutical brands of multivitamin-minerals;
- Analyze the current and possible multivitamin-minerals marketing strategies of multinational pharmaceutical companies operating in Bangladesh;
- Explore the specific marketing strategies adopted by Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd. to market the A-Z multivitamin.