Marketing Research: A Simple But Comprehensive Guide

There are numerous scenarios an organization needs to foresee before launching a product or service. Marketing research is a study that helps them navigate through the highs and lows that come with branding, releasing, and selling visible and invisible commodities. A strong report in this regard created by a skillful analyst will provide useful information. Such individuals good at strategizing are welcomed into research teams by organizations. For a better perspective, this article covers salient features on this subject and provides a comprehensive guide that covers all related points.

 

A complete guide to marketing research

 

Overview

 

Marketing has witnessed tremendous changes over the years due to tectonic shifts in technology. However, for a successful result, it is important for organizations to know the preferences of their customers. For this, conducive marketing research is necessary. A knowledge of this subject empowers individuals and entities, to an extent, to foresee any sudden situations with regard to the existing environment of their products and services.

 

Research of any kind brings valuable findings that are useful for experimentation. Any organization armed with the best research team has the possibility of better growth prospects. Marketing research is one such method through which they can create strategies that are beneficial in the long run.

 

Organizations selling products and services are always attempting to widen their reach. There are many ways for such a process, however, before beginning the task of showcasing the products and services, they require a comprehensive study. They conduct many experiments before offering their services out in the market. Marketing Research is a study that encapsulates all the information an organization needs for launching or improving them subsequently as and when the need arises.

 

Economic sectors

 

This study can be applied to any of the sectors that are currently existing in the market. Some of these sectors are:

  • Automobile
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Technology
  • Medicine
  • Finance, etc

 

As mentioned earlier, businesses/organizations/entities that earn a certain sum through selling commodities are involved in marketing. The process of packaging them into something attractive, durable, and consumable is the key to gaining more customers. Each of these sectors, though different in many ways, go through similar phases of identifying target markets and adopting methods that would get them the data they need.

 

Methods and Types

 

Careful collection of data is required for accurate marketing calculations, the following methods are used for such tasks:

 

  • Qualitative Research: This involves descriptive feedback from potential consumers about the aspects they would prefer having in products and services. These are then put under different groups and examined. A successful examination leads to improved production of commodities and a favorable response from consumers.

 

  • Quantitative Research: It is numerical in nature and can be easily classified according to pre-decided groups. The numbers are computed and compared with desired results. Factors that make a standard for an optimum commodity can be tweaked based on these numbers.

 

For proper tabulation and presentation of these researches, different sources of data are acquired. These are:

 

  • Primary Data: Where efforts are taken to collect fresh data on a first-hand basis to gain a specific perspective on a product or service. Direct interaction with the people and the environment that aids in research can refine a marketing report. However, care should be taken regarding timelines when using this kind of source.

 

  • Secondary Data: when information that is already available is used to be divided into a sensible format according to the need of an organization. Public and private sources can be utilized by marketing professionals. While public information can be accessed easily, private information might require extra effort.

 

Some of the ways these data can be collected are through:

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Questionnaire
  • Census
  • Annual reports
  • Press releases, etc.

 

Unlike earlier times, it is easier to gain access to the above via both online and offline ways. This can be done directly and indirectly depending on availability and time constraints. Through the direct approach, there is a possibility of open discussion with participants of the research and through the indirect approach consumers’ behavior can be observed from far and conclusions can be made.

 

Various Techniques Are Used to Establish Whether a Commodity is/will Be Received Favorably:

 

  • Advertisement Testing: A popular method through which organizations try to understand if the message conveyed by them is recognized by potential consumers.
  • Brand Association: When an individual is able to connect the name of a brand to the product or service they sell.
  • Consumer Satisfaction: A feedback form, survey, etc. that enables customers to rate the performance of a product or service. This is measured by organizations for further study.
  • Trends Spotting: observation of behaviors of people or entities and recognizing things that currently hold the attention of the masses.
  • Market Segmentation: Consumers are divided into certain groups according to their preferences and the products are then presented for testing.
  • Price Flexibility: The price of commodities is subject to different changes due to changes in the economy. These are visually observed from the reaction of customers who are willing or not willing to buy a product or service because of these changes.

 

There are many more techniques that can be specific to some sectors or entities. A thorough search might provide insight to those willing to attempt different methods.

 

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Marketing Research As a Career

 

Theoretically an interesting subject, it has many nuances depending on different sectors. While a quick search might reveal some aspects of this kind of research, the in-depth coverage and practical application can be mastered only in a guided environment. Enrolling in a course that provides a visual approach to this subject enhances your observation skills which enable you to create data sets and proposals.

 

Institutes or schools offering courses in this subject will enlighten you regarding tools and shortcuts that can be used while designing such reports. Concepts taught will highlight the need for organizations and individuals working in the marketing world to use consumer-friendly methods for gaining material that can be inputted in preset formats.

 

After Learning These, You Will Gain the Following Skills:

 

  • Ability to calculate complicated data sets using tips and hacks of particular software
  • Improvement in interaction with potential consumers willing to experiment with products and services
  • A better understanding of the use of social media and other online means for generating research content
  • Ability to organize the descriptive and quantifiable data into an intelligible flow
  • Improvement in segregating useful facts and figures from a bundle of information
  • Ability to recognize profitable and functional channels for better consumer reach

 

Such capabilities are sought out by organizations willing to boost research in marketing. As an individual seriously considering a future in this field it is important for you to acquire the above and more skill sets that will get you a well-paying job and strengthen your CV.

 

There are organizations and agencies that hire candidates with qualifications related to this subject. Sometimes complete as well as field-specific knowledge is appreciated.

 

You could seek positions such as:

  • Marketing research analyst
  • Product Manager
  • Equity research strategy associate
  • Customer analytics analyst
  • Product marketing research
  • Data analyst, etc.

 

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Tools

 

There are some common tools every researcher should be aware of before delving into data gathering. These help in planning reports in advance for a better presentation before the stakeholders. While some organizations have built distinct software that suits their working styles, these tools are often used to create a base format.

 

  • Google Trends – Finding influential topics that are making the public gravitate towards certain issues is made easy with this site. It can aid analysts in making estimations for research purposes.

 

  • Social Media Applications and Websites – There are many free applications that are used on a casual and official basis by individuals and entities. They can provide a treasure trove of information that a marketing professional can pinpoint.

 

  • Google Forms – The templates are used in a personal and official capacity that helps in qualitative and quantitative research. After the forms are filled by participants it automatically summarizes the data in a manner that helps analysts judge the responses for further study.

 

  • Answer the public – Scores of people search for innumerable things online, each of which holds significance if viewed from the right perspective. These words, letters, phrases, etc. are tabulated on this website. This can give a preliminary take on the weight of these search terms.

 

  • Statista – Any researcher who would want readily available preparatory data that aids in creating seamless reports, this site is capable of doing that. A marketing researcher needs to select the relevant categories that apply to their organizations and read through the information which would give their products or services an edge above their competitors.

 

  • Make My Persona – a website that presents a form to be filled, using the organization’s target consumer base data these fill-in-the-blank style forms can be arranged in an orderly fashion and can give an interesting presentation while preparing for testing a commodity.

 

Each of them is used for understanding an organization’s target group. The constant influx of new technology has increased public participation in online events and discussions, hence the use of these websites can provide beneficial data.

 

Challenges Faced

 

Every job has its obstacles, marketing research is no exception in this case. Making research reports like this calls for engagement from all parties involved. It is imperative that different departments and volunteers from outside are given proper insights into the meaning of their contribution. Despite all this, there is a possibility of facing trouble while carrying out tasks.

 

  • Inadequate Feedback: Limited responses from participants during research are cause for concern as without sufficient data the report will not be able to fulfill the requirements of the organization. Without this, the product or service team in charge of launching a commodity will not be able to construct a plan.

 

  • Expensive: Overpriced testing techniques might slow down the process at each level of execution. Identifying the places that cause increased expenses should be on the agenda before deciding on beginning research.

 

  • Difficulty in the Identification of Target Consumers: Making assumptions in this regard without proper evidence can be damaging to the products and services. Outdated methods can be one of the problems faced by analysts.

 

  • Time-consuming: People are unwilling to partake in such activities as they become tedious if stretched for too long. Sometimes researchers make several changes during the process of testing which extends the deadlines of the product launch.

 

While these are some of the common issues faced, you might also face organization-specific roadblocks. Keeping your team members and seniors updated regarding new developments can make you aware of situations inside and outside the work environment through discussions.

 

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Ways to Overcome Them

 

The above challenges may seem impossible to solve at first sight, but an open-minded approach is necessary during such circumstances. As an individual working in this field, the tips and tricks taught in courses at institutes and in workplaces will come in handy.

 

  • Reward-based Participation: People are prone to be attracted to exploring a new product or service if they are beneficial to their lives. Similarly while experimenting as well participants need to be compensated with a free sample, voucher, gift certificate, etc.
  • Budget and Cost-cutting: While it’s tempting to use state-of-the-art technology and software for conducting tests, there are budget-friendly tools available that can carry out the required functions. Compare the tools and choose the ones that will bring the optimum results.
  • Mixed Categories for Grouping: Being too particular about categorizing target consumers might not bring desired responses. As people have a combination of sensibilities based on the difference in surroundings, the grouping should be flexible.
  • Fixed Timelines: Repeated changes in the finalizing of reports may cause a domino effect on other tasks. It is important to stick with deadlines with the scope of fallback, this will keep everyone in flow even if there are many changes.

 

A balance between deciding when to apply stringent measures and when to let circumstances change the level of execution is key to making a good report. However, the balance of illustrative and numerical is also a necessity for better demonstration. Showing the progression of the research through every step to team members, seniors, and other contributors can gain you useful input. Thus allowing the product or service to evolve into something better.

 

Future

 

Dependence on online facilities has increased in all sectors, be it in a personal or professional capacity. While the old software is still in use in organizations they are also willing to experiment with newer facilities. Students and working professionals are taking the time to absorb these technical changes by registering for courses that provide a degree or diploma that certifies them as an expert in these topics. It empowers them to handle complex systems that have become a necessity for fast-growing organizations.

 

  • Big Data Analytics: Consumer data can be recovered from different sources according to the steps of the research plan or it can be analyzed all at once. Due to data abundance organizations use tools to analyze details through formulae that can find hidden patterns, trends, preferences of consumers, etc. This can help in providing recommendations for better performance of products and services.

 

  • Business Intelligence: Information that is stored in a virtual warehouse is input into BI (Business Intelligence) applications that help in various business decisions. Due to the abundance of data in organizations, arranging them manually can be time-consuming. With the use of appropriate applications, pre-set goals can be tracked and business decisions can be carried out easily.

 

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  • Data Science: It involves the usage of mathematical and statistical models for making predictions. This also deals with a large amount of data which are collected in a virtual storehouse and then models are created. The machine learning algorithms are inputted into a format that then categorizes and separates information from sources such as emails, speech recordings, survey answers, etc. in a simplified manner. An analyst or programmer is given the task of enabling the algorithms to learn from the data.

 

  • Emotions detecting technology: The call recordings during sales calls, email responses from existing and potential consumers, feedback from test volunteers, etc are captured and analyzed using emotion detecting software. Through this analysts can make conclusions regarding the effect of the commodities on the consumers. There is software that analyzes a set of common reactions while others offer services that are specific to certain economic sectors.

 

  • Cloud Computing: Internal storage in computers poses difficulties even today and buying new hardware every time increases costs. The most feasible solution to this is investing in cloud storage. An agency or organization prepares documents regularly and each document is stored on different devices making it difficult to track later. Common cloud storage can help access company files through the internet. The files can be accessed by multiple users at the same time by enabling a private cloud design.

 

FAQs

 

1. What is marketing research?

It is a study conducted by organizations for the purpose of improving the quality of their products and services. In earlier times traditional studies were implemented for gathering information however modernization has led to the use of technology for research. People from any field of study can learn this subject as it is relevant for every sector of the economy. Commodities offered have an impact on the consumers and this impact is observed before and after releasing the product or service in the market. Creating and processing a report on this can give organizations an edge over others who are yet to implement such methods for research.

 

2. Why is it important?

Marketing research that covers all kinds of approaches to determine the effect the organization has on consumers also enables scope for growth. A report on such research gives an organization an opportunity to make changes to their plans to suit the needs of their consumers which in turn will increase profits.

 

3. How is it helpful?

Creating a report that touches upon the important aspects of marketing from the qualitative and the quantitative point of view will give an idea to the marketing team on how they should proceed with launching a product/service or revamping it so that it would sell better. Each stage of research gives way to innovative methods market that can attract more consumers.

 

4. What should marketing research reports contain?

A marketing research report is useful in both large and small organizations in any sector that deals with selling products/services. A report like this will enable them to recognize areas that are strong selling points and bring low-value/volume products to the forefront. This way they can juggle and decide if the products need to be revitalized and relaunched or scrapped fully. A good report covers all these factors and gives a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis

  • The well-received products/services are presented in a better format so that they are accepted by a wider customer base
  • The weak products are sent for testing and experimentation
  • The feedback will help organizations decide on future products/services
  • The threats will be eliminated as much as possible through heavier marketing or again revitalizing a product/service

 

5. How will it benefit my career?

Every sector in an economy has products and services that are launched and sold. An individual who would like to understand the inner workings of bringing a commodity into the market and analyzing its progress can pursue this as a profession. There are firms/entities/businesses that are seeking professionals adept at making reports that allow them to focus on multiple commodities at the same time.

You can apply for jobs such as:

  • Research Analyst
  • Senior/Junior Marketing Executive
  • Business Development Executive
  • Market expertise Executive
  • Business Analyst, etc.

 

Conclusion

 

Marketing Research has evolved over time giving importance to the technical aspects more than before. Each agency/firm/organization has a different manner of handling such research reports and is welcoming newer approaches. Having a career in this field has a huge scope for growth as rising consumption is giving way to more data which means more research and analysis. Candidates equipped with skills such as computing, statistical modeling, programming, etc. are easily accepted for a position in marketing research departments.

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