Market research is about understanding the broader marketplace in which we intend to compete. Marketing research, on the other hand, is about understanding what ‘package’ of marketing elements (i.e. the product, price, promotion and distribution factors) the country will need to put together in order to meet customer needs and to succeed in the marketplace. Market research is the more encompassing/broader concept of understanding the market environment in which you will be competing, while marketing research is the more specific/focused view of consumer needs and behavior.
In its role as the foundation of marketing, marketing research is arguably marketing’s most important task. Today marketers not only view research as a key ingredient in making marketing decisions they also consider information to be a critical factor in gaining advantage over competitors. Because organizations recognize the power information has in helping create and maintain products that offer value, there is an insatiable appetite to gain even more insight into customers and markets. Marketers in nearly all industries are expected to direct more resources to gathering and analyzing information especially in highly competitive markets.
Marketing research involves conducting research to support marketing activities, and the statistical interpretation of data into information. This information is then used by managers to plan marketing activities, gauge the nature of a firm’s marketing environment and attain information from suppliers. Marketing researchers use statistical methods such as quantitative research, qualitative research, hypothesis tests, Chi-squared tests, linear regression, correlations, frequency distributions, Poisson distributions, binomial distributions, etc. to interpret their findings and convert data into information. The marketing research process spans a number of stages including the definition of a problem, development of a research plan, collecting and interpretation of data and disseminating information formally in form of a report. The task of marketing research is to provide management with relevant, accurate, reliable, valid, and current information