Marketing consists of the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with customers that result in value for both the customer and the marketer. Marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others. The marketing management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customers’ requirements profitably.
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.
Importance of Marketing Research In Marketing Process
- To Make Marketing Decisions: Marketing research helps the marketers to make a decision about the product or service. Sometimes a marketer might believe that the new product or service is useful for the customers. However, research may show that customers do not need a product or are meeting their needs with a certain competitor product and so on. Similarly good marketing research strives to provide options for the successful introduction of new products and services. This makes the market entry of a new product or service less risky.
- Survive the Competition: Marketing research helps in ascertaining and understanding competitor information such as their identity, marketing network, customer focus and scale of operations. This helps in surviving and in certain cases, even leaving behind the competition. Moreover, with market research you can also help understand the under-served consumer segments and consumer needs that have not been met.
- Helps to Decide Target Markets: Research helps provide customer information in terms of their location, age, buying behavior and gender. This helps the marketers zero in on the target markets and customers for their products and services.
- Maximize Profits: Apart from profit maximizing steps such as item optimization, customer profitability analysis, and price elasticity, marketing research allows you to find out methods that can help you maximize profits. For example, a product’s price elasticity research can help you ascertain the impact of an increased price on the sales and the profits of a product. This emphasis on profitability also helps the company’s focus to shift from maximizing sales to increasing the profits of a company. This helps the company survive in the long run and maximize its profits.
- Increasing the Sales: Increasing the sales of your products or services helps a company in maximizing its profits. By understanding the customer’s needs, wants and attitude towards the products and determining whether your products fit the bill, marketers can increase their sales. This helps in not only increasing the sales to the target customers and people already using the product but also converting the non users into customers for the product.