Marketing Research Process and Research Methods the Essay

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Marketing Research Process and Research Methods

The four steps in the marketing research process are designed to capture the information and insights needed to make better strategic and tactical decisions, gain greater intelligence on customer needs, and ultimately create greater value for a company. The four stages of the market research process are defined in this analysis with their applicability for given strategic decisions and trade-offs also discussed. The three dominant research methods including causal, exploratory and descriptive research are also analyzed from the standpoint of their applicability to specific types of decisions. Both of these concepts of the marketing research process and research methods fit into the broader definition of marketing research as defined in the text. The authors state that marketing research is the systematic design, collection, analysis and reporting of data relevant to a specific marketing situation facing an organization. This paper will also illustrate how these concepts fit into the author's definition of marketing research.

Analysis of the Marketing Research Process

In totality, the four steps of the marketing research process are designed to accurately and completely capture the information needs of a business and define a methodology that will lead to reliable analysis which can be used for effective decision-making. The four steps of the marketing research process also are designed to be flexible enough to take into account a wide variation in information needs within a business, yet structured and organized enough to drive accuracy, statistical reliability and usability of results. The level of statistical accuracy and reliability will be dictated to a large extent by the methodology decisions made during the second step of the marketing research process. Many companies will sacrifice a level of statistical precision in terms of extrapolating their results across broad populations of users, as cost and time constraints for making a decision based on research results drive greater urgency into the process. Each of the steps in the marketing research process are briefly defined and assessed next.

The first phase of the marketing research process is defining the problem and research objectives.
This is the most critical step in the process as it sets the direction, scope and approaches to measuring progress and completion of the research project. The most critical aspect of this first step is translating business problems and information needs into research goals and objectives that can deliver information needed to drive better decisions. The time spent translating business problems to research objectives is well-spent during this phase, as that will often make the difference between the research project being successful or not. Another decision made during this first phase or step of the process is what the methodology will be, how much the company can afford to spent in terms of dollars and time to get the information they need.

The second step in the market research process is developing a research plan and collecting information. This is where the research objectives are translated into a plan with dates, resources and costs assigned to each step. The research plan will also add a very detailed level of steps and planning, including process and action dependencies to make the methodology achievable in the timeframes needed. This step is also one where there is often a fair degree of debate between market research departments and business departments needing the information for a project or to make a decision. It is common for insights found during this phase to also force a re-evaluation of problems and research objectives as well, as marketing research and business unit managers debate what is achievable in the cost and timeframes of the study. Once the research plan is defined the next step begins, which is implementing the research plan.

The third phase or step of the market research process is getting the research plan done, and this often includes several phases of collecting secondary data in addition to interviewing respondents and completing surveys. This step can vary from a very simple series of interviews if the decision makers are….....

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