Process and Areas of Marketing Research

Process of Marketing Research

There are four stages on marketing research. They are (1) Defining problems and setting the research objectives, (2) developing the research plan, (3) implementing the research plan and (4) interpreting and reporting the findings.
Marketing Research Process

1. Defining problem and setting research objectives

In the first stage of marketing research process, it is to define problem and set the research objectives. Marketing manager and marketing researcher should work together remaining in close contact to define problems carefully and to be in agreement with each other on the research objectives. Defining problem is to identify research area. This should be according to all resources like: financial, physical, and manpower. Literature review, case study, experience survey and brain storming can be used as basis to identify problem and define it. If the definition of the problem becomes wrong, collection of information, its analysis, conclusion and report also become wrong. The task of defining problem becomes complicated. While defining problem, problem and its nature should be clearly identified.

After the problem has been defined, the research objectives should be set. The research objectives should not be broad. After the objectives have been set, what types of information need to be collected becomes clear. Research model also can be determined by research objectives.

The statement of problem and research objectives guides the entire research process. So, both marketing manager and marketing researcher should agree to it for which they should work together.

2. Developing the research plan

After clearly defining problem and setting objectives, research plan should be developed. At this stage, plan is developed for collecting information. Sources of information, research method, research equipment, model plan, contact method, analyzing tool etc. are determined while developing research plan.

Information can be collected from two sources, primary and secondary, for researches. The matter, whether primary or secondary or both sources are necessary, depends on the problems and objective of the research. The first collected information data for special purpose are primary information whereas already published and used information are secondary information. Survey, observation, experiment etc. are the sources of primary information. Libraries, government, professional and business organizations, private business firms, advertisement media, university researches organization, Internet etc. are sources of secondary information.

Survey methods, observation method, consumer group method etc. are the major marketing research methods whereas questioners and mechanical devices are the major tools/equipment of research. Model units, models size and model methods are also included in model plan. The contact method of marketing research includes mail, personal interview, telephone, email, fax etc. Analytical tools included average, regression, correlation, variance etc.

3. Implementing the research plan

Implementation of research plan is the third stage of marketing research. After the developing research plan, it is implemented or data are collected and is analyzed. Field study is done for collection of primary data. Qualified and skilled person is asked to collect data. Questionnaires are given to fill up, interview is taken and they are recorded.

Data analysis includes the task of coding, tabulation and statistical analysis of data. Proper statistical methods are used for data analysis. Computer helps much in data analysis.

4. Interpreting and reporting the findings

The task of interpreting the findings and reporting is the last stage of research process. The researcher should explain the findings and submit to the management. Researcher may be experienced in research and make out findings, but a marketing manager knows more about the problems and how decisions should be taken. So, the research findings should be interpreted by the researcher and the marketing manager together. Interpretation of findings is the important stage of marketing research process. If the manager accepts wrong interpretation, even the best research becomes worthless. So, both the researcher and the marketing manager should interpret the findings together and take responsibility of research process and decision. The report of research may be oral or written or both in form depending on the nature of research.

Areas of Marketing Research

Market, products, price, promotion and distribution are included in marketing research areas. The selling and buying process or place of goods or service is called market. The goods, ideas or services having the power of meeting human needs are called goods. Goods are the bases of marketing. Goods or services are measured with money for selling in market. This is called price. Sale or purchase of goods or services cannot be without price. The tasks advertising, publicity, personal selling, sale exhibition etc. for supplying goods to target market is called promotion. Promotion of goods gives positive impression to the customers. The mechanism to supply goods to the ultimate consumers is called distribution. This includes physical distribution and marketing channels.

1. Market research

The place or process of buying and selling goods is called market. Market consists of goods, sellers and buyers. Sellers and buyers may deal directly or indirectly. Market research includes market segmentation research, buyers’ trend and behavior research, forecasting of demand research, dealers’ trend and behavior research, competition research, firm’s condition, market trend research etc.

2. Product research

The things or materials which can meet the needs of humans are called products. Products may be with or without physical shape. Product research should be done for making any product marketable. The product research includes quality research, feature research, style-color-size-shape-beauty research, brand and mark research, packaging research, product-line research, warranty research, post-sale research, development of new product research, product positioning research, product life cycle research etc.

3. Price research

The monetary value of any product is called price. It makes easy for buying and selling of products. Price should be equivalent to utility of the product. There should not be fixed high price for lower quality product. The price of product is affected by its production cost. If production cost is high, price becomes high and if production cost is low, price also becomes low. Price of any product directly affects demands. Price research includes price level research, pricing method research, price policy research, discount research, payment related research etc.

4. Promotion research

The activity in all done to supply goods and services to target market is called promotion. Today’s age is the age of promotion. If the promotion is not effective, even the best quality goods cannot be sold out. Products can be promoted through advertisement, sale promotion, publicity, public contact, personal selling etc. So, all these things to be done are included promotion research. Besides, media research, advertisement effectiveness research, channel promotion research, etc. are also included in promotion research.

5. Distribution research

The task of supplying goods and services to the consumption center from the production center is called distribution. Intermediaries, warehouse and transport have an important role in distribution. The task of distribution should be effective. Channel research, warehousing research, transport research, distribution cost research, distribution area research, inventory level and location research, order processing research etc. are included in distribution research.

Market research

  • Market segmentation
  • Buyer's behavior and attitudes
  • Forecasting of demand
  • Dealer's behavior and attitudes
  • Competition
  • Forecasting of business conditions and market trends

Product research

  • Quality
  • Features
  • Style, color, size, shape, beauty
  • Brand name and brand mark
  • Packaging
  • Product line
  • Warranty
  • Service after sales
  • New product development
  • Life cycle of product
  • Product positioning

Price research

  • Price level
  • Pricing methods
  • Pricing policies
  • Discount
  • Payment

Promotion research

  • Advertising
  • Publicity
  • Personal selling
  • Sales promotion
  • Public relation
  • Advertising effectiveness
  • Media

Distribution research

  • Channel
  • Distribution area
  • Inventory level and location
  • Transportation
  • Warehousing
  • Order processing
  • Distribution costs

Marketing Information System in Nepal and Its Uses in Marketing Decisions

The age of today is the age of information technology. Nepal has also moved forward in the development of information technology. The development of telephone, mobile, fax, internet etc. has made marketing research easy and simple. Although some marketing managers in Nepal take decisions at notion, experience and hunch, all managers do not do so. While taking decision, they are found using marketing information system.

After the adoption of privatization policy in Nepal, seller's market has changed into buyer's market. Economic globalization is increasing. Internal competition is changing into global competition. Marketing environment is getting more complicated. In this context, marketing managers in Nepal also are gradually changing their traditional decision making style into modern style and started using marketing information system in taking marketing decisions.

1. Marketing research system

Products, price, distribution, promotion, customers, sales, and competition are researched in marketing research. In Nepal, more emphasis is found to have given to promotion, sales and competition than to price, distribution and customers.

2. Marketing intelligence system

The mechanism of collecting marketing information everyday is called marketing intelligence system. In Nepal, information is collected from both formal and informal sources. Sellers, intermediaries, marketing information center, specialists, private agencies etc. are the formal sources of information. Customers, managers and other concerned persons are informal sources. More emphasis is found to have given to intermediaries and customers in Nepal.

3. Internal record system

The record kept in order to manage the activities in an organization orderly is called internal record. Internal records are related to customers and sales. Account record, special report and annual report, audit report are also internal records. Internal records should be compulsorily kept in Nepal. Even if some organizations do not update such records, they keep internal record. Both marketing manager and researchers use internal records in taking marketing related decisions.

4. Marketing decision support system

Marketing decision support system is another component of marketing information system in Nepal. It is not widely used in Nepal. Some multinational companies and joint venture banks use marketing decision support system to interpret data. Ratios, graphs, statistical techniques and mathematical models are also used in Nepal.

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