The Essence of Marketing Research

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Marketing research process

The major objective of marketing research is to collect information that will allow an entity to make better and more informed decisions. Marketing research is closely linked to the marketing concept as it implies a customer focus, that the customer is central to the activities of the company, and the opinions of the customer are highly valued and useful in decision making. The marketing research process involves logical explanation of the problem at hand and the development of an approach to the problem at hand. The methodical and goal identification, gathering, examination and reporting of information for the aim of helping management in decisions involving the identification and resolution of problems and opportunities in market (Kinnear and Taylor,1996, p 58).

Problem definition / research objectives

The process of problem identification consumes a lot of time however it is critical to an objective research process, conversely it is time not wasted. In the absence of a clear problem definition, the research proceeds on a different course. As a result it doesn’t yield the intended objectives and ends up wasting resources. Furthermore it serves to aggravate the worsened situation. A well defined problem creates avenues for the quest of an assortment of decision. The existence of a sole alternative, regardless of the search for several alternatives, it is comparatively easier to come up with research objectives. The availability of several alternatives gives rise to grading of the alternatives based on their practical applicability after analysis of their advantages and disadvantages. If even a sole option is absent it is irrational that the problem cannot be resolved. The gradation of the different options, precise research objectives can be arrived at (Churchill, 1995, p10).

Field work/data collection

Development of research plan calls for formulation of a realistic and effective plan for gathering of appropriate and considerable marketing information essential for conducting the research. This stage encapsulates several phases. Fundamentally, sources of data fall into two categories, primary and secondary data. An analysis of secondary data marks the onset of a research. A researcher examines the available data to determine if the problem at hand can be solved with the aid of secondary data. Secondary data is that data that has already been documented for a research other than the research being conducted. The absence of secondary data necessitates search for primary data.

Primary data is that data that is being documented for the very first time and is relevant to the research being conducted. The second stage involves determining the research approach. Observational research comprises of the researcher observing the relevant information. A focus group method of research is a group assembled to examine matters regarding the subject at hand( Avasarikar and Chordiya, 2007,p 2.4).

Formulating a marketing design process

Formulating a marketing design process is the most taxing. It usually encompasses a number of activities. The questionnaire design process encapsulates determination of the much needed information, determination of the most appropriate research methodology, specification of individual question to be asked, deciding the question structure and the appropriate wording. It also entails making changes based on pretest.

The statistical testing involves calculating how much error is the sample size is likely to generate in relationship to the entire population. The margin of error is the expectable error. To arrive at the margin of error first we calculate the confidence level. An effective questionnaire must include the following attributes. A questionnaire ought to be nominal, it makes use of numbers to identify objects. It also has to be ordinal this is to say that when figures are used to indicate relative position but not the magnitude of the variance between those two positions. A questionnaires interval is a rating scale that is used to and the arbitrary point is zero. It also has to take into account the ratio aspect. Ratio facilitates the incorporation of all the three variables into one.

Report preparation and presentation

There is no universally accepted format for a report organization and presentation. The summary is the most important aspect of any report. It is the basis of the report. A good summary contains the necessary background information that is important results and conclusions. Presentation of the summary must be in tandem with the body of the report but emphasis is laid on the presentations of the key findings. It is essential to make an inclusion of the key findings to each objective. Conclusions and recommendations are preceded by the main text and it elaborates a step by step approach and conclusions in detail. The development of recommendations calls for interpretation of all information and terms employed. The conclusion is of major importance in the marketing process (Churchil, 1995, p 164)

Market research designs

Research design is the framework for used to guide in data collection and analysis. if relatively little information is known about the subject under investigation the best research to utilize is the exploratory design. If on the other hand the problem formulated is precise and ambiguous the appropriate approach is the descriptive or causal research is employed. Exploratory research is employed when a researcher seeks an insight into the general nature of a problem possible decision alternatives and relevant variables that need consideration. Practically there is little information on which to build on and that is highly flexible and quantitative.

It is also essential in prioritizing research problems and for discovering about practical problems in the research. Studies might involve published data reviews, interviews, focus groups and examining literature. Causal research is utilized it is necessary to illustrate that one variable affects other variables.

Data collection

This is the stage at which information is gathered and put into use. The appropriate data collection methodology must be employed to guarantee an adequate data collection. A typical data collection commences with field testing of the resultant questionnaires with a small fraction of respondents from the sample size to verify if it is gathering information adequately. To produce an effective marketing research it is paramount that accurate information is obtained. Different methods may be employed to collect data and they may include, use of questionnaires, traditional telephone interviews, mail intercepts.

The mail surveys allow for larger quantity of information and it is comparatively lower. On the other hand it has higher response partiality. Internet / email surveys have a greater response and a highly interactive nature. The ease with which it is linked to demographics implies that there are no geographic boundaries. One demerit is the short concentration of respondents. Face to face interviews is the best form of data collection as it gives a chance for follow up questions but it is significantly expensive(Evans and Berman 1988,p 78).

Data Analysis

Data analysis employs different methods. The technicality of the data analysis methods dictates the kind of tools and programs to be used. A multiple regression analysis describes the relationship of each variable in a set. A cluster an analysis identifies homogenous subgroups within the larger population. A factor analysis brings about a reduction of the complexity data matrix into its fundamental structural examination. Perceptual mapping extracts multiple dimensions from a variable set and positions concepts within that context. A structural equation modeling test how well experimental data authenticates hypothetical model. Data mining identifies valuable and occasionally unpredicted patterns among variables in a set of data.

Reference List

  • Churchil, G.(1995). Marketing research,methodoligical foundations, New York: the Drydeu press.
  • Kinear, T. (1996). Marketing research, an applied approach, New York: the Drydeu press.
  • Evans, L. and, Berman, B. (1988). Marketing, New York: Macmillan publishers.

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