Introduction to marketing research is a vital part of understanding the basic concepts behind the research involved in business marketing. Marketing research is the procedure of gathering and analyzing data relating to demand for a good or service in a particular market. It is not only concerned with finding out weather the customers will purchase a specific product or not but also analyses their response to various price levels, different ways of promotion, specific types of packaging, and desired means of distribution. Researching into the entire marketing process and analyzing its outcomes is basically the scope of marketing research. It covers a wide range of topics including: the importance of marketing; the differences between primary and secondary research and quantitative and qualitative research; analysis of appropriate marketing research techniques; and the usefulness and limitations of all research techniques.
There are seven sub divisions of this kind of research including, 1) Market research that researches into size and nature of the market and divides consumer behavior in terms of their age, sex, and income. 2) Sales research that deals with the issue of regional variations in sales and evaluation of various sales methods. 3) Product research that analysis the strengths or weaknesses of existing product and deals with problems related to diversification. 4) Packaging research is a component of product research but its effects on the market secured it an individual status. It deals with different aspects of packaging and its effects on consumer behavior. 5) Advertising research constitutes the preparation of advertisement, the mode to be used, and its effectiveness in the market. 6) Business economic research deals with the issues of input output ratios, forecasting, and formation of break-even charts. 7) Export market research analyses the export potentials of any product.
In short, marketing research is needed basically to lessen the risks related to new product launches, to explain patterns in sales of existing products and general market trends, to forecast future changes, and to evaluate the most preferred designs, flavors, promotions, styles, and packages for a product.
Marketing research employs both primary and secondary research methods for data gathering purposes. Primary research is known as the original data gathering from sources within the target market. It is also referred to as the first-hand data as the business collects this data for the first time for its own marketing needs. Secondary research, on the other hand, uses data that has already been collected by other organizations for their use. This data is therefore referred to as second-hand data. Secondary data is recommended for new businesses conducting research for the first time. This is due to the ease this kind of data collection provides. Primary research method constitutes conduction of qualitative research as well as quantitative research. Qualitative research is the data gathered through individual interviews of target consumers and quantitative research is done through observation, test marketing, and consumer surveys.