The Marketing Research Challenge

 


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Many firms, driven by a need to better communicate with their customers and other stakeholders, recognize that marketing “is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business and is necessary for a healthy business . It is the whole business seen from the customer's point of view. " Every aspect of the marketing mix - the product, channels of distribution, price, and marketing communications - affects customers’ response to a product/service.

The Marketing Association defines marketing as “the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual (customer) and organizational objectives". The marketing concept is a business philosophy that defines marketing as a process intended to find, satisfy, and retain customers while business makes a profit. Central to both of these definitions is the role of the customer and the customer's relationship to the product, whether that product is a good, service, or idea. Thus, in order for a company to investigate whether or not it has successfully managed to satisfy its customers, or to examine what type of products and/or services it would be profitable to introduce, it has to conduct marketing research.

Marketing Research “is the planning for, collection, and analysis of data relevant to marketing decision making and the communication of the results of this analysis to management. " As the previous definition illustrates, in order to measure the success of the marketing plan, a marketing research is the appropriate tool for a company to use. By having a thorough knowledge of factors that have an impact on the target market and the marketing mix, management can be proactive rather than reactive. Actually, research is the difference between viewing the turbulent marketing environment as a threat or as an opportunity.

Two types of research exist; secondary and primary. Both must be used in order for a company to satisfy the previous objectives. Secondary research must be in terms of collecting / gathering all the necessary information that is already published. These data, that can become the company's database, acting as the first step of the research in order to perform the situation analysis, identify its competitors, perform a benchmarking strategy, and define those segments that wants to target, in terms of population, usage rate, demographics, behavioral patterns and lifestyle.

Directly related to the information gathered by the secondary research, next a primary one must occur. With the use of primary research-information that is not currently available, a company's management team will be able to understand better the potential customers needs and target those that are not adequately served by the existing practices. Also, primary research will monitor the sales increase of the company, follow with the competitors’ plans, and measure effectiveness of the business practices, such as quality of services offered, or communication tools used by the company.

Moreover, marketing experts refer to two major categories of data collection methods. These are divided into quantitative and qualitative methods. Named as quantitative, are studies that use mathematical analysis that can reveal statistically significant differences. On the other hand, qualitative research is a method that the researched data are not subject to quantification or quantitative analysis.

Particular attention must one pay at the research sample. Depending on the incidence rate, the percentage of the people or households in the general population that fit the qualifications to be sampled, the sample size must be large for the quantitative methods and small for the qualitative methods of research. Companies manage to create synergy among the above-the-line and below-the-line activities only if the competitive advantage is stressed adequately to all publics. Keeping track of the tools used and their effectiveness is a must, if the company is willing to maintain a constant dialogue with its target audiences and to ensure them that its image is accompanied by the values that are stressed and these are appealing and relevant to their customers’ needs. Thus, the research must be constant and ongoing. Today, the opportunities that arise have to be recognized promptly, and used at the right time. What a manager must ask himself/herself, is “Is my business and I devoted to the best actualized way towards the publics’ needs that I wish to serve?"

Kadence Buchanan writes articles on many topics including Consumer Information , Finance , and Business

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