Marketing research is a crucial part of marketing system; it helps to refine ideas in decisions making of management by giving accurate, appropriate, and timely information. Every decision requires unique needs for information, and appropriate strategies can be evolved based on the information collected through marketing research. Too often, marketing research is considered briefly as the collecting, analysing and interpreting of data and information for someone else to use. Creative use of market information helps firms to attain and maintain a competitive advantage. Hence, marketing research is defined as input information to decision making, not simply the analysis of decisions which you took. Market research alone will not guarantee success; the clever use of market research is the key to business success. A competitive edge of the firm relies on how information is used by you than others don’t have or if doesn’t use the information. Marketing decisions contains problem that range from fundamental move in the positioning of a business or the decision to penetrate a new market to list tactical questions of how best to load a grocery shelf.
Situation analysis, strategy development, marketing program development, and implementation are the four stages which helps decision making in market planning process. During each stage, marketing research gives a major present for clarifying and diagnosing issues and then selecting among decision alternatives. Marketing research is not an instantaneous or an obvious way for finding solutions to all managerial problems in organisation. A manager who is facing with a particular problem should not blindly go for conducting a marketing research to find a solution to the problem, several factors to be considered before ordering marketing research. Sometimes it is better not to perform marketing research. Hence, the central decision to be made is whether to do or don’t do market research is called for in a specific situation. Factors that influence initial decision are as follows:
- Type and Nature of Information Sought
- Availability of scarce Resources
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
Even though research is performed to generate information, but managers will not readily use the information to solve their issues. The factors that influence a manager's decision to use research output are quality of research, conformity to prior expectations, presentation clarity, political acceptability within the firm, and challenge to the status quo. But make a note that researchers and managers agree that only the technical quality of research is the key determination of research use. Also, managers are less favourable to utilize research that does not conform to prior belief or is not politically acceptable. Some researchers state that the use of information and data is a function of the direct and indirect effects of environmental, informational, organizational, and individual factors. However, a researcher should not manipulate the findings to match a manager's prior belief. Further, managers in consumer firms are less likely to utilize research findings than their peer in industrial firms. This is due to a higher exploratory objective in data gathering, a greater interest of formal organizational structure, and a lesser interest of surprise in the data gathering. Ethics defines the moral principles or values that generally regulate the conduct of an individual or group.
Researchers have roles and responsibilities to their profession, respondents, and clients, and they must stick to high ethical standards to safeguard that both the function and the data are not brought into low esteem. The Marketing Research Association, Inc. (Chicago, Illinois) has established a code of ethics that gives as a guideline for ethical decisions making in marketing. Council of American Survey Research Organization (CASRO) has a detailed policy on marketing research ethics to which its members notice. Generally, Stakeholders involved in marketing research are
- Project client who sponsors
- Supplier who designs and executes the research
- Respondent who provides the information
In practice, a marketing research goal can be coupled into three major categories programmatic, selective, and evaluative. Where, Programmatic research is conducted to determine marketing opportunities through market segmentation, opportunity analysis, and consumer attitude and product usage research. Selective research is being done to test various decision alternatives such as new product testing, advertising testing, pre-test marketing, and test marketing. Evaluative research is performed to evaluate performance of programs such as tracking advertising recall, corporate and brand image research, and customer satisfaction measurement with the quality of the product and service. As increase in number of new products and types of services, the need for marketing research become vital and the future of marketing research tends to be both promising and challenging. Marking a new product is quite difficult. Companies are relentlessly working to get fresh information that identifies and explains the needs of new consumer segments. Some companies are stick their futures on product innovations, others are revitalizing. Not only the companies that always did marketing research doing well, the size of research activities also continues to increase.
- Researchers are doing more acquisition and competitor research, segmentation and market structure analysis, and basic strategic position assessments for senior management to support for its decisions.
- Other areas, such as the legal department use marketing research. Corporate Affairs needs to know shareholders, bankers, analysts, and employees attitudes and behaviour towards the company. The service department frequently audits service delivery capability and customer satisfaction.
- Whole industries that used to be protected from the unexpected and inexplicable change in and changing customer needs. Banks, Airlines, and financial services are seeing for ways to overcome advertising clutter, product proliferation, and high marketing costs brought on by sophisticated customers and competitors.