Understanding the Steps of Marketing Research Process

Understanding the Steps of Marketing Research Process

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Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on May 19, 2024 23:57 IST

For companies, in order to understand the requirements of customers and the upcoming trends in the market, the process of marketing research is necessary.


In this article, we will be discussing the details of marketing research process and its benefits for companies.

Table of Contents

Definition of Marketing Research

Marketing research refers to systematic gathering, recording and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data related to issues of marketing products. It involves specifying data to address these issues, designing methods to collect information, manage and implement data collection process. Once the collected data is analyzed, its results and implications are forwarded to a team that will work on this analysis.  

While market research and marketing research are sometimes interchanged incorrectly, However, market research is the subset of marketing research. This process is partitioned into categorical pairs of either target market or methodological approach. By target market, it is segregated into consumer marketing research and business-to-business marketing research. Alternatively, by methodological approach, it is qualitative and quantitative research

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Benefits of Marketing Research

Marketing research has the following benefits for any business:

  1. Understanding the market: One of the biggest benefits of marketing research is the company can better understand the market in which they are competing. This helps the company in coming up with services and products that are more relevant to customers in that market.
  2. Higher returns on investments: With the knowledge of what works among target customers, companies can invest in relevant business processes. This will ensure that companies are getting back higher returns on investments. Overall, this helps companies in making more profits than expected.
  3. Stay ahead of the competition: This gives the company an upper hand over its competitors since it has knowledge of what works in that market. It can also stay ahead of its competitors by leveraging the current trends in the market. Thus, the company gains popularity and establishes a unique position in the market space.

Processes of Marketing Research

Marketing research is conducted in the following six-step process:

1. Identifying and Defining the Problem

This is the first step in the marketing research process, where problems are clearly defined and identified. For this purpose, researchers state marketing and business problems that need to be addressed. For this, we require additional information to figure out the solution. For this purpose, we need to understand the actual research question that we need to explore. 

We also need to identify problems that we are seeking answers for in the research outcome. Based on this analysis, we need to identify the information that is missing. In this step, researchers generate preliminary questions to base the research around it. It is extremely important to accurately and adequately define the problem. 

2. Determining and developing an approach

In this step, objectives or theoretical framework is formulated. Analytical models are constructed, and research questions are generated. The factors that can influence research design are also identified. In this process, management and industry experts discuss simulations and case studies. Secondary data is analyzed, and qualitative research takes place. 

In this process, the researcher states the general problem and identifies specific components of the marketing research problem. For this step, communication in the form of a research brief is necessary between marketing researchers and decision-makers. Marketing researchers respond to this research brief with the research proposal. This proposal contains the vision of the solution to the research problem.

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3. Developing a Research Plan

Once you have developed an approach, research objectives, and set of problem-related questions, researchers develop a research plan. In this plan, you need to map out your requirements for thorough research. This includes customer opinion, data requirements, information on competitors, and market trends. 

Based on these factors, you can develop a research design. For these details, researchers will have to conduct both primary and secondary research. Primary research is conducted by communicating directly with customers. For secondary research, documents are available. 

4. Conducting Research 

It is the most important part of the marketing research process. Conducting research is important since accurate and adequate information can be gathered only then. First of all, existing research and data are reviewed to determine if it is relevant to the problem. By reviewing existing material, one can gain insights into the problem for which we are conducting research. This secondary research is always important since it not only saves time but also efforts of conducting interviews in person. After gathering data through secondary research, researchers must conduct primary research to understand the market and what consumers demand. 

For this, different types of interviews, surveys, and polls are conducted. This is a street-smart method to understand the actual condition of the market and consumer behavior. There should be a proper way to obtain data from respondents. For this, we need to design a sampling plan and questionnaire for the selection of respondents for the study. 

For the research design, the following steps must be completed:

  • Analysis of secondary data
  • Qualitative research
  • Deciding methods of quantitative data collection
  • Defining the required information
  • Measurement and scaling procedures
  • Designing questionnaire
  • Sample size and sampling process
  • Plan of data analysis

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5. Data Collection

Once the plan for research has been created, it is important to gather data through surveys, interviews, and other methods. At this stage, the researcher needs to decide the method of collecting the information. The method must be selected in a way to avoid biased opinions of the respondent.  Professionals can conduct telephonic interviews, send emails and surveys to collect the data. These professionals must be trained and evaluated beforehand to minimize data collection errors. 

6. Preparation and data analysis 

Once the data is obtained, it should be transformed into useful information from just being primary and secondary data. This involves data editing, coding, transcription, and verification. Every questionnaire is inspected, edited, and even corrected. To represent every response in the questionnaire, either number or letter codes are assigned. This data is transcribed or key-punched on magnetic tapes, and disks are uploaded directly to the computer. 

Verification ensures that data from actual questionnaires is accurately transcribed. The collected information should be organized in a way to obtain some analysis. Several statistical techniques, such as advanced decision models, measures of dispersion, and compute averages, are applied. When there is a single measurement of every element or unit in the sample, researchers should use univariate techniques. 

If there are multiple measurements, every RCG variable is analyzed in isolation. Multivariate techniques will be used to analyze the data when there are two or more measurements on every element and variables are simultaneously analyzed. Analytical techniques such as regression analysis, conjoint analysis, predictive modeling and unstructured data analysis are used as analytical techniques. 

7. Reporting The Analysis and Findings

Professionals involved in the business should interpret the data since they can identify the relevant insights and accordingly make recommendations from the research finding. This report consists of both analysis and data interpretation to address project objectives. The findings are then presented to the top-level management so that they can understand the problem and the way it is summarized. 

The findings should be in a comprehensible format so that they are easily understandable by the business. Along with that, oral presentations using statistics, graphs, figures and tables should be given more clarity. On the basis of these report findings, the management makes decisions after understanding the research and reasons behind choosing a new path.

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Marketing research is crucial for ensuring that a company can understand the mindset of its customers. Based on the findings of these reports, they can develop products that can fulfill customers’ requirements. They can also set trends since they have a thorough analysis of current trends as well as projections.


How do you choose the right research method for a marketing study?

Choosing the right research method depends on the research objectives, the type of information needed, the budget, and the time available. Common methods include surveys, focus groups, interviews, observations, and experiments. Each method has its strengths and limitations, so it's important to select the one that best fits the research needs.

Why is the marketing research process important?

The marketing research process is important because it provides valuable insights that guide strategic decision-making. It helps businesses identify opportunities, minimize risks, and develop effective marketing strategies for fulfilling meet customer needs and achieve business objectives.

What is the first step in the marketing research process?

The first step in the marketing research process is defining the problem. This involves clearly identifying the issue or question that needs to be addressed. A well-defined problem provides the direction for the entire research process and ensures that the research efforts are focused and relevant.

About the Author
Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio