For any strategy or plan to be successful it’s very important to build it on a foundation of thorough and apt research. As marketing is a process that focuses on desired results from a targeted audience it is always beneficial that before making any decisions or charting out any steps to execute, one must have an insight about their audience and should analyze how they are going to respond to your strategy. Having a good research and reliable analysis will eventually make you understand the critical points to focus and areas that should be ignored during your marketing campaign.
The aim here in the process of research and analysis is to gain insight and knowledge about an identified target market with a defined purpose to promote a product or service.
Marketing research exercise is a crucial step and can be done in different ways but the core idea of systematic inquiry remains common to all. Being a systematic approach that plays a huge part in any campaign, it is extremely necessary to have careful planning and execution. Every marketing research consists of similar steps and actionable procedures. However, different organization combines or break these steps under one or more steps which is the reason why some organization has 4 or 5 step layout for marketing research while other can have 6 or 7 steps for same research. Overall at the end, the sum up of total actions are not much different. To give you more clear breakdown and detailed understanding we will be taking here the 5 step approach for marketing research procedure.
STEPS OF MARKETING RESEARCH
Step 1: Identify and Define the Problem
Although all the steps in Marketing Research are important, this one has to be the most significant and valuable one. This phase begins with the identification of a problem faced by the company, making it clear to the research team about their objectives, what technique they must use and what sort of parameters and information has to be looked at.
The aim here is simple and clear, to look at the problems or challenges that the organization is facing. Study those parameters with a view to fixing those problems and understanding its root cause. For example, If you have a food chain or eatery that is running a constant business or losing customers. Losing business or customers is not a problem here, its a symptom, problem instead is the reason which makes your customer go somewhere else, it could be the competitive price, ambiance of the place, taste or any other reason but one must know and understand what exactly is the problem.
Step 2: Developing a Research Plan
Once you are aware of the problem and know that the extent of its effect on your business, it’s time to develop and design a research plan. Most commonly a team of marketers and senior will work together to decide a well-sorted plan that would specify the procedure for collecting and analyzing the needed information. At this stage, the marketers or researchers will also determine sources of information, methods of data collection, timing and possible cost of research.
Step 3: Data and Information Collection
Data collection is the most sophisticated phase of the entire Marketing Research. Much so, that any sort of mistake or negligence can’t be ignored here. This stage, in a nutshell, is gathering of actual fact and data that will aid in problem-solving. There 2 types of data that can be gathered.
- Secondary – The one which is collected from sources like reports, magazines, periodicals, especially written articles, government or company publications book and etc.
- Primary – Collected fresh from the original base i.e consumer or public. Although this can also be done by various different means such as direct interview, public surveys, online surveys, online test, Questionnaires and etc.
Although Secondary data collection takes a lot of time and research, primary data these days makes more sense at it involves present situation and data that is real time. We at Vastada Consulting did a primary data collection during one of our political client’s campaigns and the response was as good as we predicted, great engagement and honest feedback from people. Before even starting our campaign this data collection process was able to get people interested in our organization and role of the data in it.
Step 4: Data Processing and Analysis
Once the data has been gathered it’s time to looks for your answers in it. The data is analyzed as a fresh source keeping in mind the problem and finding out the reasons what lead to the problems faced by the organization. During this phase, it is important to analyze and study the entire data from a neutral point of view without having pre-thought assumptions. Interpreting data in a right manner will have a huge impact on overall strategy.
The data here is to be logically examined and must be considered by looking at patterns that occur. This phase of processing data and analysis will bring out the exact problem areas and where you as an organization are missing out on performing.
For Example, A Soft Drink brand might come out with 3 outcomes after their data analysis.
- The drinks are too sweet.
- The product isn’t seen as healthy one by consumers.
- Overpriced as compared to other products in the market
Depending on the outcomes through data processing, a solution plan must be thought that tackles these problem areas and shall be able to develop a positive impact on consumers.
Step 5: Finding Conclusion and Reporting
At this point in time, your marketing research is done. All you need to do is to present it well and clear enough. Although at this point research is complete, it’s yet not over. Now you must make a detailed report about your findings, information, including a precise description of your research process, results, conclusions, and recommended actions to be taken. The report must have all necessary information for the decision maker to understand the project.
This completes your process of marketing research for now. That said, Your research should never stop. An organization shall always be analyzing their data on a regular basis and shall understand the scope of improvement. As trends change pretty often in today’s time, the pattern you found today will not stay that way forever. Hence, a company shall keep conducting their research.
If this information has been overwhelming and you are just starting off in marketing then You must check out our article here. It is a good insight into digital marketing campaigns for any beginner and I am sure you would find it informative enough to start ahead.