Marketing consists of the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with customers that result in value for both the customer and the marketer.
A social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others (Kotler, 1988,p.3)
The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customers’ requirements profitably (CIM, 1984)
Relationship Between Marketing Research and Marketing Management:
Market research is about understanding the broader marketplace in which we intend to compete.
Marketing research, on the other hand, is about understanding what ‘package’ of marketing elements (i.e. the product, price, promotion and distribution factors) the country will need to put together in order to meet customer needs and to succeed in the marketplace.
Market research is the more encompassing/broader concept of understanding the market environment in which you will be competing, while marketing research is the more specific/focused view of consumer needs and behaviour.
In its role as the foundation of marketing, marketing research is arguably marketing’s most important task. Today marketers not only view research as a key ingredient in making marketing decisions they also consider information to be a critical factor in gaining advantage over competitors. Because organizations recognize the power information has in helping create and maintain products that offer value, there is an insatiable appetite to gain even more insight into customers and markets.
Marketers in nearly all industries are expected to direct more resources to gathering and analyzing information especially in highly competitive markets.
In conducting our research we also test concepts against our competitors in order to gain further insights as to what sets us apart and play to those strengths
Marketing research involves conducting research to support marketing activities, and the statistical interpretation of data into information. This information is then used by managers to plan marketing activities, gauge the nature of a firm’s marketing environment and attain information from suppliers. Marketing researchers use statistical methods such as quantitative research, qualitative research, hypothesis tests, Chi-squared tests, linear regression, correlations, frequency distributions, poisson distributions, binomial distributions, etc. to interpret their findings and convert data into information. The marketing research process spans a number of stages including the definition of a problem, development of a research plan, collecting and interpretation of data and disseminating information formally in form of a report. The task of marketing research is to provide management with relevant, accurate, reliable, valid, and current information.
Importance of Marketing Research In Marketing Process.
To Make Marketing Decisions:
Marketing research helps the marketers to make a decision about the product or service. Sometimes a marketer might believe that the new product or service is useful for the customers. However, research may show that customers do not need a product or are meeting their needs with a certain competitor product and so on. Similarly good marketing research strives to provide options for the successful introduction of new products and services. This makes the market entry of a new product or service less risky.
Survive the Competition:
Marketing research helps in ascertaining and understanding competitor information such as their identity, marketing network, customer focus and scale of operations. This helps in surviving and in certain cases, even leaving behind the competition. Moreover, with market research you can also help understand the under-served consumer segments and consumer needs that have not been met.
Helps to Decide Target Markets:
Research helps provide customer information in terms of their location, age, buying behavior and gender. This helps the marketers zero in on the target markets and customers for their products and services.
Apart from profit maximizing steps such as item optimization, customer profitability analysis, and price elasticity, marketing research allows you to find out methods that can help you maximize profits. For example, a product’s price elasticity research can help you ascertain the impact of an increased price on the sales and the profits of a product. This emphasis on profitability also helps the company’s focus to shift from maximizing sales to increasing the profits of a company. This helps the company survive in the long run and maximize its profits.
Increasing the Sales:
Increasing the sales of your products or services helps a company in maximizing its profits. By understanding the customer’s needs, wants and attitude towards the products and determining whether your products fit the bill, marketers can increase their sales. This helps in not only increasing the sales to the target customers and people already using the product but also converting the non users into customers for the product.
If the company has obtained an adequate understanding of the customer base and its own competitive position in the industry, marketing managers are able to make their own key strategic decisions and develop a marketing strategy designed to maximize the revenues and profits of the firm. The selected strategy may aim for any of a variety of specific objectives, including optimizing short-term unit margins, revenue growth, market share, long-term profitability, or other goals.
To achieve the desired objectives, marketers typically identify one or more target customer segments which they intend to pursue. Customer segments are often selected as targets because they score highly on two dimensions:
1) The segment is attractive to serve because it is large, growing, makes frequent purchases, is not price sensitive (i.e. is willing to pay high prices), or other factors
2) The company has the resources and capabilities to compete for the segment’s business, can meet their needs better than the competition, and can do so profitably. In fact, a commonly cited definition of marketing is simply “meeting needs profitably.”
Relationship between Marketing Research and Marketing Strategies:
Marketing research and marketing strategy are ongoing processes. Your customer base and their preferences may shift over time as your business develops and grows. Adjust your strategy in response to new marketing information. Keep up on new technologies that can become a part of your marketing strategy. For instance, mobile marketing is a relatively new area that is can be particularly effective for local businesses that are trying to reach customers nearby. If your marketing research shows that your customers are avid smartphone users, then this can be a smart way to go. Stay flexible and make the gathering of marketing research and formulation of strategy a regular part of your business routine.
Marketing research is a broad term that encompasses the process of gathering and understanding data about your customers, demographics and business climate. Marketing strategy involves putting the information discovered through marketing research to work. These are the concrete plans that a business uses to reach new and existing customers.
It can also involve the development and testing of new products or services. Information is the basis of marketing research. Businesses gather this information through seeking out demographic studies, test marketing products, conducting surveys and informally requesting feedback from existing customers. . A strategy may start with identifying a specific marketing problem, such as increasing sales, expanding the customer base or introducing a new local business to the community.
Local businesses can research statistics about their local community, including income levels and other demographic information. An online search is a good place to start. . . Strategy takes into consideration the budget that you have available For example, a small local retailer with a very small marketing budget may decide to put its funds toward an email and online campaign designed to raise awareness locally. This could involve creating social media profiles, building up a customer list and sending a regular email newsletter with updates and special coupons.
Blending Research and Strategy
Marketing research apart from a sound strategy will not benefit your organization. Constant research needs to keep your finger on the pulse of your target customer. It will alert you to pressure from competitors and opportunities to launch new products. Conversely, it should tell you when a new product is not right for the market. Reviewing your strategy, in light of your current research, several times a year will keep your advertising and sales efforts on track and allow you to discern if changes in your marketing approach need to be made.
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