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What Is Market Research?

Market Research Versus Marketing Research

By

Sherlock Holmes

Elementary, My Dear Watson. Elementary.

Courtesy Marija Gjurgjan, Photographer. © March 14, 2008 Stock.xchng

The goal of market research is to provide decision-makers with rapid and incredible detail about consumer needs, preferences, and behavior. A business enterprise with superior information will enjoy a competitive advantage that affords them the opportunity to develop superior offerings, target markets more effectively, and execute better marketing planning.

MIS, Marketing Research, & Market Research - How Do They Differ?

In any discipline, it is not common to have complete agreement among practitioners about their praxis. The discipline of marketing is not an exception and shows the same tendency for those in the field to disagree over particulars. A common disagreement is about how to classify the work that marketers and advertisers do. The disagreement centers on the definitions of the terms marketing research and market research. It is fundamentally a disagreement over taxonomy.

It is helpful to first look at some definitions. A discipline is a profession or field of endeavor that imposes adherence to a particular code of conduct, order, behaviors, or area of practice. Taxonomy is a way of organizing and classifying important units or processes in a discipline. Praxis is a Latin term that generally means professional practice.

Praxis - Marketing is the umbrella term that refers to all the activities involved in the creation, promotion, and delivery of ten types of entities to consumers and enterprises. Where marketing once referred primarily to goods and services, the list of entities that can be marketed now includes events, experiences, places, organizations, properties, people, information, and ideas. A you can see, marketing is a pretty big umbrella.

Taxonomy - By classifying marketing activities, practitioners in the field are able to talk about marketing in ways that help them understand each other. A taxonomy is created that classifies different ideas and gives a common frame to the language. For example, a broad taxonomy could classify activities into marketing, research and analysis, advertising, and media buying or publishing. Taking the taxonomy to a more explicit level, say, with research and analysis, would classify activities into marketing research, market research, data mining / analysis.

Market Research - Market research is the systematic collection and interpretation of data through the use of analytical methods and approaches that promotes the development of insight to support decision making. Market research is basically any planned activity that results in the gathering of information about markets, competitors, and customers.

Marketing Research - Marketing research entails the objective collection and interpretation of data through the use of analytical methods and approaches that promotes the development of insight and intelligence about consumer buying habits. Marketing research gathers information on the buying strategies of consumers—in other words, why consumers buy and who they buy from. Marketing research is designed to fine tune a marketing campaign or an advertising campaign, and to identify strategies for a particular marketing situation that a business enterprise faces.

Marketing Information System (MIS) - Effective marketing and advertising demands a continuous flow of organized information that reaches the right people at the right time. The structure that is said to facilitate this objective is referred to as a marketing information system (MIS). Essentially, a marketing information system consists of the various components and resources needed to achieve that elusive competitive edge that excellent market research can accomplish. The components of MIS include people, equipment, and procedures.

Still, many business enterprises do not have sophisticated information. Many times, this is because their research department limits research responsibilities to sales analysis, routine forecasting, and occasional surveys. This is true whether the businesses have a market research department or just a few people with research skills on whom they periodically rely. Problems associated with not having an effective marketing information system (MIS) include:

  • Lack of awareness about where critical information is kept in the company
  • Receiving information that is of little or no use to a business unit
  • Receiving important, useful information too late to take advantage of it
  • Doubting the accuracy of the information this is available or is made available

A marketing information system (MIS) is supplied by several sources: (a) Internal business enterprise records, activities that produce marketing intelligence, market research, and analysis that supports marketing decisions. The actions of MIS are primarily to collect, organize, analyze, assess, and disseminate bits of information. The information, or market research data, must be timely, accurate, and needed by key decision-makers. Marketing research and market research are both aspects of a marketing information system.

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