Marketing research is a systematic collection, accumulation and analysis of data as regards state and trends of change in the markets, segments and their individual players and institutions (consumers, competitors, governmental authorities) which may influence the company position and its individual products in the market. On the basis of such information marketing and management decisions are taken.
In the course of analysis, planning, implementation and efficiency control of marketing events it is necessary to have diverse information of the marketing environment and the enterprise internal environment.
The purposes and targets of marketing research are to define the problem, study and describe the object, process or situation, find consistent patterns and make forecasts.
Depending on the nature of the marketing research purposes three corresponding lines of marketing research are defined as follows:
· exploratory research is a research aimed at collection of information necessary for the best definition of the problems and assumptions (hypotheses) brought forward;
· descriptive research is a research aimed at description of the problems, situations, objects and processes;
· causal research is a research conducted to verify the hypotheses related to cause-and-effect relations.
Also the marketing research lines may be classified as per the research object, for example, study of the market, individual elements of marketing complex (goods, price, promotion, distribution), customers’ behavior and competitors’ activity. Besides the marketing research includes exploration of the outer macroenvironment of the environment as regards such components which influence the marketing activity.
Marketing research may be subdivided as per the nature of the obtained and analyzed information: quantitative and qualitative research, research on the basis of secondary information (desk research) and primary information (field research).
The general plan of a marketing research comprises the following stages:
1. Defining the problem, purpose, targets and methods of research
2. Development of the research program
3. Data collection and analysis
4. Interpretation of the obtained results
5. Making a report