Like every journey starts with building a route, any business process should start with research. Just as you wouldn’t go on a hike without a map, you shouldn’t develop marketing strategies without backing them with analysis and research. But what is marketing research?
It is a well-arranged activity aimed at gathering useful information about the market you are going to work in and customers that will potentially bring you financial profit. Good marketing research must show who your clients and competitors are and what steps you should make to get benefits from them.
In performing marketing research a company must involve high-skilled specialists to backbone their business strategy and make wise marketing decisions. The surprise is that
companies often neglect the importance of marketing research and cut it from the budget due to massive time and financial investments. But marketing research will not take all your funds and time if you follow the process and do the correct steps. In this article, we are going to figure out what are the steps of the marketing research process.
What Are the Steps of the Marketing Research Process
Of course, the mentioned steps are not the ultimate guide on “how to be successful” but sure you should consider them for building your plan of action because these steps form the basic principles of marketing research.
Define the issue
One of the most common truths in marketing is that every problem is an opportunity in disguise. So before starting any survey, it is necessary to identify the key issues you are going to solve and what you are trying to learn from the research. After that, you will understand what information you need to get and how.
Develop your research plan
When you realize all the issues and form all the questions, you need to create a research plan. The methods may vary depending on the type of research:
- Interviewing potential clients and customers. This method helps to receive direct feedback straight from the customer. The research can be made with focus groups or individually one-on-one. You should find the right people to interview according to the issues you are going to solve.
- Using special tools for conducting surveys. The Internet offers a large number of tools like Google Analytics, that help you analyze the situation in the market and the preferences of the audience. Simple A/B tests can be very efficient in discovering user behavior as well.
- Planning cost-effective approaches. They will provide qualitative and quantitive data you can work on. Remember that designing a survey is believed to be the most important step in any marketing research process.
- Learning how other companies conducted similar research. Sometimes we don’t need to reinvent a wheel but review other methods implemented by other companies to solve a similar issue.
Collect useful and applicable data
After you choose the correct methods for your research you need to collect valuable data that will describe you the whole picture of the market. This information will be quantitative and qualitative and both are important. Collecting data be sure that it is complete and descriptive. For example, A/B tests on your website can give you valid and unbiased data. Asking open-ended questions will give more valuable information and provide you with insights.
Analyze data and report findings
After you gathered all the necessary information you have to analyze it. Proceeding data, it is necessary to find trends and patterns. Figure out whether data trends you see are meaningful or are just chance results. It is important to ignore the assumptions made before the data analysis to receive the actual picture. There is no problem if your hypotheses made before data gathering were wrong. That is the purpose of collecting data – to see the real and open-minded situation.
Present your research findings
After you have made research it’s time to implement it. Develop your business strategy but remember that market can change quickly so don’t give up observing and noting all the peculiarities happening with customers and competitors. Patterns and trends are not permanent so the more up-to-date information you own the more successful your marketing efforts will be.
Key Points of Marketing Research Process
Setting an issue is half the battle.
- The purpose of marketing research is to help companies to understand their intended audience and create a customer-oriented product.
- This analysis should be made to figure out the viability of a new service by getting direct feedback from potential clients.
- The research includes testing of the service, specialized surveys, and focus groups.
- Marketing research can be made by internal specialists or by engaging an outsourcing company specialized in this kind of business.
Final Thoughts on the Steps of Marketing Research
The marketing research process should never stop. All the research results have their expiry date and will not be actual when the market evolves. Companies should not ignore the importance of up-to-date information about customers, industry, and competitors as well.
The marketing research process is much more global and flexible than the mentioned steps. Dig up information and don’t stop in your learning cause knowledge is power.