What is Market Research?

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What is market research and why is it used?

Market research is a systematic effort to obtain an overview of consumers’ wants, needs, behaviours and beliefs.

Market research can be used to understand how a product or service could be marketed effectively.

It provides important information to identify and analyse demand, market size and competition. It is a key factor in maintaining competitive advantage.

Research is generally made up of primary and secondary research:

  • Secondary research is usually sourced from within an organisation (internal data) or from published and electronic sources.
  • Primary research however can either be qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both.

So what is secondary research?

Before primary research is undertaken; secondary or ‘desk research’ should be conducted – this is because it generally can be acquired at a lower cost and can be obtained far more quickly. Secondary research could be carried out using an organisation’s current internal resources, e.g. current databases, up to date satisfaction surveys, results of promotional campaigns and customer complaint systems.

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research?

  • Qualitative research is undertaken using an unstructured research approach with a small number of carefully selected individuals to produce non quantifiable insights into behaviours, motivation and attitudes. This research will precede the quantitative research as it will provide valuable input that can be explored further during the quantitative research phase.
  • Quantitative research is research that is undertaken using a structured research approach with a sample of the population to produce quantifiable insights into behaviour motivations and attitudes.

There are five key characteristics of quantitative data:

  • Data gathering is more structured.
  • Research involves larger samples than qualitative research.
  • Studies can be more easily replicated and direct comparisons can be made between studies.
  • Analysis is statistical in nature and will usually be done with the help of computer software.
  • The data gathered can provide answers that will quantify the incidence of particular behaviour motivations and attitudes in the population under consideration.

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