Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets or customers. It is a very important component of business strategy. The term is commonly interchanged with marketing research; however, expert practitioners may wish to draw a distinction, in that marketing research is concerned specifically about marketing processes, while market research is concerned specifically with markets.
Market research is one of the main factors used in maintaining competitiveness over competitors. Market research provides important information which helps to identify and analyze the needs of the market, the market size and the competition. Market-research techniques encompass both qualitative techniques such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnography, as well as quantitative techniques such as customer surveys, and analysis of secondary data.
Market research, which includes social and opinion research, is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organizations using statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences to gain insight or support decision making.
Market research started to be conceptualized and put into formal practice during the 1930s, as an offshoot of the advertising boom of the Golden Age of radio in the United States. Advertisers began to realize the significance of demographics revealed by sponsorship of different radio programs.
Market research for business/planning
Market research is a way of getting an overview of consumers' wants, needs and beliefs. It can also involve discovering how they act. The research can be used to determine how a product could be marketed. Peter Drucker believed market research to be the quintessence of marketing. Market research is a way that producers and the marketplace study the consumer and gather information about the consumers' needs. There are two major types of market research: primary research, which is sub-divided into quantitative and qualitative research, and secondary research.
Factors that can be investigated through market research include:
- Market information: Through market information one can know the prices of different commodities in the market, as well as the supply and demand situation. Market researchers have a wider role than previously recognized by helping their clients to understand social, technical, and even legal aspects of markets.
- Market segmentation: Market segmentation is the division of the market or population into subgroups with similar motivations. It is widely used for segmenting on geographic differences, demographic differences (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.), technographic differences, psychographic differences, and differences in product use. For B2B segmentation firmographics is commonly used.
- Market trends: Market trends are the upward or downward movement of a market, during a period of time. Determining the market size may be more difficult if one is starting with a new innovation. In this case, you will have to derive the figures from the number of potential customers, or customer segments.
- SWOT analysis: SWOT is a written analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to a business entity. A SWOT may also be written up for the competition to understand how to develop the marketing and product mixes.
- PEST analysis: PEST is an analysis about external environment . It includes a complete examine of a firm's Political, Economical, Social and Technological external factors. which may impact firms objective or profitability. They may become a benefit for the firm or harm its productivity.
- Brand health tracker: Brand tracking is way of continuously measuring the health of a brand, both in terms of consumers’ usage of it (i.e. Brand Funnel) and what they think about it. Brand health can be measured in a number of ways, such as brand awareness, brand equity, brand usage and brand loyalty.
Another factor that can be measured is marketing effectiveness. This includes:
- Customer analysis (Segmentation of target customers)
- Choice modelling
- Competitor analysis
- Risk analysis
- Product research
- Advertisement research
- Marketing mix modeling
- Simulated test marketing
Market research for the film industry
It is important to test marketing material for films to see how an audience will receive it. There are several market research practices that may be used:
Influence from the Internet
The availability of research by way of the Internet has influenced a vast number of consumers using this media; for gaining knowledge relating to virtually every type of available product and service. It has been added to by the growth factor of emerging global markets, such as China, Indonesia and Russia, which is significantly exceeding that of the established and more advanced B2B e-commerce markets. Various statistics show that the increasing demands of consumers are reflected not only in the wide and varied range of general Internet researching applications, but in online shopping research penetration.
This is stimulated by product-enhancing websites, graphics, and content designed to attract casual "surfing" shoppers, researching for their particular needs, competitive prices and quality. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), a successful business is significantly contributed to by gaining knowledge about customers, competitors, and the associated industry. Market research creates not only this understanding, but is the process of data analysis regarding which products and services are in demand.
The convenience and easy accessibility of the Internet has created a global B2C e-commerce research facility, for a vast online shopping network that has motivated retail markets in developed countries. In 2010 between US$400 billion and $600 billion in revenue was generated by this medium. It was anticipated that in 2015 this online market w generate between $700 billion and $950 billion.
Beyond online web-based market research activities, the Internet has also influenced high-street modes of data collection by, for example, replacing the traditional paper clipboard with online survey providers. Over the last 5 years, mobile surveys have become increasingly popular. Mobile has opened the door to innovative new methods of engaging respondents, such as social voting communities.
Research and social media applications
The UK Market Research Society (MRS) reports research has shown that on average, the three social media platforms primarily used by Millennials are LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. Social Media applications, according to T-Systems, help generate the B2B E-commerce market and develop electronic business process efficiency. This application is a highly effective vehicle for market research, which combined with E-commerce, is now regarded as a separate, extremely profitable field of global business. While many B2B business models are being updated, the various advantages and benefits offered by Social Media platforms are being integrated within them.
Business intelligence organizations have compiled a comprehensive report related to global online retail sales, defining continued growth patterns and trends in the industry. Headed "Global B2C E-Commerce and Online Payment Market 2014," the report perceives a decrease in overall growth rates in North America and Western Europe as the expected growth in the online market sales is absorbed into the emerging markets. It is forecasted that the Asia-Pacific region will see the fastest growth in the B2C E-Commerce market, leading it to replace North America as the B2C E-Commerce sales region leader within a few years. This effectively offers a significant motivational platform for new Internet services to promote user market research-friendly applications.
Research and market sectors
The primary online sale providers in B2C E-Commerce, worldwide, includes the USA based Amazon.com Inc. which remains the E-Commerce revenues, global leader. The growth leaders in the world top ten are two online companies from China, both of which conducted Initial Public Offering (IPO) this year; Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD Inc. Another company from the top ten is Cnova N.V., a recently formed E-Commerce subsidiary of the French Group Casino, with various store retailers developing and expanding their E-Commerce facilities worldwide. It is a further indication of how consumers are increasingly being attracted to the opportunities of online researching and expanding their awareness of what is available to them.
Service providers; for example those related to finance, foreign market trade and investment promote a variety of information and research opportunities to online users. In addition, they provide comprehensive and competitive strategies with market research tools, designed to promote worldwide business opportunities for entrepreneurs and established providers. General access, to accurate and supported market research facilities, is a critical aspect of business development and success today. The Marketing Research Association was founded in 1957 and is recognized as one of the leading and prominent associations in the opinion and marketing research profession. It serves the purpose of providing insights and intelligence that helps businesses make decisions regarding the provision of products and services to consumers and industries.
This organization knowledge of market conditions and competition is gained by researching relevant sectors, which provide advantages for entry into new and established industries. It enables effective strategies to be implemented; the assessment of global environments in the service sectors, as well as foreign market trade and investment barriers! Research, is utilized for promoting export opportunities and inward investment, helping determine how to execute competitive strategies, focus on objective policies and strengthen global opportunities. It is a medium that influences, administrates and enforces agreements, preferences, leveling trading environments and competitiveness in the international marketplace.
The retail industry aspect of online market research, is being transformed worldwide by M-Commerce with its mobile audience, rapidly increasing as the volume and varieties of products purchased on the mobile medium, increases. Researches conducted in the markets of North America and Europe, revealed that the M-Commerce penetration on the total online retail trade, had attained 10%, or more. It was also shown that in emerging markets, smart-phone and tablet penetration is fast increasing and contributing significantly to online shopping growth.