Compilation of answers we got on the process of marketing research (with examples)! This will further help you to learn about:- 1. Marketing Research Process 5 Steps 2. Marketing Research Process 3. Marketing Research Process 7 Steps 4. Marketing Research Process Steps. Also learn about:- 1. Data Collection in Marketing Research 2. Sampling in Research 3. Data Analysis in Marketing Research.

Marketing Research Process: 5,6,7 and 11 Steps (with suitable examples)

Answer 1. Marketing Research Process 5 Steps:

The marketers follow a systematic and formalized process of marketing research to obtain the accurate market information.


Following points discuss the process of marketing research in brief:

Marketing Research Process # 1. Defining a Problem:

It refers to identify a problem faced by, the organization. The problem should be clearly defined and the reason for research should also be spelt out.

Marketing Research Process # 2. Designing Research:

It refers to formulate objectives, hypotheses, and questions for the research. This step requires a lot of time and great expertise. The design of the research includes analysis of secondary data, qualitative and quantitative research, management discussions, and experts’ opinions. Research design is a blueprint to conduct marketing research. It provides the details of procedures required to obtain necessary information of the market.

Marketing Research Process # 3. Collecting Data:

Collecting data, gather the field information that can be obtained by conducting computer-assisted, in- home, and telephonic interviews with customers. The other ways to gather field information are traditional mails and mail panel surveys.


There are two types of data sources- primary and secondary. Primary data is new research conducted by an individual through surveys and interviews; whereas, secondary data is accumulated from the used data reports, books, and other existing documents.’

Marketing Research Process # 4. Interpreting Research Findings:

It refers to the process of editing, coding, and verifying data. The survey forms are inspected, edited, and corrected by market researchers. The data gathered through questionnaire and interviews is transcribed to input devices, such as magnetic tape.

Marketing Research Process # 5. Reporting Research Findings:

It refers to formulating a written report that describes all the processes used in the marketing research. The main findings, conclusion, and recommendations are presented comprehensibly in the report that can be readily used in the decision-making process.

Answer 2. Marketing Research Process: (with steps)


The marketing research process consists of a series of activities- defining the issue or problem to be studied, examining secondary data, generating primary data (if necessary), analyzing information, making recommendations, and implementing findings.

Marketing Research Process # Step 1 – Problem Defining:

Problem definition is a statement of the topic to be looked into. For every marketing research, there must be a problem to solve.

Depending on the nature of market problem marketing research can be classified into different categories like:

(a) Exploratory Research:


Its goal is to identify the problem and to suggest possible solutions or new ideas. It is undertaken when the researcher is uncertain about the precise topic to investigate or wants to informally study an issue. It is also known as qualitative research and may involve in-depth inquiring.

(b) Descriptive Research:

Descriptive research involves determining certain magnitudes.

(c) Conclusive Research:


Also called quantitative research, is used after the problem definition is clarified. It is the structured collection and analysis of data pertaining to a specific issue or problem.

The management must translate the decision problem faced by them into a market research problem in the form of questions that define the information that is required to make the decision and how this information can be obtained. Thus, the decision problem is translated into a research problem. For example, a decision problem may be whether to launch a new product.

The corresponding research problem might be to assess whether the market would accept the new product. The objective of the research should be defined clearly. To ensure that the true decision problem is addressed, it is useful for the researcher to outline possible scenarios of the research results and then for the decision maker to formulate plans of action under each scenario. The use of such scenarios can ensure that the purpose of the research is agreed upon before it commences.

Marketing Research Process # Step 2 – Develop the Research Plan:

The second stage of marketing research calls for developing the most efficient plan for gathering the needed information. The marketing manager needs to know the cost of the research plan before approving it. It involves decision on several objects like data sources, research approaches, research instruments, sampling plan, and contact methods.


Data Sources:

The researcher can gather secondary data, primary data, or both.

Primary data are data gathered for a specific purpose or for a specific research project by some organization or research agency. Primary data is collected on the basis of research objectives. The Internet is now the greatest depository of information. Primary data consist of information gathered to address a specific issue or problem at hand. They are necessary if secondary data are insufficient for a proper marketing decision to be made.

Advantages and Disadvantages:


(a) Primary data have these general advantages:

(i) Secrecy

(ii) Precision

(iii) Currency

(iv) Reliability determined

(v) Controlled and known methodology


(vi) No conflicting data

(vii) Only way to acquire information in some cases.

(b) Primary data have these general disadvantages:

(i) High costs

(ii) Time consuming

(iii) Company limitations


(iv) Inability to gather certain types of information

(v) Limited perspective.

Secondary data are data that were collected for another purpose and already exist somewhere. When the needed data do not exist or are outdated, inaccurate, incomplete, or unreliable, the researcher will have to collect primary data. These data should always be reviewed before primary data collection.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

(a) Secondary data have these general advantages:

(i) Source credibility


(ii) Low costs

(iii) Access to hard-to-obtain data

(iv) Speed

(v) Helpful for exploratory research

(vi) Diverse sources.

(b) Secondary data have these general disadvantages:


(i) Undisclosed findings

(ii) Lack of suitability

(iii) Unknown methodology

(iv) Obsolescence

(v) Conflicting results

(vi) Unknown reliability.


Sources of Secondary Data:

a. Internal Secondary Data:

These data are available within the company. They include budgets, sales figures, profit-and-loss statements, inventory records, prior research reports, and written reports.

b. External Secondary Data:

These data are available from sources outside the company.

They may be obtained from government and non-government sources like:

(i) News papers

(ii) Journals

(iii) Project reports

(iv) Annual reports of companies

(v) Annual reports of government departments

(vi) Reports of Research agencies

(vii) Web portals of organizations

(viii) Books and Magazines.

Marketing Research Process # Step 3 –  Collection of Data:

The data collection phase of marketing research is generally the most expensive and the most prone to error. It requires expert investigators having knowledge about market and research.

Research Design:

A research design is the blueprint of research to be conducted by the researcher. It outlines the procedures and techniques for collecting and analyzing data.

Marketing Research Process # Step 4 – Data Analysis Process:

In this step, the researcher is required to extract findings from the collected data. The researcher tabulates the data and develops frequency distributions. Averages and measures of dispersion are computed for the major variables. The researcher may also apply some advanced statistical techniques and decision models in the hope of discovering additional findings. Data can be processed by the help of computer software. Different statistical tools can be applied according to the nature of data.

Data analysis Process consists of the following steps:

i. Coding:

It is the process by which each completed data form is numbered and response categories are labeled.

ii. Tabulation:

It is the calculation of summary data for each response category.

iii. Analysis:

It is the evaluation of responses as they pertain to the specific issue or problem under investigation.

Marketing Research Process # Step 5 – Presentation of the Findings:

In the last step, information generated by the processing of data is presented in form of report. The researcher should present major findings in a lucid manner so that it is easy to understand by different level of people in organization. Based on marketing research, findings the recommendations are suggestions for a firm’s future actions.

Answer 3. The Market Research Process:

The four steps of the market research process are:

(i) Definition of the marketing problem.

(ii) Development of the research plan.

(iii) Implementation of the research plan.

(iv) Interpretation and reporting of the research findings.

The market research process is directed and managed by the marketing manager and the research manager. Its success lies in a clear statement of purpose. Both parties need to work closely together to define the marketing problem and to set the research objectives. This initial step is usually the hardest part of the market research process and requires a degree of understanding on the part of the marketer of the researcher’s job and vice versa.

Having established and agreed the research goals, the researcher is charged with drawing up the research plan. This outlines the sources of data (whether existing data will be used or new data will be required), research approaches, contact methods, sampling and research instruments, timetable, and costs. The written research plan can be discussed and further refined prior to its formal adoption.

The researcher then implements the plan, using external data collection agencies where necessary. (It is unusual for an organization to hold all the requisite information resources in-house.) Data collection is generally the most expensive part of the research process and also the part most subject to error.

Once collected, the data is processed and analyzed. Finally, the researcher returns to the marketing manager with an interpretation and report of the research findings. This usually comprises a written report, although advances in software design, such as those offered by Memphis Survey Explorer or Pulsar, mean that results can now be presented in a user-friendly fashion on­screen.

Interpretation is all about the researcher elucidating the findings to provide the marketer with a view on what the research results mean, rather than an outline of what the respondents actually said.

The research findings are then fed into the process of strategy formulation, as the resultant implications will have an impact on current activities and resource allocation.

Answer 4. Marketing Research Process: (6 Steps)

Marketing research process is a set of six steps which defines the tasks to be accomplished in conducting a marketing research study. These include problem definition, developing an approach to problem, research design formulation, field work, data preparation and analysis, and report generation and presentation.

To conduct market research, organisations may decide to undertake the project themselves (some through a marketing research department) or they might choose to commission it via a market research agency or consultancy. Whichever, before undertaking any research project, it is crucial to define the research objectives, i.e., what are you trying to achieve from the research? And what do you need to know?

After considering the objectives, Market Researchers can utilise many types of research techniques and methodologies to capture the data that they require. All of the available methodologies either collect quantitative or qualitative information. The use of each very much depends on the research objectives but many believe that results are most useful when the two methods are combined.

Marketing Research Process can also be stated in the following way:

While there are dozens of little steps along the path, each fits into one of the six steps in the marketing research process.

The main steps in marketing research are:

Step 1 – Identifying and defining your problem

Step 2 – Developing your approach

Step 3 – Research design

Step 4 – Collecting the data

Step 5 – Performing data analysis

Step 6 – Reporting and presentation

Marketing Research Process # Step 1 – Identifying and Defining Your Problem:

The first step in any marketing research project is to define the problem. In defining the problem, the researcher should take into account the purpose of the study, the relevant background information, what information is needed, and how it will be used in decision making.

Problem definition involves discussion with the decision makers, interviews with industry experts, analysis of secondary data, and, perhaps, some qualitative research, such as focus groups. Once the problem has been precisely defined, the research can be designed and conducted properly.

The first basic step is to define the marketing problem in specific terms. Only if the marketing researcher knows what problem management is trying to solve, he cannot do an effective job in planning and designing a research project that will provide the needed information.

After the problem has been defined, the researcher’s task is to learn as much about it as the time permits. This involves getting acquainted with the company, its business, its products and market environment, advertising by means of library consultation and extensive interviewing of company’s officials.

The researcher tries to get a “feel” of the situation surrounding the problem. He analysis the company, its markets, its competition and the industry in general. This phase of preliminary exploration is known as situation analysis.

This analysis enables the researcher to arrive at a hypothesis or a tentative presumption in the basis of which further investigations may be done.

When a problem has been identified, objectives of the research have to be determined. The objectives of the project may be to determine exactly what the problem is and how it can be solved.

If you are considering conducting marketing research, chances are you have already identified a problem and an ensuing informational need. Of the six steps in marketing research, this is always the first one. Your problem or issue will likely be recognized by one or more levels of management. Sometimes, further definition of the problem or issue is needed, and for that there are several tools you can use.

The researcher should then determine the specific information needed to solve the research problems. For successful operation of production and sales departments, what information is required depends to a large extent on the nature of goods and the method used for placing it in the hands of the consumers.

The investigator must identify the sources from which the different items of information are obtainable and select those that he will use. He may collect information through primary data, secondary data or both.

Primary data are those which are gathered specifically for the project at hand, directly, e.g., through questionnaires and interviews. Primary data sources include: Company salesman, middlemen, consumers, buyers, trade associations executives, and other businessmen and even competitors.

Secondary data are generally published sources, which have been collected originally for some other purpose. They are not gathered specifically to achieve the objectives of the particular research project at hand, but are already assembled.

Such sources are internal company records; government publications; reports and journals, trade, professional and business associations publications and reports, private business firms’, firms’ records, advertising media. University research organizations, and libraries.

The decision problem faced by management must be translated into a market research problem in the form of questions that define the information that is required to make the decision and how this information can be obtained.

Thus, the decision problem is translated into a research problem. For example- a decision problem may be whether to launch a new product. The corresponding research problem might be to assess whether the market would accept the new product.

The objective of the research should be defined clearly. To ensure that the true decision problem is addressed, it is useful for the researcher to outline possible scenarios of the research results and then for the decision maker to formulate plans of action under each scenario. The use of such scenarios can ensure that the purpose of the research is agreed upon before it commences.

Marketing Research Process # Step 2 – Developing Your Approach:

Development of an approach to the problem includes formulating an objective or theoretical framework, analytical models, research questions, hypotheses, and identifying characteristics or factors that can influence the research design.

This process is guided by discussions with management and industry experts, case studies and simulations, analysis of secondary data, qualitative research and pragmatic considerations.

Once your problem is better defined, you can move onto developing your approach. Generally speaking, your approach should be developed almost exclusively around a defined set of objectives. Clearer objectives developed in Step 1 will lend themselves to better approach development.

Developing your approach should consist of an honest assessment of your team’s market research skills, establishing a budget, understanding your environment and its influencing factors, developing an analysis model, and formulating hypotheses.

If it is found that the secondary data cannot be of much use, collection of primary data becomes necessary.

Three widely used methods of gathering primary data are:

(i) Survey

(ii) Observation, and

(iii) Experimentation

Which method is to be used will depend upon the objectives, cost, time personnel and facilities available.

(i) Survey Method:

In this method, information is gathered directly from individual respondents, either through personal interviews or through mail, questionnaires or telephone interviews. The questions are used either to obtain specific responses to direct questions or to secure more general response to “open end” questions.

(ii) Observational Method:

The research data are not gathered through direct questioning of respondents but rather by observing and recording their actions of respondents but rather by observing and recording their actions in a marketing situation. The customer is unaware that he/she is being observed, so presumably he/she acts in his/her usual fashion. Information may be gathered by personal or mechanical observation.

This technique is useful in getting information about the caliber of the salesman or in determining what brands he pushes. In another situation, a customer may be watched at a distance and noticed, what motivates him to purchase.

(iii) Experimental Method:

This method involves carrying out a small-scale trial solution to a problem, while, at the same time, attempting to control all factors relevant to the problems. The main assumption here is that the test conditions are essentially the same as those that will be encountered later when conclusions derived from the experiment are applied to a broader marketing area.

The technique consists of establishing a control market in which all factors remain constant and one or more test markets in which one factor is varied.

Marketing Research Process # Step 3 – Research Design:

A research design is a framework or blueprint for conducting the marketing research project. It details the procedures necessary for obtaining the required information, and its purpose is to design a study that will test the hypotheses of interest, determine possible answers to the research questions, and provide the information needed for decision making.

Conducting exploratory research, precisely defining the variables, and designing appropriate scales to measure them are also a part of the research design. The issue of how the data should be obtained from the respondents (For example- by conducting a survey or an experiment) must be addressed. It is also necessary to design a questionnaire and a sampling plan to select respondents for the study.

More formally, formulating the research design involves the following steps:

i. Secondary data analysis

ii. Qualitative research

iii. Methods of collecting quantitative data (survey, observation, and experimentation)

iv. Definition of the information needed

v. Measurement and scaling procedures

vi. Questionnaire design

vii. Sampling process and sample size

viii. Plan of data analysis.

Based upon a well-defined approach from Steps 1 and 2, a framework for the designing your marketing research program should be apparent. This step is the most encompassing of all steps in marketing research, requiring the greatest amount of thought, time and expertise and is the point at which the less experienced will obtain assistance from an internal/external market research experts.

Since the intelligence eventually gained from the research is so closely related to the selected research design, this is the single most important six steps in marketing research, and the step most vulnerable to the typical research errors.

Research design includes incorporating knowledge from secondary information analysis, qualitative research, methodology selection, question measurement and scale selection, questionnaire design, sample design and size and determining data analysis to be used.

Marketing research can classified in one of three categories:

i. Exploratory research

ii. Descriptive research

iii. Causal research.

These classifications are made according to the objective of the research. In some cases the research will fall into one of these categories, but in other cases different phases of the same research project will fall into different categories.

i. Exploratory research has the goal of formulating problems more precisely, clarifying concepts, gathering explanations, gaining insight, eliminating impractical ideas, and forming hypotheses. Exploratory research can be performed using a literature search, surveying certain people about their experiences, focus groups, and case studies.

When surveying people, exploratory research studies would not try to acquire a representative sample, but rather, seek to interview those who are knowledgeable and who might be able to provide insight concerning the relationship among variables.

Case studies can include contrasting situations or benchmarking against an organization known for its excellence. Exploratory research may develop hypotheses, but it does not seek to test them. Exploratory research is characterized by its flexibility.

ii. Descriptive research is more rigid than exploratory research and seeks to describe users of a product, determine the proportion of the population that uses a product, or predict future demand for a product.

As opposed to exploratory research, descriptive research should define questions, people surveyed, and the method of analysis prior to beginning data collection. In other words, the who, what, where, when, why, and how aspects of the research should be defined. Such preparation allows one the opportunity to make any required changes before the costly process of data collection has begun.

There are two basic types of descriptive research- longitudinal studies and cross- sectional studies. Longitudinal studies are time series analyses that make repeated measurements of the same individuals, thus allowing one to monitor behavior such as brand-switching.

However, longitudinal studies are not necessarily representative since many people may refuse to participate because of the commitment required. Cross-sectional studies sample the population to make measurements at a specific point in time.

A special type of cross-sectional analysis is a cohort analysis, which tracks an aggregate of individuals who experience the same event within the same time interval over time. Cohort analyses are useful for long-term forecasting of product demand.

iii. Causal research seeks to find cause and effect relationships between variables. It accomplishes this goal through laboratory and field experiments.

Marketing Research Process # Step 4 – Collecting the Data:

Data collection involves a field force or staff that operates either in the field, as in the case of personal interviewing (in-home, mall intercept, or computer-assisted personal interviewing), from an office by telephone (telephone or computer-assisted telephone interviewing), or through mail (traditional mail and mail panel surveys with pre-recruited households). Proper selection, training, supervision, and evaluation of the field force helps minimize data-collection errors.

Often called data collection or survey fielding, this is the point at which the finalized questionnaire (survey instrument) is used in gathering information among the chosen sample segments. There are a variety of data collection methodologies to consider.

Marketing Research Process # Step 5 – Performing Data Analysis:

After the necessary data been collected, they are tabulated and analyzed with appropriate statistical techniques to draw conclusions and findings. This stage is regarded as the end product.

Data preparation includes the editing, coding, transcription, and verification of data. Each questionnaire or observation form is inspected, or edited, and, if necessary, corrected. Number or letter codes are assigned to represent each response to each question in the questionnaire.

The data from the questionnaires are transcribed or key-punched on to magnetic tape, or disks or input directly into the computer. Verification ensures that the data from the original questionnaires have been accurately transcribed, while data analysis, guided by the plan of data analysis, gives meaning to the data that have been collected.

Univariate techniques are used for analyzing data when there is a single measurement of each element or unit in the sample, or, if there are several measurements of each element, each RCH variable is analyzed in isolation. On the other hand, multivariate techniques are used for analyzing data when there are two or more measurements on each element and the variables are analyzed simultaneously.

All analysis that can be performed, from complex to simple, depends on how the questionnaire was constructed. Less complex analysis on smaller data sets can be handled with any of a number of office suite tools, while more complex analysis and larger data sets require dedicated market research analysis software.

Types of analysis that might be performed are simple frequency distributions, cross tab analysis, multiple regression (driver analysis), cluster analysis, factor analysis, perceptual mapping (multidimensional scaling), structural equation modeling and data mining.

Marketing Research Process # Step 6 – Reporting and Presentation:

Reporting and presentation, if not the most important of the steps in marketing research, is easily the second behind research design. All business critical information and knowledge that comes from your market research investment are limited by how they are presented to decision makers. There are as many reporting styles as there are research reports, but some are definitely better than others.

The conclusions and recommendations, supported by a detailed analysis of the findings should be submitted in a written report. The report should be written in clear language, properly paragraphed, and should present the facts and findings with necessary evidence.

The choice of the words, adequate emphasis, correct statistical presentation, avoidance of flowery language and ability to express ideas directly and simply in an organized framework are essential for a good report.

The entire project should be documented in a written report which addresses the specific research questions identified, describes the approach, the research design, data collection, and data analysis procedures adopted, and presents the results and the major findings.

The findings should be presented in a comprehensible format so that they can be readily used in the decision making process. In addition, an oral presentation should be made to management using tables, figures, and graphs to enhance clarity and impact.

For these reasons, interviews with experts are more useful in conducting marketing research for industrial firms and for products of a technical nature, where it is relatively easy to identify and approach the experts. This method is also helpful in situations where little information is available from other sources, as in the case of radically new products.

Primary data are obtained by a study specifically designed to fulfill the data needs of the problem at hand. Such data are original in character and are generated in large number of surveys conducted mostly by Government and also by some individual, institutions and research bodies. For example- data obtained in a population census by the Office of the Registrar General, Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, are primary data.

Data which are not originally collected but rather obtained from published or unpublished sources are known as secondary data. For example- for the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, the census data are primary whereas for all others, who use such data, they are secondary.

The secondary data constitute the chief material on the basis of which statistical work is carried out in many investigations. In fact, before collecting primary data it is desirable that one should go through the existing literature and learn what is already known of the general area in which the specification problem falls and any and all surrounding information that may give us leads and lessons.

This can help in getting an idea about the possible pitfalls, avoiding duplication of efforts and waste of resources. It should be noted that it is the process of assembling primary data which is called ‘collection’ of statistics and is different from the process of ‘compiling’ statistics (i.e., secondary data) from various published sources.

To quote Crum, Patton and Tebbutt, Collection means the assembling, for the purpose of particular investigation of entirely new data, presumably not already available in published sources.

Primary data collection is possible through various methods.

The following methods are popular for marketing research projects for collecting primary data:

1. Interview Method:

(a) Depth Interviews

(b) Mail Interviews

(c) Telephone Interviews.

2. Delphi Technique

3. Projective Techniques

4. Focus Group Interview

5. Questionnaire Method:

(a) Structured non-disguised questionnaire

(b) Non-structured non-disguised questionnaire

(c) Indirect questionnaire

(d) Structured disguised questionnaire.

Answer 5. Marketing Research Process 7 Steps:

Marketing Research requires the application of the systems-approach to the task of collecting, organising, analysing and interpreting desired marketing information. This means that each step in the research process must be carefully planned, effectively coordinated with all other related steps so that all the steps are properly integrated and executed as specified at the proper time and in the desired sequence.

Each important division or segment of the process of investigation and analysis plays a vital role in the efforts of the research team to achieve the stated goals.

Marketing researcher is directly concerned with all three operations- input, process, and output. Input is usually data, i.e., facts and figures and values, often quantified. The collected data is processed by researchers. In data processing, we have the operations of editing, classification, and analysis, and output is the result of processing. It is in the form of information. Information is power. It is critical to successful marketing operations as intelligence is to warfare.

There are a number of characteristics of good output, i.e., good information-

(1) It should be timely,

(2) It should be current or up-to-date,

(3) It should be accurate,

(4) It should be sufficient,

(5) It should be relevant or necessary for decisions,

(6) It should be reliable,

(7) It should be economical,

(8) It should be understandable and acceptable to marketing executives in charge of decision-making and solving marketing problems,

(9) It should be usable without further modification,

(10) Output should not be data but information (knowledge derived from the analysis of data).

Information is the processed data in the form of interpretations, inferences and conclusions, which can act as the basis for sound and prompt decisions. Please remember that marketing research is actively associated in the rational decision-making process. It is an important component of Marketing Information System.

Marketing Research process provides information not data to marketing executives. Marketing decisions are based on information, not on data.

Marketing research process involves the following seven steps in proper sequence:

(1) Situation analysis,

(2) Preliminary investigation,

(3) Research design,

(4) Sources of data,

(5) Data analysis,

(6) Report preparation, and

(7) Follow-up recommendations.

Marketing Research Process # 1. Situation Analysis:

Define and analyse the marketing problem to be solved. Determine clearly the purpose of inquiry. State the immediate as well as ultimate objectives. Try to secure information about the firm, its products, the industry, the market, competitors, advertising, and the general environment around the firm. You should have familiarity of the situation surrounding the problem. Personal interviews, company records, library material, and trade papers are the sources for situation analysis.

Marketing Research Process # 2. Preliminary Investigation:

It is an investigation to secure minimum acquaintance or feel for the problem. The researcher may meet consumers, dealers, marketing executives, competitors to get background information, which can throw some light on the most critical issues for study and investigation.

Such an informal exploration may determine the need and justification of further formal investigation. The exploratory study or preliminary investigation may offer the solution to a problem. But if the solution is not evident or the risks involved are considerable, we may have to undertake the formal or conclusive research to secure valid and reliable conclusions. The formal investigation project must be economically feasible.

Marketing Research Process # 3. Research Design:

A research design is a master-plan or model for the conduct of formal investigation. Once the formal investigation is decided, the researcher must formulate the formal plan of investigation. A research design is the specification of methods and procedures for acquiring the information needed for solving the problem.

The formal investigation plan will concentrate on the selection of sources of information and the selection of methods and procedures for gathering data. Data gathering forms are prepared. Questionnaires and other forms are tested. Samples for investigational are planned.

Marketing Research Process # 4. Sources of Marketing Data:

Once the research design or plan is finalised, the researcher will embark upon the task of collecting the data. A research study may require both primary and secondary data. Primary data must be assembled by the researcher for the first time. Secondary data is already available for processing.

Primary data is gathered through the use of sampling. Primary data can be collected through a number of methods such as survey, experimental method or observation method.

Marketing Research Process # 5. Information Analysis:

Collected data must be edited, tabulated, and analysed. The research team makes interpretation of the data. Conclusions and interpretations lead to recommendation for action. Electronic data processing equipment can be employed for analysing large data quickly and at a lower cost.

After data collection, the research worker has to look after processing of data. Processing includes preliminary screening of data, editing, coding, classification and tabulating of data. Preliminary screening is done to verify the accuracy and completeness of data. Editing is done to eliminate errors in the raw data. Coding simplifies and speeds up the work of tabulate of data.

For example, the letter “M” for male and “F” for female can be used as symbols and numbers like 1, 2, and 3 as code numbers. Classification involves grouping of data on the basis of well-defined characteristics such as state, district, territory or attributes .Tabulation is orderly grouping of data in rows and columns for easy comparison and cross-checking.

In analysis, the data is arranged in a systematic manner for interpretation purpose. Field raw data has to be analysed using statistical tools. Interpretation of data is required to arrive at meaningful findings and probable solutions.

Marketing Research Process # 6. Report Preparation:

Conclusions and recommendations supported by necessary analysis are submitted in the form of a written report and it is submitted to the management. The report must clearly and effectively point out the relationship among the data, the interpretation, and the recommendations. Research report should contain conclusions and recommendations in an organised form.

Marketing Research Report:

A general form of the report has the following contents-

(1) Title page,

(2) Table of contents,

(3) A brief outline of the research and its findings,

(4) A concise statement of the marketing problem and its translation into a research problem,

(5) The aims and objectives of the research,

(6) An outline of the research design of plan describing the methodology used in research to meet the objectives,

(7) Data analysis and results with an abstract of the relevant data,

(8) Limitations imposed on the research and its results,

(9) The findings, conclusions, and recommendations,

(10) Appendices, e.g., questionnaire copy, glossary of terms used, sample design, detailed tables, etc.

The report must be presented in an easily understandable form. The style of writing must be interesting and stimulating. Visual aids must be freely used, e.g., pie charts, bar diagrams, graphs, etc. The recommendations must be precise, clear-cut and feasible.

Marketing Research Process # 7. Follow-Up Recommendations:

The report presented to the management must be followed up to ensure the implementation of recommendations. An excellent report may be simply wasted-when the recommendations are put in the melting pot and management takes no steps in the implementation of research report.

The researcher should actively associate with marketing executives in converting the recommendations of the report into new marketing strategies and programmes. Too often, the follow-up is omitted. In the absence of follow-up, the research report may be filed and forgotten.

Answer 6. Marketing Research Process:

Marketing research has two distinct dimensions that are governed by the exploratory, descriptive and casual approaches. Exploratory studies are based on primary data pertaining to identified samples focusing on a set of objectives. Such studies are generally woven around hypotheses and attempt to generate new ideas to serve the objectives of the research.

Descriptive marketing research tries to describe the magnitude and direction of the problem and brings out the output for a logical debate on the marketing managers’ floor. A research plan determining data sources, methodology, tools, sample design and data collection methods needs to be formulated after setting objectives.

The data collection process has to be initiated from primary or secondary or both sources administering a checklist and questionnaire. The data should then be subjected to an appropriate analysis in view of the set objectives and its findings are to be presented in a draft report.

International marketing research is processed in the following steps:

Step 1- Determine Management Level

a. Corporate

b. Regional

c. Local

Step 2- Determine Type of Marketing Research Decision

a. Strategic

b. Tactical

Step 3- Determine Information Requirements

Step 4- Design Research

a. Identify Problem

b. Evolve Sampling Design

c. Identify Variables

d. Designing Research Instrument

Step- 5 Examine Data Banks

Step- 6 Collect Secondary Data

Step- 7 Update Data Bank

Step- 8 Analyze Data

Step- 9 Present Report

Step- 10 Integrate Results and Recommendations into Management Decision-making

Making decisions about operating a business in any country specifically requires information pertaining to political, financial and legal indicators. Besides these, data related to infrastructure, duty and taxes and general economic variables of the country are also required to be analyzed.

The risk factors associated with operating a country specific business in the international order are also a prerequisite of international marketing research. The product specific data is required to assess the market potential and profitability with reference to a specific country or region.

The primary data is collected from the earmarked sample that also administers a questionnaire in person or through mail. However, it has been that mailing responses are often discouraging and do not exceed 20% of the sample size. The secondary sources of data are published statistics in internal reports, government publications, periodicals, books and commercial sources. The methodology of study comprises identifying data sources, research approaches, tools, sampling design and data collection methods. This part forms the principal component of a research plan.

An observation research approach is commonly used for formulating descriptive marketing research plans. The focus-group and participatory approaches are useful exercises for exploratory marketing research that does not have complete perspective results. The survey method has proved to be an effective research approach for exploratory studies for analyzing data. This makes use of quantitative methods leading to a distinctive analysis of factors and future projections.

Experimental research attempts to studying the impact on the control group through different applications of business models, checks, reformative goals and qualitative/quantitative analysis methods to draw results. This approach is identified as one of the most scientific methods in relating a research approach with its results.

However, a good marketing research approach needs to be characterized by the following qualities:

1. Scientific method

2. Originality and creativity

3. Potential to use multiple methods for cross-checking the emerging results

4. Interdependence on analytical models and data sets

5. Cost of research.

A marketing research plan should comprise of these qualities for drawing effective results and for preparing a useful document to be used for optimizing business propositions in any situation.

The effectiveness of marketing research largely depends upon the formulation of an appropriate research design consisting of adequate sample size, variables and proper tools for data collection suitable to the problem given. A researcher has to collect substantial background material to conceptualize the research study before heading towards the formulation of a research design for the problem concerned.

The nature of problems varies in consumer marketing research and there also exist studies related to the research of industrial products marketing and the style of research design. There are many design conflicts encountered by the researcher in evolving a suitable research design.

They are:

1. The sample size (quantitative)

2. Respondents (classified)

3. Information to be sought (issue specific)

4. Time frame (schedule for completion, class-intervals of time to be reserved)

5. Tools for information collection (interview, mail, telephone, etc.).

It is essential for a marketing researcher to determine the sample size in terms of the number of respondents, regions, products, firms, etc., to be studied and the type of respondents to be covered under study. The classification of respondents according to their income levels, locality, gender, etc., needs to be formulated prior to deciding what questions are to be asked to them. A synchronized list of issues embodying the questionnaire to be administered should be drafted with the aim of retrieving information from the sample respondents.

In conducting any research, time management has considerable importance and hence, the time schedule for information retrieval to be decided. In this context, the cutting-edge of time, class-intervals, and time series issues need to be decided by the researcher. On completing the designing process, the tool(s) for data collection need to be selected. They are- interviewing mailing questionnaires, telephone conversations, etc. An integration of all these components makes a perfect research design.


The sampling process should begin with identifying the area of the study with reference to the section of the population to be interviewed and the spatial distribution of the respondents. This step sets the demographic and geographic boundaries of the sample design. A researcher cannot develop the sample design until the universe (area) of the study is defined.

The size of the sample should be determined carefully through the medium of the questionnaire. To do this, a researcher has to find the answer for two questions in deciding an appropriate sample size.

They are:

(i) How large should the sample be, and

(ii) How the respondents should be selected.

Statistically, a minimum number of 30 respondents of a homogeneous group are generally significant, whereas, the size of the heterogeneous group needs to be decided upon qualitative considerations of the sample, viz., purchasing power, the volume of products in demand, behavioral dimensions, etc., in the context of a consumer product.

Two kinds of anticipated errors in the sampling process which often occur are:

(i) Administrative errors in carrying out the survey design. These include communication errors, flaws in the interviewing schedule, irrelevance of framed questions, etc.

(ii) Sampling errors due to the misrepresented samples, faulty selection of the universe for study and the like.

Hence, sampling needs to be done scientifically taking all error possibilities into consideration.

Sampling Techniques:

There are many techniques for sampling used in marketing research. However, the correctness of the technique is subject to the nature of the problem identified for the study and to the objectives set for the same.

The various sampling techniques are detailed below:

Sampling Techniques # 1. Simple Random Sampling:

This method is very flexible. It is not restricted to any one type of respondents, gender, income levels and other variables. The technique allows the researcher to pick sample respondents from the universe of study irrespective of class barriers. However, the minimum and maximum sample size needs to be defined.

Sampling Techniques # 2. Multi-Stage Random Sampling:

This technique is a more complex form of simple random sampling which prescribes that a researcher divide the universe of the, study based on selected variables such as customers by age, customers by income level, customers by sex, etc., and select the samples randomly within the categories formed. However, the minimum and maximum sample size need to be kept in view while sampling under various categories.

Sampling Techniques # 3. Cluster Sample Design:

To make the information collection effective, a researcher can group the respondents into a group or cluster. This can be done demographically or geographically or both depending upon the intensity of the data collection and the time schedule thereof.

Sampling Techniques # 4. Stratified Sampling:

In this process the respondents clusters are made in hierarchical order and sample size in determined on a proportionate basis in each stratum. For example, the sample size of customer needs to be selected with reference to different age groups. In this exercise, the customers have to be classified according to different age-groups, and their population ascertained and proportionately sampled out using a parameter (say 5%). In this technique, the sample size is mostly adjusted within the strata.

Sampling Techniques # 5. Purposive Sampling:

This technique is administered according to the choice of the researcher of area, population and related variables. However, it is necessary to look into the thrust of the research for a sample design to be evolved accordingly. In using this method a researcher should logically set the universe of the study and sample variables with reference to the research problem.

Sampling Techniques # 6. Quota Sampling:

This is a term for representative sampling in which a researcher prescribes a quota of individuals, product, etc., to be studied and which considerably represents the segments of universe. In this technique a common error may occur while allotting correct quota to get a significant representation of the sample for the study.

Structuring a Questionnaire:

A questionnaire is defined as a set of questions related to the research problem that are used for interviewing a sample respondent. The questionnaire is generally prepared in a structured form with many types of questions.

A questionnaire may include the following sets of questions:

1. Long descriptive questions

2. Two questions in one

3. Multiple choice questions

4. Closed and open-ended questions

5. Indirect questions

6. Direct questions

7. Attitudinal questions.

The open-ended questions are difficult to codify for analysis. However, they could generate a substantial input for formulating descriptive cases and observatory analysis. The multiple choice questions have the advantage of easy coding and computerized analysis but at the same time they limit the scope of response. The direct questions are posed to respondents to get to know their viewpoints exclusively while indirect questions attempt to measure the logical framing of responses and in cross-examining the responses of the respondents.

Tools of Data Collection:

Research tools play an important role in managing information during fieldwork. Data collection is a process which encounters many problems while administering the questionnaire to potential respondents. Hence, a wise researcher should always pre-test the questionnaire designed in a pilot survey. Data collection may be carried out through the following tools in order to ensure substantial information flow into the research.

They are:

1. Personal interview

2. Mail survey

3. Telephone interview

4. Permanent mail panels

5. Observation.

A substantial data flow can be generated in field research through personal interviews as this facilitates the documentation of expanded responses to questions posed, thus providing scope for more detailed information for analysis. On the contrary, telephone interviews are time bound and one is often left with short answers and with codes which pose a problem in the analysis of information.

Such conversations are not cost effective and cannot be applied for marketing research of consumer or popular goods and services. This tool may prove effective to contact those customers who are not easily available. Interviewing has to be managed within a short span of time.

The survey conducted via mailing questionnaires needs a long time for information collection and the turnout of response is also found to be limited. However, it may be considered by the researcher as one way of placing the informer on the company’s permanent mailing list for a time series information inflow scheduled for long run. Such a tool is useful in collecting time series data with flexible sample size and long-term research schedules.

The example of a company may be cited which was willing to monitor washing machines or water filters or Xerox machines as major products of the users through permanent mailing panels at the company office. It also helps in building up the buyer-seller relationship.

Data Preparation:

The data collected in the field of work process needs to be prepared for analysis and then summarized. This exercise helps in arranging data-sets and classifying clusters for analysis.

The data preparation process involves the editing of data, the coding of responses categorically, tabulation of responses into frequencies or analysis tables, graphical representation of data and analytical results and summary statements highlighting the main findings of analysis in different data-sets.

Editing of data involves the examination of raw data to ensure the accuracy of information and its presentation in usable form.

Initial surveying of data needs to be done keeping the following issues in mind:

1. Are the responses legible?

2. Consistency of responses.

3. Are the responses complete?

4. Doubtful notions and indirect responses.

Such screening is necessary for the answers of open-ended questions. They need to be carefully classified for clustering input for analysis. However, multiple choice data formats are easy for loading and preparing sets. Editing of data also requires checking the consistency of responses to related queries. The responses have to be cross-checked and a researcher should get a satisfactory presentation of information.

Incomplete responses need to be sorted out and attempts should be made to extract the relevant parts of the response from the indirect phrases for presenting information effectively. In order to increase the efficacy of information desk editing, it is essential to field edit administered questionnaires at the end of the day. It helps in recapitulating the interviews held and the discussions thereof before undertaking editing work.

Coding is another exercise to be carried out in the process of data preparation. It is generally done to numerically codify the responses of open-ended questions, classifying them appropriately. The codified data is used for statistical analysis. The pre-coded questionnaires are also used for interviewing but they have a limitation in terms of restricted response options. Such formats are useful for handling large data analysis through computers.

Tabulation is the process of arranging data into an illustrative form pertaining to different variables of a factor. This exhibition of cross tabulation is self-explanatory to a large extent. However, the presentation of analysis results or raw data can also be done through simple tabulation techniques.

Cross tabulation is one of the most popular designs for summarizing marketing research data. A researcher can identify the statistical relationship between variables and their significance by looking at the cross tables. It benefits the analyst as logical exhibits which even a non-researcher can understand.

Data Analysis Approaches:

Data in an original form remains raw at any source. It needs to be fabricated in turn to the analytical design suitable for the study. This task may be determined according to the need that arises in usage of data for the analytical model. There are different procedures for data analysis for extracting information from a given data set.

They are as follows:

i. Regression Analysis:

This method is used to identify the trend using a time series data of one or more variables. A researcher distinguishes the variables as dependent and independent in nature. The analysis highlights the contribution of variables to variations in the dependent variable. The analysis if carried by two or more independent variables is termed as multiple regression. One prerequisite for such analysis is a time-series data of the variables identified.

ii. Discriminate Function Analysis:

This method is used to determine the impact of a particular variables(s) on the dependent variable. This statistical process helps in finding the discriminating variables which could be combined in a forecasting equation to lead better for the group cluster. This analysis has been used to identify and develop criteria for market segmentation, and also to examine consumer behavior with reference to brand choice.

iii. Factor Analysis:

The factor analysis attempts to provide an explanation for the correlations of a larger set of variables. This analysis may be useful to determine the attitudes of customers towards the products of a company in a given situation.

iv. Cluster Analysis:

This process is helpful in obtaining segregated results for a group of variables of a homogeneous nature. In marketing research, it is essential to set sub-groups like consumer goods, capital goods, (in product) range, people, place, income levels, etc. Analysis is done keeping in view the clustered data as one segment or factor in the statistical process.

v. Conjoint Analysis:

This method is used for exploring the possibilities of designing and launching a new product that can attract customers. Customers are asked to rank some hypothetical products, which information is put through composite indexing and the final ranks are computed. This method is commonly used for psychometric tests and measurements in determining behavior.

It is a popular approach for ranking the performance of the product as well as the company in the market. These analytical approaches support the study of identifying factors, variable correlations and interdependence in a given situation. Models help the marketing manager to come to an appropriate decision on the basis of the logical interpretation of analytical results.

The link between the dependent variable and its determinants is specified in the micro- dynamic model. The impact of product promotion activities on the volume of sales can be explained by studying the links between advertising expenditure, the number of media message insertions, the level of product awareness, usage rate, etc., through this model.

The micro behavioral model hypothetically analyses independent variables like consumers, dealers, etc., who interact and produce a report of behavior. The queuing model provides a logical base for making such decisions in the area of time-run sales or marketing as whether to make the customer wait for the product or to alter the policy in view of competitive threats.

This model can be effectively used in supermarkets, transport organizations, etc. The decision-making models comprise of mathematical techniques, decision theories and probability models which are calculus and theory oriented. The game theory is also an important approach in the decision-making exercise. It draws attention to the identification alternative decisions, uncertain variables and value of different results.

Approaches other than those discussed above are specific to the problem. For instance, the focus group analysis based on qualitative information may be done for determining product policy.

The related research and analytical approaches are as given below:

1. Product Policy Decision:

a. Focus group

b. Survey of developing new product

c. Concept testing/test marketing

d. Product attitude data

2. Price:

a. Price sensitivity approaches

3. Distribution Decision:

a. Data on shopping patterns and

b. Consumer behavior

c. Distributors attitude and policy

d. Data on performance of store different store types

4. Advertising Decision:

a. Concept pre-testing

b. Evaluation and feedback analysis

c. Surveys on media habits

5. Sales Decision:

a. Analysis of response in terms of revenue,

b. Profit and image of promotional strategies

It is, however, advised in the case of international marketing research that a greater use of qualitative research techniques may be made at the initial stages of market entry in order to familiarize one set with the international environment. Further, a concrete research process can be developed, more complex, if possible and administered in different countries having a varied social, economical, political and legal environment.