Marketing research involves the analysis of marketing problems and techniques for the collection and interpretation of data to assist in developing the most appropriate solutions to them. It is concerned with identifying and anticipating customer requirements and measuring satisfaction with the products and services made available. It also produces data used in assessing and controlling the performance of an organization.
This book aims to assist managers in any organization to become more informed and therefore more effective research users. It introduces marketing research by explaining:
■ What marketing research is (Chapter 1)
■ Why an organization needs it (Chapter 2)
■ What research can be carried out within an organization (Chapter 3)
■ What research data is already available (Chapter 4)
■ How research surveys are carried out (Chapters 5-10)
■ How research services are bought (Chapter 11)
■ How research is used (Chapters 12-16)
■ How to build on this introduction (Chapter 17).
Four features of the text will be particularly useful for new users of research. First, Chapter 4, on 'off-the-peg' research, guides the reader to sources of readily available information, both online and offline. Two sources not readily identifiable by the new user are listed: syndicated research services and omnibus surveys. These listings form a helpful ready reference for those unfamiliar with the research industry. Second, another highly practical feature of the book is the Research Users' Guides and their accompanying Notes, which form the basis of Chapter 16. The objective here is for the new research user, having read the book, to be able to consult the Guides and say, 'With this problem, I have these research possibilities for finding an answer'. Third, the book reviews two major changes in business. With the increasing internationalization of business, Chapter 15 looks at international marketing research and each chapter, where appropriate, illustrates the overseas' dimension of the area under discussion. Fourth, Chapter 14 looks at marketing research and the Internet, and the role of web-based research and database systems is incorporated where relevant throughout the text.
Any technical terms not already covered in the text are explained in the accompanying notes and all research suggestions are referenced to sections of the text where explanations appear. Because this is an introductory text, it makes no assumptions of background knowledge. Chapter 7, which deals with sampling, and Chapter 10, which deals with statistical analysis of data, deliberately avoid the use of statistical formulae. The aim is to give the research user an understanding of what statistical approaches can do to data, and why they are useful and sometimes essential. Research users do not need to be statistically competent themselves, but they should appreciate the contribution that statisticians can make in the design and analysis of research surveys. It is not the aim of this book to teach basic statistics, so those wishing to carry out the statistical manipulations described will need to have, or to acquire, the appropriate statistical expertise. Chapter 17 suggests some books to assist in this. It also suggests other ways in which those wishing to develop further their interest and expertise in marketing research after reading this introductory text, can do so.
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