Being able to define precisely what marketing research can and should be doing for the organization is the first step in achieving it. One way of doing this is to reflect on the organization as a whole and decide what are its most pressing problems. The answers below were given by delegates to the Chartered Institute of Marketing's introductory course on market research:
From an insurance company: 'We are a relatively small company in a growing but fiercely competitive business. We need research information to decide how to increase business from our existing customers and attract business from new customers.'
From a whisky manufacturer: 'Whisky sales generally are in decline. We need research to evaluate the potential of new whisky-based drink products. We also need research to select the most effective packaging to maximize product sales in an increasingly self-service market.'
From a carpet manufacturer: 'The floor-coverings market is in decline and over-supplied. We know that design is an important factor in the market. We need research to help us maintain and improve market share by identifying appealing designs and appropriate target markets for them.'
From a business-to-business IT supplier: 'We are now able to develop an enhanced range of systems integration products. We need research to discover whether a viable market exists for these possible products, who our potential customers might be and whether they know our name and would buy from us.'
From a dot-com business: 'We have never done market research and have no way of evaluating the performance of our site in the market as a whole. Our cash is running out. We need to return to our backers with a solid business plan. We need research to establish our market size and share and the potential in our customer base. What customers should we be attracting and what products will they require and how can we generate revenue from our site?'
Another approach to defining why a particular organization needs marketing research is to consider the range of uses to which it is already put by other organizations. Six main areas are listed here.
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