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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Steps Involved in Marketing Research Process




STEP 1 : Define the research problem and establish research objectives :
Before any research project can be undertaken, the researcher must have a clear understanding of the problem or market situation which has created the need for information. The definition of the precise problem which is to be addressed will take considerable time and effort and will involve close interaction between the marketing manager and the researcher. The importance of accurately defining the problem cannot be overemphasized. It is said that problem definition is the most critical part of the research process. And unless the problem is properly defined, the information produced by the research process is unlikely to have any value.
 In order to have a good problem definition, the researcher will have to undertake situation analysis. This is necessary because the management problem can only be understood within the context of the problem situation. The situation analysis is focussed on the variables that have produced the stated management problem. The factors that have led to management's concern with the problem should be identified or isolated.

Situation analysis also involves giving careful attention to company records, appropriate secondary sources, such as census data, industry sales figures, economic indicators, and so on, and interviews with knowledgeable individuals both internal and external to the firm. The person interviewed will include managers involved and many include salespersons, other researchers, trade associations officials, professionals and consumers. Once the research problem has been clearly defined, the researcher must specify objectives of the proposed project. Research objectives answer the question, why is this project being conducted?. Typically, research objectives are put in writing before the project is undertaken.

STEP 2 : Determine information Needs : the output of the problem definition process is a clear statement of the information required to assist the decision maker. Information needs answers the question : What specific information is required to attend the project objectives.

The marketing researcher will have to determine the specific information that will have to be produced in order to solve the research problem and accomplish the research objectives. For example, the information required may be the demographic variables including the age, sex, occupation, incomes, e.t.c. of the target market. The current strategies adopted by competitors may also be required including the prevailing economic conditions and government policies affecting the marketing of the company's products.

STEP 3 : Identify data sources.
The third step in the development of the research project is the identification of data sources. In some cases, the data needed to solve the marketing problem may be available within the organisation itself, from corporate accounting and sales records or from previous studies which have been conducted. In other cases, the data may exist as secondary data produced by other organisations, such as trade associations. In many cases, however, it will be necessary for the researcher to conduct primary research, involving the actual collection of data from individual or organisations outside the company. If patent and usable secondary data are available, they may be no need to proceed with primary data collection, however, it is more likely that information would have to be obtained from consumers or other groups. Researchers usually start their investigation by examining secondary data to see whether their problem can be partly or wholly solved without collecting costly primary data. Secondary data provide a starting point for research and offer the advantage of low cost and ready availability. When the data needed by the researcher do not exist, or are outdated, inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, the researcher will have to collect primary data most marketing research projects involves some primary data collection.

STEP 4 : select the data collection approved or method.  the selection of data collection method is one of the key aspects of the research design. There are four basic data collection approaches in marketing research namely :

A. Observational method : fresh data can be gathered by observing the relevant actions and settings.

B. Focus group method : a focus group is a gathering of six to ten people with a skilled moderator to check a product, service, organisation or the marketing entity.

C. Survey method : this involves systematic collection of information directly from respondent with the use of questionnaires.

D. Experimental method :  in this method, the researcher manipulates one or more variables in such a way that its effect on one or more other variables can be measured.

STEP 5 :Select and develop the data collect instruments :  after selecting a data collection approach, the researcher must select and develop a measurement instrument. Marketing researchers have a choice of two main research instruments in collecting primary data questionnaires all forms and mechanical devices.

STEP 6 : Determine sample size and select sample.
Most marketing studies involves a sample or subgroup of the total population, relevant to the problem, rather than a census of the entire group. After deciding on the research approach and instruments, the marketing researcher must design a sample plan. The plan calls for three decisions .

A. Sample unit : who is to be surveyed? The marketing researcher must defined the target population that will be sampled.

B. Sample size : how many people should be surveyed?

C. Sample procedure : how should the respondents be chosen?

The sample must be of sufficient size for the researcher to have confidence in the results, and it should be selected in a manner which will ensure it is representative of the population being studied.
 To obtain a representative sample, a probability sample of the population should be drawn. Non-probability samples can also be used. Some marketing researchers feel that non probability sample are very useful in many circumstances even though they do not allow sampling error to be measured.

STEP 7 : Select the analytical methods.
Data are useful only after analysis. Data analysis involves converting a series of recorded observations into descriptive statements and or interference about relationships. The type of analysis that can be conducted depends on the nature of the sampling process, the measurement instruments, and the data collection method. It is imperative that the researcher select the analytic technique prior to collecting the data.

STEP 8 : having prepared the measurement instruments, and selected the sampling procedure and sample size, the next step is to collect the data. The data collection phase of marketing research is generally the most expensive and most prone to error. Certain precautions must be taken at this stage To ensure that data are being collected properly and that errors do not creep into the process. The precautions include training of field interviewers, monitoring of the quality of complete questionnaires and others precautions.

STEP 9 : process, analyze and interpret collected data.
 once the marketing researcher has collected data the next task is to organise or agitate the data in a meaningful manner. A number of tables are prepared to bring out the main characteristics of the data. The researcher should have a well thought out framework for processing and analysing data, and this should be done before he goes out to collect data.

  In order to derive meaningful results from the statistical tables, the researcher may use one or more of the following steps :
 Calculating relevant measures of central tendency, and dispersion highlighting the major aspects of the data. Enter cross tabulation the data to ascertain some useful relationships.
Calculating the correlation efficient and doing regression analysis between variables.
Undertaking multivariate analysis. Such an analysis uses a variety of techniques to determine important relationships among several variables. Enter data analysis for marketing research projects will involve the use of computers. For this reason, questionnaires must be edited and coded, and data must be entered into an appropriate computer program. Edit in means a review of the complete questionnaires to ensure that they have been completed properly and are usable in the analysis. Coding is the assignment of numerical values of the responses. This is necessary so that the computer program can be used to interpret them. Data entry means the actual keying of data into a computer file.

STEP 10 : Prepare the research report.
 Once the data has been tabulated, analysed and interpreted, the marketing researcher is required to prepare his report. This report summarises the steps which have been adopted in conducting the project, details with the results which have been obtained, draws conclusions, and develop recommendations. For this report the marketing manager will be able to assess the research efforts and determine the action which must be taken on the basis of the results, that is why it is important that the research report be well written and deal with the problem from marketing research perspective.

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