Marketing research can be defined as the collection and analysis of information to support marketing decision making, and the communication of this analysis to management. The corollary of this definition might be that marketing research is only done if there is at least a potential for a decision to be made because of it.
We can distinguish four types of market research objective:
ÃÂ· Exploratory: done to set the framework for later research and give the researcher some preliminary information about the subject. Nowadays this is frequently a highly "web-based" process.
ÃÂ· Baseline (which is somewhat confusingly called "descriptive" in our textbook): this is done to describe current facts without necessarily explaining what has caused them; typically, it is done in order to better understand the existing market for a product
ÃÂ· Diagnostic: done in order to explain (i.e., find a cause) for a known effect, especially a known problem with a current product; in general, it consists of identifying a specific problem-causing variable and tracking its effects
ÃÂ· Predictive: done in order to suggest what the effects of changes in a significant variable will be; it is often oriented to finding new opportunities in a changing environment
An important observation that could be made about the preceding four research objectives is that all but the first are normally investigations of customers, whether actual or potential, and normally in relatively large numbers.
Exploratory research, by contrast, normally focuses not on customers but on other firms or organizations within the same market, or on larger environmental factors such as legislation or economic trends. If exploratory research does deal with customers it normally does so only in small numbers.
We can also distinguish various research methodologies or techniques: for example, focus groups, surveys, etc. These, in turn, can be categorized in...