Marketers need to know first of all their targeted market. A market is composed of a number of consumers to whom you must orient and adapt more and more. To find out information about them and about the competition on the market is the most effective market research. Companies using this powerful tool are able to understand the buying behavior of consumers, their satisfaction and also their market share. A market research consists of four distinct phases and we are going to talk about them, one by one.
First, you must define the underlying problem and the research objectives. This is the most delicate phase, and therefore the most difficult, because the foundation of a market research is always a problem to be solved. If you fail to define it, the search will not bring any result because solving a problem that does not exist, you obviously do not need anything. Define the problem and set the objectives of your research. You need to gather information to define the problem and formulate a hypothesis (exploration), describe the consumers, their attitudes and how the product can enter the market (descriptive research) and finally try to confirm a hypothesis about the cause-effect relationships (causal search). It is recommended to start with exploratory research.
Later, you have to develop the research plan. That is to determine what you should do, what you want to know and what tools to use to collect all the necessary information. You have to consider all the information that may be of help and put them in writing. To retrieve the data you need you could adopt the following survey methods: exploratory research requires direct observation of consumers, the descriptive need to ask questions and conduct surveys, while in the causal need to be good to experiment (eg fix a different prices in two different cities and check their effects). The information can also be collected using questionnaires, interviews (including telephone and on the Internet) and focus groups. Define how many people will also contain your sample.
Having planned your research, now you have to implement it, to turn into action everything that came out of the previous phase. Use the method of investigation appropriate to the objectives set at the beginning, collect data and analyze them with the utmost care. Please note: double check that the research plan has been implemented correctly. Try to be friendly, clear and flexible with consumers. Be noticed to filter the information that you consider most important and make sure that the answers are clear and complete. Subsequently, analyze the collected data: calculate averages and statistics so as to convert into numbers the results obtained.
A market research does not end with the collection and analysis of data, but with the interpretation of the latter. In fact, the job of a marketer does not end with a bunch of numbers, tables and graphs. You must draw the conclusions, the numbers that will change the facts.