Marketing Research Definition

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Everything you need to know about the definitions of marketing research. Like the term marketing, marketing research evokes different images in different people’s minds.

Some quote it with consumer interviews; some think of it as sales forecasting or sales analysis; to others it represents obtaining reactions to new product ideas or models.

Different companies even use different terms. There are about as many definitions of market research as there are active market researches today, but they all have one thing in common; Market Research is the arm of marketing that finds out things and thereby lays the basis for marketing strategy.

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It is concerned with the facts of what people buy, when they buy, where they buy. Marketing Research may be defined as the planned and systematic gathering and collection of data and the analysis of information relating to all aspects of marketing and the final consumption of goods or services.

Marketing research includes the complete analysis of the market. Information regarding the nature, size, organisation profitability of different markets, changes in markets and the various factors (economic, social, and political) affecting those change are studied vigorously.

Learn about the definitions of marketing research defined by some eminent authors like Zaltman, Burger, Richard D. Crisp, Delens, A.H, Green, Tull, Donald Taylor, Hugh Wales, Philip Kotler, W.J. Stanton, David Luck and some famous institutions.


Definitions of Marketing Research: By Zaltman, Burger, Richard D. Crisp, Delens, A.H, Green and Tull and Some Famous Institutions

Definitions of Marketing Research – By American Marketing Association, Zaltman, Burger and Encyclopedia Britannica

Marketing research is the application of scientific methods to the solution of marketing problems. It embraces all research activities for systematic, objective and exhaustive search for and the study of marketing problems. The standard official definition of marketing research (MR) given by American Marketing Association is, “the systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services.”

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In this definition the first part of the sentence describes ‘research’ and the second part marketing’. Research is the process of gathering recording and analysis of relevant facts about any problem in any human branch. Marketing is the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer.

Compiling the meaning of both the words we can say MR encompasses systematic analysis of all relevant marketing information and the facts finding approach for better decision-making.

Therefore, MR involves- (a) the analysis of problem as well as data, and (b) improvement of decision-making and control not just have data about marketing problems. Thus, marketing research is the systematic design, collection, analysis and reporting of data and finding relevant to a specific marketing situation facing to company.

Zaltman and Burger describe MR as, “the diagnosis of information needs and the selection of relevant inter-related variable about which valid and valuable information is gathered recorded and analyzed.” It means, this is like a RADAR activity where a company has to remain always alert to find out any new opportunities or to trace out any problem in existing marketing Programme. It is the continuous search for information needs.

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Encyclopedia Britannica describes, “MR as the application of the scientific method to the solutions of marketing problems. It studies people as buyers, sellers and consumers, examining their attitudes, preferences, habits and purchasing power. It is also concerned with the channels of distribution, promotion and pricing and with the design of the product and services to be marketed. Although there is hardly a form of commercial activity that does not use marketing research with some frequency, it finds its widest application in manufacturing probably because manufacturing is further from the ultimate consumer than are most service industries, public utilities and wholesale and retail enterprises.”

The very basic purpose of MR is to obtain information which aids in identification and solution of marketing problems. MR is the systematic collection and analysis of pertinent information to assist decision-making. MR is an important component of marketing information system.

It is the process of scientific study in which marketing information are collected and purposeful decisions are taken for better performance. The MR increases the profit of business as well as social goodness. It includes various subsidiary type of researches and it is not restricted to any given specific marketing problem but it applies to any field directly or indirectly related to marketing.


Definitions of Marketing Research – By the American Marketing Association, Delens, Green and Tull

i. Research that gathers and analyzes information about the moving of good or services from producer to consumer.

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ii. Marketing research is the systematic gathering, recording, and analysis of data about issues relating to marketing products and services.

iii. The identification of informational needs, the collection of relevant data, the analysis and interpretation of that data, and the reporting of the findings.

iv. Linking the customer, consumer and public with the marketer through information which is used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems.

v. The facilitating function of collecting and interpreting data on consumer demands and characteristics so that firms can develop new products and sell existing ones profitably.

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vi. The process of collecting, analysing and evaluating information/data about an organization’s customers (market).

Marketing research is defined as the objective and formal process of systematically obtaining, analyzing and interpreting data for actionable decision making in marketing. This definition lays stress on two aspects, namely, objectivity and systematic process in the collection and analysis of data.

In fact, marketing research should not be allowed to be influenced by personal views and considerations. Before undertaking any research study it is essential to delimit the primary objectives of the project and define the methodology of undertaking the project in as much details as possible.

Also, there is an implicit assumption that the ultimate findings should have the actionable quality. That is, the user must be able to utilize the results for marketing decision making purpose.

Otherwise, its utility is considerably undermined. That is to say, any marketing research done on an arbitrary basis (i.e., lack of objectivity) or applying one’s personal- convenience in the data collection and interpretation (i.e., on systematic search) will certainly be of no use.

Marketing research as an integral part of a MIS, should prove a flow of information inputs, mainly from external sources, useful in marketing decisions making. Marketing research is carried on in the effort to learn something reliable about a specific marketing problem encountered by the management.

The value of the results of the marketing research depends upon the skill with which the marketing research programme is framed and put into action. The investment of money and time will all be wasted if marketing research programme is ill designed.

The American Marketing Association has defined marketing research as, “systematic gathering, recording and analyzing data about problem relating to the marketing of goods and ‘services’. In the words of Richard D. Crisp, marketing research is, “the systematic, objective and exhaustive research for and study of the facts relevant to any problem in ‘the field of marketing”.

“Marketing research is the systematic and continuing study and evaluation of all factors bearing on any business operation, which involves the transfer of goods form producer to consumer”. – Delens, A.H

“It is the systematic and objective search for an analysis of information relevant to the identification and solution of any problem in the field of marketing.” – Green and Tull

The Salient Features of Marketing Research:

i. It is a search for data which are relevant to marketing problems.

ii. It is carried out in a systematic and objective manner.

iii. It involves a process of gathering, recording and analysis of data.

None of the definitions is explicit about the managerial purposes of marketing research, except saying that data are required for solving marketing problems.

A better definition of marketing research is, that it is an objective, and systematic collection, recording and analysis of data, relevant to marketing problems of a business in order to develop an appropriate information base for decision making in the marketing area.


Definitions of Marketing Research – By Paul Green, Donald Tull, David Luck, Donald Taylor, Hugh Wales, Philip Kotler and W.J. Stanton

The American Marketing Association defines marketing research as “The function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information—information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyses the results, and communicates the findings and their implications.”

The complexities of marketing in the modern world necessitate research to understand the business environment. An organization faces problems related to consumer preferences, product, competition, advertising and sales promotion, etc. Marketing research helps to provide a deeper insight into these issues. It is a systematic and scientific process conducted in an organized way.

Data related to the various aspects of marketing is collected, analyzed, interpreted and recorded in forms of reports and studies. This information is consulted for understanding the market conditions and taking decisions on various matters. Marketing research is very wide in scope; it includes product research, customer research, advertising research, logistics research, etc.

Some Definitions of Marketing Research:

Paul Green and Donald Tull- “Marketing research is the systematic and objective search for, and analysis of, information relevant to the identification and solution of any problem in the field of marketing.”

David Luck, Donald Taylor and Hugh Wales- “Marketing research is the application of scientific methods in the solution of marketing problems.”

Philip Kotler- “Marketing research is a systematic problem analysis, model building and fact finding for the purpose of improved decision-making and control in the marketing of goods and services.”

W.J. Stanton- “Marketing research is the systematic gathering, recording and analysis of data about marketing problems to facilitate decision-making.”

The term ‘market research’ is often confused with ‘marketing research’. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, technically they are different. Market research is a term for describing research into markets: their size, geographical distribution, incomes, and so forth.

On the other hand, marketing research is a wider concept; it also includes market research. The term marketing research is concerned with the entire sphere of marketing; it is the systematic and objective study of the facts relevant to any issue within the scope of marketing.


Definitions of Marketing Research – Explained!

Research is used to investigate the psychological reasons why individuals buy specific types of merchandise, or why they respond to specific advertising appeals, to determine the base of brand choices and product preferences.

Motivation Research is the application of the knowledge and techniques of the social sciences, especially psychology and sociology, to understanding consumer attitudes and behavior – used as a guide in advertising and marketing.

Motivational Research is the systematic analysis of the motives behind consumer decisions, used especially by advertisers and marketers to assess attitudes toward products and services.

It refers to the studies conducted in order to determine the motivations behind consumer purchases. The research is psychologically oriented and attempts to learn why people behave as they do, why they make certain purchases, and why they respond to specific types of advertising appeals.

The resultant information is used by advertisers and advertising agencies to plan new products, develop advertising campaigns and in general, to create more effective advertising

Motivational research attempts to unravel the mystery of consumer behavior as it relates to a specific product or service, so that the marketer better understands the target audience and how to influence that audience.

Motivational research is a type of marketing research that attempts to explain why consumers behave as they do. Motivational research seeks to discover and comprehend what consumers do not fully understand about themselves. Implicitly, motivational research assumes the existence of underlying or unconscious motives that influence consumer behavior.

It attempts to identify forces and influences that consumers may not be aware of (e.g., cultural factors, sociological forces). Typically, these unconscious motives (or beyond-awareness reasons) are intertwined with and complicated by conscious motives, cultural biases, economic variables and fashion trends (broadly defined).

Motivational research attempts to shift through all of these influences and factors to unravel the mystery of consumer behavior as it relates to a specific product or service, so that the marketer better understands the target audience and how to influence that audience.

Motivational research is most valuable when powerful underlying motives are suspected of exerting influence upon consumer behavior. Products and services that relate, or might relate, to attraction of the opposite sex, to personal adornment, to status or self-esteem, to power, to death, to fears, or to social taboos are all likely candidates for motivational research.

For example- why do women tend to increase their expenditures on clothing and personal adornment products as they approach the age of 50 to 55? The reasons relate to the loss of youth’s beauty and the loss of fertility, and to related fears of losing their husband’s love. It is also a time of life when discretionary incomes are rising (the children are leaving the nest).

Other motives are at work as well (women are complicated creatures), but a standard marketing research survey would never reveal these motives, because most women are not really aware of why their interest in expensive adornments increases at this particular point in their lives.

Even benign, or low-involvement, product categories can often benefit from the insights provided by motivational research. Typically, in low-involvement product categories, perception variables and cultural influences are most important.

Our culture is a system of “rules and regulations” that simplify and optimize our existence. Cultural rules govern how we squeeze a tube of toothpaste, how we open packages, how we use a bath towel, who does what work, etc.

Most of us are relatively unaware of these cultural rules. Understanding how these cultural rules influence a particular product can be extremely valuable information for the marketer.


Definitions of Marketing Research – By the American Marketing Association, Philip Kotler and Parker Holmes

In order to implement the marketing concept, marketers require information about the characteristic, needs wants and desires of their target markets. Thus, the solution to this is research. Research always starts with a question or a problem. Its purpose is to find answers to questions through the application of the scientific method. It is a systematic and intensive study directed towards a more complete knowledge of the subject studied.

Research can be classified into two broad categories:

(i) Basic research, and (ii) Applied research.

(i) Basic Research is sometimes called “fundamental” research, “theoretical” research or “pure” research. It aims at expanding the frontiers of knowledge and does not directly involve pragmatic problems.

(ii) Applied research, on the other hand, proceeds with a certain problem, and it specifies alternative solutions and the possible outcomes of each alternative.

Applied research can be further divided into two categories –

a. Problem-solving research as the name implies, is concerned with a particular issue or a problem and is usually proprietary in character. The latter characteristic indicates that such a research is undertaken within a firm or by an outside consultant on its behalf.

b. Problem-oriented research, on the other hand, is concerned with a class of issues of problems in which several firms may be interested. Research of this type is usually concerned with conceptual aspects but is oriented towards applied problems.

Marketing research has an advisory role in marketing management. It is used to acquire and analyse information and to make recommendations to management as to how marketing problems should be solved. Marketing research is a systematic and objective study of problems pertaining to the marketing of goods and services.

As marketing research tackles problems which seem to have immediate commercial potential, it should be regarded as applied research. We may also say that marketing research is of both types – problem solving and problem oriented.

Marketing research is the application of scientific methods to the study of factors that affect buying decision in a given market and the profitability of business concerned.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) has defined Marketing Research as – “the function which links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information – information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process.”

According to Philip Kotler, “Marketing Research is systematic problem analysis, model building and fact finding for the purpose of improved decision making and control in the marketing of goods and services.”

Parker Holmes defines- Marketing Research, may be considered to be the application of scientific methods and procedures in the study of marketing problems, to provide management with actual information upon which to formulate executive decision and policies.

In order to make MR effective, it is important that it should be linked with business strategy and should respond to emerging scenarios in the market place. The research problem must be properly framed, and while collecting and analyzing the data researcher must keep the context in mind. Also, the researcher needs to construct appropriate questions and must have the skill to ask them, elicit responses, and sift through them. Further, MR should be able to give conclusions well in time.


Definitions of Marketing Research – By the American Marketing Association and Kotler

Marketing research is the systematic and objective process of generating information for use in making marketing decisions. This process includes defining the problem and identifying what information is required to solve the problem, designing the method for collecting information, managing and implementing, the collection of data, analysing the results, and communicating the findings and their implications.

This definition suggests that marketing research is a special effort rather than a haphazard attempt at gathering information. Haphazard or accidental information gathering, such as glancing at a news magazine on an airplane or overhearing a rumour, is not marketing research.

Even if a rumour or a fact casually overheard becomes the foundation of a marketing strategy, it is not a product of marketing research because it was not systematically and objectively gathered and recorded. The term marketing research suggests a specific, serious effort to generate new information. The term research suggests a patient, objective, and accurate search.

There are about as many definitions of market research as there are active market researches today, but they all have one thing in common; Market Research is the arm of marketing that finds out things and thereby lays the basis for marketing strategy. It is concerned with the facts of what people buy, when they buy, where they buy.

The American Marketing Association defines marketing research as – “The systematic gathering, recording and analysis of data about problems relating to marketing of goods and services”.

According to Kotler, Marketing research is the systematic design, collection analysis and reporting of data and findings relevant of a specific marketing situation facing the company. The key word in this definition is ‘systematic’. This is the difference between research and haphazard gathering of findings.

For a study/research to be systematic there must be two qualities in the least. First, it should be orderly so that the measurement have accuracy and there is a fair cross-section. Second, it should be impartial in analysis and interpretation.

We thus arrive at a definition of Marketing Research; “Marketing research is the planning of and systematic gathering, recording, analysis and interpreting data abo it problems (or opportunities) relating to the, marketing of goods and services”. Although marketing managers may perform the research task themselves, they often use the help of specialists known as marketing researchers.

The researcher’s role requires detachment from the question under study. If researchers lack this impersonal quality, they may try to prove something rather than to generate objective data. If bias of any type enters into the investigative process, the value of the findings must be questioned.

Yet this sort of thing can happen relatively easily. For example, a developer who owned a large parcel of land on which she wanted to build a high-priced, high-prestige shopping centre conducted a study to demonstrate to prospective mall occupants that there was an attractive market for such a centre.

By conducting the survey only in elite neighbourhoods, she generated “proof” that area residents wanted a high-prestige shopping centre. Misleading “research” of this kind must be avoided. Unfortunately, business people with no knowledge of proper marketing research methods may inadvertently conduct poorly designed, biased studies or may be sold such work by marketing research firms.

All business people should understand marketing research well enough to avoid these mistakes. Both researcher and manager must understand that research is not intended to answer all questions or eliminate the need for managerial judgment. It does broaden the manager’s viewpoint and offer a way to see a marketing problem from more than one perspective.

The marketer knows how he or she views a particular issue. Marketing research helps the marketer obtain facts and additional perspectives (for example, how the buyer sees the same issue). Further, research is essentially useless unless management actually puts it to work.

It is the manager’s responsibility to study the researcher’s findings and to explain, if necessary, how they might better be presented to marketing executives. It is the researcher’s responsibility to present information in a usable format, such as – a report that includes recommended actions.


Definitions of Marketing Research – By the American Marketing Association, Luck, Wales, Taylor, Wentz and Glasser

The essential purpose of marketing research is to provide information, which will help in the identification of an opportunity or a problem situation, and to assist marketing managers in arriving at the best possible decisions when such situations are encountered.

To understand marketing research, the phrase ‘Marketing’ and ‘Research’ should be understood separately. Marketing is defined as the managerial process by which products are matched with markets and through which the consumer is enabled to use or enjoy the product. It is also related with need, wants and demands, products, value and satisfaction, exchange and transactions.

Research can be defined as logical and systematised application of the fundamentals of science to be general and overall questions of a study and scientific technique, which provide precise tools in finding explanations to misconceived facts of social life.

Hence the above two phrases explain that marketing research is required to solve specific problems, but it is more than that, since now it is considered an indispensable part of marketing information system which has been a continuous aspect of management.

Against this background, one can say that marketing research is research relating to any problem in the area of marketing.

Marketing research is a social science research and is defined by different authors as follows:

“Marketing research is the systematic, objective and exhaustive search for and study of the facts relevant to any problem in the field of marketing.” – American Marketing Association

“Marketing research is the systematic recording and analysis of data about problems relating to marketing.” – American Marketing Association

Marketing research is “the application of scientific method to the solution of marketing problems.” – Luck, Wales, Taylor

“Marketing research is the gathering and analysis of information to assist management in making marketing decision. These decisions involve the manipulation of the firm’s pricing, Production, distribution and product variables.” – Wentz

“Marketing research is the application of scientific methods to the study of the factors that affect the buying decisions in a given market and the profitability of the business concerned.” – Glasser

Marketing research is an integral part of marketing information system. It is both a science and art. It is a science because there is systematic application of the principles of research. It is an art because it tells us how to solve day-to-day and specific problems of management, particularly problems of marketing management.


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