The Six Steps in Conducting Quantitative Marketing Research Abstract: This paper presents the major stages in the decision n making process for conducting primary, quantitative research studies including identifying the research need or problem, developing the right research approach, designing the appropriate research plan, collecting the survey data, analyzing the survey results and reporting and presenting the findings, conclusions and recommendations.
The marketing research process includes the systematic identification, collection, analysis and distribution of information for the purpose of knowledge development and decision making. The reasons and times at which your company or organization might consider performing marketing research varies, but the general purpose of gaining intelligence for decision making remains constant throughout. Customers occupy the central role in the marketing research process.
As a company Or organization, the overwhelming majority of research you are currently considering likely revolves around your customers or potential customers: •Current customers • Prospective customers • Lost customers •Members • Community •Employees (internal customers) • Stakeholders (for example, investors, suppliers) Whether you are creating a new marketing research program or perhaps revising an existing marketing research program, what are the steps you should take? Step 1: Identifying and Defining Your Need or Problem
If you are considering conducting marketing research, chances are you have already identified a problem and an information need. This step is always the first of the marketing research steps. At this point, the problem will have been recognized by at least one level of management, and internal discussions will have taken place. Sometimes, further definition of the issue or problem is needed, and for that there are several tools you can use. Here at the outset of the marketing research steps, the most common tools are internal and external secondary research.
Secondary research intelligence consists of information that was collected for another purpose, but can be useful for other purposes. Examples of internal secondary research are sales revenues, sales forecasts, customer demographics, purchase patterns, and other information that has been collected about the customer. Often referred to as data mining, this information can be critical in diagnosing the problem for further exploration and should be leveraged when available and appropriate.
The amount of internal secondary information that can be applied is typically limited. External secondary research is typically far more available, especially since the Internet age. Most external secondary information is produced via research conducted for other purposes, financial performance data, expert opinions and analysis, corporate executive interviews, legal proceedings, competitive intelligence firms, etc.
Leading sources for external secondary research resources include: • Newspapers/Magazine Articles (business and vertical trades) • Television • Newsletters • Competitive Intelligence Firms • Industry Reports • Trade Associations • Business Directories • Government Publications & Websites • Search Engines • Competitive Websites • Friends & Colleagues Step 2: Developing your Approach Once your problem is better defined, you can move into developing marketing research approach, which will generally be around a defined set of objectives.
Clear objectives developed in Step 1 will lend themselves to better marketing research approach development. Developing your approach should consist of honestly assessing you and your team’s market research skills, establishing a budget, understanding your environment and its influencing factors, developing an analysis model, and formulating hypotheses. Project Analysis •How difficult is the project to execute? •Is it a large sample (500+) or small sample (