Main directions of marketing research
An article about possible vectors of marketing research. We analyze what exactly, how and why they study in each of the areas.
The internal analytics of the company reveals what is happening: sales are decreasing or increasing, for example. Marketing research helps to find out why things happen the way they do. To be effective, you first need to define the problem.
Based on the problem, the purpose of the study is assigned, and already it determines the direction and methods. Often, within the same study, several different areas are touched upon, each in a way that suits it.
What is marketing research
Marketing research (MI) is the collection and classification of information about the situation on the market with its subsequent analysis. They are conducted to test business hypotheses, reduce uncertainty, evaluate your product or company, and predict the consequences of commercial decisions.
Marketing research is either quantitative or qualitative. The former give answers that can be expressed in numbers: statistics, percentages, number of consumers, age, prices. The second are looking for reasons: the main questions are how, why. They are also divided into field and office ones, depending on whether they receive information from the primary source or use data already collected by someone.
Marketing research is carried out in the following areas:
- market research;
- acquaintance with potential and current consumers;
- competitor analysis;
- study of your product, as well as analogues of opponents;
- analysis of turnover;
- analysis of pricing;
- study of promotion, marketing systems;
- Let's analyze the object, goals, results of each of these areas.
Many companies regularly monitor what is happening on the market in order to respond to significant changes in time. A special need for MI arises when a business plans to enter an unfamiliar niche or launch a new product.
What are we studying:
- market capacity: the volume and dynamics of sales of goods in a selected unit of time;
- potential: is it possible to sell more;
- trends, prospects in the desired segment;
- competitive environment;
- influencing factors: economic, technical, social, political.
How: mainly by office methods - we monitor statistics, information on the Internet, industry documents. Of the field methods, observation or experiment are suitable.
What is the result: thanks to the analysis, it is possible to make a forecast for the development of the market, identify success factors, and determine effective areas of competition.
Why: the main goal is to get all the information you need to make an informed business decision. The customer can set a narrower task: for example, to determine whether it is worth entering a new niche or changing the pricing policy.
Having a good idea of the end consumer is useful even for companies operating in the B2B sector. Understanding the factors that the buyer is guided by when making a decision allows you to make the product as attractive as possible.
What are we studying: individual buyers, families, households, buying companies.
How: we identify the structure of consumption, the provision of goods, and trends in consumer demand. To do this, the researcher collects data on income, family composition, social characteristics, education, and household habits. This is done mainly by contact methods: survey, focus group, and contact interview.
What is the result: after research, the customer receives a typology of his customers, possible models of their behavior, as well as a forecast of expected demand.
Why: to identify or clarify your target audience, and improve the offer for the consumer.
It is impossible to assess the results and prospects of your company regardless of the environment, in a conditional vacuum. Therefore, it is important to know the opponents, to understand which of their actions did not work, and which led to success. It is believed that rivals are studied solely in order to get around them. In fact, you can collaborate with colleagues and learn from their mistakes. This is what sometimes pays for expensive competitive analysis: MI allows you to take into account bad experiences without losing money on them.
What are we studying: composition of opponents, their market shares, financial and human potential, features of advertising, and how it affected the consumer?
How: For professional competitive analysis, complex methods are usually chosen: for example, SWOT (from English strength-weakness-opportunities-treats - strengths-weakness-opportunities-threats).
What is the result: understanding of your place in the market, knowledge of direct and indirect competitors, and information for effective interaction with them?
Why: to achieve an advantage in the market, identify collaboration options, and identify effective and failed strategies.
The product is studied from two points of view: consumer expectations and competitiveness in comparison with existing analogues.
What are we studying: consumer properties of analogues, the buyer's reaction to individual product parameters - design, convenience, clarity, price, service, functionality.
How: comparative methods are used to study the product - a simple or monadic rating, pairwise comparison. Market tests are also effective - wave comparison of sales, trial test market, and simulation testing. For the B2B sector, demonstration samples are used for distributors, participation in exhibitions, and deliveries of test batches of goods.
What is the result: understanding consumer expectations and the quality of their products?
Why: to develop a range that meets the requirements of customers or increases its competitiveness. Research also helps to outline in which direction to proceed at each stage of the product life cycle. They are needed to develop new products, improve existing ones, optimize packaging, and develop a corporate identity.
The global task of this area of research is to find the shortest path of the product to the consumer.
What are we studying: trading channels, intermediaries, competitors, forms and methods of sale, and the ratio of trading costs to profits.
How: we analyze the indicators of different types of commercial enterprises, identify their advantages, and disadvantages, as well as relations with manufacturers.
What is the result: the most effective ways, methods and means of marketing are formulated.
Why: to understand whether it is possible to increase the company's turnover, as well as optimize inventory. MI helps to choose effective promotion channels and develop a sales strategy.
The price is examined in order to understand how it corresponds to the market situation and is acceptable to the consumer. Such studies are carried out regularly since the cost of goods is influenced by a lot of factors, any of which can change the pricing in the segment. Dumping of competitors, changes in the economic situation of buyers, the emergence of new technologies or players in the market - all this must be taken into account.
What are we studying:
- costs for the development and production of goods;
- cost of sales, and promotion;
- current expenses and profit of the customer;
- pricing structure in the segment;
- significant actions, as well as the pricing policy of competitors;
- buyer's reaction to the price;
- measures of state regulation of prices;
- the the elasticity of demand.
How: the price is studied by primary methods (survey, experiment) and secondary (statistics analysis, information from the Internet, reports of research companies, industry directories).
What is the result: MI allows you to understand the overall picture of pricing for a product or service of interest - what affects it, what average level has been established in the segment, and how much the buyer is willing to spend.
Why: to maximize getting the highest possible profit at the lowest cost.
Sales and advertising
These two lines of research are usually combined because of their similar goals. For both objects, it is important to understand exactly how, when, and what tools to stimulate sales.
What are we studying: the behavior of all participants involved in trade - suppliers, intermediaries, and buyers. They also analyze the effectiveness of advertising and consumer reaction.
How: desk and field methods are combined in different proportions, depending on the task. To analyze the effectiveness of the sales system, they consider the reporting of the customer himself and compare its indicators with those similar in the industry. The reaction of the buyer is monitored through surveys, interviews or focus groups. The advertising activity of competitors and its results are evaluated by professional researchers.
What is the result: understanding how to create and maintain demand, motivate partners, and what advertising methods work in a niche?
Why: to develop an advertising policy, form the image of the company, and increase the effectiveness of the promotion.