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Market Research

Marketing research is at the heart of addressing the four P’s of marketing: product, price, place & promotion.

That is, the product must satisfy a need, be priced at the right level in a place where it will be seen by the right people and promoted to generate sales.

Purpose and scope

The marketing research project may attempt to determine how to introduce a new product or to find out why sales are lagging with an established product. In addition to stating the objective, the proposal should include a descriptive background that provides the context of why the ultimate goal is important.

The marketing environment

Marketing research must include an overview of the marketing environment. Environmental factors include cultural issues (demographic trends and attitudes), technological issues (the internet and data interchange), competitive factors (pricing, service and speed) and economic concerns (competition and unemployment). Even the global market must be considered since the product may be made anywhere in the world and compete with imports from other offshore locations.

Data sources

Data can be gathered from primary or secondary sources. Primary sources include interviews, focus groups, surveys, either face-to-face or online and customer feedback. Customers and prospective customers answer questions, discuss likes and dislikes and provide opinions about existing products; this information can illuminate prior market performance.

Primary sources can be expensive or hard to obtain, so secondary sources provide alternative sources of information. Secondary sources include government publications, online searches, magazines, clipping services and trade organisations.


Data analysis can be descriptive or statistical. Whatever measurement techniques are used, it’s important to maintain objectivity. The methodology that will be used to interpret the data, including a blend of research from primary and secondary sources will be outlined.

Qualitative aspects might include anecdotal evidence, measurement of the intensity of emotions from respondents, compiling consensus opinions from multiple inputs.

Quantitative analysis using figures can measure data precisely, offering exact outcomes for the hypothesis being tested.