Market Research

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Primary and Secondary Research

Primary and secondary research techniques are the major ways which are used to conduct investigation and derive the data needed to enhance its efficiency.

Through collecting and gathering fresh data, the primary research begins the market research process.

Secondary research makes use of previously collected data and modifies it to obtain market research information.

Once the collation of market research information is complete, the analysis of the information then takes place in key stages.

The data is throughly examined and evaluated through the use of statistical methods.

The result of the entire market research process will help the business to meet the demands of customers and make their products and services better.

Primary market research data is data collected by the entrepreneur, or paid to be collected, which doesn't already exist.

Secondary market research data is data already in existence that has not been collected specifically for the purposes of the entrepreneur.

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Market research

Market research is the process which a business conducts to identify relevant information in relation to the customers in itself, and the market environment in which it operates or plans to operate.

It's necessary for business growth, development and survival to carry out market researches regularly because growth, development and survival to carry out market researches regularly because the market environment changes very frequently and the more efficient a business is in identifying such changes, the more competitive and successful it'll be in the market.

Through market research, a business can identify it's strengths, follow current business trends, seek to enhance available opportunities and improve the areas that it struggles with.

Market research involved collecting information and investigating key factors, future impacts of the environment on business, the marketing mix, the overall business environment. 

Through the process of market research various discoveries can be made about the business and how it conducts its activities. 

The feedback of customers, expressed concerned and opinions about the business, and responses from various sources are discovered form market research.

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Field Research, Focus Groups and Surveys

Field research is a mode of collection of primary research information.It requires that the market research agency or employees in the organisation who're involved in the project have to directly interact with the main targets of the market research.

Such targets that are needed to participate in the market research project are called the respondents or subjects of the market research, often the best method.

A lot of time and effort needs to be invested in primary research. Since it's the main focus of the market investigation, every activity involved in the project revolved around the data collected in the field research.

Focus groups are selected individuals who meet specific criteria and invite them for a  group conversation.They tend to be representative of a larger target audience.

This audience could be already existing or potential business customers, distributors or other members of the business' network like suppliers, distributors among others.

Surveys gather and collate information for the market research project which they're conducting on behalf of the business. Surveys could be conducted face-to-face electronically or via telephone.Surveys target specific groups and use the views and feedback of the respondents to collect relevant data to the market research.

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Experimentation, Discussion Panels and Observation

Experimentation uses respondents of a certain targeted group to test out newly developed products or prototypes, before the products are launched to the market.

Discussion panels rely on the expertise of individuals in a particular business field. 

Through their wealth of knowledge about the field, they provide tremendous experience and valuable input to the research product.

Observation is used to study the behavioural characteristics of the respondents over a period of time. 

With the use of technological advancements, it can now be done using security or discreet cameras in addition to face observation.

Field trials follow up on the information gathered from group discussions and actually try out the outcome of the responses.

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External,Internal data,Electronic survey and Marke

External data is from sources outside of the business. Trade journals, company reports ,the internet, universities, libraries and official statistics are sources of external data.

Internal data are from information which the business possesses. Products, sales figures, customers, data records, website monitoring, account records, electronic point of sale. 

Electronic surveys are relatively cheap, time saving method of collecting market data. Customers and website visitors leave their feedback. Increasingly popular because of its speed. Major drawback of this method is the lack of controls that the business has over selecting the respondents. Can provide false or misleading data for both the criteria for participation selection and the actual survey.Market research can be inaccurate, misleading and flawed.

This results in complications and can make business focus on wrong products or services and ultimately not address relevant market issues accordingly. 

When mistakes are made, it leads to the making of wrong decisions. The research data sometimes is incomprehensive and doesn't reflect the target group. 

The choice of market research can be completely wrong. Valuable data can be lost because of poor feedback from respondents. As market changes quickly, research data may easily become obsolete and irrelevant. 

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Focus groups, Observation and Surveys

Focus groups are not expensive, they're quick to conduct. 

Within hours a group of individuals who represent a large target market are interviewed and provide valuable information to the business.

Must have good moderators who can clearly build a good rapport with participants, keep the discussion on the right track and monitor the entire progress.

In cases where the moderator doesn't take charge of the discussion, tends to be waste of time and resources.Observation is action orientated.

Whereas a lot of market research pays attention to what people say when they're consciously interviewed, observation studies the behaviours of people without them knowing it.Responses are reliable, no pressure.

Subjects of a piece of market research can't refuse to participate when they don't know they're under observation and inadvertently participating in a market research.

Surveys can be through the telephone, good rate of response, restrictive questions. Postal is no bias from interviewer, wide coverage, less pressurising. Cost effective, percentage rate is low and a slow response.

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Quantitive and Qualitative Research

Businesses use qualitative research to understand the thought process that guides customers in their choices and habits when buying products and services. Through evaluating techniques, exploring data and drawing conclusions the business can understand the decision making process. Involves the use of focus groups and in depth interviews. Draw conclusions form the attitudes and behaviour which govern consumer decision making habits and can form a theory from information.

Qualitative data is data about opinions, attitudes and feelings. It's usually expressed in terms of why people feel or behave the way they do.

Quantitive research is employed by business in making right decisions. Uses formal methods for the purpose of forecasting, measuring and describing quantity through various methods of sampling. Measure a market, then quantifies the derived measurement with selected data. Data usually relates to the market share, penetration, market size or the growth rate of the market. Gives key insight to the attitudes of customers and their awareness. Understand the customers better. Can target specific market segments and provide important details about such segments. Businesses need to have such details in order to optimise their budgets and make the most of the implemented strategies for marketing products and services.

Quantitative data is data in numerical form.

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Quantitive and Qualitative Research

Quantitive and Qualitative research are both very vital market research methods that focus on strengthening the business decisions, making process and understanding the consumers thinking and behavioural process.

Quantitive research involves greater sample size and reflects the population to a greater extent than qualitative research which deals with a smaller group. 

It's less intensive than qualitative research. 

The interviewer can ask very in depth questions to secure answers to help the research process.

Quantitative research results are more objectives than qualitative results. 

In qualitative research, the gathering of data is less rigid than in quantitative research, which tends to be very thoroughly planned. 

Motivation, traits of attitudes and behaviour are understood in greater detail.

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Sampling

A sample is a selection of a number of people whose views, opinions and data are representative of a much larger target group. Samples are requires because it's not possible to collect the data of every single person, even though this would be the ideal, however, in practice, it's not very realistic. A chosen sample must be reliable, representative and accurate. The sample size needs to be considered carefully and as it's representing a small number out of the total population equally. This is referred to as random sampling. Random sample is one in which each potential member of a group has an equal chance of being in the sample. In the course of conducting your own market research, a sample of people is acceptable, as far as members of the sample can be proven to be representative of the larger target group.
Two methods are used in sampling. Probability sampling its assumed that in the representative population, every individual has an equal chance of selection to be part of the sample group. Methods of this type of sampling include stratified sampling which is popular with researchers as it has the benefit of being random, reducing bias, not expensive or as difficult as random, cluster sampling and systematic sampling.
Non-porbability sampling is not based on a random selection of members of the sampling. Judgement sampling, convenience sampling, snowball sampling and quota sampling are examples of this types of sampling. Quota sampling which is not random, results can't be used to predict the behaviour of everyone. With the use of different types of sampling there are issues of reliability, cost and accuracy. Random sampling costs tend to be high because of its large nature and scope. Whichever method of sampling is used, it should be a reflection of the group targeted for research, some methods are chosen as a result of their time efficiency.

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Target Market and Nature of product or service

Target market provides enough ideas as to the most relevant and appropriate sampling methods which should be used. 

For larger business, they will need to identify the customers who patronise their mass produced goods.

An awareness of this group will determine which methods will serve the most purpose to meet the market research needs small companies will be in a better position to identify their customers and target them accordingly. 

Nature of product or service determines the choice of sampling. 

It'll be a pointless exercise and waste of time to target a large sample group who have no direct interest in the particular products or services to be researched.

When research needs to be conducted on specialist products or services, the sample needs to be composed of respondent interested in such products. 

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Risks and Finance

Risks involved would determine whether or not it's practical and effective to engage in such techniques of sampling. 

A typical example is during the prototypes stages and early product development phases. 

The sampling method used must have respondents that are insightful, knowledgeable and whom can add value input to the product prior to its market launch.

Finance is important factor in choosing sampling methods.

There are expenses to be incurred in conducting market research and these expenses must be worthwhile. 

Must produce results and benefits which will be of much greater value to the business and at the same time outweigh the costs used to conduct such research.

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Data Analysis

The method in which the data was collected determines how it's analysed and evaluated quickly and easily. Complex questionnaires need more time as they may involve statistical analysis which is costly. With statistical analyses, some analytical methods focus on trends and others on information.

Data analysis and evaluation is extracting the information from the collation questionnaire and comparing all the acquired information into a single document. This is the coalition process. 

The construction and checking process involves taking the individual questions and geographically representing them by construction of graphs to check the information provided.

Error in the checking process involves checking the questionnaires for errors. 

The cross checking and initial presentation need to be followed by another collation process.

Looking at trends, links and patterns in questionnaires, questions and individual questionnaires. Comparison process which involves changes, errors and shifts. Presentation process involves a final presentation of the data in the format which it should be in.

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Recommendations and Conclusions

Any market research recommendation and conclusion must prove that it has been a scientific and objective as possible before it can be accepted in its entirety by the business organisation.

There's also a process of re evaluation which business embark upon to improve their products and services and make them more appealing to the consumers.

Once the recommendations and conclusions of the research shows that there are areas of the business which needs to be improved on, it's in the best interest of the business to quickly improve its products and services to meet the demands of the customers and sustain a formidable market position.

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