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Different Types of Market Research

written by: •edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 12/8/2010

Companies use a variety of types of market research on customers, competitors and business conditions. Quantitative methods statistically analyze survey data while qualitative methods analyze data from interviews and focus groups. Read about examples and why companies bother.

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    Introduction

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    Companies in all industries conduct research on their customers, their competitors, their products and the business environment. Conducting market research is necessary to track changes and trends in the market. Many companies hire outside marketing firms to create studies and conduct research for them. Professional marketers assist companies in defining goals and objectives for study in addition to creating timeframes for completing the market research. Once this is done, marketers will design the necessary studies, execute them and then present them to the stakeholders in the company, usually the president, vice president, department heads and company board of directors.

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    Types of Market Research

    Market research can involve conducting primary research or creating data from interviews, surveys and other data collection tools. On the other hand, marketers can conduct secondary research, which involves analyzing existing data on customers or business environment variables.

    In conducting primary research, marketers can utilize quantitative or qualitative methods. Quantitative methods involve analyzing numerical data and presenting demographics and other statistics from surveys. Quantitative research methods are less time-consuming and utilize computer programs to analyze large amounts of data. Qualitative methods involve conducting focus groups and interviews to collect anecdotal data. Qualitative research methods are much more time-consuming by nature and usually need to be competed by hand.

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    Common Examples of Market Research Studies

    There are several types of market research studies that companies can choose to engage in depending upon what they need to find out. No matter type of research, the company has to define its goals and the timelines for executing the market study clearly before commencing. For example –

    Ad-hoc research - short-term market study focused on one particular marketing question. Ad-hoc studies usually a limited data collection phase using a small number of participants as a sample.

    Ongoing research – longer, multi-phase studies with several marketing problems to investigate. Ongoing studies utilize many different groups and levels of participation.

    Product surveys - are targeted market studies that seek to find out customer feedback on products. Companies use the results of product surveys to determine when to upgrade and what product features to improve.

    Customer satisfaction surveys – are intended to determine the level of customer comfort with a product or service. Companies use customer surveys to gain an understanding of how customers respond to company brand and reputation in the marketplace.

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    Benefits of Market Research

    Companies can employ different types of market research depending on what information is needed. Conducting market research frequently and effectively is important for companies to keep up with their ever-changing customer base. In a business world of changing customer, resources, competitors and overall market willingness, companies have to stay ahead of these variables to survive. Also, in order to be successful, companies have to be highly responsive to the changing business environment and must be able to adjust to keep and thrive in spite of hard times.

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    References

    Small Business Notes – Types of Market Research

    http://www.smallbusinessnotes.com/operating/marketing/marketresearch/types.html

    (Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org)