Meaning and scope of Marketing Research

Let us consider a few a few definitions of marketing research as shown below. The definitions bring out three key meanings regarding marketing research.

Research on channels – Toyota Study on passenger car dealer network in India:

Before entering the Indian passenger car market, Toyota conducted a research study on the dealer networks of the various passenger car manufacturers operating in India.

It devoted special attention to Maruti’s dealer network, which was accounting for relatively large volumes.

The study investigated the dealership conditions in detail. The aspects covered included the following:

* Whether there was a clear definition of dealer’s territory or not
* Timing and frequency of orders by dealers
* Delivery time and lead time for the arrival of the vehicle
* Dealers’ margins and incentives and
* Incentives offered by the manufacturer
* Payment condition and mode of sales
* Extent of down payment by customers while ordering a car
* Expenses on advertisings
* Details of premiums and sales promotion offers
* Facilities sought by the manufacturer from the dealer.

In respect of showroom, warehouse for spare parts and service workshop:

* Capital budget support to the dealer from the manufacturer for building facilities like showroom, warehouse and workshop.
* Cash support by the manufacturers to dealer for sales promotion
* Assistance in training of personnel and supply of spare parts
* Numbers of services staff and area available for service facility
* Number paid service and number of free service carried out by the dealer
* Labor rates and salary structures of service personnel

Toyota also obtained some useful data on certain other aspects of the passenger car business, such as the demand pattern such as the demand pattern, the likely volumes that could be generated in the next few years and the acceptability of various models.

1. Marketing research is research on the manifold problem of marketing.
2. Its purpose is to aid decision making in marketing.
3. Systematic gathering and analysis of information is what it does in achieving its mission.

With the increasing complexity of business activity, marketing research too has been growing in complexity and it has emerged as a highly specialized function of marketing management. Today, carrying out research relating to customers, products, products and markets necessitates specialized skills and sophisticated techniques.

In applying marketing for solving marketing problems, the researcher has to go through several steps or stages. Each stage has its own decisive role in the total process. Right from defining the problem, down to the preparation of the research report, the researcher has to proceed step by step.

While most marketing research assignments go through the above steps and in some cases the steps are compressed depending on the type of problem as well as considerations of time, costs and benefits. There are many recurring market research problems, which can be handled by certain simplified approaches instead of going through the elaborate process described above. Any elaborate research study will normally involve all the above steps / stages.

Defining the marketing problem and the marketing research problem involved in the task correctly is the most important part of the marketing research process. Normally, there is nothing like a marketing research problem in a business. The problem belongs to marketing. The marketing research problem is a derivative of the marketing problem. Therefore, in the first instance, the marketing problem involved should be clearly identified, defined and conceptualized. The definition of the marketing problem, however, however, may not always be easy. Often the real issue may not be apparent and the apparent issue may be deceptive. At times, an understanding of the problem may in itself involve some exploratory research. Once the marketing problems involved are correctly identified, definition of the marketing research problem becomes a relatively easy task.

Often, the research department/MR agency look at ‘what’ the marketing people/client wants to know and not ‘why’ they want to know it. This hampers defining the marketing problem and identifying the marketing research problem involved. MR should be briefed on ‘why’ they want to know it. It is erroneous to think that the analysis of the problem can be made after the data comes in. The benefits accrue, only when the problem is analyzed before the data is collected.