IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCH IN MARKETING
One of the important elements of management process is decision-making. Managerial decisions are very critical because they have to cope with risks and opportunities. Marketing research is responsible for helping management in taking advantage over opportunities and in reducing uncertainties but it does not remove them. Marketing research has the role of increasing the probability that decisions that management has to make will help achieve organizational marketing objectives. It is in this perspective that the current essay discusses the importance of research in the field of marketing and examines how the process of research helps in innovating new ideas.
The importance of research in the field of marketing
According to Green and Tull1, marketing research is “the systematic and objective search for, analysis of, information relevant to the identification and solution of any problem in the field of marketing”.
Form this definition, the words “systematic”, “objective” and “analysis” highlight the scientific approach espoused by marketing research. Marketing research is “systematic” in the sense that carries out its task in a systematic and objective style whereby a detailed and well designed plan is developed while each stage of the research is clearly defined. That research plan specifies the research problem precisely and concisely, the information needed to address the problem, the research methodology to be applied in collecting information and the tools to be used in analysis and interpretation of the findings. Marketing research is “objective” in the sense that it applies scientific method by translating personal prejudices, notions and opinions into hypotheses to be empirically tested whereas explanations of the event or phenomena of interest are granted with equal consideration. Marketing research is “analytical” in the way that it goes beyond collecting data by analyzing and interpreting the findings into meaningful information for the organization which commissioned the research.2
Marketing research can be explanatory, descriptive or causal. Explanatory marketing research seeks better understanding of the research problem by helping the researcher formulate a problem in the manner that it can be researched and suggest hypotheses that can be tested. Descriptive marketing research deals with describing market characteristics and/or marketing mix characteristics. Causal research is concerned with “why” question whereby causes of the observed effects are researched on. In some cases, a marketing research programme can be of one type or another whereas in other cases, these three kinds of research can represent phases within a single marketing research.
Thus, marketing research can deal with any variety of aspects of the market such as the product, sales, consumer behavior, promotion, distribution, pricing, packaging, etc. The following lines are going to discuss the importance of marketing research.
Marketing research plays at least two roles in the field of marketing. Firstly, it provides decision-makers with information on the effectiveness of the present marketing mix and gives insights into necessary changes. Secondly, marketing research is the key tool for exploring new opportunities in the marketplace. Segmentation research and new product research help identify the most profitable opportunities for a business company. The marketing research definition provided by the American Marketing Association reflects those roles played by marketing research: “Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information-information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to a.d.dress these issues, designs the methods for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications”3 In addition, from that definition, marketing research can be regarded as playing at least three functional roles: descriptive, diagnostic and predictive.
The descriptive function of marketing research concerns gathering and presenting statements of facts. For example, it can highlight the historic sales trend in the industry, consumers’ attitudes and beliefs vis-à-vis a product or a service as the ability to retain customers lies on an understanding of their needs. For example, based on detailed marketing research, British Airways recast its first-class transatlantic service. Whereas most airlines emphasize top-of-the line service in their transatlantic first-class cabins, British Airways research found out that most first-class passengers simply want to sleep. British Airways now provides premium flyers the option of dinner on the ground, before takeoff, in the first class lounge. Then, once on board, they can slip into British Airways pajamas, put their heads on real pillows, slip under blankets and enjoy an interruption-free flight. On their arrival to their destination, first class passengers can have breakfast, use comfortable dressing rooms and showers and have their clothes pressed before off. That aims at making first-class passengers feel as they were home.