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The four phases of market research

Let’s see how we have to address the primary information that our organization has and how to structure market research to be really useful.
It can be said that information is the raw material of marketing. Having it becomes a fundamental tool thanks to which companies can meet the demand and reach their sales targets. As it could not be otherwise, access to an element so important for the achievement of business objectives is expensive and difficult to achieve. Market research is responsible for this task, using both primary and secondary data.

The primary information is the one that is obtained directly from the market and is generated by the company itself, making it much more expensive than secondary information, which has previously been prepared by sources other than the company and is available for the same. The Marketing Information System (SIM) is responsible for providing the primary information to our organization.

What is a market research?

The market research is, therefore, the administrative tool that uses scientific and practical means in order to provide information to the company to improve the decision – making process. To do this, it takes advantage of statistics and data analysis. Basically, it is a method to obtain information using media such as telephone, mail, direct observation or personal interviews. Thanks to these analyses, companies can know with some objectivity specific situations such as the reaction of consumers to the launch of a new product.

The fundamental tool of market research is the questionnaire, which is a document that consists of several questions accompanied by different options for answers. It is used to obtain information of the person filling it and thus analyze the trends of consumption, which are the most profitable markets or anticipate the demand that will have a certain product.

The four main phases in any market research process are as follows:

Phase 1. Design of research

The first step in any market research must be to identify the problem to be solved and establish some objectives to achieve it. Once this is done, a preliminary investigation can be made to extract information from the approximate market situation.

Phase 2. Obtaining information

The first step to obtaining the information is to review the sources of secondary data available (The Internet, market studies already published, etc.) to see if we can extract some information that interests us. If not, or if it is insufficient, we will use the primary sources of information.

In order to access it, the method of obtaining the information must first be determined. The most popular is the questionnaire and the survey, although there are other methods. In any case, it will be necessary to first determine the sample size of the population to be surveyed, and then make the physical collection of the information through interviewers, by mail or by any other method.

Phase 3. Data processing and analysis

Once the data is obtained in the previous phase, the next step will be to process them, usually by creating a database to make it easier to work with them. The data are then subjected to statistical techniques for analysis. For this, it is necessary today the use of specific computer programs, such as Eviews. Comparison and analysis of the data give rise to numerous graphs and statistical indices, among other indicators, which are elaborated by experts in these techniques.

Phase 4. Interpretation and presentation of results

Once obtained the information of statistical type in the previous phase, it will be necessary to translate this information into economic terms so that it can be understood by the marketing managers of our company. To this end, the statistical information has to be interpreted and, subsequently, a report will be drawn up containing the recommendations on the measures to be taken to achieve the proposed objectives.

This report should be written in the simplest possible way, so that any interested person can understand it, regardless of the department for which he works. Therefore, a language containing too much data, statistical models or technicalities should be avoided as far as possible. Finally, recommendations are proposed on the decision to be taken.

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