Making the Most of Your Research Budget
There is the sequence of activities involved in marketing research. Briefly you need first to define the precise information required, then plan the research, collect the data, analyse it, present the findings and finally, use the information to make better decisions.
The first stage involves clearly defining the problem or the specific information needed. This is crucial. Exactly what information do you need? How will it affect your decisions?
The next stage is to develop a research plan. This means planning how to collect, store and analyse the information, how long it will take to get it, and how much it will cost. Decisions about research methods and sources, whether secondary or primary, qualitative or quantitative, need detailed consideration. The selection of research tools, sample types and sizes all need to be carefully planned. Some plans even build in piloting, or testing the research to see if it works.
Sometimes several research agencies are invited to present research proposals showing how they plan to collect the required information within the specified time scale and budget.
After the detailed planning comes the execution - collecting the data - whether by survey, discussion group or other method.
Next comes the analysis. In the case of quantitative research this means crunching the numbers; and in the case of qualitative research this means interpreting the discussions; drawings and suggestions.
Then comes the presentation - the research is written up in a report and the key findings are presented along with the research structure and the detailed calculations. The good researcher will also provide implications/ recommendations, even if the client subsequently decides to ignore the advice!
Last, but certainly not least, comes the interesting bit - the reason why the research was carried out in the first place..... to help make a decision. Using the information means taking guidance from the research to make a better marketing decision.
Marketing research doesn't make decisions - it simply helps managers to make better decisions - more informed decisions.
Successful decisions are helped by good information and the quality of the information is directly affected by the quality of the whole research process. It needs to be managed carefully.
There are many different types of Market Research all delivering different insights and benefits as shown in the diagram below:-