THE NEED FOR A MARKET RESEARCH
In this study I am going to be elaborating on the topic market research, its meaning, importance to everyone concerned, the process involved and the possible challenges that might be encountered. A critical analysis is going to be on the subject of discussion, this discussion is going to be a very clear one on how a market research should be done and I hope after this study the reasons why you as an entrepreneur or a manager should be involved in market research would be understood Introduction
This study is going to be emphasizing on the need and importance of carrying out a market research, how a market research is carried out, research design and the importance of a market research in business. Researches are carried out every time to discover new things, find out why things are the way they are, how they can be improved and made better so also is a market research it is done to discover new things, find out why a problem is occurring in the market how the situations can be improved and made better, firms who engage in market research tend to do better than their competitors who don’t see it as important because in the process of carrying out this research they discover new and modern ways of doing things and improving their goods/services, also how to attract more customers and at the same time retain the ones they have at hand. A market research is an important tool in business strategy, as it gives organizations an in-depth overview of what the customer needs are, the market size, competitors, how customers react to certain changes, viability of a new product (if they are just introducing one), how to have a competitive advantage over their competitors and many more the importance of a market research cannot be over emphasized. Before we go deep into the study of how a market research is been conducted, its importance to management and its advantages, I would be explaining some terms for better understanding.
RESEARCH; research can be said to a thorough investigation, it simply means going through some procedures to find about something.
MARKETING; is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives. With this definition we can see that marketing isn’t just about buying and selling.
MARKET RESEARCH; is a series of inquiries that is used to identify the problems, opportunities in the market which will enable the researcher generate possible solutions in improving the conditions of the market, a market research can also be used to monitor the market performance. Kotler (1999) defines marketing research as systematic problem analysis, model-building and fact-finding for the purpose of improved decision-making and control in the marketing of goods and services.
According to the definition of market research that has been given above it can been said that a market research is conducted when a problem has been identified or to identify a problem, the main purpose of research is to find the cause of that problem and a suitable solution to it. Market research can also be said to be the scientific process of finding possible solutions to a problem which has been identified. A market research is used in finding solutions to a problem that has been identified this implies that the need for a market research arises only when a problem has been identified and a solution needs to be proffered. In a situation whereby the a firm is planning to enter a new market it is best they first conduct a thorough research about how to enter the market and develop their product to meet the markets need and specification instead of test marketing it to determine its success or failure. In the next phase of discussion we would be looking into the research process, how a market research is conducted.
HOW TO CONDUCT A MARKET RESEARCH.
|FORMULATION OF RESEARCH OBJECTIVE|
|CHOSING RESEARCH METHODOLOGY|
|CHOSING RESEARCH METHODOLOGY|
ANALYSING AND INTTERPRETATION OF DATA
|PREPARATION OF RESEARCH REPORT/ FINDINGS|
ANALYSING AND INTTERPRETATION OF DATA
- PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION; a research is done to provide solution and as we have earlier discussed before any research work can be initiated a problem needs to be identified, if there’s no problem then there’s no need for a solution, hence, before the commencement of any research a problem needs to be identified, or in the case an issue arises and there is need to discover where the problem lies which will lead to the solution that will be provided. A well-defined problem will lead to a good research design as a problem well-defined is half solved in cases whereby market research fails it is mostly because the problem wasn’t well defined, identifying and defining the correct problem is of utmost importance if the experts or researcher who wants to conduct a research fails to define the problem fails to define the problem correctly it can lead to terrible consequences and mostly a wrong outcome.
- FORMULATION OF RESEARCH OBJECTIVE; this is also an important procedure in conducting a market research as it is very important, a well-defined problem will result to a well-defined objective. The procedures in conducting a research is intertwined as each step must be followed carefully failure to do that will lead to a wrong result which can result to terrible consequences. In formulating the objective of the research the goal of the research is of paramount importance and the goals formulated will determine the action to be taken by the researchers.
- RESEARCH METHODOLOGY; a research design is a framework or blueprint for conducting a market research as it provides a clear plan of how the research will be conducted and serves as a map to the researcher. Research methodology is the science of studying how the research should be carried out, essentially the procedures by which researchers go about their work of describing, explaining and predicting phenomena is called research methodology. A faulty research method will produce a failed research. Choosing a research methodology also involve selecting the source of information, in conducting the research accurate information is needed as the research can also be wrong if the information is incorrect hence the need to carefully select the source of information.
SOURCES OF DATA
- Primary source; primary source of information are first-hand information they are directly sourced by the researcher they include observation (indirect and direct approach), interview, survey focus group discussion, e.t.c.
- Secondary source; in this case the researcher depends and use data already captured by previous researchers, this may be published or unpublished. Sources include textbooks, proceedings, government gazette report, technical reports thesis, newspapers, journals and so on.
- SAMPLE DESIGN; all items under consideration constitute a population, a researcher can then decide to use a certain number or set of the population to conduct his research, rarely will a marketing research project involve examining the entire population that is relevant to the problem. It is left to the researcher to decide the way of selecting a sample/sample design. For the most part, practical considerations (e.g., absolute resources available, cost vs. value, etc.) dictate that one use a sample, or subset of the relevant population. In designing the sample, the researcher must specify three things:
- 1 Where the sample is to be selected
1.2. The process of selection
1.3. The size of the sample
The sample size must be consistent with the relevant population which is usually specified in the problem-formulation stage of the research process this allows the data obtained from the sample to be used in making inferences about the larger population. The process of sampling selection can be done by probability and non-probability method.
PROBABILITY SAMPLING; in probability sample every item has the probability of been included in the sample this implies that all the elements in the population has an equal chance of been selected. Examples of probability sampling include;
- Simple random sampling
- Systematic sampling
- Stratified sampling
- Cluster/area sampling
NON-PROBABILITY SAMPLING; non-probability sampling is a sampling technique where the samples are gathered in a process that does not give all the individuals in the population equal chances of being selected. In non-probability sampling items don’t have equal chances of been selected. They include
- Convenience sampling
- Judgement sampling
- Quota sampling
- DATA COLLECTION; this implies that as a researcher after selecting your research methodology and design the next thing is to gather and collect information. The data collection phase of marketing research is generally the most expensive and the most prone to error. Mostly, one of the biggest obstacles to collecting information is the need to achieve consistency, research design begins to take on detailed focus as the researcher selects the particular techniques to be used in solving the problem formulated and in carrying out the method selected. Data collection tools include experiment and survey, observation, interview (telephone and personal interview), questionnaires, e.t.c
- ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA; the data after collection has to be prepared for analysis the collected data is raw and it must be converted to the form that is suitable for the required analysis. The results of the analysis are affected a lot by the form of the data so proper data preparation is a must to get reliable results. Data which is presented the same way it was gathered is likely useful to no one hence data needs to be interpreted, tabulated, analysed, edited, coded, classified and made into a simpler form. The type of analyses to be done depends on the type of sampling method and data collection procedure used.
- PREPARATION OF RESEARCH REPORT; the research report should include a true and honest report of everything that has been done, the results, the conclusion, proffered solutions, and so on. Two critical attribute which the report must contain include: a technical report that emphasizes the methods used and underlying assumptions, and presents the findings in a detailed manner; (2) a popular report that minimizes technical details and emphasizes simplicity. This is the final stage of the research process, by now solutions should have been proffered.
Another problem researcher’s face in conducting a market research is the problem of selecting the most suitable research design. A research design is the arrangement of conditions for collection and analysis of data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to the research purpose with economy in procedure, it is the blueprint for the collection, measurement and analysis of data. In order to select a good research design the following questions must be answered;
- What is the research about?
- What is the purpose of the research?
- What type of data is needed?
- How can the data be acquired?
- How long will the research last?
- What will be the sample design?
- How will the data be collected?
- How will the report be presented?
The research design must contain a clear statement of the research problem, procedure to be used in collecting data, how will the data be analysed. If these questions and requirements have been answered to then a research design can be selected. A research design is needed because it will help in the smooth sailing of the research procedures thereby making the research efficient and yielding maximal information with minimal cost. A good research design must be economical, flexible, appropriate, and efficient.
TYPES OF RESEARCH DESIGN
- Experimental; Experimental research designs are the primary approach used to investigate causal (cause/effect) relationships and to study the relationship between one variable and another. This type of research that is quantitative in nature. In short, researchers use experimental research to compare two or more groups on one or more measures.
- Case study
CRITERIA OF A GOOD RESEARCH
- The objective of the research must be well-defined
- A well-defined problem statement must be inclusive
- The purpose of the research should be clearly defined
- The research procedure used should be well stated and enough detail should be given
- The researcher should give a frank and honest report of their findings
- The analysis of the data should be sufficiently adequate to reveal its significance
- Conclusions should be based on the report given
- The report should be logical, empirical and be relatable to real life situations.
OBJECTIVE OF A MARKET RESEARCH
The main purpose/objective of a market research is to find probable solutions to problems been encountered by the organizations such as decline in the sales of their product, competitive advantage of other organization over theirs, how to reduce the cost of production to increase revenue, how to expand and enter into new market, possible growth of a new product and so on. There are lots of problems a market research can help in finding solution to, a market research can also be conducted to discover why an event is occurring this kind of research is done to find the problem as it is yet to be identified.
OUTLINE FOR A MARKET RESEARCH
The format used for a market research is very important, a standard market research should be very detailed and explanatory it should contain the following;
- Title page; this includes
- The research topic
- Table of content
- List of tables and graphs
- An executive summary of what the research is going to entail
- Definition of terms
- Problem definition
- Background of the problem
- Problem statement
- Problem approach
- Research design
- Types of research design available to the researcher
- Stating the most suitable design for the research
- Sampling techniques
- Sample survey
- Scaling techniques
6 Data collection
- Source of data (either from primary/secondary source)
- Questionnaire development (optional)
- Testing of the validity and reliability of the information gathered through that source
7 Data analysis and preparation
- Data checking, coding, classification, tabulation, graphical representation, cleaning, adjusting, correcting and so on
8 Interpretation of data and writing of the research report
10 Conclusions and recommendations
11 Summary of work done
BENEFITS OF MARKET RESEARCH TO THE MANAGEMENT
- It helps businesses strengthen their position
- It minimizes risk
- It helps the management to identify potential threats, strength, weaknesses and opportunities of their organizations and that of their competitors.
- Management can use the market research to facilitate strategic planning
- It helps in identifying emerging trend
- It helps the management stay ahead of competition
- It provides revenue projection
- It helps them focus on customers need and demand
- It helps to evaluate the success of a business against the benchmark.
LIMITATIONS OF A MARKETING RSEARCH
- Inaccurate information; depending on the source used in the collection of data sometimes the information gathered might be untrue or in some cases obsolete and aren’t applicable to the research at hand for instance in the case an interview is been used, the person that is been interviewed might give an untrue reply to some questions.
- Budgetary constraint; this refers to funding, sometimes money allotted for research is not enough to conduct the research leading to the researchers inability to go through the procedures well as he is managing the funds available to him.
- Time constraint; in cases of emergency where the researcher has to give his report within a short period of time, the researcher might be unable to carry out al procedures necessary this sometimes might lead to a failed research.
- Reliability of data; most times researchers tend to most times use just a sample of the population in gathering their data or in the case where they use the secondary source of data the information gathered through these sources can’t be said to be 100% accurate
The importance of a market research cannot be over-emphasized as both the management and the business are beneficiaries to the outcome research. A research work is mandatory for all spheres of businesses and organizations who want to have a competitive edge over their competitors
Olubukola Samson is passionate about writing, telling stories, supporting MSME’s.