The marketing concept states that the character of the marketing orientated organization, whether product or service based, profit or non-profit based, is the identification and true delivery of consumers’ needs and wants, more effectively and efficiently than the competition.
Hence, in a broad sense, marketing management needs to understand the minds of their target markets, their attitudes, feelings, beliefs and value systems. They require a formalised, managerial approach to this most important job. And this entire job is the basic role and purpose of formal marketing research. Marketing research is the systematic, objective and exhaustive search for study of the facts relating to any problem in the field of marketing. It is systematic problem analysis, model building and fact-finding for the purpose of decision-making and control in the marketing of goods and services.
According to American Marketing Association “marketing research is the systematic gathering, recording and analysing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services.” According to Green and Tull, “marketing research is the systematic and objective search for and analysis of information relevant to the identification and solution of any problem in the field of marketing”. Professor Philip Kotler 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.”
Features of marketing research
- Search for data
It is a search for data which are relevant to marketing problems – problems in different functional areas of marketing consumer behaviour, product, sales, distribution channel, pricing, ad and physical distribution.
- It is systematic
It has to be carried out in a systematic manner rather than haphazard way. The whole process should be planned with a clear objective.
- It should be objective
Objectivity is more important in any result. It means that the research is neither carried on to establish an opinion nor is intentionally slanted towards pre-determined results.
- It is a process
It involves various steps for gathering, recording and analysing of data.
Objectives of Marketing Research
Marketing research may be conducted for different purposes. The main objectives or purposes of marketing research are:
(i) To estimate the potential market for a new product to be introduced in the market.
(ii) To know the reactions of the consumers to a product already existing in the market.
(iii) To find out the general market conditions and tendencies.
(iv) To know the reasons for failure of a product already in the market.
(v) To find out the better methods of distributing the products to consumers.
(vi) To know the types of consumers buying a product and their buying motives to know their opinions about the product and to get their suggestion improvement of a product.
(vii) To assess the strength and weakness of the competitors.
(viii) To know the dimensions of the marketing problems.
(ix) To ascertain the distribution methods suited to the product.
(x) To estimate the market share of a firm.
(xi) To assess the probable sales volume of a firm.
(xii) To assess the reaction of the consumers to the packaging of the firm and to make packaging as attractive as possible.
Advantages of Marketing Research
(i) Marketing research helps the management of a firm in planning by providing accurate and up- to-date information about the demands, their changing tastes, attitudes, preferences, buying.
(ii) It helps the manufacturer to adjust his production according to the conditions of demand.
(iii) It helps to establish correlative relationship between the product brand and consumers’ needs and preferences.
(iv) It helps the manufacturer to secure economies in the distribution о his products.
(v) It makes the marketing of goods efficient and economical by eliminating all type of wastage.
(vi) It helps the manufacturer and dealers to find out the best way of approaching the potential.
(vii) It helps the manufacturer to find out the defects in the existing product and take the required corrective steps to improve the product.
(viii) It helps the manufacturer in finding out the effectiveness of the existing channels of distribution and in finding out the best way of distributing the goods to the ultimate consumers.
(ix) It guides the manufacturer in planning his advertising and sales promotion efforts.
(x) It is helpful in assessing the effectiveness of advertising programmes.
(xi) It is helpful in evaluating the relative efficiency of the different advertising media.
(xii) It is helpful in evaluating selling methods.
(xiii) It reveals the causes of consumer resistance.
(xiv) It minimizes the risks of uncertainties and helps in taking sound decisions.
(xv) It reveals the nature of demand for the firm’s product. That is, it indicates whether the demand for the product is constant or seasonal.
(xvi) It is helpful in ascertaining the reputation of the firm and its products.
(xvii) It helps the firm in determining the range within which its products are to be offered to the consumers. That is, it is helpful in determining the sizes, colours, designs, prices, etc., of the products of the firm.
(xviii) It would help the management to know how patents, licensing agreements and other legal restrictions affect the manufacture and sale of the firm’s products.
(xix) It is helpful to the management in determining the actual prices and the price ranges.
(xx) It is helpful to the management in determining the discount rates.
Limitations of Marketing Research
- It is not a Panacea
Marketing Research is not the ultimate solution to all marketing problems. Rather it offers accurate information, which can arrive at suitable decisions to solve problem.
- Not an exact science
It deals with human behaviour and as such cannot be examined in a controlled environment. There are various and uncontrollable factors which influence marketing forces. This gives scope for wrong conclusions. Hence this leads to marketing research as not being an exact science.
- Limitation of time
Its process is lengthy and needs long time to complete it. During the period between starting the research and implementation of decisions, the situation and assumptions may have changed drastically which reduces the utility of research report. Decisions based on such report prove to be obsolete and result in false conclusions.
- Erroneous findings
The complicated problems may not be comprehensively studied and their impact properly analysed by the researcher on account of insufficient fund, time and technique. This leads to erroneous findings, which disappoint the management.
- Not an exact tool of forecasting
It cannot be used as a foolproof tool of forecasting because there are number of intervening factors between the findings of the research and marketing complex. The forces act and react and interact to give a complex state, which is difficult to be studied.
- In experienced research staff
It needs great expertise and well-trained and experienced researcher, interviewer and investigator.
- Narrow Conception
Marketing research is a fact-finding exercise. It is not problem oriented. It is of low and questionable validity.
- Involves high cost
It is considered as a luxury for the management as it involves high cost.
- Limitations of tools and techniques
The validity of marketing research is also limited by the limitation of tools and techniques involved.
- It is passive
Its use and effectiveness largely depends upon the ability of executives to get the most value of it.