There are six major steps for conducting market research. The first step is definition of the problem and involves understanding what is required. The second is to develop an approach towards solving the problem. The third is research design, which involves determining how to conduct the research, whether through interviews, questionnaires or both. Data collection then follows. The fifth step is analysis of data and finally they sixth step is a report on everything achieved.
Four types of information that a business could gain from conducting market research include customer preferences, competitor activity, buying habits of customers and target customers.
In the context of market research objectives, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-scaled. This means that the objectives set for any market research activity should be specific, measurable in a quantifiable sense, possible and realistic to achieve with the given time and resources and should also be time-conscious.
Primary data is data which has been collected or observed directly from experience that is first-hand. This may be through methods such as observation, surveys or experiments. The data has not been previously published. Usually no processing has been conducted on primary data.
Secondary data is data which has been collected by someone else for a purpose that is different from the current one. Secondary data is usually in processed form.
Quantitative research is the process of collecting and analyzing data which is in a measurable or quantifiable form such as age, number of people, the number of products, percentages etc. quantitative research calls for a larger sample size than qualitative research so as to have a reliable and representative amount of data to analyze. The data collection methods include numerical closed-ended questions such as “yes” or “no”. Statistical methods such as standard deviation are used. Qualitative research on the other hand comprises of the collection of non-quantifiable information such as perspectives, opinions etc. collection methods involve open-ended questions such as in interviews. Surveys and focus groups are used (AMSRS, 2013).
Sampling is done in market research to enable the selection of a sample that provides the most accurate information in solving the problem.
Sample design is the outline of the criteria or methods used for choosing the sample.
It is it important to test a questionnaire prior to using it so as to ensure that it is effective in asking the questions in a manner that is understood by the respondent. The questionnaire should pose the questions in uniform manner that allows analysis.
The Market & Social Research Privacy Code has three main aims:
- Enable quality research so as to develop accurate information which informs decisions.
- Allow social and market research business operators of all sizes to benefit from compliance with industry best practices regardless of being not subject to the 1988 Privacy act.
Three important behaviors that a market researcher should observe, according to the Australian Market & Social Research Privacy Code include allowing participation in social and market research on voluntary basis; keeping the identity of participants confidential and using the information provided solely for research purposes (Amsro.com. 2013).
AMSRS. (2013). Market & Social Research Privacy Principles - Australian Market and Social Research Society. Welcome - Australian Market and Social Research Society. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from http://www.amsrs.com.au/professional-standards/market-social-research-privacy-principles
Amsro.com. (2013). The Market & Social Research Privacy Code « AMSRO. AMSRO. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from http://www.amsro.com.au/privacy/the-market-and-social-research-privacy-code