Gathering information for Marketing Decision-Making
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Marketing research is concerned with developing and analyzing the “facts” that help marketing managers do a better job of planning, executing and controlling. Marketing research is much more than a bundle of techniques or a group of specialists in survey design or statistical techniques. Good marketing researchers must be both marketing and management orientated to assure that their research focuses on real problems on which action can be taken. Today, many marketing planners are isolated in company or offices far from their potential customers. For this reason, they must rely on research to be sure they know what is going on. This point cannot be over-emphasized because it is all too easy for management to lose touch with its markets. One of the critical tasks of the marketing researcher is to help management get the “facts” and understand them. The many potential markets in the United States and abroad are not necessarily like the markets lived in by the typical middle-class suburban managers. Marketing research details may be handled by staff or outside specialists but marketing managers must know how to plan and evaluate research projects. That is, they should be able to communicate with specialists in their language. They may only be “consumers” of research, but they should be knowledgeable consumer, perhaps regularly specifying what they want to buy. For this reason, our treatment of marketing research will not focus on mechanics, but rather on how to plan and evaluate research. The marketing researcher must excel in these areas also, so in the following discussion, we will take the marketing researcher’s view, realizing that both of them should participate in the research process if the results are going to lead to action.