The marketing research process can be defined as the process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting the information about the product or the services to be offered for sale in the market, the market and about past, present and any potential consumers for the products. The following are the main steps to follow when conducting your marketing research;
Stage 1: Formulating Marketing Research Problem
The research will start with the problem facing the management. The problem should be understood and the main cause diagnosed before developing solutions. Formulate research problems by:
•Specifying the objectives of the research
•Reviewing the environment of your research problem
•Exploring the nature of research problem
•Defining the variable relationships
•Looking at the main consequences of the alternative courses of the action.
Step 2: Method of Inquiry
The method of inquiry is a standard way for investigation. This will give you an opportunity to use the existing knowledge as the starting point and then proceed impartially. The method of inquiry can be objective or subjective and it will include the following;
•Formulating the problem
•Developing the hypothesis
•Making predictions which are based on your hypothesis
•Devising the test of hypothesis
•Conducting the test
•Analyzing the results
Stage 3: Research Method
After selecting the method of inquiry, you must then select the research method. The primary methodologies used in answering research problems are experimental research method and non-experimental research. The experimental research will give you an advantage of controlling the extraneous variables that are used and manipulating more variables which influence the process which is being implemented. Non experimental research will allow the observation of the market information but not intervention into it. The only thing you will do is to observe and report your findings.
Stage 4: Research Design
The design of the research is the plan for conducting your study and collecting the data required. It can be defined as a specific method or procedure you will use in acquiring the information you want.
Stage 5: The data Collection Techniques
The research design will start developing when you select the techniques to be used. There are different ways to collect the data. The most important methods you can consider are observation and interviews. The interview requires the person to ask some questions and expect responses. You can conduct your interview through face to face, or by telephone, mail, internet or email. This research technique is called survey research. Observation is another way of collecting the information or data. Observe the company’ present or past behavior or the person’s to predict the future purchasing decisions. The data collection techniques can include reviewing the studies that have been published by the external sources and analyzing the records of the company.
Stage 6: Sample Design
It is a more practical way to use the sample design because your marketing research process or project will actually examine the entire population. Use small accurate and effective representation of the population. Before designing your sample, it is advisable to answer the following questions first:
•From which population base is your sample can be selected?
•What is the process for the sample selection?
•What is the actual size of a sample?
After establishing the relevant population, you can then make inferences about the larger population. You can select your sample by either probability method or non probability sampling method. The probability method will rely on the random sampling of everybody within a larger population. Non probability is normally based on the findings and judgement of the investigator. Determine an appropriate sample size to help you make good decisions when determining your cost.
Stage 7: Data Collection
After establishing all the six procedures, you can then move on to the collection of data. This stage requires a large amount of personnel and significant portion of the budget depending on your mode of collecting data. Data collection will introduce essential element into your research process. This is the importance of a clear communication.
Stage 8: The Analysis and Interpretation
Analyze the data in order for it to be useful. The technique for analyzing varies and their effectiveness will depend on the type of data you choose to collect, and the method of measurements to be used.
Stage 9: Marketing Research Report
The report shall include all the information collected including the accurate description of the marketing research project, results, conclusions and the recommendations. Prepare a summary report and a technical report for easy understanding of the information. The summary report will summarize your marketing research process.