Difference between Market Research and Marketing Research – What is Marketing Research?

Explore the key distinctions between market research and marketing research, with a deeper dive into the components of marketing research.

There is considerable debate about the difference between market research and marketing research.
In this article, we are going to dive deeper into each of the two types and explain the difference between them focusing on the concept of marketing research.

Market Research

Let’s start with a definition. Market research is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market, about a product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present, and potential customers for the product or service. That is, research into the characteristics, spending habits, location, and needs of a company’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors the company faces (see Entrepreneur).

The basic aim of market research is to assess the viability of a new good or service and the attractiveness of a target market. It allows a company to discover a promising target market and understand consumer needs and wants.

Marketing Research

Let’s now take a look at marketing research. It can be defined as the process of finding out about the market in which the firm hopes to succeed and assessing all aspects of the firm’s marketing strategies and tactics.

In particular, the first part may sound quite similar to the above-defined market research process. In marketing research, however, also the firm’s marketing efforts are researched, meaning a slight change of perspective. To get this aspect a little bit more clear-cut, we will in the following investigate the difference between market research and marketing research.

Difference between Them

There is considerable debate about the difference between market research and marketing research. Market research is concerned with investigating markets (customers, consumers, distribution, etc.) while marketing research is concerned with investigating any issues related to marketing (consumer behavior, advertising effectiveness, salesforce effectiveness, etc. as well as everything contained in market research).

Marketing research therefore encompasses market research.

Market ResearchMarketing Research
Investigating MarketsInvestigating any issues related to Marketing Process.

Encompasses everything in the Market Research too.

Breaking down Marketing Research

Marketing research breaks down into the following, separate components:

Abstract interlocking circular diagram on a dark background, representing the interconnected phases of market research.
A visual metaphor for the continuous and cyclical nature of marketing research.

Customer Research

Customer research is concerned with the motivation and behavior of customers, their geographic and demographic spread, their number and spending power, and their creditworthiness. It is mainly used for segmentation and targeting purposes but is also useful for predicting trends and developing new products (NPD).

Advertising Research

Advertising research is used to measure the success of advertising campaigns. The intention is to gain information about which media are most effective, which advertisements are most effective, and which messages reach customers best. Advertising research involves the perceptions of customers. Consequently, it overlaps considerably with customer research.

Product Research

New products and new product ideas need to be tested on customers, sometimes at the concept stage and sometimes as prototypes. Product research provides information on which features and benefits are most appealing to customers, and can also provide information on competitors’ products. Packaging is a further aspect of product research since packaging provides some of the benefits of the product itself. Issues here include the extent to which the product is protected from the environment and vice versa, as well as the degree to which the design of the packaging appeals to distributors such as warehouses and retailers as well as consumers. Product research is an integral part of New Product Development.

Distribution Research

Distribution research is concerned with finding the most effective distribution channels. Usually, the company (or the researchers) will be looking for retailers who are already active in the firm’s target market and wholesalers who deal with the appropriate retailers.

Sales Research

Sales research aims to assess the effectiveness of individual salespeople, different sales techniques, and different sales management methods. It can also be used to design sales territories to ensure that they are of equal potential. This goes beyond geographical size, as it also includes factors such as the number of potential customers, distances to travel within the territory, and the overall wealth of the region.

Environment Research

Environment research is concerned with scanning the firm’s environment for potential threats and opportunities. This should be and usually is an ongoing process for most firms. Environment research looks at the social, political, economic and technological factors that might affect the firm and its brands in the future.

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