We explain what market research is, its objectives and classification. Also, what are its features, applications and more.

market researchmarket research
Market research is part of marketing procedures.

What is market research?

Market research consists of an analysis of the behavior of the environment and consumers of a specific market segment. Its objective is to offer a comprehensive and detailed understanding of the resources available, the strengths and weaknesses of a company or organization that operates in said market.

It is usually part of the usual marketing procedures, to the point of constituting today a discipline in itself. Its development is due to the fact that the contemporary industrial and business world is extremely competitive.

To achieve its objectives, it draws on knowledge from the most different sciences and fields of knowledge. Among them are psychology, anthropology, economics, statistics, communication sciences, among others.

See also: SWOT analysis

History of marketing research

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Initially they were street surveys for newspapers.

The birth of this field of study It is usually located in the United States in the 1920s.

Links with the so-called Golden Age of broadcastingwhich unleashed an advertising war in various commercial niches in the country.

Initially it was street survey mechanisms regarding the consumption of visual advertising in magazines and newspapers.

As the advertising field has grown in diversity and complexity, New tools were incorporated, such as the telephone survey. Currently there are resources as innovative as activity monitoring on-line.

Marketing Research Objectives

All market research aims to carry out a complete and exhaustive analysis of the essential elements of a market niche. With this information, allows a given company to make ideal decisions when investing in their marketing strategies.

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A market research represents a diverse, complete and as accurate approach as possible to the behavior of a target market. To do this, it is based on its specific characteristics.

Market Research Classification

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Quantitative research provides representative information of the market niche.

Market research can be of various types depending on its nature, for example:

  • Qualitative research. Dedicated to exploration, they determine the main characteristics of the human component of the market, such as tastes, preferences, attitudes, etc. To do this, it is based on geographical, demographic, psychological aspects, etc. of the consuming population. It is particularly useful as a starting point for future research, as it limits and narrows the field of study.
  • Quantitative research. Provides representative information of the market niche. It allows projections regarding the consumer universe, offering answers closer to reality, regarding what happens, how it happens, how much, where, etc. Its primary language is numerical and statistics its main tool.
  • Field investigations. Focused on the objective description (in hard data and also percentages) of the behavior of the market, or on the verification of consumption hypotheses, allowing to explain certain phenomena. It’s the “scientific” aspect of market research, basically.
  • Cabinet investigations. Those who collect the internal and external data of the company, as well as previous studies regarding the niche, are known by that name. They produce a documentary heritage that can either facilitate or trigger other types of investigations.
  • operational research. Focused on decision making and the application of segments and mathematical tools for the description, solution and definition of specific problems regarding the market niche and, especially, the operation of the company.
  • advertising investigations. Those that deal with the route of advertising information within the market niche, its effectiveness, its perception by the consumer and its efficiency. It focuses on the communication model that is applied to the promotion of the company’s goods and services, as well as its follow-up within the mass media.

Market research process

To develop market research, the following basic steps are considered:

  • Define and discover the problem. Establish what needs must be answered and how.
  • Design the investigation. Attending to the needs determined by understanding and raising the nature of the problem.
  • Data collection or sampling. Analysis of a representative sample or a staging of the content of the problem, if applicable.
  • Analysis and data processing. Application of methodologies, theoretical frameworks and conceptual tools, such as mathematics, for example.
  • Conclusions and report writing. Understanding of what was obtained and projection of possible and eventual solutions based on what was collected.
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Why is marketing research important?

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Market research allows proper planning.

The value of market research lies in its usefulness when making strategic decisions or planning a marketing campaign. They can even offer the possibility of knowing the target niche before deciding to invest in its exploitation.

Is about a diagnostic tool. As in other segments of human activity, it allows for proper planning and reveals valuable information for all kinds of ventures.

How is market research applied?

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Market research is useful when doing business studies.

From the business point of view, market research is necessary for the formulation of strategies in the following areas:

  • Consumer analysis. Motivations, uses, attitudes, traditions, typologies and lifestyles, image and brand positioning, general and specific satisfaction.
  • Advertising effectiveness. Pretests Y posttests advertising, tracking advertising, analysis of communication tools in general.
  • Product analysis. Concept testing, price sensitivity, packaging, product, brand and multi-concept-multi-attribute tests.
  • commercial studies. Areas of influence, image of commercial establishments, buyer behavior on sitedistribution channels, points of sale.
  • Media. Audience in the media, effectiveness of supports, formats and contents, social media and institutional studies.
  • Monitoring and control. Application of the results to the company and verification of the changes obtained, if applicable.

Fundamental elements of market research

All market research pays attention to the various factors of a given market environment, considered in three main areas:

  • Customers. Everything related to the buyers of the goods or services offered within the market niche, as well as their consumption behaviors, their preferences, their cultural qualities, etc.
  • Competitors. Everything related to competition, that is, to the performance of rival companies in the niche, from the most objective point of view possible.
  • Market. Everything related to the local nature of the niche, related to its historical development, with its geographical and economic characteristics, etc.; all independent of business behavior.
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Tools used by market research

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Surveys allow us to know the opinions and habits of consumers.

The tools of an investigation will be defined by its nature and by the method in which it will address the problem specifically, some of the most frequent are:

  • surveys. Made in person, by telephone or through other electronic means, these are more or less private meetings with different typical consumers in a random selection, to find out their opinions and consumption habits.
  • Focus groups. Also called focal techniques or focus groups, they are discussion sessions regarding consumption between an interviewer and various interviewees, chosen based on their consumption tendencies.
  • Mystery Shopper. This is a consumption infiltration technique, in which an interviewer poses as a customer in order to collect information that would otherwise be inaccessible.
  • On-site observation. An impartial and neutral observer is located in a consumer environment to collect the most objective information possible regarding the commercial behavior of a brand or an establishment.

Common Marketing Research Mistakes

Some of the most common errors when dealing with this type of investigation are:

  • Relying only on secondary sources, that is, on the already published content and the available bibliography, without going to the real thing.
  • Use only online resources, as online and offline consumer behavior is often radically different.
  • Interview only the immediate social environment, thus distorting the data received since it starts from an initial bias.

Market Research Examples

Here are two examples of complete marketing research:

  • “Market study guide for the evaluation of projects” from the University of Chile (December 2002).
  • “Market study of tourist Apps” of the company Segittur, tourism and innovation (2012).


  • “Market Research” on Wikipedia.
  • “Market research concept” at CEF Marketing XXI.
  • “Marketing Research: The Definitive Guide” at QuestionPro.
  • “What is market research?” at EmprendePyme.net.
  • “Market Research” (Video) in Wantubi.
  • “Market research” at Investopedia.
  • “How to do Market Research –The Basics”in Entrepeneur.

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