Below are some prime situations where marketing research can be of value to the success of your business:
Here are some scenarios and trigger points that tell you the time is right for marketing research:
This is the most fundamental division of research practices. Primary research refers to original or custom research - gathering information from original sources. It is usually proprietary to a client and not made available to the marketplace. This type of research is our forte at J Arnold & Associates.
Secondary research involves the compiling of information from existing or published sources. These sources can be internal or external. Internal would be your customer databases, historical files, etc. External would involve searches for published information. Typical sources include newspapers, trade publications, associations, industry reports, and of course, the Internet.
Primary research is basically divided into these two categories. In essence, qualitative research addresses emotional issues, while quantitative is based more on reason or logic.
Qualitative research methods strive to understand how people feel or to tap their creative juices. Quantitative techniques are applied to generate meaningful metrics that clearly define the magnitude of a response. For example, qualitative research would uncover how people feel about an issue, whereas quantitative research would measure how strongly they feel about it.
When planning a study or defining its objectives, the consultant must first determine which approach is best suited - qualitative or quantitative. Sometimes only one will suffice, and other times, both are needed. Once determined, the most appropriate methodology needs to be chosen. The most commonly used methods are summarized below.
|Qualitative Methods||Quantitative Methods|
|Focus groups (ideal size 4-6 people)||Telephone interviews|
|Mini groups (fewer people or shorter duration)||Self administered mail surveys|
|One-on-one in-depth personal interviews||Online sources - via email or websites|
|Paired in-depth interviews||Electronic surveys - compliled on diskette|
|Advisory panels||Real time moment-to-moment
(primarily for media research)
Comparative Summary of Marketing Research Methods
While J Arnold & Associates is in business to conduct marketing research, we are also consultants, and that role sometimes is purely advisory. There are many cases where you can plan and execute the work, and to keep costs down, we encourage this as much as possible. We are happy to play this role to whatever extent you feel comfortable, whether it be sampling advice, questionnaire design, recruiting, data analysis, or general project management.
In most cases, however, J Arnold & Associates is contracted to design and execute marketing research in its entirety. Aside from not having the in-house research expertise, there are many reasons why you may choose to outsource. Some of the more common factors are as follows:
Marketing research is not well understood, especially for business-to-business marketers. Some of the more common myths are listed below, and you may be familiar with them. Over the years, we have seen many, and our view is that these myths should not get in the way of you seeing fair value in using marketing research.
If any of these myths apply to your situation, we'd like to hear from you! Frankly, none of these should turn you away from marketing research, especially if you understand the full range of applications to your business.