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November 08, 2021

What is a Good Marketing Research Process?

By Nicky Cappella, Content Specialist

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What is a marketing research process?

The information-gathering, strategy, and planning phase before a marketing campaign is implemented is known as the marketing research process. It is the critical time when a marketing team defines the issue at hand, takes all the available data into consideration, sets goals, and plans the strategy that will bridge the gap between the current and future state.

What steps are essential for an exceptional marketing research process?

Define the question

The first thing that a marketing research process requires is a definition. Initially, a company must define the issue at hand - in a clearly-stated and concise question. . For example, “increase sales” is too vague. Increasing sales is an organizational goal that may be addressed by initiatives in product development, sales, HR - any number of departments throughout the company.

A clearly-stated and concise issue for a marketing research process might instead be “what marketing tactics will increase sales of (product)?” Brainstorm different variables, factors, and issues with the team to include as many potentially relevant points as possible.

Design the research

After defining the issue to address, the team can begin to design the research process. This process involves determining what data might be relevant, how to collect data, and where to use this data.

Methods of data collection may include:

  • Messaging tests from previous campaigns
  • Interviews with current and prospective customers
  • Online surveys
  • A/B testing of message, image, and format

Collect the data

Data collection is the implementation of the carefully-designed marketing research process. To collect data properly, ensure that methods are unbiased. For example, in customer interviews, questions should be neutrally-phrased so that they do not elicit an emotional response that may impact data quality.

Analyze the data

After data collection, it’s time to analyze what it means.. Compiling data is where, hopefully, the marketing research process begins to generate insights. In this phase, there is value in having more than one person compile and interpret data. This helps to eliminate unconscious bias - unfairly weighting certain questions or responses unintentionally to support preconceived notions.

Evaluate findings

This stage is the time to evaluate data to ensure that it is comprehensive and understandable. It is also the time to consider how well the process is working: to look for biases to eliminate, opportunities for additional data collection, and see if there is any need to change the design of the marketing research process.

Execute on findings

Once the marketing research process has been evaluated, it may be necessary to refine the design, collect, and/or compile phases. Once these changes have been made, the process can be evaluated and executed; then re-evaluated and re-executed until a comprehensive result is achieved.

The scientific method, whereby a hypothesis is stated, tested, and evaluated has applications outside of pure science. In a marketing research process, following a six-step process that loosely follows the scientific method can help an organization better define issues and goals, interpret information, and apply insights for better results from marketing campaigns.