Market research can be defined as, “A business activity that discovers information of use in making marketing decisions.” (Mktg textbook, p. ) The results of market research influence decisions regarding; market segmentation, sales performance, product features, distribution options, promotional and pricing strategies and consumer attitudes and behaviour. (Met textbook). Thus, due to their significance and potential value, market research results are of the utmost importance to organizations. They must therefore be valid, accurate and un-biased. Without these constraints, market research can be worthless at best, and potentially detrimental to the existing or future marketing strategies of an organization.
The field of market research is cited to have begun in 1911, when Charles Parlin undertook consumer research on agricultural equipment, department stores and automobile demand. His work, "Made commercial fact finding a profession." (Book-Bartels)
Originally, market research was studied and taught at business schools, however, these schools were, “Viewed as second class citizens of the academic establishment.” (William Muse, commenting on Walls.) Eventually, market research gained credibility by using a highly scientific approach, which was deemed legitimate by other academics. This market research was essentially quantitative in nature. (Muse)
Researchers eventually became dissatisfied with the limitations of quantitative research and thus required more in-depth methods of ascertaining how consumers think and feel. Market resea...
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...e accessed by businesses very cheaply and they can apply it to further market research, whilst at the same time potentially reducing the cost of some basic quantitative research
In our rapidly changing, international and increasingly technological world, it is necessary to predict what customers may want or require in the future, even if there is little apparent need in the present. This costly insight was found by British Airways a decade ago, when market research of passengers indicated that they desired more legroom. They are now retrofitting their aircraft with USB hubs for laptops that customers did not envisage ever owning or using.
Valid and well conducted market research must be considered a major part of any organization's marketing operations, as the results of this research may ultimately lie at the centre of any businesses future viability.
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