It can be defined as the collection and analysis of information, regarding the world of the company and the market, carried out systematically or expressly, in order to make decisions within the field of strategic and operational marketing.
It is, in short, a powerful tool, which must allow the company to obtain the necessary information to establish the different policies, objectives, plans and strategies most appropriate to its interests.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines it as: “the systematic collection, recording, and analysis of data about problems related to the market for goods and services.”
The research sector in Spain continues to fall. In 2013, the net turnover decreased by 5.5% and reached 438.2 million euros. In contrast, the global research market increased by 3.2% to $ 39,084 million, according to the latest data from the Association of Market Research and Opinion Companies (Aneimo) and the Spanish Association of Studies Market, Marketing and Opinion (Aedemo).
Although the bells cannot be rung on the fly, the 5.5% decrease in turnover is seen as “an optimistic note despite continuing to be negative.” And it is not for less, since in 2013 the sector has employed more than 11,000 people.
Regarding the research method, quantitative investment stands out (83.6%) compared to 11% in qualitative investment. Regarding the breakdown of investment by type of customer, manufacturing stands out with 45.2% and services with 44%, the public sector is by far 7.2%, non-profit companies 2 , 3% and others 1.3%.
Europe, with a share of 40% of turnover, is positioned as the main market, followed by North America, which reaffirms the path to its economic recovery with three years of continued growth. Asia Pacific has been superseded by Latin America as a zone of maximum growth, although it obtained the highest rise in the last five years, motivated by the increase in Japan, which leaves two years of economic losses behind. The region with the highest percentage growth was Latin America (11.7%), with Brazil standing out in its own right. The development of this country is also reflected in terms of market research and turnover in the research sector. We also highlight the 11% increase in Argentina. The Middle East has been the area that has suffered the most from disinvestment in market research,
But the sector must reinvent itself, since the market is demanding from opinion institutes new solutions based, mainly, on:
- Speed. Customers need information to flow quickly so they can make the quickest and most accurate decisions possible.
- Talent. Customers ask for ideas that generate value. They do not care where the knowledge comes from, because what they want is concrete information, regardless of the source or the methodology used to obtain it.
- New sources. The more traditional research will give way to another based on data mining, semiotic analysis, neuroscience, ethnographic studies …
- Specific messages. Clients ask for clearer and more direct communication, with concise and informative conclusions, that is, to use a language that speaks in headlines and is then informed.
- Greater connection with new technologies. Internet and social networks should have a greater role in opinion studies.
1.1. Interdisciplinary nature of market research
In order to carry out a market analysis successfully, it is necessary to apply various knowledge acquired through the following subjects:
- Applied economics, psychology and sociology. To the extent that the operation of the economic system is supported by market decisions, the analysis of consumer behavior requires knowledge of psychology; sociology becomes necessary for the study of market groups and institutions …
- The philosophy for the outstanding importance of logic in applied research.
- Statistics and mathematics for their fundamental contribution to the quantification of the facts detected in the investigation.
- Communication, through the dialogue that occurs permanently in the different media and social media , both off and online .
- Business management, since the objectives pursued with the research are closely linked to the design of a strategy and the fulfillment of sales, price, product and distribution objectives.
- The innovative capacity, applied to the development of new efficient and differentiated methods, in the design of profitable solutions.
1.2. Contribution of market research
1.2.1. In basic decision making
Market research provides the information necessary for the maturation of basic and far-reaching company decisions that require a careful analysis of the facts.
When alternative solutions to problems are complex, decision making without your help is riskier.
1.2.2. In the managerial task
Market research provides managers with valid knowledge on how to have the products in the right place, time and price. It does not guarantee 100% correct solutions but it considerably reduces the margins of error in decision making.
1.2.3. In the profitability of the company
Basically it contributes to the increase in business profit because:
- It allows to better adapt the products to the demand conditions.
- Perfect your promotional methods.
- It makes the sales system and seller performance more effective, as well as reduces the cost of sales.
- It encourages managers to re-evaluate the planned objectives.
- It stimulates the staff, knowing that your company has complete knowledge of its situation in the market and that it is heading towards well-selected objectives.
1.3. Market research applications
If we outline the applications that it has for companies, the following utilities are detected:
- Consumer analysis:
- Uses and attitudes.
- Motivation analysis.
- Brand positioning and image.
- Typologies and lifestyles.
- Customer satisfaction.
- Purchase power online, through e-commerce .
- Advertising effectiveness:
- Advertising pretest.
- Posttest of campaigns.
- Tracking ( tracking ) advertising.
- Promotional effectiveness.
- Analysis of internet tools.
- Product analysis:
- Proof of concept.
- Multi-concept-multi-attribute analysis.
- Price sensitivity analysis.
- Product test.
- Packaging and / or label test.
- Brand test.
- Commercial studies:
- Areas of influence of commercial establishments.
- Image of commercial establishments.
- Buyer behavior at the point of sale.
- E-commerce possibilities .
- Distribution studies:
- Audit of retail establishments.
- Distribution behavior and attitudes.
- Point of sale advertising.
- Internet as a distribution channel.
- Media audience.
- Media effectiveness.
- Analysis of formats and content.
- Social media and social networks.
- Sociological and public opinion studies:
- Electoral polls.
- Mobility and transport studies.
- Sociological research.
- Institutional studies.