Marketing information system (MIS): A set of procedures and processes for collecting, sorting, analyzing, and summarizing information on an ongoing basis.

Market research: The process of collecting and analyzing information in order to recommend actions to improve marketing activities.

Research classifications:

  • Exploratory research: Preliminary research conducted to clarify the scope and nature of the marketing problem (ex: why is milk consumption dropping)
  • Descriptive research: Research designed to describe basic characteristics of a given population or to clarify their usage and attitudes. (Ex: detailed profile of product purchasers)
  • Causal research: Research designed to identify cause-and-effect relationships among variables. (Effect of advertising on sales)

The six-step market research approach

  • Define the problem/issue/opportunity: This step is to define the problem, with objectives such as specific, measurable goals the decision maker seeks to achieve. Common research objectives are to discover consumer needs and wants, and to determine why a product is not selling.
  • Design the research plan: Identifying what approach will be taken to complete the research project. What information, how it will be collected, and whether a sampling is needed. Three areas are : Information requirements, Collection methods and sampling (process of gathering data from a subset of the total population, two basic sampling techniques are probability sampling and non-probability sampling(bias).
  • Conduct exploratory research: Three basic tools from which to choose: (1) secondary data analysis, (2) focus group research, and (3) in-depth interviews. Research and in-dept interviews are part of a form of research called qualitative research, which provides insightful and directional information, with the knowledge that is not statistically accurate. It is not usually used to draw firm conclusions, but rather provide insights. Secondary data is cut into two parts, internal data that exist within a company such as sales reports and external data from published sources outside the organization. A general rule is to obtain secondary data first, and then collect primary data, which is newly collected data specifically for the project. This is because secondary data is much cheaper but it does have disadvantages such as out of date or not as accurate. Focus group research is a technique where a small group of (6-10) people meet for a few hours with a trained moderator to discuss market research problems. In-Dept interviews are detailed individual interviews where the researcher questions an individual at length in a free-flowing conversational style in order to discover information that may help solve the marketing problem.
  • Collect quantitative research information: Quantitative research is designed to be statistically accurate and is more reliable than exploratory research. The main disadvantage is that it is far more costly and time consuming. Observational research is obtained by watching how people behave either in person, or by using a machine to record the event. An example is tv ratings. We can also gather information by questionnaires which is a means of obtaining information by asking questions through person, mail, phone…They can also do panels which is a sample of consumers or stores from which researchers take a series or measurements. A marketing experiment involves changing a variable involved in a customer purchase to find out what happens. Large companies often use a test market that is a small-localized region used to help determine whether consumers will buy a new product or brand, or shop at a new store concept.
  • Compile, analyze, and interpret data: This is done in order to turn it into actionable information. There are many ways and packages of doing this.
  • Generate report and recommendations: Once the data has been analyzed, the researcher will discuss the results with the marketing manager and prepare a report to communicate the research findings.

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