Marketing research is the process of gathering, recording and analyzing information about a given commodity in the market or the general market behavior. There are different ways of conducting marketing research. These methods include; secondary methods, surveys, focus groups, field trials, observations, and through conducting interviews.
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Surveying involves identifying and administering questionnaires to the target market (Bryman & Bell, 2007). Surveying practice can be done through in-person surveys, which involve travelling to the target areas to administer questionnaires to the prospective customers.
Equally, surveying can be done through making telephone calls to consumers in order to gather information about a given product. Additionally, surveying can be carried out through mailing the questionnaires to consumers who then send their responses back to the surveyor.
Secondary marketing research method involves gathering information about a given commodity or market from the existing secondary sources. Usually, the surveyor conducts thorough and informed reading about the subject from secondary sources such as journals, newspapers, business magazines and online sources. Also, the firm may hire a surveying firm to collect information on a given commodity over a given time.
Personal interviews method is a marketing research approach that involves organizing face-to-face interviews with the prospective customers in order to collect the required information. Usually, the surveyor administers unstructured questions to the consumers depending on their responses. This exercise takes considerably a short time. However, it is associated with the inconvenience of organizing for rooms in which to conduct the interviews.
Surveying method has an advantage of a wider market outreach compared to other marketing research methods (Zikmund et al, 2012). The in- person interviews surveying method ensures that the surveyor gets immediate feedback from the respondents. Surveying method also allows the surveyor to collect information on a lot of aspects concerning the market at large as the surveyor has control over the content of the questionnaire.
This method is also relatively cheap. However, this method is characterized with low returns especially where the firm uses mailing survey method. It is also susceptible to lots of inaccurate information as the surveyor is not able to test accuracy of the responses gathered from the consumers. This method, therefore, is not suitable for a small business firm which targets a small market as it may prove to be expensive.
On the other hand, secondary marketing research method is relatively cheap compared to other research methods. Additionally, research sources are readily available. This method also presents the firm with an opportunity to compare information gathered from different sources. However, information gotten through this method can be quite misleading at times. Surveyor, therefore, needs to use only the updated sources. Secondary marketing research method is suitable for small firms as it is not only cheap but also informing.
The information gathered through conducting personal interviews is quite accurate. This is because the surveyor gets to test the confidence of the respondent. However, the information gathered through this method may not be reliable. This method is suitable for small business firms as it targets only a small segment of the population. Equally, it provides immediate feedback, which is important to the small business firms.
Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2007). Business research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zikmund, W. G., Carr, J. C., & Griffin, M. (2012). Business research methods. Stamford: Cengage.