Business firms, whether involved in the manufacture of goods or delivery of services, have to understand the importance of marketing research that would give a fair idea about their territory of operations and the scope for development. Let me first clarify the obvious difference between a market research and marketing research. While market research is confined to only a market which comprises of its potential and actual buyers, a marketing research delves deep into and further beyond,covering all areas of marketing including the market.
Identification of consumer needs and satisfying them is vital for the emergence of a buyers market. Although firms manufacture goods that are competitive in terms of quality and price, it is the middlemen,the linking factor between the manufacturer and the wholesaler or retailer, that have a commanding grip on distribution, affecting sales volumes. Extensive marketing research will help firms to solve such problems of middlemen and distribution, to cater to the needs of the ever expanding market.
People’s preference always changes resulting in a sea change of market conditions. In order to anticipate and meet any such changes, a firm needs to analyze the market conditions on a day to day basis. Also improving the product design helps a firm to retain its customer base. How does a firm survive in the market without knowing the elemental changes that are happening in its immediate environment? Pricing is one of the crucial factors that determine the acceptance ratio of a product or range of products. A separate department is maintained by some top corporate firms to collect relevant information about the pricing strategies of rival companies that helps them to take the market lead, by quoting competitive prices comparatively. Such secret agendas are a need of the hour to outsmart your rivals.
Another component of the research planning is sales promotion and advertisement campaigns. Sales promotion is solely dependent upon the sales force and the marketing manager has to play a key role in integrating their functions and bring out their strengths. The activities of the sales personnel should be oriented towards targets and a mission without a target is like travelling without knowing the destination. When we talk about advertisements, they not only sell tangible products but also intangible things like morals, values, love etc., through their advertisements. So, it becomes even more important for the advertisers to follow some built in standards that does not affect the ethical values of the society concerned and also they should make it a point not to make women a mere object of attraction.
The market research that is a part of marketing research includes the study of the following:
- Market size
- Market potential
- Market share
- Market segments
- Market trends and seasonal trends
- Sales forecasting
- Consumer profile
- Consumer preference
- Competitor analysis
- Measuring the price elasticity of demand and much more.
Such marketing research helps a firm to develop a comprehensive plan regarding effective training programmes, sales force management, research and development programmers and effective control mechanisms. It also facilitates efficient decision making and the operational tasks of marketing management, thereby contributing to customer satisfaction and efficiency of the organization.