Market research is when you have narrowed down a specific "target," and you are delving into the behavior of that target. In other words, its research into a very narrow group of consumers. Marketing research entails dealing with a broad range of consumers. Marketing research includes "market" research, but it also delves into more. The best way to differentiate the two is to understand that marketing research is essentially about researching the marketing "process" of a company—not just "who" they are targeting.

Problem definition

The problem is the focus of your research. For example, "why are sales soaring in your Midwest territory, but dismal in other parts of the country?"

Data collection method and needs.

This is where you ask, "how will I collect the data I need to solve the problem? Do I use surveys, telephone calls or focus groups?"

Determine the sampling method

Sampling represents those you will be collecting information from. You need to ask yourself, "what sampling method will I use? Will it be a random sampling, a sampling that contains a similar element, or a natural sampling?"

Data analysis

You need to figure out how you will you analyze the data. Will you use software or do it by hand? Also, how accurately do the results need to be?

Enter a titleDetermine budget and timeframe

You must determine how much you're willing to spend on the research and how soon it needs to be completed.

Data collection

Now it's time to collect all the data you have available after following steps one through five.

Analysis of the data

At this point, you conduct the analysis of the data that has been collected in the previous Steps.

Error check

Be sure to check for errors in the data you've collected and analyzed. Errors can occur in the sampling method and data collections.

Create your report

The final step of marketing research is to draft a report on your findings. Your report should contain tables, charts, and/or diagrams. It's important that your report clearly communicates the results that you found. Your findings should lead to a solution to the problem you identified in Step One.

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