According to the American Marketing Association:
Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information—information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes, and communicates the findings and their implications. (Marketing Research, 2007, p.9).
Marketing research can be an extensive and involved process. Companies that are aware of this fact tend to hone in on the tools and resources that are going to best benefit them as quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary costs and time. Identifying the best tools can be critical to the successful implementation of a market research plan. This paper will discuss some of the differences between the different types of marketing research and the tools that each approach uses.
Primary Research versus Secondary Research
Marketing researchers must decide what is going to work best for their purposes. This begins by understanding the fundamental differences in the types of research that are available to them. A logical start is understanding primary and secondary research. This will enable the researcher to establish a solid start to their research plan while giving them the basis to fine tune the research question they are seeking to answer.
Primary research is defined as original data. This is a very non-descript definition so to delve deeper, take a look at some of the tools that are used to accomplish this type of research to gain perspective. Primary research uses methods that capture first-hand accounts. Face to face interviews, surveys, focus groups, and observations are all tools used in primary research. These tools help researchers gather data directly from the targeted groups.
Primary research is proprietary information that the researchers own and can use as they see fit. The researcher can make this information available to others or not. This type of discovery can be exciting and create an advantage to the researcher because it has yet to be disclosed. Further, primary research allows the researcher to have a greater degree of control over the research process while looking for answers to specific research questions. However, primary research is time consuming because the process can be lengthy and involved. Developing the rapport that is required to conduct many of the studies that are involved in primary research takes time and effort. Additionally, primary research can be expensive.
According to Aaker, Kumar, and Day (2007), secondary research is composed of “data that were collected by persons or agencies for purposes other than solving the problem at hand” (p. 110). Secondary...