Steps of a market research

Due to the unorganized nature of data availability in the Indian market, research is a combination of advanced analytics combined with artistic innovation. Interpretation of the data needs high levels of research savvy. We believe it is critical to discuss the clients’ needs and learn about the business situation as well as the dynamics of the clients’ organization. Only then we can design a research approach that is relevant and efficient in terms of both costs and timelines. Companies undertake research to give insights into Markets using Segmentation Studies and Demand Estimation Studies. Research is conducted into customers to understand their usage & attitude by conducting customer surveys. Research is performed to understand products by using positioning studies, product tests and brand image tests. Conduct research to understand advertising effectiveness using methods of communication research and concept tests. Research is conducted into service quality measurement. The research methods used are One-on-one Interviews, In-depth Interviews, focus groups, choice modeling, customer visits, experimentation, secondary research, and web based studies, online surveys and big data analytics. Raw data is analyzed and converted to information and then matched with the capabilities and strategies of the company, to provide an actionable roadmap for achieving business goals.

A typical research process is made up of initially defining the problem situation and its objectives. We then analyze data that is obtained by using various data sources and research approaches. Raw data is analyzed and converted to information and then matched with the capabilities and strategies of the company, to provide an actionable roadmap for achieving business goals.
In India, there is a need for rigorous approach to quality assurance. It is critical to discuss the company’s needs and learn about the business situation as well as the dynamics of the clients' organization. Only then can we design a research approach that is relevant and efficient in terms of both costs and timelines. The diagram below shows the typical Market Research roadmap.

The following eleven step process explains the research process used for a typical Market Research project in India. At the beginning of the research, it is important to understand the research objectives and involves the following steps:
Step 1:  Identify and clarify company’s research objectives and information needs. Usually, before the researcher becomes involved, decision makers have prepared a formal statement of what they believe is the problem. At this point, researchers assist decision makers in making sure the problems have been correctly defined and that the decision maker is sure of the information requirements.
Step 2: Specify the research questions and define the research problem. The researcher must reformulate the problem in scientific terms. That is, the researcher must redefine the problem as a research question.  Redefining the problem into a research question is the most critical step in the research process, because how the research problem is defined greatly influences all of the remaining steps. One the initial question to ask is if the marketing strategies need to be modified to increase satisfaction among our current and future customer segments? Then based on that, redefined research questions could be, What operation aspects do people believe are important in selecting a retail outlet?, How do customers evaluate the company on operation aspects, What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the company?,  How do customers and non-customer perceive company’s outlets, What is the demographic and psychographic profile of the company’s customers.
Step 3: Confirm research objectives and assess the value of information. Research questions or objectives need to be confirmed with the decision maker after it is framed. The basis for this is that the if the objectives are achieved, decision maker will have the information to solve the problem
 Before moving to next step, decision maker and researcher must evaluate the value of the information on whether it can tell the decision maker something not already known and if the information will provide significant insights?
Step 4: Determine the research design and data sources. Research design serves as a master plan of the methods used to collect and analyze data. In this phase, researcher must finalize the type of data to be collected, data collection method, sampling method, schedule and the budget.
The quantitative market research tools include Face to Face Interview which is a type of data collection method where the Interviewer meets the respondent face to face and carries out the interview. Also quantitative methods include Telephone Interview which is a type of data collection method where the Interviewer carries out the interview with the respondent on the telephone. Another quantitative method is Online Interview which is a type of interview where the questionnaire is hosted online and the respondent completes the survey at the respondent’s convenience.
Qualitative Market Research tools include Focus Group Discussion (FGD), which is a group discussion of approximately 6 to 12 persons guided by a facilitator, during which group members talk freely and spontaneously about a certain topic. A FGD is a qualitative method. Its purpose is to obtain in-depth information on concepts, perceptions and ideas of a group. Another qualitative method is an extended interview, usually on a one-to-one basis, in which the interviewer explores a topic in considerable depth. The interviewer may follow an unstructured approach using a Discussion Guide to remind him of the salient issues to be covered, or a semi-structured approach with a more detailed checklist of questions.
Step 5: Determine the sample plan and sample size. When the defined target population is large, Market Research study involves the selection of a sample from the overall membership pool of the defined target population. Researchers must use a representative sample of the population so the resulting information is generalizable.
Step 6: Design the questionnaire. A key part of the marketing research process is to design the data collection instrument or questionnaire in a manner so that it is easily understood by the respondent and administered to them.
Step 7: Validate the questionnaire. Researchers must always pretest the questionnaire.  Pretesting is done with a sub-sample of respondents with a profile similar to those who will be asked to actually complete the survey when the data collection commences.  This will help researcher on issues such as clarity of instructions and questions, sequence of topics and discussions and anything that is potentially difficult and confusing
Step 8: Collect and prepare data for analysis. The key data collection methods are Questioning and Observation. Once the primary data is collected, researcher needs to perform several activities before doing data analysis. This includes coding, data entry and data cleaning.
Step 9: Analyze data. Researcher begins the process of turning raw data into structures that can be used to generate useful information for the decision maker. Analysis procedures vary widely in sophistication and complexity from simple frequency distributions (percentages) to sample statistics (i.e. mean, median and mode).
Step 10: Transform data structures into actionable information. Information is created for decision makers. Researchers interpret the results of the statistical analysis. Interpretation means integrating several aspects of the findings into statements that can be answered to answer the initial question.
Step 11: Prepare and present the final report to the management. This is a very important step in the end to end Market Research process. In many cases, the researcher not only submits a written report but also makes an oral presentation to the decision makers.

 

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