What is market research? #MRX

Market Research

Image by Tom Hirt via Flickr

Ray Poynter recently asked what is market research so I figured why not share my thoughts as well.

Let’s start by understanding what market research is not. It is not surveys nor focus groups nor social media research. It is not sensory testing nor neuroscience. Market research is not a set of tools nor a style of work nor a laboratory setting. It is not qualitative or quantitative.

Market research, rather, is a system of learning and discovering information about the market place. It takes advantage of any and all, old and new tools and can be conducted under the umbrella of various styles of work. And, I’ll add to that a caveat that MR is a scientific method of learning about the market place.

Tools, like surveys and focus groups, can be used and abused by anyone but when they are applied in a scientific way, such as with precise sampling and questioning techniques, they help researchers properly understand the market. Whether the chosen tools are qual, quant, or quali-quant is of little consequence. It is the scientific process for turning people-watching and polls into valid and reliable measurements.

Your turn! What is market research?

One response

  1. Market research is applying research tools to marketing problems.

    Marketing can be broadly defined, and tools run the gamut from simple lookups (How many people live in the Twin Cities?) to complex areas of computer science, statistics, questionnaire design, ethnography, and others.

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