Defining Marketing Research

The American Marketing Association defines marketing research as “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 the results, and communicates the findings and their implications"5

Most companies use multiple resources to study their industries, competitors, audiences, and channel strategies. They normally budget marketing research at 1 percent to 2 percent of company sales and spend much of that on outside firms. Marketing research firms fall into three categories. Syndicated-service research firms such as Nielsen gather consumer and trade information, which they sell for a fee. Custom marketing research firms design studies, implement them, and report the findings. Specialty-line marketing research firms provide specific services such as field interviewing.

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