The market research process involves a round of separate stages of data interpretation, organization and collection. These stages could be considered as a benchmark of market research, but it depends on an organization how they have encapsulated their strategies to follow this process. Hence some of the interlinked stages could be conducted repeatedly and some of the stages can also be omitted. Given below is a typical market research process which is depicted stage-wise:
Defining the Problem or Need- The starting phase is always identifying the reason or problem for which research is to be conducted. This includes collecting of relevant initial information and how this information will affect decision making process. It also includes defining problems after discussing with decision makers of the organization. Once the problem is defined precisely and the need of research is discussed, the further process could be conducted in an efficient manner.
Determining who will do the research- Once the initial stage of defining the problem and the need of research is done, it is important to determine who will do the research and what will be the approaches to resolve these problems. This involves creating a problem solving framework and analytical models after discussing it organization experts. In this sample case studies are created according to the defined framework by enforcing the relevant information and secondary data.
Picking out the appropriate methodology- A specific methodology is entailed by the research professional after identifying the specific needs and exploring the case studies. It may include a combination of specific approaches like telephone survey, web or email survey, one-to-one interviews, secondary research etc. This methodology acts as a blueprint of research process and following basic steps:
Methods for collecting and preparing quantitative information.
Determining the need of this information.
Scaling and measuring procedures.
Designing sample Questionnaire.
Formulating case studies and sampling process.
Planning information analysis.
Data Collection Process- This process includes field work and desk work for collecting all relevant data and information. Field work includes interviewing the personals by interacting them face to face by visiting them in home or offices or arranging group meetings at any preferred place. Desk work includes contacting personals over telephone or via series of emails and web meetings. This could take comparatively more time as compared to the field work. Involving experienced and trained executive for this helps in reducing data collection errors.
Data Preparation, tabulation and analysis of results- After the data collecting stage the collected data is edited, corrected if required and validated. This process is the most important process in the research as the results are generated on the basis of data preparation. So it is required for an organization to verify the authenticity of the collected data and edit or correct it if needed. The final data is then segmented according to the business standards and inserted into the CRM database in a more tabulated form so that search or combination could be made easily.
Presentation and report generation- The entire process is properly documented with respect to organizational standards so that it can be referred in future for decision making process or to change or modify any specific process or module. This document contains overall architecture of the project depicting all the processes with the help of tables, graphs and figures to provoke impact and clarity.
Market Research undeniably plays a vital role in exploring the business. The above process if conducted in an efficient manner could help predicting and correlating customer needs and then modeling or modifying the business strategies accordingly.