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The Difference Between Market Research and Marketing Research

Being a business owner is no easy task, especially if you run a startup.  First, you need to deeply understand your customers and their needs.  Second, you need to understand your competitors and the products and services they offer – what are their strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities?  Third, you need to craft a simple, engaging brand story for your business and align your people, processes and technologies to deliver a remarkable customer experience.  All three of these steps will require deep research in order to glean the insights you will need to win in the markets where you compete and create preference for your brand.  There is a distinction between market research and marketing research – you’ll need both to be successful.   Why is the distinction important and what are the benefits of conducting market research and marketing research?  Find out more below:

Market Research vs Marketing Research

Even though these terms are frequently used interchangeably, they mean very different things. The scope of market research is limited as it studies about the aspects of market and consumer behavior only. Market research involves collecting information about the marketplace and customers within that market. It is used to ascertain and analyze the market structure, size, recent trends, major players, customer needs, taste, preferences, and buying behaviors.

By contrast, marketing research is a study of the whole marketing process including the research of advertising, pricing, packaging, promotions, sales, distribution channels, etc. This type of research is undertaken to find the optimal solution to a marketing situation facing the company. Researchers will focus on identifying the drivers of customer demand by going deep on customer expectations from a particular product or service –  along with understanding the most efficient way that the company can satisfy those needs. This broad area of research includes:

  • Market and Customer Research
  • Product Research
  • Pricing Research
  • Distribution Channel Research
  • Promotion Research
  • Sales Research
  • Advertising Research

Here a couple of specific use cases when marketing research makes sense to help you grow your business:

Building a Brand

Brands are not defined just by their products or services. A brand is made up of much more.  It has its own personality, its own destination statement, its own goals, its own ethos, even its own voice and sense of humor. A brand’s perception is not owned by the brand itself, rather it is owned by the customer, based on how they see and feel it. Successful marketing leaders spend time understanding how its communications and messaging alter brand perception, and much of this is done via listening to and engaging with customers.  Brand marketing research is really about engaging in a conversation with the target customer.  The conversation is not simply a two-way process, it is a continuous process. Brand research enables marketers to ask the questions and listen to their customers, allowing them to keep their finger on the pulse and adapt appropriately.

Running Effective Promotions

A promotion is a marketing strategy in which a business uses a temporary campaign or offer to increase interest or demand in its product or service. There are many reasons why a business may choose to use a sales promotion, but the primary reason is to boost sales.  Promotion research reveals insight in the development, execution or evaluation of sales promotions.  The design of the research focuses on asking these types of questions – the answers to which will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of sales promotion efforts:

  • What type of promotions do customers prefer (e.g. price discount, buy-one-get-one-free, etc.)?
  • Which segments of the customer base respond best to sales promotions?
  • What promotion messaging triggers customer purchase intent?
  • How long should the promotion run?

Accelerating Sales Conversion

Researchers working in the area of new product/service sales are driven by the fact that our marketplace is increasingly becoming characterized by the introduction of new, innovative products and services. Sales Research often focuses on mathematical models of new product acceptance, salesperson behaviors that affect new product sales, or design aspects of new products or services themselves.  The design of the research tends to focus on asking these types of questions – the answers to which will help accelerate sales growth:

  • How different should a new version of an existing base product be to encourage buyers of the base product to purchase the new version?
  • How can sales managers direct salespeople to exert extra sales effort during a new product launch?
  • How can managers optimally combine a push strategy (using salespeople) with a pull strategy (using advertising and PR) during a new product launch?

The Takeaway 

Students studying marketing in college are often asked to write essays and give examples of the different types of research required to reveal insight, generate strategic vision and formulate marketing strategies and tactics. Including a personal vision statement in the essay is important, and a personal statement writer can help you craft an impressive one. You can find a personal statement writing service by UK writers to support you in this effort.

Market research and marketing research are both beneficial and essential in running your business. Market research reveals insights about your target audience, their needs, expectations, and demographic characteristics.  Marketing research enables you to build new brands, optimize your marketing campaigns and  accelerate sales growth.  It also helps you make better decisions about your marketing strategies and reveals insights into best ways to position your brand to beat the competition.  And without it, you will have a hard time understanding how the marketing of your business is performing.

If you want more tips and tactics on market research and marketing research, let’s have a conversation. As always, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me @toprightpartner, or if you want to go deep on transformational marketing, order a copy of my new book, Marketing, Interrupted.

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