市場調査・マーケティングリサーチ会社のアスマーク

What is marketing research?
(≒ what is market research?)

What is marketing research?(≒ what is market research?)

When a company decides to develop a new product or considers a new marketing strategy, it is important to know more about the consumers. The activities to know more about the consumers are called marketing research. Better products or services that are more likely to be well-received by the consumers can be developed and sold through the most suitable channels by analyzing their opinions and understanding them as consumer needs before starting product development or promotional activities. And marketing research can also reduce the risk of wasting financial resources on developing products that are not well-received by the consumers.


There are also merits for the consumers. By cooperating in a marketing research, they can support the development of products they would like to see on the market and prevent products that won’t sell well from being developed and therefore the costs of these being added to existing products they do want to buy.

Marketing Process and 「The Marketing Mission」

During the marketing research activities of a company, for each step in the above marketing process various issues arise.

  • I want to clarify the concerns, dissatisfaction and needs
  • I want to know what kind of person to target
  • I want to confirm if the concept matches the target group
  • I want to know if the evaluation of our products are higher than the competitor’s
  • I want to know the market penetration of a product

The necessary marketing research activities will be different depending on the phase and challenge. The right marketing research activities can support in making decisions regarding the challenges that appear at each phase and can be useful in the marketing strategy.


However, marketing research is just a tool for companies and people to solve challenges and is not considered to be a goal. Therefore it is dangerous to think that everything will be OK as long as you do marketing research. It is extremely important to plan how you will use the research data to solve the marketing challenges and issues.

The difference between marketing research and market research

There are various opinions but is considered that market research is “Understanding the market situation through numbers and data” and marketing research is “Understanding the market situation through numbers and data, and predict and examine the future development of the market.” Market research is about the present, while marketing research is about the present and the future. Therefore we can say that market research is part of marketing research.

However, since the Japanese translation of marketing research is ‘market research’, many believe that both are the same and there is no clear distinction between these. In the first stage of the marketing process, it is important to understand the current situation of the market, so market research has strong significance in this phase. In the later phases, it is necessary to predict the future during development of the product, how the service/product will perform and in this case marketing research will have strong significance.

Consumers and companies all have challenges and needs, and marketing helps in the thinking process of how to deliver the products and services to the consumers in order to answer those challenges and needs. Marketing research is a method to solve marketing challenges. Fig. 1 shows how they are related.

図1:マーケティングリサーチと市場調査の関係性イメージ図

Fig 1. How marketing research and market research are related

When to conduct marketing research

図2:課題解決までのストーリーとマーケティングリサーチが必要になる箇所

Fig 2. Story leading up to the solution of the problem and points where marketing research is required.

In figure 2 you see an image of a flow to solve problems of companies or individuals. Marketing research will be needed for the following phases: ‘understand the current situation’, ‘set up a hypotheses of the solution’, ‘test the hypotheses’, ‘solve problem’.
※Please click the button below to find out what kind of marketing research will be needed for each phase.

About the different marketing research types

There are two types of research when conducting marketing research.

  • Consumer research … Doing surveys to collect data from consumers(clients)
  • Desk research … Finding and collecting data from open resources

※ASMARQ can only conduct consumer research

Furthermore, the data can be divided into ‘quantitative’ (numerical data) and ‘qualitative’ (words and opinions) data.
For example, when asking ‘for how much would you buy this piece of clothing’, this would become quantitative data, while the answers to ‘why would you want to buy this piece of clothing’ would be considered as qualitative data.
Surveys to collect numerical data quantitatively are called quantitative research, and surveys to collect data qualitatively are called qualitative research. Generally surveys are used for quantitate research, and interviews are used for qualitative research.

Quantitative research methods

Online surveys

This is a method where they take surveys online and is the most common method. With this method, it is possible to collect as many answers as possible in a short amount of time. This is also known as internet research/internet surveys.

Home-use test

Test-products will be sent to the respondent’s house, and a survey will be taken after having used the product for a certain period in their daily lives. This is mainly effective for products like make-up or everyday products.

CLT

The survey will be conducted with respondents who gather at a certain venue. This is especially suitable for taste tests and commercial evaluations.

Mail survey

Paper surveys are sent to the respondents and the respondents send them back after completing them.

Mystery shopper

The researcher or respondent will go to the store pretending to be a client, and evaluates the customer service level, cleanliness, sales promotions etc. based on a survey.

The researchers

The researches visit the houses one by one in a certain area and collect surveys from the residents. This method is effective to collect surveys from a certain area, when it is impossible to get enough samples through online surveys.

The researchers

The researches collect surveys in a popular area from passersby. It is difficult to monitor the criteria, so it is important to be careful not to collect too many of certain quota.

Qualitative research methods

Group interviews

A moderator conducts a group interview with about 6 respondents discussing a certain theme. This makes it possible to get a lot of interesting opinions due to the group dynamics.

Depth interviews

The moderator conducts a one-on-one interview with the respondent. Since there are no other respondents, the respondent will be more comfortable talking about more personal topics.

Home-visits/ethnographies

The researchers will visit the respondent’s house and observe his/her lifestyle. It is also possible to collect pictures of their houses and obtain visual information.

Diary research

The respondents post information, thoughts, pictures surrounding a certain topic to a platform like a diary. The data obtained from this is different per research. It is important to figure out the 5 W1H (when, where, who, what, why, how) before the research.

Furthermore, the research changes depending on the challenges and the purpose. Depending on the situation, there are cases where it is better to conduct a hybrid research combining quantitative and qualitative research.

The marketing research process

After deciding on the challenge and goal of the research and clarifying what kind of data will be needed, we now proceed to designing the actual research plan. The process goes as follows.

① Set a research goal
:When doing a research, it should be clear what you want to know.
② Design the research plan
:Think about the most suitable research method based on your goal and getting all the information needed to execute the research.
③ Prepare for the research
:Go over all the preparations to conduct the research step by step.
④ Conduct the research (survey)
:Conduct the research according to the plan and collect the data.
⑤ Check and input the data
:Check if there are no mistakes in the data and input the data into excel.
⑥ Tabulate and analyze data
: Conduct data tabulation from different perspectives and analyze the data using multivariate analysis if necessary.
⑦ Create a report
:Summarize the results in a report using figures, tables, graphs and comments.
⑧ Share the report
:The researcher presents the report and shares the results of the research.

図2:課題解決までのストーリーとマーケティングリサーチが必要になる箇所

Fig 3.: The flow of the standard marketing research process

Example of marketing research

Company Introduction

Company A, a medium-sized food manufacturer with the HQ based in Tokyo

Background

The sales of the existing products have been staggering, and the national and international market has changed drastically, which means that it will be difficult for the company to continue existing with only by renewing existing products

Marketing challenge

The CEO of company A has decided to develop a new product targeting the increasing foreign visitors in Japan. After a lot of trial and errors, finally the concept of trial product B was decided on in September, but it is uncertain if the foreign visitors will like the concept of this product.

Goal of the research

Before creating the prototype, company A wants to conduct marketing research with foreigners to find out if this product is attractive or not and start production of prototype B from November onwards.

In this case, it will be necessary to find out if prototype be will be received well by the target group. Company A mainly wants to know how many people out of the foreign visitors would like to buy this product and it will be necessary to mainly collect quantitative data.

When? October (if company A wants to start production from November, then the research should be finished by then
Where? Tokyo (Tokyo is the most visited place in Japan by visitors, and the HQ is also in Tokyo)
Who? Foreign visitors in Japan (since there are no other criteria, there won’t be any criteria on nationality, gender and age)
What? The concept of prototype B (In case the concept doesn’t do well, it’s best to have 2 or 3 options)
How? Interviewing foreign visitors in the shopping district (online surveys are also an option, but it’s best to hear it from their mouths)
How long? About 10-15 questions (since we will stop and ask them on the streets, it’s best to keep the survey short)

Fig. 4: Research outline to find out how prototype B will be received

When actually conducting the research, there will be other topics that need to be looked at.

  • What should we do with the incentive for the participants?
  • How will we present the concept?
  • At which shopping districts should we conduct the research?
  • How many days should we conduct the research and how many samples should we collect?
  • How should we distinguish between the foreign visitors and foreigners residing in Japan?

After getting the details together about the 5W1H, we will decide on the above.

Summary regarding marketing research

  • Marketing research is the process of collecting and analyzing data obtained through research, for companies or individuals to make decisions based on the data.
  • The main points are:
    • 1.The definition of marketing research and market research is almost the same
    • 2.It is not a purpose but a tool for companies and individuals to solve problems
    • 3.If necessary, it’s important to conduct research multiple times (it doesn’t finish with just doing it once)
    • 4.Before conducting marketing research, it is important to clarify the purpose and aim
    • 5.After deciding to conduct the research, decide if you want to collect new non-existing data or collect existing data, and whether you want to do quantitative or qualitative research (however recently it has become less necessary to decide on this beforehand)
    • 6.After deciding the above, decide on the 5W1H such as when and how. (decide on the research method)
    • 7.Collecting data that isn’t necessary might cause confusion and stress
    • 8.Since the marketing research environment changes all the time, it is important to stay up to date on the latest information.
  • The usual flow of marketing research is the following: plan design ~ research preparations ~ research conduction ~ tabulate/analyze the data~create the report
  • When conducting marketing research for work, a lot of knowledge is required such as how to choose a suitable research method, how to create a hypothesis, how to decide on the criteria of the respondents whose data will be collected etc.

Marketing research is the initiative that’s necessary to solve problems from companies and individuals