Good Market Research Starts with Accurate Problem Definition

MRX_BLOGPhoto_Good Market Research Starts with Accurate Problem Definition

The University of Georgia (UGA) and the Market Research Institute International (MRII) are proud to offer a new online course Market Research Design and Data Identification, authored by Susan Frede, owner of Frede Research LLC and the Research Director at Aimpoint Research. This course focuses on the planning portion of the research process from defining the problem to formulating a research design. The following is an excerpt from Susan Frede on how good market research starts with accurate problem definitions. We are grateful for the course to be sponsored by Markelytics, a leading global Market Research agency providing end-to-end research solutions. Such sponsorships have funded the development of our new line of Principles Express courses.

Problem definition is the first and most important step in the market research process.  Good market research design requires a clear understanding of the business decisions and the underlying problems.  If the business problem is not defined correctly, nothing else will be right. An accurate definition of the business problem is the key to determining whether or not there is a need to conduct research and, if needed, how to best design the research.

Too often, the business problems clients describe are actually symptoms and not the underlying problem.  Symptoms are simply signals of problems.  For example, a common business problem is a decline in market share, but this is really just a symptom.  This decline could be due to any number of factors including the company’s own actions (e.g., price increase) as well as those of competitors (e.g., new advertising campaign). 

A situation analysis is key to understanding the background of the business problem and the causes of symptoms.  During the situation analysis, the key is to understand the Five C’s.

Good Market Research Starts with Accurate Problem Definition
  1. Understand the company’s objectives, strategies, capabilities, resources, and constraints.
  2. Identify and assess competitors including present and future initiatives.
  3. Create a profile of who the customers are and their buying behavior (e.g., demographics, needs and wants, motivations, etc.).
  4. Identify and understand key collaborators such as agencies, suppliers, distributors, and partners.
  5. Climate is the environment that impacts the business such as the legal and economic environment.

Market research is a disciplined process. A clear plan dramatically improves success and prepares the researcher to develop an articulate proposal for the project. This holds true for both external researchers and researchers working with internal business teams. The correct design saves time and money and will result in valid and reliable information.

Susan Frede authored the course Market Research Design and Data Identification , and she is a 30+ year market research veteran. Susan was a director on the board of the MRII. Susan is the owner of Frede Research LLC and Research Director at Aimpoint Research. She is focused on research design, survey writing, analysis, and reporting. Susan is a trusted advisor to clients, designing innovative yet practical research solutions to address business needs and strategic objectives. Versed in the art and science of research analysis and insight generation, she applies optimal techniques to inform better marketing decisions, delivering a compelling story and recommendations to stakeholders. Prior to her current roles, Susan spent over 18 years with Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP.

To register for the Principles Express course Market Research Design and Data Identification and for more information, please click here.

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