In 1994, the Marketing Research Association (MRA) Board of Directors appointed a task force to determine the feasibility of creating a separate non-profit organization to create educational and training materials for the marketing and opinion research industry. This was fueled by a desire to create an independent study program based on the Market Research Core Body of Knowledge (MRCBOK™) developed by William Neal of SDR Consulting, Inc. and Dr. Malcolm McNiven of the University of Georgia. Approval was given and funds allocated in 1995 to establish the Marketing Research Association Institute (MRAI).
A Board of Directors of industry representatives was formed to oversee the development of the Principles of Marketing Research (PoMR) in conjunction with the University of Georgia. The Marketing Research Association Institute was incorporated in June 1996 and was granted non-profit status as an educational institute by the IRS. In 1998, the Marketing Research Association Institute, Marketing Research Association and the University of Georgia entered into an alliance with the European Society of Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR) for the purpose of marketing the Principles of Marketing Research course worldwide. In July, 1999, the organization formally changed its name to the Marketing Research Institute International (MRII). This was done to eliminate confusion about the Institute’s affiliation with any other industry organization, build broad-based industry support and demonstrate the global nature of its programs.
The first training course developed for the organization is a self-study program widely known as the Principles of Marketing Research. The intent of the program is to provide a common basis of knowledge among those currently in the marketing and opinion research industry or those interested in entering the industry. This independent study program was developed using teams of academicians and practitioners to ensure the practical application of the material. It opened for enrollment in October 1996 and initially was a joint venture between the University of Georgia and the Marketing Research Association.
As part of its commitment to provide true distance learning programs to the industry, the Institute introduced a Web-based version of the program in July 2000. At this time, the University of Georgia implemented a coach-mentor program to enrich the student experience. On request, students are assigned a coach-mentor with whom they can communicate via email when they have a question about course content.
This course is based on the Market Research Core Body of Knowledge (MRCBOK™) and originally had 10 modules intended to educate and inform students about the entire research process. In addition, in 2002, an 11thmodule, “Web Survey Research and Data Delivery Methods” was added, and is also offered as a stand-alone tutorial. A 12th module, “International Research” was introduced in September 2004. Each module has a self-administered review test. The students must take two proctored examinations (one after the first five modules and one at the end of the program). A certificate of completion is awarded when the student has passed both tests. The student also receives 20 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) for completing the course. The course content is continuously reviewed and updated as necessary; for example, a revised study guide reflecting the latest editions of the two textbooks used in the course was released in September 2004.
In 2006, the original Principles of Marketing Research was supplemented with pharmaceutical marketing research material and the result was called the Principles of Marketing Research with Pharmaceutical Supplements (The Supplements). In 2007, Version 2.0 of the Principles was written and the course was renamed the Principles of Pharmaceutical Marketing Research (PoPMR). As a result of this work, MRII had a second course to offer potential students.
In 2009, MRII completed a two-year project which rewrote the original PoMR course. The new course contained 11 rather than 12 modules. It was updated so that it incorporated the latest distance learning techniques and its curriculum contained the latest marketing research techniques and trends. In 2010, MRII rewrote the PoPMR course so that it conformed to the rewritten PoMR course.
The University of Georgia, Georgia Center for Continuing Education, is responsible for administering the program by processing enrollments, distributing course materials, monitoring student progress and coordinating the testing process. MRII is responsible for developing and maintaining the curriculum, including investigating and responding to student’s research questions, ensuring the practicality/relevance of the course material and identifying authors to create or rewrite material and instructors to teach course material.
In 2015, the organization changed its name to the Market Research Institute International. In 2018, the MRII introduced Principles Express, a line of on-demand courses designed to be completed in 10 to 12 hours.