What is Marketing Research?

The American Marketing Association describes marketing research as

"...a link between the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process."

Marketing research is used to answer the five W's and 1H. For example:

  • Who - Who is my target audience?
  • What - What kind of product do they want?
  • When - When do they buy my product?
  • Where - Where should I advertise?
  • Why - Why are they buying from my competitor?
  • How - How much should I charge?

We can answer these questions and more using different methods of research such as focus groups, telephone surveys, questionnaires, and concept testing. Traditionally these methods involved interviewers, pen and paper, and perhaps a mall or lab setting. Recently, we have turned to the Internet to help us with our research needs. But, is the Internet really better at conducting marketing research than the traditional ways?