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Types of Marketing Research Applications
Marketing research is the gathering, recording, and analyzing of data that relates to a specific problem in marketing products or services. While this definition implies a systematic approach to marketing, marketing research is often performed as a reaction to a problem that occurs. Marketing research efforts, therefore, often are undertaken for specific projects that have set beginning and ending points.

Market and Economic Analysis
Market analysis involves analyzing market-segment factors to determine the market potential of a given product or service. The marketing researcher gathers data and analyzes the factors that affect possible sales in a given market segment. The economic analysis is also used by marketing research departments to determine:

• How actively a company should market in a given market segment
• How much money it should invest in marketing to that segment
• How much it may have to produce to fulfill the needs of the market segment

Economic analysis often involves economic forecasting, which analyzes and attempts to forecast developing market trends and demands.

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Product Research
Marketing research departments conduct product research for a variety of reasons, including:

• Measuring potential acceptance of new products
• Finding improvements or additions for existing products
• Making changes or improvements in product packaging
• Determining acceptability of a product over a competitor's product

When a new product is being developed, marketing research departments will often use product concept testing to see how customers might react to the new product. Typically, before a business invests in the development of a prototype for a new or improved product, it will have its marketing researchers verbally describe or visually depict the prospective product to a group of potential customers in the target market.

Once a product has been accepted during the concept-testing stage, the business may move on to develop a prototype of the product. The marketing research department may then conduct product use tests, in which potential customers—be they industrial users or consumers—are given the new or modified product to try. Consumers may be given a new type of hot breakfast cereal to try at home so that the marketing researcher can test the product use among families; industries may be given a new type of telephone system to test in their offices so that the marketing researcher can receive management's evaluation of the system and see how the new product works in a field test site.

After product concept and product use tests are completed, businesses may decide to use market tests before they go full-throttle into the marketplace with their products. These market tests allow the business tp see how the product is accepted in various market segments before it is rolled out to the mass market, and before the business invests in a full-blown release of the product. While test marketing is viable for producers of products that do not involve millions of dollars in production costs for production facilities, it may be cost-prohibitive for businesses producing large, expensive goods. Soap detergent is easily test-marketed for a relatively inexpensive price tag; the cost of test marketing jet airplanes, on the other hand, is not cheap.

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Pricing Research
Marketing research can be used to evaluate the acceptability of product or service prices in the marketplace. While businesses must price their products to make enough money to cover production and operating costs, often the formula they use for achieving a given profit margin causes them to price their products or services above or below acceptable market levels.

Pricing research activities conducted by marketing researchers to determine buyers' perception of price and quality factors in a given product can be used to determine acceptable price levels that will allow businesses to achieve desired profits and gain market share. Marketing research can help to determine acceptable price levels. Because of the competitive marketplace, however, businesses frequently do not have the time to conduct an elaborate pricing research study; therefore, they often enter the marketplace without conducting one.

Advertising Research
Advertising can be a costly endeavor for businesses. To determine the potential effect their advertising might have on a target audience, businesses often conduct research into the content, the media, and the effectiveness of advertisements before they invest heavily in the advertising campaign. Content research measures how the desired content comes across to an audience sample (a limited number of people).

If the advertisement is pretested, a sample audience may be asked questions after being shown a television commercial or after viewing a layout of a print advertisement. If the advertisements are tested after they have appeared in various media, customers may be asked what they remember about the particular advertisements and how they reacted to them. By pretesting and posttesting customers, marketing researchers can determine whether the desired message is getting across in a positive manner.

Media research involves finding the best mix of media with which to hit a target audience. Marketing researchers may evaluate market stud¬ies of various media outlets (e.g., A. C. Nielsen for electronic media, or W. R. Simmons and Company for print media). By researching the media, marketing researchers can determine how best to allocate marketing dollars to hit the desired market.

To perform advertising effectiveness research, businesses must state what marketing objectives they hope to accomplish with their advertising efforts before they roll out the advertising campaign. Marketing re¬search must be done prior to the advertising campaign so as to have something to measure the results of the advertising against. If a business is trying to increase customer awareness of one of its more overlooked products, then it must determine, before the advertising campaign begins, how well-known that product actually is so that the business will be able to measure how well advertising increases awareness.

Sales Research
When a marketing research department conducts a sales analysis, it studies customer records and other available data to determine where marketing opportunities lie among potential target markets. Selling re¬search, on the other hand, analyzes the approach used by the person selling the product or service to determine whether the sales presentation is effectively piquing the interest of customers and allowing them to understand the product. The selling research can determine:

• The kinds of collateral materials (e.g., brochures, charts, lists) that work best to sell the product
• The percentage of sales that are closed in a sales call
• Other aspects of the selling process that show what methods have been most effective with the target market

Source :
Jeffrey L. Seglin, The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Marketing Course, McGraw Hill.

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