What is marketing research? How do you come up with your conceptual framework for marketing research? This article defines the concept and provides a simplified example.
One of the readers of my article on developing a conceptual framework asked if I could provide an example conceptual framework on marketing research. I am interested in applying marketing research principles to my entrepreneurial venture, such as creating and running this website.
It so happened I came across a book on marketing research in BOOK SALE while looking for textbooks on statistics. The book is on sale, so I pulled out my wallet and shelled out a little investment for my hungry brain. The title of the book is a straightforward “Essentials of Marketing Research” by William Zikmund.
I set aside 15 minutes to read the book right after my jogging session. I did this thinking that my mind could actively absorb the highly academic book’s contents after pumping a lot of oxygen during vigorous exercise. Hillman (2008) noted the beneficial effect of aerobic exercise on cognition. Exercise improves not only physical health but also academic performance.
To develop a conceptual framework for marketing research, I find it necessary to define marketing research first. Here it goes.
Marketing Research Defined
Zikmund (1999) defines marketing research as a systematic and objective process of generating information to aid in marketing decisions. This process includes specifying what information is required, designing the method for collecting data, managing and implementing data, analyzing the results, and communicating the findings and their implications.
The most crucial thing in this definition is that marketing research helps business owners or marketing managers make decisions as in any research venture. Marketing research sheds light on customer’s preferences, the long-range profitability of business operations, and other product-oriented concerns.
Successful companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, among other well-known businesses, must be employing excellent marketing research activities to keep their edge in the competitive world of business. Decisions related to their products and services are not haphazardly done. Managers decide with calculated risks.
Example Conceptual Framework on Marketing Research
One of the popular marketing research activities focuses on product quality and services. I illustrate product and service research with a personal experience below.
Customer Feedback on Products and Services
A few years back, I answered a simple questionnaire soliciting my feedback on a pizza shop’s product and services. The questionnaire sought my rating of pizza taste, service speed, and the courtesy of the server.
As part of their franchise, I would presume that the pizza business owner or manager solicits feedback from the customers to see how they perceive the product they have consumed and the service associated with it. The key variables in this study based on the questionnaire are pizza taste, service speed, and waiter service quality to the customers.
We can plot the paradigm of the study as follows:
Figure 1 above shows the conceptual framework of the study. It is an abstract representation of what the pizza manager or consultant has in mind. It shows the variables, namely pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy. Perhaps, they had conducted a literature review and discovered that the predictor variables consist of these three characteristics. These variables are the crucial factors to consider as correlates of customer satisfaction.
Why were the three independent variables, namely pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy selected?
A review of the literature on customer satisfaction may have revealed that these variables are determinants of customer satisfaction. But in the particular location where the pizza restaurant operates, any of these variables may be more important than the other.
Customer Preferences Vary Geographically
Mittal et al. (2004) found out that customer preferences vary geographically. This finding implies that clients in one place may prioritize courtesy over taste. In one location, customers may put a premium on service speed. In another spot, customers may not mind much either the speed or courtesy but the taste.
So how will the marketing manager use the findings of the study in the given an example? If, for example, customers in the location I’m in prioritize service speed, then the appropriate action should be to improve pizza delivery speed without compromising taste and courtesy.
This example illustrates the importance of marketing research in making decisions that can help businesses grow. Research findings guide marketing managers on what steps to take to improve their business operations.
How to Do Market Research
In the age of information, it pays to be creative and resourceful. The Internet provides a tremendous amount of information to help you carry out marketing research without leaving your home.
There are just so many ways you can do today using available tools like Google Analytics and government websites. You don’t even have to go out of your home to do market research. What is essential is for you to ask the right questions that research can answer.
Listen to the following video on how you can do market research for free.
To sum it all up, marketing research is a tool that the managers and business owners can use to better understand their customers and deliver their goods or services just the way their customers would love it. Informed decisions are better than just a hit-and-miss approach that does not guarantee the desired results.
It’s simply asking the customers what they want, and you provide it if you want to grow your business and increase profits.
Hillman, C. H., Erickson, K. I., & Kramer, A. F. (2008). Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(1), 58-65.
Mittal, V., Kamakura, W. A., & Govind, R. (2004). Geographic patterns in customer service and satisfaction: An empirical investigation. Journal of Marketing, 68(3), 48-62.
Zikmund, W. (1999). Essentials of marketing research. Dryden Press. 422 pp.
© 2016 May 20 P. A. Regoniel
Updated: November 12, 2020