Marketing research can be divided into the following stages:
The first stage is associated with problem definition. Range of marketing research problems related to consumer behaviour may include but not limited to assessment of impacts of prices changes or re-branding initiatives on consumer attitudes, establishing the levels of brand value amongst target customer segment etc.
The second stage relates to secondary data collection and analysis. Relevant data available in government publications, statistical information, as well as, findings of previously published marketing research papers can be utilised in an extensive manner during this stage.
The third stage in marketing research process refers to collection of primary data. The majority of marketing researches are facilitated through primary data collection and analysis. The most popular methods of primary data collection for marketing research include surveys, focus groups, interviews, storytelling, experiments and observations. Moreover, marketing research can also be conducted with application of conjoint analysis, purchase panels, database marketing and netnography.
The fourth stage involves primary data analysis. Data analysis can be qualitative, quantitative or integrated according to the nature of problems being researched. Adoption and maintenance of an objective approach plays important role at this particular stage of marketing research process.
The fifth stage is devoted to formulation of recommendations. Specifically, alternative set of recommendations or inter-related recommendations can be offered to senior level management on the basis of primary data analysis.
The sixth stage in marketing research process involves selection and implementation of a strategy. In most cases internal or external members of team responsible for conducting marketing research do not engage in implementation of recommendations in practical levels. Therefore, it is important for marketing research report to integrate information about the ways of implementation in a detailed manner.
Additional stage in marketing research process can be specified as monitoring and control. Importance of this stage is significant in a way that unless closely monitored, formulated strategies may not be implemented in an appropriate manner with resulting loss of potential benefits associated with positive impacts on consumer behaviour.
It has to be noted that marketing research process described above is merely a general guidance and certain stages can be skipped or additional stages added according to the nature of aims and objectives of the marketing research. Moreover, it is important to stress that highly dynamic nature of consumer behaviour requires marketing researches to be conducted in a regular manner.