Market research is when you have narrowed down a specific "target" and you are delving into the behavior of that target. In other words, it's research into a very narrow group of consumers.
Marketing research is different. Different because it's dealing with a broader range of consumers. Marketing research includes "market" research, but it also delves into new product research and distribution methods. The best way to differentiate the two is to understand that marketing research is really about researching the marketing process of a company, not just who they are targeting.
Your marketing research will include the following steps and in each step I have listed common questions that are typically asked:
- Problem Definition: The problem is the focus of your research. Example: Why are sales soaring in the midwest, but dismal in other parts of the country?
- Data Collection Method and Needs: How will you collect the data that you will need to solve the problem? Will you use surveys, telephone calls or focus groups on the internet?
- Determine Sample Method: What sampling method will you use? Sampling represents those you will collect information from. Will it be a random sampling, a sampling that contains a similar element or a natural sampling?
- Data Analysis: How will you analyze the data? Will you use software or do it by hand? How accurate do the results need to be?
- Determine Budget and Timeframe: How much are you willing to spend on the research and how soon must the research be complete?
- Data Collection: Proceed in data collection based on answers in Steps 1- 5.
- Analysis of the Data: Conduct the analysis of the data that has been collected in previous Step.
- Error Check: Check for errors in data. It is not uncommon for errors to be found in data collected. Errors can be in the sampling method, data collections as well as just analytical mistakes.
- Create Your Report: The final step of marketing research is to draft a report on your findings. Your report should contain tables, charts, and or diagrams. It's important that your report clearly communicate the results that you found in your research. Your findings should lead to a solution to the problem you identified in Step 1.