It is important that business owners are updated on the topic of whether there is any difference between market research and marketing research. To begin, this article will be short and straight to the lessons intended to be shared. Many of us have heard and even used the words marketing research and market research interchangeably. But they do have some key difference.

The easiest way to quickly grasp these differences is by analysing them through gaining a good understanding of the ‘marketing mix’ also known as the Four (Ps) of marketing.

The four Ps of marketing

To understand the difference between market research and marketing research, you first have to

  1. Product (goods or services)
  2. Price (what it costs the customer to enjoy it)
  3. Place (where the product is marketed)
  4. Promotion (advertising and PR)

What is market research?

Market research is that part of Marketing Research that studies a target market. It focuses on customers and seeks to know how they behave in relation to a product. It collects data about the consumers in a marketplace including that of the location of the marketplace itself. For example, if Africa is your marketplace, Market Research gives you data on Africa as a wider location to sell your products including the data on the specific category of people in Africa you seek to sell to.

With the explanation above, it deals with only two of the Ps of the Marketing Mix – Product and Place. This means that Market research gathers, analyses and interprets data about a specific product or service to be offered for sale in a specific market or selected markets. Market in this context also refers to customers within the geographical location of the selected market(s) – place(s). Market research only addresses some aspects of product as a mix of marketing.

Market research also attempts to address a variety of the target market’s needs (including interrogating to find the need behind the need), wants, purchasing power, spending habits and characteristics. It also attempts to compare a product or service in focus with competitors and industry standards. It therefore helps a business assess how viable new goods or service is for their target market.

Universally, market research follows a viable process which usually kicks off by identifying why research is needed. That is, the issue an organisation seeks to understand. Then, decide who will conduct the research (in-house or an external agency). Choose appropriate market research techniques, one that best suits the market. Gather data from the target market. Organize, interpret and analyse the data and finally report findings.

It is of importance to note that market research lays the foundation for marketing research.

On the other hand, what is marketing research?

Marketing research approaches research from a more comprehensive backdrop. It cuts across all the major four Ps of Marketing. It covers many areas further to what market research handles. Areas like pricing, promotion – branding, advertising, customer research, new product research, product development, sales, distribution methods, internal and external relations.

Marketing research follows a viable process which usually starts off by also identifying a problem, be clear about the research objectives, develop a research program which includes methods, gather information and data, organise, interpret and analyse information and data, report findings, build a product or make a business decision based on the research findings.

Marketing research is all encompassing when it comes to product or service lifecycle from conception to development of a product or service, its growing and expanding audience, evolving brand – from awareness to brand equity.

Having discussed the two concepts in details, lets see some areas that they differ from each other

The purpose of market research is to find out the viability of a product or service in the target market. But for marketing research, it is to inform decision-making about the general marketing activities. The scope of market research is limited to some aspects of the marketing mix like place and product but marketing research is broader in scope and covers all areas of the marketing mix.

Market Research, for what it is, gives insights into a particular market or place with peculiarity to customers and their behaviour in relation to the product or service. The findings cannot be applied to other markets. Whereas marketing research findings can be used or applied in various forms in other markets for solving various marketing concerns. It also involves the systematic study of all aspects of a business’s marketing. The former is largely dependent on the elements of the later while the later is largely dependent on the business.

There is not a better way to effective and profitable decision-making regarding type and quality of product and service offered to customers, rewarding advertising, suitable location for business and the most efficient distribution channels and networks outside of market and marketing researches.

As different as both are, they are equally important for various reasons and for different business situations. They are both required for business success. Regardless of the outcome, both make use of qualitative and quantitative tools and techniques such as focus group discussions, surveys, questionnaires and physical or tele-interviews to gather information.

Innovative Data Solutions Ltd offers research services for both marketing research and its subset, market research. We provide customer, brand, or product research services. Let us take that burden off your neck.