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How to Conduct Marketing Research and Analysis

01 Dec
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A key component of running any successful business is regularly conducting market analysis—a process that provides insight into where the company is and where it's heading. This analysis contains qualitative and quantitative marketing research, primary and secondary research, and additional data points regarding positioning, industry and market statistics, insights into consumer attitudes and buying habits, customer satisfaction, and more.

According to the global data and business intelligence platform Statista, the worldwide market research industry surpassed $81 billion in 2022.1 The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in the industry is due to grow 13% over the next ten years.2 In light of that strength and likely rapid expansion, facility with marketing research and analysis is an increasingly valuable skill. Keep reading to explore some of the key elements of this essential process.

Market Research, Marketing Research, and Other Key Terms

It’s important to understand the differences between market research/analysis and marketing research/analysis. The terms are similar but the meanings are distinct:3

  • Market research: A study done to collect statistics on a given market within a specific industry
  • Market analysis: Interpretation of market information to determine a market’s size, growth potential, audience, and competitive landscape4
  • Marketing research: The process of collecting data to understand consumer behaviors, preferences, and market dynamics
  • Marketing analysis: Evaluating and interpreting collected data to draw conclusions, derive actionable insights, and make informed, data-driven marketing decisions

In addition, as you get further into marketing research and analysis, you’ll need to be familiar with these terms:

  • Quantitative marketing research involves gathering numerical data to quantify and analyze patterns and relationships in consumer behavior
  • Qualitative marketing research involves gathering information that isn't expressed in numbers to gain insights into consumer behaviors, attitudes, and motivations
  • Ethnographic research is the process of studying a target audience's environment to gain a clearer understanding of potential customers’ behaviors and preferences
  • Market segmentation is the process of dividing a target market into distinct groups of consumers; each group of people shares similar characteristics or needs
  • Data mining is the process of analyzing large datasets to identify patterns, relevant trends, and valuable marketing insights; data mining for marketing insights is used to influence strategizing and decision-making
  • Competitive analysis: By analyzing competitors to understand their strategies, strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning, businesses become able to identify opportunities and threats
  • Market trend analysis is the examination of historic and current market data to identify patterns and emerging trends

Primary and Secondary Research in Marketing: What’s the Difference?

To conduct thorough, effective marketing research and analysis, you need both primary and secondary data.

Primary research involves original data collected directly from targeted sources. This is typically done through in-person or online surveys, focus group studies, observations, or experiments.

Primary research offers several distinct advantages. It’s highly relevant due to its freshness and the researchers’ ability to customize the surveys or studies they administer. It also allows analysts to hone in on the specific market they're trying to understand, which leads to sharper data precision and accuracy.

Secondary research, on the other hand, uses existing information that others have previously collected in the form of published reports, articles, academic papers, market research reports, government publications, industry databases, or historical data.

Secondary research is more cost-effective and saves time because it doesn’t require data collection. It also provides a broader perspective by offering a comprehensive view of trends and historical information.

How to Conduct Quantitative and Qualitative Marketing Research

Quantitative marketing research is a structured process that involves gathering, processing, and interpreting numerical data.

  • The process begins with defining specific research objectives and selecting an appropriate quantitative research method, such as experiments or customer surveys
  • Researchers then develop a structured instrument, like a questionnaire, to collect numerical data from a representative sample
  • After data collection, meticulous data entry is essential for ensuring accuracy
  • Analysts then employ statistical analysis methods, such as descriptive and inferential statistics, to interpret the data

Qualitative research delves more into the motivations behind consumer behavior by analyzing non-numerical information. By its nature, qualitative data can be ephemeral—hard to quantify. The research process can involve listening to recordings from focus group studies, reading social media comments and reviews, and understanding subtext from customers based on visual and other non-verbal cues.

  • Similar to quantitative marketing research, qualitative research begins by selecting a research method, such as individual interviews or focus groups, and defining research objectives
  • Researchers then carefully recruit a diverse set of participants that represent a target audience
  • During data collection, the use of open-ended discussions and follow-up questions can uncover meaningful insights that might not be readily apparent at the outset
  • Afterward, transcribing the data and looking for recurring themes and patterns can allow researchers to interpret the findings within the context of the research objectives

How To Present Market Research and Analysis

Once you’ve completed marketing research and analysis, you’ll likely be called upon to present your findings. If market research techniques come easily to you but presenting before other people seems daunting, a few simple strategies can streamline the process:

Focus on Key Insights

Highlight the most important findings to avoid overwhelming your audience with too much data. They don’t need or want to know every fact that your research turned up, so stick to the information that addresses their priorities. Be ready to answer questions with contextual, detailed information if people ask for it, but keep the structure of your presentation focused on the big-ticket items.

Use Data Visualization

Data visualization involves using software to display substantial amounts of information in a graphic format: as dashboards, pie charts, graphs, and so on. By presenting your findings visually, you can share them with diverse audiences—company leadership, clients, and other stakeholders—in engaging, relatable ways.

Tell a Story

Frame your presentation as a narrative—that is, tell a story—to engage your audience even more and make your findings memorable. Encourage your audience to ask questions. This turns your presentation into a collaborative dialogue, keeps them involved, and helps you shine as you present direct answers to address their needs.

Add Marketing Research and Analysis to Your Expertise

The world of marketing is constantly changing, so up-to-the-moment expertise is essential for a successful career. The comprehensive curriculum in SCU's Online Master of Science in Marketing program will hone your expertise in marketing strategy, marketing technology, social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, marketing analytics, and more.

Built to accommodate the schedules of working professionals and led by a faculty of industry experts, the program provides networking opportunities that will help you gain insights into industry trends and best practices.

Don’t delay your career ascent. Schedule a call with one of our admissions outreach advisors today.


1. Retrieved on September 21, 2023, from statista.com/topics/1293/market-research/#topicOverview
2. Retrieved on September 21, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm
3. Retrieved on September 21, 2023, from keydifferences.com/difference-between-market-research-and-marketing-research.html
4. Retrieved on September 21, 2023, from coursera.org/articles/market-analysis