Unless you’re a professional researcher (or perhaps a linguistics professor!), you might not understand the difference between the terms “marketing research” vs. “market research.” In fact, you might not have ever even considered there was a difference. But in the business world, where the devil often really is in the details, knowing the subtle distinction between the two can help you determine where to focus your attention when problems arise.
In essence, “marketing research” is a broad term used to represent the exploration and harvesting of information pertaining to the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion (i.e., the “marketing mix”). It seeks to identify and understand how changes to one or more elements of the “marketing mix” affect consumer behavior.
“Market research,” on the other hand, is a more narrow term used to represent the analysis of only one part of the marketing mix: usually place. It seeks to identify and understand consumer behavior in just one target market. Thus, where marketing research is generic, market research is specific. Where marketing research studies marketing activities, market research studies the market itself.
Both types of research make use of the basic investigative process: they each form hypotheses and use qualitative and quantitative techniques such as surveys, interviews and focus groups to uncover data that hopefully explains one or more of the common questions of who, what, when, where, how and why.
Why You Need to Distinguish Between the Two
As previously mentioned, knowing how marketing research vs. market research relate to one another and when to use one over the other are critical insights for businesses wanting to make the most of their resources. Quite frequently, companies employ their own marketing professionals, but rarely do they have their own in-house market researchers. When budgets are tight (and even if they aren’t), it’s paramount that businesses understand what they need to know and how to go about getting it. It’s one thing to not know if you should use green or blue ink in your ad. It’s another to not know if you need the ad at all. Being able to correctly identify the problem can help you allocate resources efficiently and effectively the first time instead of needlessly working toward the wrong solution.
Need More Info?
It’s not always easy to understand how market research fits into a marketing research plan. Too often businesses try to solve what they think is a marketing problem when in reality it’s a market one. If you need help deciding whether you need marketing research vs. market research to make informed decisions about your business, contact our team at Communications for Research (CFR). We have decades of experience providing companies with actionable results that help improve consumer satisfaction and increase ROI.