Brands exist in a fluid market with high levels of change and this makes the market risky.  Good marketing research helps reduce the risk by providing information necessary to make critical decisions.  The secondary impact is that research gives customers an opportunity to express the true views and needs about the product.  It is critical for brand owners to understand the person that buys and uses the product, to ensure that the brand keeps up with changes that consumers and shoppers respond to.  

The research process follows the following steps:


1.Defining the problem

Defining the problem, includes assessing the current marketing situation and coming up with a tentative solution to the problem.  A solution at this point determines the research projects direction, helps to formulate objectives and gives an indication of the type of information that must be collected.  This step is the most important as a clearly defined research problem is the core of the process.


2. Objectives

Identifying the research objectives and design, further tests the objective of the research and defines the framework for how the research will be conducted.


3. Collect data 

Here the secondary data (historical data that has already been gathered) and the primary data (the data gathered as part of the research) is collated and organised into a series of subsets.


4. Fieldwork

Conduct an investigation or fieldwork.  This is the most expensive part of the research as interviewers need to be trained to ensure integrity of the results.  It’s critical that the respondent’s environment is considered, to ensure that the respondents view is extracted without any form of pre-determined direction.


5. Process the data  

The information gathered in step 4 is added to the information gained in step 3 and organised to begin the analysis.


6. Analysis the data  

Considerable amounts of time is spent on this step as the quality of the findings depend on the experience of the researcher in analysing information from multiple subsets and interpreting the results.  


7. The Results

Interpret the results and compile a research report.  The findings are compiled in a report but the research is only complete once the results are presented to the decision maker for interpretation purposes.  The researchers owns the journey up to this point and the success on the project depend on her ability to transfer this knowledge to the marketer.

Generally brand owners that are serious about growth invest in some form of research and the results can be applied for many years.  The scope of a research project is determined by the problem that needs to be solved so there are various costing models that would apply.  The brand owner needs to be a part of steps 1, 2 and 4 to have input into the construct of the research and foresight of the value to be gained.  Brand owners rely on good research to drive strategy and achieve market share growth.



 Written by Emiryl Paul, she is a trade marketing specialist.  She has worked in the FMCG industry for 12 years and has built capabilities with cross functional roles.  She has worked on market leading brands and medium sized brands.  Emiryl has an interest in entrepreneurship having assisted start up companies, within local and Africa markets.