Have you ever tried to explain the difference between marketing research and market research to your inbound marketing agency’s clients? If so, you’ll know that their eyes glaze over and they start to squirm in their seats. After all, knowing the difference and being able to adequately explain it are two different things, right? Well, we’ve broken it down to make it simpler for you to communicate to others. Here you go!
Marketing research is research related to marketing. It is the process of investigating how best to market a product, based on:
- Media channels to use
- Type of communications to employ, such as email marketing and business blogging
- Methods of promotion
Marketing research usually includes research such as testing of advertisements through focus groups, determining how the projected pricing of the items compares with other similar products, who the main competitors are and what methods they use to market themselves.
This process should start before marketing research, because in order to effectively find out how to market a product or service the marketer first needs to know to whom you are marketing. That’s where market research comes in. It’s the identification of the target market or audience for whom the product or service is designed, and it’s a major driver of strategies.
Market research includes trends affecting the marketplace, such as political, economic and social trends. It takes account of the targeted customer’s wants and needs and identifies where the products and services should be sold and how.
Where They Overlap
The two concepts overlap in several places, however, which is what causes the challenges in explaining them:
- Competitor research. This aspect fits neatly into both categories, in different ways. In marketing research, competitor knowledge focuses on understanding the methods other companies in the same industry use to market their products. It includes place and promotion (two of the four Ps) more than price and product. In market research, however, competitor knowledge means understanding who the other companies sell to, and includes product and price (the other two of the four Ps).
- Pricing. OK, we mentioned pricing under the definition of marketing research, and now we’ve just said it falls under market research. Confusing, huh? It all comes down to the context. Pricing in the context of determining what price the market will bear and setting prices for the products—that’s market research. Finding out how the prices compare with those charged by competitors, however—that’s marketing research.
For the purposes of creating an inbound marketing strategy for your client, you really need to do both marketing and market research. It can simplify things if you call market research “audience research,” or it could make it even more difficult for the client.