CHAPTER 3Problem Definition, Exploratory Research, and the Research Process

Photo illustration of a group of men and women executives in a discussion.

Conducting marketing research involves a series of logical steps, beginning with problem definition and research objectives. What are the steps in the marketing research process? How is the research process initiated? These are the issues we will address in this chapter.

Critical Importance of Correctly Defining the Problem

Correctly defining the problem is the crucial first step in the marketing research process. If the research problem is defined incorrectly, the research objectives will also be wrong, and the entire marketing research process will be a waste of time and money. A large consumer packaged-goods company wanted to conduct a study among a brand’s heavy users in order to understand the brand’s equity. More specifically, it wanted to expand that equity into new products. The brand had very low penetration, so the company needed new products to meet the upcoming fiscal year’s volume goal of double-digit growth. Notice the absence of tying research learning—understanding the brand’s ...

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