Market research is a term that can be defined as the effort made to study target consumers. It is an indispensable part of the strategy to stay ahead of competitors and explore new markets. The term is often confused with marketing research; however, both are different in terms of their scope. While market research focuses on markets, marketing research is all about marketing processes.
Market research uses analytical and statistical methods to gather and interpret information about a particular section. It involves opinion and social research. Here are some methods commonly used in market research:
- Surveys: A well-worded questionnaire put across a sample group often reveals much about their perspective. Responses can be generated through in-person surveys, telephone surveys, mail surveys, and online surveys; each varying according to cost and accuracy of information generated.
- Focus groups/interviews: It entails asking open-ended and unstructured questions to an individual or a representation of the target consumer group. A drawback is that it may not be statistically reliable; however, it is helpful in accessing customer attitudes towards an existing product/services or a new concept.
- Observations: While customer responses may often mismatch with their actual behavior, an observation made through videotaped instances gives a more picture closer to reality, a clear insight into customers shopping and usage habits.
- Field trials: There is nothing like a field trial to gauge customer interest in a new product. Placing a new product under real-life shopping conditions effectively determines the changes that can improve its appeal.
Role of India in the International Market Research Industry
The major factor that makes India the first choice for MNCs looking for outsourcing work is the incredibly low price charged for projects. Offices in India act as backrooms where data can be analyzed and presented cheaply. As Indian researchers are known for their high-quality talent, it becomes a perfect situation for other countries to get their work done there.
With the rapidly increasing role of technology, high incomes and global exposure in the Indian economy, it is no surprise that India leads the world in terms of market growth. In the domestic market, telecom and financial services are the leading sectors that provide business to the market research industry. In the coming times, growth is set to accelerate as more and more industry sectors are getting liberalized.
One of the challenges that Indian agencies face is high attrition. With the increasing disparity between cost of survey and operational costs, clients need to be willing to pay higher compensation to retain talent. Another factor that hampers Indian market research is low internet penetration and teledensity, as the advanced world relies majorly on technology to collect data.
If you have something to add, please feel free to drop your comments and suggestions.