Consumer Research – Introduction, Steps, Process
Consumer research just like market research follows a series of steps for better decision making. Consumer research is carried out to understand how customers respond to various sales offers and advertising appeals, changes in consumer perceptions and attitude and forecasting future needs, taste & preferences of a consumer.
Consumer research helps a marketer to frame appropriate strategies, face thriving competition and select the most suitable target market for the product. Marketers aim to understand the underlying motives, satisfaction and changing needs of the consumers through consumer research, as consumers have become more intelligent and aware in evaluating and purchasing products/services.
Steps in Conducting a Consumer Research:
Defining the problem and formulating research objectives –
A consumer research may be conducted to determine the following:
- Attitude of people towards a product/service
- Change in taste & preferences, likes and dislikes
- Market share and market demand of a product
- Buyers characteristics and influences
- Profitable Promotional campaigns and techniques
- Reasons for poor performance or decline in sales of a product etc.
The first step in conducting a consumer research involves: identifying the research problem, setting the objectives of research and formulating a working hypothesis. It is important to clearly define the problem and set specific objectives according to which an appropriate research design (exploratory, descriptive or experimental) is selected and adhered with. The research may be qualitative or quantitative in nature.
Collecting and evaluating secondary data –
The second step in consumer research involves looking for appropriate information related to the research through secondary sources like internal data of the company e.g. sales reports, financial statements, performance reports etc. or external data like government and industrial publications, commercial sources, past books, case studies, journals etc.
The secondary data is evaluated for its reliability, adequacy and suitability before it is used. If the secondary data is not sufficient for the research a primary data is collected through questionnaires, interviews, experiments, observation etc.
Collecting Primary Data –
The researcher collects the primary data through various methods when secondary data is insufficient. Primary research helps a researcher to know:
- Consumer`s awareness about a product
- Intentions of consumers
- Needs and motives of consumers
- Purchase Behaviour of consumers
Analyzing the data –
When all the data has been properly collected, compiled and tabulated, the researcher analyses the data through various statistical tools like:
- Measures of Central Tendencies – Mean, Median, Mode
- Measures of Dispersion – Mean deviation, Standard Deviation
- Chi-square Test
- Regression Analysis
- Multivariate Analysis
Preparing a report – When all the conclusions have been drawn and all inferences have been made, a research report is prepared and presented. The report consists of: