Marketers hold great value within an organization, but skill in promoting a business, product, or service does not mean universal knowledge. As such, many marketers commit time to external research in order to make educated decisions.
So, when is marketing research useful? Take, for example, a marketing department that primarily relies on one particular strategy. Perhaps, in the course of preparing a competitive analysis to determine efficiencies within the industry, one team member comes across a technique that has worked for several competitors.
However, these methods are either new or under-researched, leading to a void in appropriate knowledge. In order to move forward, independent evaluation is required to best allocate resources and determine a correct course of action. While numerous forms of research exist that can be applied to marketing topics, exploratory research is an effective option employed by market researchers in a wide range of industries, either as a first step or a stand alone approach.
Although not appropriate in all circumstances, exploratory marketing research can provide valuable insights under the right circumstances.
As the name implies, exploratory research is an approach to market investigation that seeks to answer questions about a previously unknown subject through independent exploration. Unlike defined research projects, exploratory research often lacks the parameters of more formal inquiries and instead serves to obtain broad information that can be then utilized in more specific case studies.
In general, exploratory research does not lead to conclusive answers, but rather clarifies the scope and nature of a problem and proposes possible solutions. When conducting this kind of research, a marketer must stay flexible and willing to change direction as new information becomes available instead of sticking with one method throughout the process.
Exploratory research offers several advantages over alternatives. Often, the process is time saving; as results do not have to be conclusive or fully fleshed, marketers can approach research as necessary in order to create a solid knowledge base than can then be applied in future assessments. Additionally, exploratory tactics provide key information without committing time and energy to a potentially needless formal research project. Exploratory research is much more open-ended than many alternatives, but that does not mean marketers should dive in without a game plan.
The following steps are not necessarily written in stone and can be altered as needed, but working to determine a structured process can make a difference in reaching the best possible outcomes.
All research problems generally start in the same place: This information is often known prior to starting the planning process, but what questions you want to address in the course of your research may need to be clarified. For example, if you are seeking information about a new approach to marketing your products, determining what you would like to learn — like implementation strategies, value, or long-term goals — is an important part of ensuring research is conducted efficiently and effectively.
Exploratory research, by nature, frequently involves talking with others who may have more information about what you would like to learn. Alternately, exploratory research can be used to vet new ideas and concepts with an unbiased, unaware market in order to judge neutral third party perceptions.
As such, surveys and questionnaires are often the most popular tools in this kind of approach to exploration. By soliciting opinions, both novice and expert, marketers are better poised to receive a range of information that can then be enhanced. Procedures in exploratory research can take numerous forms. In some cases, depending on timeline, budget, selected objectives, and the topic at hand, more than one approach may be employed.
However, there is no right or wrong way to undertake research procedures, as long as an educated and well-reasoned plan is at the root of all objectives. After deciding how to employ research procedures, marketers must then move forward with collecting data. How this is done will, of course, depend on the methods chosen.
Focus groups can be compiled with unrelated third party individuals, perhaps from other local companies or community organizations willing to volunteer time.
Secondary research can vary greatly by topic, but often comes in the form of academic papers, case studies, and industry newsletters and publications. When faced with a decision problem, exploratory research can help the marketing manager remove some alternatives from further consideration.
For example, exploratory research is often used to eliminate some of the possible names being considered for a new product or service. The intent is not to select the most appropriate name but to shorten the list quickly and inexpensively so that fewer options need to be researched in detail.
Exploratory Research for Discovering New Ideas Sometimes managers are unable to come up with a solution to a problem situation. Perhaps the problem is that the brand dominates the sales in a category, such as Jello brand gelatin, and new uses need to be found for the brand to increase sales. Maybe the problem is finding the best way to communicate a product benefit, like the moistness of Duncan Hines cake mixes.
Whatever the specific situation, managers often turn to exploratory research to generate new ideas that might solve the problem.
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The exploratory approach attempts to discover general information about a topic that is not well understood by the marketer. For instance, a marketer has heard news reports about a new Internet technology that is helping competitors but the marketer is not familiar with the technology and needs to do research to learn more.
Exploratory research is an approach to market investigation that seeks to answer questions about a previously unknown subject through independent exploration. Learn how to perform exploratory research in this article.
Exploratory Research is research conducted for a problem that has not been studied more clearly, establishes priorities, develops operational definitions and improve the final research design. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data . Exploratory research is an important part of any marketing or business strategy. Its focus is on the discovery of ideas and insights as opposed to collecting statistically accurate data. That is why exploratory research is best suited as the beginning of your total research plan.
In this lesson, you'll learn about a type of research called exploratory research. You'll achieve a general understanding of the topic through. 3 Types of Marketing Research Designs (Exploratory, Descriptive, Causal).