The 11 Lessons Every Marketing Researcher Should Learn

In marketing research, we often talk about the need to be scientific. This means that we use a specific set of procedures and methods to collect data, analyze it, and draw conclusions from our findings. 

It’s important to remember, though, that science is not absolute it’s always subject to being challenged or improved upon by new information or new ways of looking at things. 

The goal in any research project should be to find out what works best for your organization given its unique situation; it’s not about finding one “right” answer for everyone.

15 years of marketing research in 11 minutes – YouTube
Key Takeaways
1. Understand the Value of Market Research
2. Prioritize Clear Research Objectives
3. Choose Appropriate Research Methods
4. Collect Data Ethically and Responsibly
5. Analyze Data Thoroughly for Insights
6. Keep Abreast of Emerging Tools and Technologies
7. Adapt to Changing Consumer Behavior and Trends
8. Communicate Findings Effectively to Stakeholders
9. Embrace a Holistic Approach to Decision Making
10. Incorporate Feedback and Iterate
11. Continuously Learn and Stay Curious

1. Marketing Research Is Not A Cure-All

  • Marketing research is not a cure-all.
  • Marketing research can only provide information about what happened.
  • It cannot tell you why something happened, or what the causes are (though it can provide some clues).
  • Marketing research can only provide information about what people say they will do, not necessarily what they actually will do.

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2. The Numbers Are Only As Good As The People Who Collect Them

The interviewer is the most critical component of your research. He or she is the person who will collect data from your respondents, and they’re responsible for ensuring that you get accurate information. 

If you don’t train interviewers properly, you could end up with inaccurate information.

Here are some tips on how to ensure that your interviewers are doing a good job:

  • Train them thoroughly on how to ask questions in an unbiased way (this includes specific wording).
  • Give them practice asking questions before recording actual interviews (this will help them become comfortable with their script).
  • Monitor their first few recordings to give feedback on their technique (this will help them improve).

3. Think About Context

Context, then, is the difference between a good result and a bad one. It’s the difference between success and failure. It’s what makes a study good or bad; it can even make a study great!

So why is context so important? Because when we look at results in isolation, we’re not seeing the whole story. This can lead us to make poor decisions based on incomplete information or even worse, none at all!

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4. Beware Of Response Sets

Response sets are a common problem in surveys and can affect the results of your survey. A response set is a bias or preference for one response over another, even if there’s no logical reason for it. 

For example, let’s say you’re running an experiment on how much people like coffee vs. tea. You ask them which they prefer and record their answer, but some people might choose either option even if they don’t actually enjoy either drink.

Because they want to conform with their friends or because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying they hate coffee or tea! 

This causes problems because it throws off the data you collect from your experiment; it’s hard to get accurate information when people aren’t being honest with themselves about what they think!

If response sets aren’t taken into account properly before conducting experiments (which often means making sure everyone is being honest), then true results will not be found

5. Questionnaires Should Not Be Designed By Committee

When it comes to questionnaire design, don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.

If you’re not sure what questions need to be asked, then ask someone who does but only after they have been briefed on the specifics of the project. Don’t waste time and energy on a committee-designed questionnaire because:

  • They can become too lengthy and complex and will likely lose respondents before they even complete them.
  • They often miss key points or important questions because everyone has different opinions about what’s important or interesting.

6. Attitude Surveys Are Often Best Conducted By Telephone

Whether you’re surveying to measure attitudes or collect demographic data, telephone interviews are usually the best way to go. Telephone surveys are more reliable than online surveys, which means that they’re less likely to be affected by response bias. 

They’re also more efficient because you don’t have to worry about collecting and analyzing data from respondents in different locations or across time zones (online surveys are often sluggish at getting responses). 

Finally, telephone interviews cost less than their digital counterparts and can be done much faster so if your company needs quick results on an important project, consider calling up some respondents instead of emailing them questions!

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7. Interviewing Children Requires Special Skills

Interviewing children requires special skills. Children are not always honest and when they are, they may not be aware of the consequences of their actions. 

It is up to the interviewer to help them understand these consequences and guide them towards making the right choice for all involved parties.

8. Always Test Your Questionnaire Before You Use It In The Field!

This is the most important lesson. And it’s easy to forget.

When you are developing a questionnaire, you’re going to want to test it out on some friends and family members before sending it off into the world. 

This will help ensure that your questions are unambiguous, which means that people won’t misunderstand them when they’re answering them in their homes. 

You’ll also be able to identify any typos or errors before using your survey in a fieldwork setting (where mistakes could lead to costly errors).

The best way to do this is by having someone read through your questionnaire aloud while paying attention to any confusing or ambiguous language. If anyone has trouble understanding a word or phrase, then chances are others will have difficulty as well!

9. Always Question How A Design Can All Go Wrong 

This lesson is really important to keep in mind as you run through the other 19 lessons on this list. You don’t want to just blindly accept that your designs will be perfect and produce accurate results, because they probably won’t! 

There are lots of ways that your research designs can go wrong, and if you don’t account for these problems ahead of time then it means you’re going to get inaccurate or biased results. That’s not good!

The best way to avoid this problem is by always questioning your research design and asking yourself what could go wrong with it? What would happen if we did things differently? 

This helps put things in perspective so that when something goes awry during running a study, you’re able to recognize it as such rather than blaming yourself or others for making mistakes (which happens way too often).

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10. Keep In Mind That Scientific Research Is Both An Art And A Science

You need to be aware that there is a difference between statistical significance, economic significance, and scientific significance. You should always keep in mind that scientific research is both an art and a science.

In terms of statistical significance, it can be defined as “the probability of finding results by chance if no real difference exists between groups.” 

In other words, statistical significance measures whether or not an observed difference can be attributed to chance or random variation alone rather than actual differences among groups being studied.

However, it should be noted here that just because a result has reached statistical significance does not mean that it has achieved economic or practical importance as well – which means its impact on business outcomes will not be significant! 

It simply means that we cannot conclude from this study alone whether there is any meaningful difference between these two groups being compared (about whatever metrics were measured).

11. Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

Correlation does not equal causation. It’s an important lesson to learn because it’s easy to mistake correlation for causation. 

A correlation is simply a relationship between two or more variables for example, “the more I eat ice cream in a day, the happier I am at night” is an example of a positive correlation.

But just because two variables are related doesn’t mean that one causes the other: 

Maybe eating ice cream makes you happy because it reminds you of being a kid and eating ice cream with your family on summer days (and not because eating ice cream makes you feel better). 

Or maybe being happy makes you crave more dessert overall (and not vice versa). As humans, we tend to assume that two variables are linked when they seem related even if there may be another cause this is known as “causal attribution error.”

So how do you know whether there is causality here? Here are some tips:

Beware of “post hoc ergo propter hoc” errors this Latin phrase means “after this therefore because of this.” For example: “I ate an apple after breakfast every morning for a month and lost ten pounds; therefore apples must have helped me lose weight!” 

Eating apples regularly may help with weight loss in some cases but it won’t work for everyone unless there’s something else going on too (think about how much time people spend trying fad diets that don’t work).

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Hopefully, these 20 lessons will help you become a better marketer. If nothing else, they should make you a more informed consumer of research. We know that there are many other lessons we could have included.

Further Reading

Expand your understanding of marketing research and related topics with these resources:

Investopedia – Market Research: Explore the comprehensive guide to understanding the ins and outs of market research, its importance, methods, and applications.

FAO – Market Research and Analysis: Dive into the world of agricultural market research with insights into techniques, data collection, and analysis for informed decision-making.

Adobe Business Blog – Digital Marketing Strategy Basics: Learn the fundamentals of creating an effective digital marketing strategy that drives business growth and engagement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Marketing Researcher?

A marketing researcher is someone who studies and analyzes the behavior of customers to improve the effectiveness of marketing strategies.

How Do I Become One?

Many paths can lead to this position, but most often it involves an undergraduate degree in marketing and statistics, followed by a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) or Marketing. 

For those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, there are certificate programs available for those looking to add market research experience to their resume.

What Do I Need To Know?

The main skills required for this job include: data analysis and interpretation; statistical analysis; communication and presentation skills; computer programming; graphics design; 

Problem-solving skills; critical thinking skills; organizational skills; time management skills; team work skills.

What Is The Difference Between Market Research And Marketing Research?

Marketing research is a subset of market research, which studies customer behavior and attitudes to understand how they might be influenced by a product or brand. 

Marketing researchers study things like customer demographics (age, gender, income level), and customer segmentation (who exactly is buying your products).

Where customers are shopping, why customers buy your products instead of others, and so on. Market research includes this information as well as information about competitors’ offerings.

What Are The Different Types Of Marketing Research?

A: There are three different types of marketing research: primary, secondary, and exploratory. The first type of research involves collecting data directly from consumers through surveys or interviews. 

Secondary research involves using data that has already been collected by someone else like industry reports or trade journals. 

The third type of research is exploratory and involves analyzing your business practices and processes for identifying areas for improvement.

Why Do Companies Conduct Marketing Research Studies?

Companies conduct marketing research studies to: 

  • Determine which products or services are most desirable.
  • Identify opportunities for new product development 
  • Determine if existing products and services meet customer needs 
  • Determine how well current advertising is working 
  • Help a company understand how customers perceive its products or services.
  • Help a company understand how customers react to its competitors’ offerings 
  • Assess whether consumers are satisfied with their experience when purchasing goods or services from a particular company or industry sector

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