Marketing Research

Finally, food marketing usually encompasses marketing research. Marketing researchers represent the information-gathering arm of the firm and helps to determine exactly what products consumers want as well as how to best distribute, advertise, and promote those products. Marketing research is also used extensively to measure performance. Do consumers really understand the benefits of the product, how much is being sold and to whom, etc? Simply stated, marketing research is intended to provide timely and relevant information to improve marketing decision making.

In attempting to meet the needs of consumers, food marketers need to keep up with all of the changes taking place in their markets. Most food marketers rely on marketing research to help them make decisions about the marketing plan. The American Marketing Association adopted this definition of marketing research in 1987:

Marketing Research is the function which links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information— information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process.

Marketing Research specifies the information required to address these issues; designs the method for collection information; manages and implements the data collection process; analyzes the results; and communicates the findings and their implications (19).

Food marketers must use marketing research to help them make good decisions. One way is to use the scientific method—a decision-making approach that focuses on being objective in testing ideas before accepting them. This way a marketer does not assume his or her intuition is correct without evidence to support it. The marketing research process is a five-step application of the scientific method. It includes

1. Defining the problem.

2. Analyzing the situation.

3. Getting problem-specific data.

4. Interpreting the data.

5. Solving the problem.

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