The 7 Steps of the Marketing Research Process

Any collection of methods used to acquire data and better comprehend a company’s target market is referred to as marketing research. Marketing research involves a series of steps to gather and analyze relevant information to make informed marketing decisions. These steps help businesses understand their target market, evaluate their marketing efforts, and identify growth opportunities.

Here are these 7 steps of the marketing research process – 

  • Identify and define issues
  • Define Objectives 
  • Formulate the research design
  • Collect and organize data
  • Process and analyze the collected data
  • Interpret and present the findings
  • Put your research into actions

So what is the first step in the marketing research process? The detailed explanation of these steps listed above is all you need to get off to a strong start!

Steps of the Marketing Research Process

Research is another term for doing deep & broad study. It includes interpreting data to understand what it means for you. Marketing research involves technicalities like collecting data from the market & analyzing what the data is trying to show.

steps of the marketing research process
Marketing Research Process

Focusing on each & every aspect of marketing research takes the form of a detailed process. Thus we need to break this comprehensive process into smaller, more digestible, understandable chunks. For this purpose, we present you with steps of the marketing research process.

The marketing research process involves six stages of study. These six stages range from identifying a problem to finding its solution. But we do this with a scientific temperament with more emphasis on logic & practical approach rather than mere guesswork.

Here is an overview of what are these 7 steps of the marketing research process – 

  • Identify and define issues
  • Define Objectives 
  • Formulate the research design
  • Collect and organize data
  • Process and analyze the collected data
  • Interpret and present the findings
  • Put your research into actions

Many organizations & corporate leaders hire specific & experienced professionals to carry out these steps to ensure superior results.

We will now elaborate on each of the 7 steps of the marketing research process.

Problem Identification

Before anything, we need to identify our problem or the obstacle in our way. Identification of the problem also means defining the problem. During problem identification, our purpose of conducting this research & what may have happened that has led us to this situation. We need to include all the information & data we have acquired in the definition.

problem identification
Problem Identification

Make sure that you define the problems appropriately. Here are some of the key points that you must follow while defining the problem –

  1. It should include all necessary needs or concerns.
  2. You must present the issue logically and plainly.
  3. Factual data and proof should support the study.
  4. The research problem should inspire and produce research inquiries.
  5. It should be affordable and timely.
  6. Make sure there is enough information available.
  7. The issue should be either novel or should have an unsatisfying solution.

Approach Determination

Approach determination includes formulating a framework that will structure our research. While developing the research plan, we break the aim(s) into tiny problems. Then assign a detailed approach to solve each problem in front of us. 

While determining our approach, we must focus on three key areas, first looking for all the information we may need to solve the problem. , the methods we will use in this research process & its analysis. The third crucial area is who will carry out this research.

Furthermore, Exploratory, descriptive, and causal research are the three sorts of objectives that can be used in marketing research.

  1. Exploratory Research– It might assist you in discovering new possibilities or choices for your company that you were unaware of.
  2. Descriptive Research– In addition to helping you better understand the needs of your target market, you can use this insight to find new opportunities for your company or market.
  3. Causal Research– You can use it in particular circumstances or pinpoint trade-offs your company or clients might encounter.

Research Design Formation

At this stage, we have completed our preliminary study & delineated points. Now we move with a single focus on how to conduct our research. We emphasize the procedures which we will follow & which can help determine the possible answers to our questions.

research design formation
Research Design Formation

We have to design our research process in a way it covers all the possible angles. The research design also includes researching on a small scale to test the waters before deep diving into them. At this point, we need to identify & measure the variables. These will not remain fixed & we may have to reconsider them at each step. 

Here are the types of Market Research that you can employ in your research design-

  • Primary Research–  You can appropriately use primary research for audience segmentation and creating buyer personas. You independently collect this data through activities like surveys or customer questionnaires.
  • Secondary Research– You’ve already had this kind of research compiled and structured for you. The information in the research data typically comes from various sources, including government organizations, businesses, trade groups, etc.
  • Quantitative Research– Quantitative approaches make choices by utilizing mathematical and statistical data. These are helpful benchmarks and a primary overview reference but use numbers carefully. When interpreting the numbers, consider all the available data and go into the specifics if you can.
  • Qualitative Research– Since non-existent markets cannot be monitored or studied, qualitative procedures become more crucial when expanding or developing a new market. Qualitative methods refine your quantitative research findings.


Fieldwork is the fourth step of the marketing research process. This includes going out, talking to people, & collecting enough data. The usual way to do this is by interviewing people as a form of conducting a survey. We can interview by meeting people on-site or through correspondence mail & emails. The feedback received during this will be invaluable.

You may have done the fieldwork before & that is how you became aware of the problem in the first place. But the fieldwork conducted during this phase of research will be different. You have a better understanding of the problem & related obstacles. 

The questionnaire for the survey will be multidimensional & we prepare it by understanding the background information of the interviewee. At this step, we arrange meetings & interviews with specific organizations if possible. 

You will need a capable team prepared & trained to conduct the fieldwork. We may need another team to supervise & test the observations & experiments obtained. 

Data Collection & Evaluation

We can collect information via online resources apart from conducting surveys & interviewing people. Various companies have developed software for this purpose. You delegate or outsource the step of data collection to them. Their services may also include editing, verifying, & processing the data according to your needs. 

Marketing research analysts are competent people who can also handle the task of collection of data & its evaluation. Depending on your product, they conduct independent surveys on your consumers & competitors. 

Qualitative & quantitative research conducted during this time can also prove useful in monitoring & predicting future trends in your domain.

Without analyzing & evaluating the data, numbers & facts have no value. At this point, you must clean the data for any unwanted or unimportant information. You also filter through the noise & only keep the data you need for your research. 

The key points that you must follow are-

  • Determine the various stakeholder groups in detail.
  • Reduce the amount of jargon you use.
  • Make use of both text and images.
  • Make sure the information is applicable.
  • Be ready to write down inquiries and follow up.

Report Generation & Execution

The final step of the marketing research process is producing a report based on your findings. Developing a written document can be important if you need to go back & may need to redo that step. We recommend a visual & oral presentation with facts, figures, & graphs. It brings clarity to the whole research process & has a far-reaching impact on everyone involved in the research process.

You can do this in a few simple steps-

  • Focus on high-quality data insights.
  • Delegate responsibilities among colleagues.
  • Democratize the Data.
  • Handle the insights creatively.
  • Build an effective relationship with the stakeholder.
report generation and execution
Report Generation and Execution


What are the elements of Marketing Research?

Marketing research consists of three major elements. These include decision-making tools, a scientific approach, and intensive study. Together, these elements enable the completion of an entire marketing research process. For the purpose of identifying the market status, you should employ a scientific approach. Also, you will need to undertake a systematic and intensive investigation. Finally, you can use decision-making tools to assess your proposal based on your research.

What is the best type of Marketing Research?

There is no one solution that works for all situations, and the strategy should never be determined by what a market researcher or consultant is accustomed to. You should use an integrated approach comprising all sorts of marketing research. Furthermore, you may choose the options that are finest for your particular circumstance by being aware of the advantages and applications of each type.

How do you develop a market research plan?

Before creating a market research plan, you should have specific ideas regarding brand awareness, target audience, and customer acquisition and retention. The next step is to describe your marketing challenge, create survey questions, and then analyze the survey's findings. You can decide how to run your business effectively after you complete the other steps.

Summing Up

To reach a wider audience, marketing firms manage various campaigns. We need to test the findings from the report in the market. We may have accounted for the variables during our research process, but the variables may change depending on the market trend. 

Feedback obtained during this step will become the bedrock on which we will conduct future marketing research processes. 

The marketing research process rarely stops. Several factors & variables are working together in shaping the market. A competent organization always remains in touch with the market. 

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