To determine the market segments that are of interest to you (or your company) you often have to research the market. Your research is important whether you are studying the market to launch a new product or revising the strategy of an existing one. A well defined market research can also be the basis for your marketing research where In an extremely competitive market, your understanding of your existing or potential customers is essential for your success.

Many substitute the term market research with the term marketing research and vice versa. There is a thin line of differentiation between the two but it is always useful to keep in mind that a marketing research is more about marketing processes such as the effects of the marketing mix on the consumer trends and behavior. I tend to believe that the differentiation rather depends on the type of business and research practitioners’ definition.

For a research company, gathering and analyzing market information, their concern is not about the marketing process of another company that will use their data to launch a product. While the research company conducted a market research, the other company used the same information to develop its marketing strategy.

Another type of differentiation that I consider is the data collection time. When I worked for a new mobile operator, the research we conducted aimed at gathering information about the economy, the demographics, and the geography, among other factors to decide when and how to launch our product. After launching our products and services we were able to gather internal data about the customer trends and requests that reflected on the same market factors. No matter how our research was classified it was used to benefit the company.

Although many would like to stick to well defined terminology, in practical life many concepts merge and turn into accepted understandings. I know that for my company, they could care less what the research is called as long as it provides them with the necessary data to understand the market, in order to launch a product successfully.

The terminology differentiation is not a priority when you are working in some of the developing markets, where useful and updated data does not even exist. However you still need to have minimal data in order to operate in such markets. In my future articles I will be describing the various research approaches we went through while frequently interchanging the marketing and market research terms.

In order to enter a new market you need to have a basic research. The information you collect and analyze helps you understand the needs of your potential customers and enables you to strategize your marketing approach.