Market Research vs. Marketing Research: What’s the Difference?

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The two terms we will discuss today seem interchangeable at first glance. It’s only a difference of 3 letters, they can’t be that different right? 

Well actually, there are many differences between market research and marketing research.

To put it more simply, market research pertains to events that occur in and around markets. Marketing research refers to the research tasks related to marketing. 

I know, it’s still a bit confusing. Throughout this blog post, we will discuss both market and marketing research and explain what they are and how they are used in business. 


What is Market Research?

So, what is the textbook definition of market research? 

Defining Market Research
According to Question Pro,
market research is when you investigate and analyze a target market. It is only involved with one of the four P’s of marketing; place. The place that is most studied in this case is a specified market or segment of a market. 

Businesses use market research to better comprehend their customer’s actions related to newly launched items in local stores.

They also focus on the services provided by companies to their customers and how it affects that market segment.

Additionally, market research is used to explore the newest markets and understand consumers’ needs in the marketplace. 

Different types of market research are very important in the efforts to understand exactly what makes a market work smoothly.

And sometimes the market isn’t functioning properly, which is why these studies are done using market research; to fix the market. 

Finally, researchers use market research to learn the marketplace’s wants and needs as well as their behaviors. 

It helps them understand and compare their products and services with their competitors and industry standards.

💡 The Key Takeaway: In the case of market research vs. marketing research, we have two separate entities that each can play off one another and promote client goals. 


Key Forms of Market Research 

As a market research firm, it’s only right that we give you a little intro to the methods of market research available.

While there are quite a few, we’re going to highlight some of our favorites in this section:


Focus Groups

You’ve likely heard this term before. A form of qualitative research, focus groups gather detailed feedback from participants in a setting led by a moderator

Focus group participants go through a detailed screening process to ensure they’re the best fit for the study.

Lasting anywhere from an hour to two hours, focus group moderators ask a set of pre-written questions. This is a unique and incredibly successful way to gather firsthand information from a target audience. 

These can be conducted in person or online (read more on the advantages and disadvantages in our post Traditional Focus Groups or Online Focus Groups: The Choice is Yours.  

For more benefits of focus groups, watch our brief video.


Online Surveys 

Online surveys are a form of quantitative research and are incredibly useful and simple to maneuver. They easily gather large-scale, quantitative data that can be quickly analyzed and implemented. 

Another benefit of online surveys is that they’re quick, taking only 1 or 2 days to complete.

After completion, partnered with a third-party team like Drive Research, comes the reporting stage. From this, a detailed market research report is delivered to the client.


In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)

Perhaps the most self-explanatory of all. 

IDIs are detailed interviews between a moderator and participant, a form of qualitative research.

These aren’t long, lasting roughly 20 to 30 minutes. One of the best ways to gather unique and detailed feedback, IDIs are a tried-and-true market research method. 

This method is especially useful for gathering feedback on new product ideas. 

There you have it. Mind you, there are many more market research methods to explore, these are just some of our favorites!

💡 The Key Takeaway: Focus groups, online surveys, and IDIs are all popular methods of market research. Each is versatile and yields quality feedback. 


What is Marketing Research?

We’ve gone over what market research is, so now here’s the definition of marketing research.

Defining Marketing Research
The process by which an organization gathers information about its ideal customer and larger market in order to inform the organization’s go-to-market strategy. A shorter definition is the process of learning more about customers and business to help your studies.

Marketing research methods are most involved with the four Ps:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion

It also covers everything from new product research, customer research, and even distribution methods. 

As I just mentioned, marketing research covers a lot of topics. Everything from the beginning of an idea to the planning and completion is covered by marketing research. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: The marketing research process covers key factors that are involved in purchasing strategy. The big focus for marketing research is customer relations and preferences. 


Market Research vs. Marketing Research: What’s the Difference?

We know that these words can be interchangeable, but they mean completely different things. Let's dive right into what makes these two terms, market research and marketing research, different. 

One of the main differences between market and marketing research is the complexity that comes with the term. Additionally, how deep you search into a customer’s behaviors. 

Marketing research also looks into the customers that are becoming more loyal.

In addition, it pays attention to its audience and helps build brand awareness and brand equity, both very important aspects of a business.

Market research plays a role directly related to marketing research activities as a branch of marketing. 

The main purpose of market research is to study buyer behavior in the market and the marketplace as a whole. Whereas marketing research studies all of a business's marketing activities. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: When researching market research vs. marketing research (we say research a lot, don’t we), it’s important to make the distinction that marketing research deals more with promotional strategy versus hardcore data. 


Contact Our Full-Service Market Research Company

Drive Research provides organizations from across the country with market research and marketing research services. Our team of certified research professionals offers end-to-end project management for both quantitative and qualitative services.

To learn more about Drive Research and our services, contact us today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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