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Increased sales for less cost is fast becoming a business mantra. For any company there is nothing more important than knowing precisely why people buy what you have to sell. In this competitive marketplace research is often first to go in an effort to save money. However some types of research have been proven to dramatically increase turnover. Market research is the systematic gathering and interpretation of intelligence using analytical methods and techniques to gain insight or support decision making. Market Research is actually any planned venture to gather knowledge about competitors, markets or customers and in the past has been an important element of business strategy. Yet, the term is often, and wrongly, confused with the practice of Marketing Research or Research for Marketing yet, there is an important and distinct difference between the two. Marketing research is the objective gathering and interpretation of data using analytical methods and techniques to gain insight and data about audience purchase habits. Can you appreciate the difference? - Market research gathers data on potential markets, marketing research gathers knowledge on why they buy and who from. The main objective of Marketing Research is to understand the buying strategies of the audience. In short it is the science of understanding how and why customers and potential customers respond, or not, to your marketing communications. Marketing Research, when done correctly should tell you exactly how to push the buttons that will compel more of your audience respond to your message or proposition. And it should give you that information simply, quickly and cost effectively. Perhaps that is why, an increasing number of companies are moving away from the 'soft' information provided by market research and are moving towards the 'hard' information provided by marketing research. In this context, knowledge is commonly defined as 'hard' when it provides specific, detailed and quantifiable guidance for future advertising campaigns. The fact that it is measurable and can directly influence bottom line profitability has caused this sort of research to be called "research for a new business age" by marketing professionals and that "traditional methods may produce findings that are interesting - but who these days has the time and money unless there is a measurable purpose and return?" Whilst many research companies pretend to offer bespoke marketing research, actually, some are simply variations of their usual research offering. These rarely provide intelligence that could be used to direct and evaluate marketing campaigns. For example, if your research company recommend focus groups as part of a marketing research project as that is usually an indication that they have just modified their usual offering to fit. The latest marketing research techniques use research methodologies that are adapted from behavioural psychology to provide insights into your audience that are instantly actionable, useful and designed to repay your investment in better results. So which type of research would increase your profits? If you already have an understanding of who your audience are; their demographics, how old they are, how much disposable income they have, their lifestyle, etc, then you may nott need to spend money on market research. If however you want your advertising and marketing to produce more inquiries and sales then you are more likely to find marketing research more worthwhile. Whichever direction you decide to take, ensure that you act upon the knowledge you gather as, in these difficult times, it could make or break your business. Jim Brackin is Director of Insight at the research for marketing specialists. A free report is available on how market research can dramatically improve profitability. Guaranted SEO Services by ESP SEO