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If you aren’t a market researcher, the difference between the terms Market Research versus Marketing Research probably doesn’t keep you up at night. The two terms are often used interchangeably in the market research industry. But clarity in language is an important factor in doing good market research so it does warrant discussion.

The critical comparison to make is Marketing versus Market. Market Research is a subset of Marketing and Marketing scales on a much broader level. Marketing includes research into new products, modes of distribution, product development, promotion research, pricing, advertising and public relations.

A UK firm, MarkeTest, defines market research as “the systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about a particular target market, competition, and/or environment. It always incorporates some form of data collection which is collected directly from a respondent whether secondary research or primary research.”

One way to distinguish between the two terms is through the Four P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. Marketing Research covers all four of these measures in an effort to understand consumer preferences. Market Research typically focuses on one of the four: place. Place is the analysis of a specific market or segment. A Market Researcher would say they are customer-oriented and measure market demand only.

market research vs. marketing research

Qsample.com references mymarketresearchmethods.com for the chart above.  They give examples of Market Research that include market trends, market size, target market and market segmentation. Examples of Marketing Research are advertising effectiveness, A/B, copy testing, brand attitude, concept testing and satisfaction. There is some overlap between the two terms and examples of this are competition, pricing, product attributes and demand estimation.

For the non-market researchers though, most of the examples given would be defined as market research. Marketing research isn’t as commonly used a term and really just the term Marketing is used more often to differentiate the two. The important thing to remember is they are both essential to the success of your product or service.

Interested in hiring a market research or looking for a new market research job? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Market Research Executive Recruiter, Lindsey Bartlett at lbartlett@smithhanley.com.


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