Marketing research and market segmentation are key elements in understanding markets. Marketing research is the process that links the marketer to the market by providing information and insights to aid marketing decision-making. Marketing research both drives the market segmentation process and is influenced by it. It is the systematic gathering, recording and analysis of data related to the marketing of goods and services. It is used to identify marketing opportunities and obstacles, to generate marketing actions, and to monitor marketing performance. As such, marketing research is crucial to understanding the processes of relationship marketing and customer relationship management. Marketing research is concerned with the whole marketing process. Market research is research about markets. In this chapter we shall refer to it as ‘marketing research’. Marketing research, however, should not be viewed as simply an input into better decision-making. When used correctly, it can become a significant marketing asset, conferring competitive advantage. Many companies have demonstrated an awareness of the value of marketing research by extending the remit of their market research teams to cover marketing information systems or even knowledge management.
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