This is a second part in a series on ‘Getting the Most From Your Marketing Research’ from guest blogger Chris Bonney of Bonney & Company. Bonney & Company is a full-service marketing research firm, providing a full range of custom marketing research services to businesses, government agencies and organizations in the non-profit sector.

roots of marketing researchMarketing research is a marriage of science and art. Its roots are planted in the social sciences, where sociologists, anthropologists, replica franck-muller watches demographers and psychologists developed formal and objective procedures for studying people. These days research is evolving in step with advances in the understanding of neuroscience, physiology and the psychology of emotions.

In many ways, commercial marketing research is still a young discipline. The lessons learned from social scientists transitioned into the commercial marketplace in the 1940s and 1950s when the big American advertising agencies realized they needed a better understanding of consumers and consumer behavior. They created research departments, staffed them with social scientists and used research to direct their advertising campaigns. Their clients, impressed by the success that came from the application of sound marketing research, spread the word around the world.

As commercial marketing research matured as a service category, questions arose about the objectivity and possible conflicts of interests involving in-house research departments. As a result, most of the big ad agencies began to spin off their research operations into independent, freestanding businesses.

Today, research firms come from all shapes and sizes. Some aspire to retain a foot in the academic world. Others are distinctly commercial.

For all of the advances in modern marketing research, though, it’s important to remember that good research is almost always a mix of science and art. As much as we may try at times, the behavior and decision making processes of human beings are far too complex and nuanced to reduce to simple stereotypes and generalizations. The art of marketing research is a function of the experience and the interpersonal,fake vacheron constantin watches  listening, comprehension and analytical skills of the researcher.

Photo credit: Billy Currie

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