Oxford (1990) dictionary defines research as,
“The systematic investigation into and study of materials, sources etc, in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions”.
The most common forms of secondary sources are books, academic journal articles, official government statistics or financial records, and other publications. Secondary sources can not be described as original to the researcher and do not have a direct physical relationship to the event being studied, either because of the presence of intermediaries or because of the period of time between the recording and the event (Veal, 1997; Walliman and Baiche, 2001). I.e. secondary sources involve seeking and analysing data that already exist, data that have not been created particularly for the purpose at hand but were initially collected for another purpose. It is valuable source of information, especially in the early steps of a project, helping with problem explanation and research design and planning, and at later stages, providing a context for the understanding of primary data (McGivern, 2003).
Journals are helpful in providing up to date information on current monthly issues. They are usually the most useful sources for research projects however the relevance and usefulness of such journals vary considerably, and occasionally they can lead to possible bias (Saunders et. al, 2003).
The Internet is a huge research facility, which is used to a great extent however a lot of the data was found to be of poor quality and unreliable. For example there are possibly millions of sites dedicated to any one subject therefore anyone can set up a web-site and voice theirs views and opinions either in a positive or negative way.
Advantages of Secondary Data:
· The easy availability of secondary data is the most important characteristic of secondary data. It is relatively low cost, time savvy, and convenient to gather as compare to primary data.
· Helpful in adding clarity in the exploratory research process and redefining different concepts.
· Help the researcher to develop a significant direction of research.
· Provides aid in designing method for primary research.
· Help the researcher in analysing and estimating possible problems in research.
Limitations of Secondary Data:
· Lack of availability: The uniqueness of the problem can result in shape of unavailability of relevant data. Another reason can be the absence of secondary data agencies at private and governmental level as in most of the developing countries.
· Lack of relevance: Not only the availability but the relevance of the data is an important problem. For instance difference in language, currency etc. as in case of China.
· Insufficient data: It is not necessary that the data available provide answers of all the questions the researcher is seeking. In this case the researcher will have to do the primary research for the rest of the questions. This will lead to the ineffectiveness of available data.
· Accuracy of data: The accuracy of data can challenge the authenticity of the whole research. It is important for the researcher to find the answers of the following data in order to make sure its validity and acceptability.
Who gathered the data?
What was the purpose of the study?
What information was collected?
What information was not collected?
Who were the respondents?
When was the information collected?
How was the information collected? Technique? Response rate?
Is the information consistent with other sources of secondary data?
Of the numerous definitions offered for marketing, we can distinguish between a social and a managerial definition. A social definition shows the role marketing plays in society. One marketer said that marketing’s role is to deliver a higher standard of living. A social definition that serves our purpose follows:
· Marketing is a societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and freely exchanging products and services of value with others.
For a managerial definition, marketing has often been described as the art of selling products. But people are surprised when they hear that the most important part of marketing is not selling! Selling is only the tip of the marketing iceberg. Peter Drucker, a leading management theorist, puts it this way:
There will always, one can assume, be need for some selling. But the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy. All that should be needed then is to make the product or service available (Drucker, 1973)
Marketing (management) is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational goals (Bennett, 1995).
“Marketing based on the concept of exchange and applicable in any organisation is as follows: Marketing is a total system of business activities designed to plan, price, promote, and distribute want-satisfying products to target markets in order to achieve organisational objectives. This definition has two significant implications:
· Focus: The entire system of business activities should be customer-oriented. Customers’ wants must be recognised and satisfied.
· Duration: Marketing should start with an idea about a want-satisfying product and should not end until the customers’ wants are completely satisfied, which may be some time after the exchange is made.” (Etzel, Walker, & Stanton, 2001).
Marketing research is of course very helpful in predicting future behaviour, but research is essentially different from prediction, and this is something that must always be borne in mind. When attempts are made at prediction (e.g., political or election opinion polls, etc.) then serious errors can be made. The fact that research is not infallible, cannot simply unearth exclusively accurate facts, causes some cynicism.
The Role of Market Research:
It is worth spelling out in a little more detail the range involved here. Market research provides information that assists an organisation to define opportunities for product development and market strategy.
Part I: Importance of MIS in Product Promotion
The changing market environment has given rise to the needs of update information more than ever in the past. The markets have transformed to international from local. With the increase in the exposure to masses and increased geographical market coverage, the need of quick and up to date information has also increased. With the changing business environment the buyers are also changing. With the increasing incomes the buyers have become more selective. For a company to launch a new product it has become important to have the information from the buyer needs to buyer wants. On the other hand it is also important to have the knowledge of how to present the product in effective manner in order to reach the customer in an effective manner. With the changing business needs the new marketing techniques such as product differentiation, branding and advertising are also gaining immense importance.
The successful product positioning and promotion is only possible if all the required information in this lieu is gathered and used in the right direction. In order to fulfil modern information needs, new information technologies have also been evolved. The information regarding the buyer preferences and behaviour plays an important part in helping the management to take important decisions regarding the product such as pricing, promotion, competition etc. It is important for the company to establish a system in order to acquire a large amount of information for the marketing managers.
“Competitive companies study their managers’ information needs and design marketing information systems (MIS) to meets these needs. A marketing information system (MIS) consists of people, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyse, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision markers.
To carry out their analysis, planning, implementation, and control responsibilities marketing managers need information about developments in the marketing environment. The role of the MIS is to assess the manager’s information needs, develop the needed information, and distribute that information in a timely fashion, the information is developed through internal company records, marketing intelligence activities, marketing research, and marketing decision support analysis.” (Kotler, 2000)
· Chapter 6: Secondary data available from
· Bennett Peter, D., (1995). Dictionary of Marketing Terms, 2nd Edition, American Marketing Association, Chicago.
Drucker, P., (1973). Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (New York: Harper and Row), pp.64-65.
Etzel, Michael, J., Walker, Bruce, J., & Stanton William J., (2001). Marketing. 12th Edition, McGraw-Hill Irwin.
· Kotler, P., (2000). Marketing Management, Millennium Edition, Prentice Hall, United States.
McGivern, Y. (2003). The practice of market and social research: an introduction. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall
· Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2003) Research Methods For Business Students, 3rd Edition; FT Prentice Hall
Veal, A. J., (1997). Research methods for leisure and tourism: A practical guide, 2nd ed., London: Pitman Publishing.
Walliman, Nicholas S R, Bousmaha Baiche, (2001). Your research project: a step-by-step guide for the first-time researcher, London; Thousand Oaks, Calif. Sage Publications, 2001. ISBN: 0761965386 0761965394