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Marketing Research Introduction Before a marketing problem can be solved, it has first to be properly defined. Unlike the usual problem definition typical in everyday applications, the marketing problem has to be defined in such a way that it meets specific criterion to serve the marketing function.
For ordinary research, the problem definition is comprised of a description of the background situation and the statement of the problem. In the context of market research, particularly in the case of applied market research in a practical setting, problem definition refers to an entirely different process. According to Malhotra (1996), “Problem definition involves stating the general problem and identifying the specific components of the marketing research problem. Only when the marketing research problem has been clearly defined can research be designed and conducted” (p. 47). Gibson (1998) stated that “Problem definition is best thought of as solution definition – the selection of a domain likely to be rich in ideas to solve the problem” (p. 5). Most recently, Wild & Diggines (2010) said that “Problem definition is the most important step in a research project…often more important than its solution” (p. 42). As may be deduced, there is no one hard and fast definition of problem definition in market research, except the stress on its importance to effect a solution, and from this therefore it must be said that problem definition should result in an actionable research plan. Malhotra (2011) provides the following diagram and example of a marketing research problem defined: Source: Malhotra (2011, p. ...
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