Marketing research is the area of studying the sociology behind consumer's preferences and purchases. Marketing research is vitally important to business, and especially in the arena of advertising and developing new products. Marketing research, or determining how goods are transferred from the producer to the consumer is of the utmost importance to the longevity and success of any company. If the consumer can't find or doesn't know the value of new products, they won't be likely to purchase them, and the company who invested their time, energy, and money into creating the product will suffer. These problems can be avoided by developing a strong marketing research team of professionals who tackle everything from comparing statistics, conducting surveys of consumer needs, testing out products, and ultimately determining through strategic planning, who the target audience will be, who will best benefit from the product, and what will be the best way to market the product to it's potential audience.
Arthur Nielson developed the science of Marketing Research, and more than likely, you are familiar with the AC Nielson Company. This type of statistical based marketing research seeks to answer many questions. Some of these marketing research based questions are focused on areas such as: who will the potential products or company's competitors be, what the market structure is like, or what is the state of the market in regards to competition, what are or will be the products governmental (eg. FDA) regulations, and other features that are normally included in the arena of "environmental scanning."
Environmental scanning is a very important factor of marketing research. Environmental scanning involves, watching inflation trends, unemployment rates, inventory levels, the amount of confidence in consumers and traders, government trends, minimum wage and environmental protection laws and trends, technology trends and how they will affect new products. By incorporating all of the statistical data that comprises marketing research, businesses will be equipped to continue to create products that will appeal to the masses and keep the economy flowing.