A Brief Contrast Between Market Research & Marketing Research

‘Market Research’ and ‘Marketing Research’ are often used interchangeably and become a semantic dispute when people lock horns on the meanings of these two similar sounding yet distinctive terms.

Grammatically ‘marketing’ may be a gerund or a verbal noun for ‘market’ but keeping aside the semantics market research and marketing research are altogether two different terms.

Market Research

As defined by ESOMAR (European Society for Opinion & Marketing Research)- “Market research, includes social and opinion research is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organizations using the statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences to gain insight or support decision making.”

A market research is an extensive study of the behaviour of consumers in terms of likings, needs, preferences and understanding the market size, market trends, target market, competition, and pricing before setting out for a business strategy for a product.

Marketing Research

According to Philip Kotler: “Marketing research is a systematic problem analysis, model building and fact finding for the purpose of improved decision-making and control in the marketing of goods and services.” Marketing Research as defined by the famous American marketing Author Philip Kotler

A blog post from Qualtrics in June 2010, said market research is a subset of marketing research. It said, while marketing research is about the 4 Ps, market research largely talks about one of the Ps i.e. ‘place’.

On the other hand, many argue that market research is a much broader term that has a scope of exploring market structure, competitors, economic trends, technological advances etc.  Therefore it is unfair to bind market research to a single element of a marketing mix.

A better way to understand the difference between Market Research and Marketing Research would be through an example.

Let’s assume you are starting a new venture and your product is a sports bag. The first thing you would have to do is, conduct a market research which would give you a deep insight into your target market and target customer.

A thorough market research would provide you with valuable information. To name a few-

  1. Age group of your target customers (Segmentation)
  2. Demographics of your target customers (Segmentation)
  3. Other competitors in the sports bags industry
  4. Target market size of sports bags
  5. Pricing of your product

The takeaway of the market research would help you in targeting as well as the placement of your product.

After you have gathered all that information, you decide to roll out your product in the market. The market research gives you an insight that your target customers fall in the age group of 25-40 years and consist of both males and females. They are working adults who have a penchant for sports.


To target the potential customers for your sports bags, you would need a promotional plan and for that, you would need a marketing research. A promotional plan would typically give you an answer to which media channel/s to be considered to market sports bags. It would be based on factors such as the reach of the channel and the budget you assign to marketing.

Although distinct, market and marketing research share certain commonalities. According to my market research methods, there are factors such as competition, pricing, product attributes and demand estimation as overlapping elements of the two processes.

Well, it cannot be said that both the processes exist in mutual exclusion as they intersect at certain points yet there are clear variances which make them two different procedures.

The advent of the internet and the technological advancements today has made marketing move beyond the mainstream. With digital marketing in place, there are multiple promotional options available promote products and services online.

I am Ashish and I serve as a marketing manager at Systematix, having been on the field for 11 years. With responsibilities for marketing programs, brand management, and corporate sponsorship, I am a budding manager whose greatest strengths are creativity, drive, and leadership. I thrive on challenges, particularly those that expand the company’s reach. My project involves a strategic partnership with various companies and clients.