Generally, companies are broken down into four levels of hierarchy, the corporate, the division, the business unit and the product level. The overall plan of the company is designed at a corporate level. As part of this planning, each resource is allocated to each division of the company. Next, division level planning allocates resources to each business unit of the company. In addition, business unit planning designs a strategic plan for each business area, which determines each of the marketing objectives/goals, strategies and tactics, that have to be consistent with the overall strategic plan.
Most of your marketing research will fit into 5 or 6 categories: Surveys, Focus Groups, Interviews, Observations, Secondary Research, or Experiments/Field Trials. We will not go into specifics for each research category on this particular blog. Regardless of the marketing research methods that are used, you need to uncover who your customers are or will be, you need to uncover what the demand is for your products or services, you need to know every competitor in the marketplace, and you need to know the market share for each company in your industry categories.