Home Blog The Differences Between Market Research and Marketing Research

The Differences Between Market Research and Marketing Research

July 21, 2022 Edwin Kooistra

The modern marketer must be well informed and prepared when engaging with their target audiences. Marketing research or what academics term marketing management is the interesting process of identifying ideal customers, and the marketing tactics to engage them.

Marketing research allows organizations to study & better understand different markets, product branding ideas, marketing tactics, sales management, content strategies, and other promotional strategies to engage audiences to a brand.

Developing a comprehensive marketing research plan is critical to the success of any modern business, as this allows them to better cater to their target audiences.

Demand Metric identified in a 2021 research that 82% of customers feel more positive about brands that create personalized content. In another interesting 2021 research Fundera concluded that 89% of customers trust brands that emphasize their core values.

Marketing research has become a core aspect of the marketing strategy, especially because it provides direction not only for the marketing team but also sales, operations, human resource, and product development teams.

What is marketing research?

Marketing research can possibly be considered a simpler form of what academics refer to as marketing management.

Marketing research refers to the process of systematically analyzing potential markets, ideal customers, product designs, sales strategies, branding tactics, digital marketing strategies, events, human resource requirements, and other aspects that facilitate the management of the overall marketing strategy.

What is market research?

In contrast to ‘marketing research’, market research is the process of testing the efficacy of new products or services by conducting research directly with potential audiences. Market research enables businesses to directly identify their target customers, obtain customer feedback, and get opinions from audiences about their products or services.

Generally organizations tend to delegate market research to specialist service providers who have access to reliable consumer groups.

On the other hands, companies can also conduct market testing or market research on their own premises by engaging a sample of their target audiences. Market research is an essential ingredient for businesses when conducting R&D for new products.

5 Importance of marketing research for your SaaS business

As we mentioned above, marketing research is a core aspect of every modern business. For SaaS businesses, having a clear understanding of their potential markets and customers is critical for several reasons.

  1. Focus on the Customer
  2. Define Your Strategic Marketing Plan
  3. Growth & Profitability
  4. Build a Customer Base
  5. Innovate at the Buyer’s Speed

1 – Focus on the Customer

Possibly the most important factor, marketing research allows businesses to focus on their target audience with clusters of millions, maybe billions of B2B customers. SaaS marketing research can pinpoint target buyers, instead of businesses having to market to a huge audience with lower potential to convert.

B2B marketing research is a strategic way to identify important characteristics of your target customers. These can range from general demographics, buying behaviors, content audiences like, and core values. 

2 – Define Your Strategic Marketing Plan

Marketing research gives SaaS businesses the ability to practically draw a roadmap for their marketing strategy. In the modern world data is everything, and that is exactly what SaaS marketing research delivers.

Proactive marketing research streamlines the marketing & sales pipelines, as businesses know their ideal markets, product use cases, ideal customer profiles, and how to engage them. SaaS providers discover what is important to the customer, and prioritize efforts to solve that pain point.

3 – Growth & Profitability

The consistent collection, analysis, and application of real time marketing research data allows SaaS businesses to continually grow through strategic insights. Organizations can slim down their budgets, identify loss bearing processes and engage with more relevant target customers.

Marketing teams can focus content for more eligible customers, sales teams approach high qualified customers (instead of a huge audience), and businesses can better solve customers’ problems.

4 – Build a Customer Base

Marketing research exclusively identifies all potential industries and customers who will subscribe to their services. While sales and marketing teams are already focused on customers, research analysts aim to build a future customer base.

Engaging with customers allows marketers to understand what they like & dislike, allowing them to create relationships through shared core values. Some great ways marketing research teams understand customers is through their social feeds and direct interviews. Once the research has concluded, marketing & sales teams have a continuous flow of leads into their funnels.

5 – Innovate at the Buyer’s Speed

SaaS marketing research is the cornerstone for innovation and identifying use cases. Identifying what solutions target audiences are looking for through proactive research allows SaaS businesses to enhance their offerings. 

Quality marketing research can also assist in innovating marketing efforts by approaching prospects on new platforms and in new markets.

Similarly, SaaS businesses can constantly improve their services based on customer feedback, interviews, and reviews.

Market research Vs. Marketing research: Major Differences

Although you may have seen the terms being used interchangeably, there are significant differences between marketing research and market research.

  1. Purpose
  2. Applications
  3. Limits
  4. Nature of Research
  5. Dependencies

1 – Purpose

Market research is aimed at studying a particular market and buyer behaviors within that market. Marketing research is a systematic & detail study of all factors that influence the business strategy. 

2 – Applications

Market research is a smaller element of the marketing research study, and becomes a part of it. The marketing research however is utilized and applied by the entire organization allowing them to understand target customers, content, branding, sales processes, pain points, hiring needs, budgets and much more.

3 – Limits 

The market research is limited to the market and the audiences within it. Marketing research involves exploring the four P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) and possibly has unlimited scope of study. 

4 – Nature of Research

Market research is more specific to defined markets and the audiences within it, it only identifies the characteristics of that market. Marketing research is said to be more generic, data can be applied to different marketing strategies and to solve various business problems.

5 – Dependencies

Market research is highly dependent on the overall marketing research plan, as it later becomes a part of it. Marketing research on the other hand is a process developed for overall strategic business decision making, and is dependent on their management’s goals for growth.

2 Main types of marketing research

SaaS marketing research can be highly diversified with either a single or multiple goals. In his very interesting research paper, Piotr Zaborek discusses the two main types of marketing research that branch off into more specific variants. These he discusses are problem identification research and problem solving research.

Categories of Marketing Research – From: Elements of Marketing Research by Piotr Zaborek

Problem Identification ResearchProblem Solving Research
Market share researchSegmentation research
Market potential researchProduct research
Image researchPricing research
Market characteristics researchDistribution research
Sales analysis research 
Forecasting research 
Business trends research 

Problem identification research is the process to identify potential opportunities and threats to the business. These types of research are usually experiment or trial based, generally involving interviews, focus groups, online & email surveys, industry reports, consumer research, etc. There is no defined strategy for this type of research as it looks into every source of data to identify issues.

Problem identification marketing research is the critical process that discovers buyer patterns and industry trends that shape the SaaS marketing strategy.

Although they are necessary to perform the problem identification research provides direction for SaaS providers and provides the foundations for more subjective problem solving research. 

Once problem identification research is completed, it’s time to focus on problem solving research. This is where SaaS businesses should analyze how their offering solves a customer problem, or learn how to innovate to solve customer problems.

There is a defined roadmap for problem solving marketing research with complete objectives and methods to accomplish it. The problem solving research is considered more expensive and also takes longer to accomplish.


Marketing research is a core aspect of SaaS marketing strategy in our highly digitized global economy. B2B service providers must first understand market & customer dynamics before they design their business strategies.

Marketing research allows SaaS businesses to both identify their target customers, and invest in the right content & promotions to engage them. The two major types of marketing research can assist businesses grow, innovate, and build lasting relationships with their customers.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Edwin Kooistra - Product Marketer & Founder

Technology can be a huge differentiator but leveraging emerging technologies can be challenging. After my degree in Business Information Technology I decided to work on the provider side of Technology, because I believe Technology providers play an important role in guiding enterprises on their digital journey. Besides helping tech businesses to optimize their growth and go-to-market strategies, I also like to write about the topic. I hope you find it useful!

Related Content