Marketing research is an invaluable tool used in the business world for companies to gain insights on the consumer market and answer specific questions they may have or solve particular issues the company faces. Depending on the type of research and based on the approach of the end in mind, a researcher would use the insights they hope to get out of the study to decide what type of research is most applicable.
What is an Experiment?
An experiment is a procedure carried out to test a hypothesis under relatively controlled conditions. Doing research involves the manipulation of an independent variable to ascertain its effect on a dependent variable. A marketing experiment, in other words, is a cause and effect relationship and is evident when dependent variables are exposed to particular treatments. For instance, in the skincare industry, the dependent variable would be the purchase of skincare products. Various independent variables would be self-esteem, culture, religion, social class, and role models. Those variables all affect a person’s choice in skincare products or the importance of skincare to them.
What is a Survey?
A survey allows the company to have a comprehensive view of specific topics. The primary intention of a survey is usually to gather data or insights about a particular product or service. A survey allows the company to gather the thought, feelings, and opinions of the consumers and are ideal for collecting data on larger populations. For instance, in the skincare industry, a new product survey can be conducted to gather the opinions of existing customers on the latest facial oil launched. Surveys can be sent to numerous respondents, both online and offline, to collect enough data.
Experiments Vs. Surveys
Both marketing surveys and experiments are statistical methods of data collection used in research. However, they are entirely different; let’s compare them:
- Marketing experiments require a smaller sample size than that of marketing surveys.
- An experiment is usually more applicable in researching physical and natural science, while surveys apply to the social and behavioral sciences.
- Experiments test independent variables and their effects on dependent variables within a controlled environment while surveys are intended to gather the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of consumers towards a specific topic or product or service.
Which Do I Choose?
Marketing surveys and marketing experiments are both necessary for the growth of a business, however, knowing the differences and knowing the right one to use based on each situation is critical in advancing the industry and driving revenue.
A marketing survey is typically a go-to choice when:
- There are set budgets and timeframes
- The company only wants to test one topic or product/service.
A marketing experiment is a go-to choice when:
- There is a hypothesis.
- Two or more dependent variables.
- A set budget, but an unknown timeframe.
- The company wants to test the validity of a hypothesis or come up with new knowledge.
Experiments can help to foresee or predict what happens to one variable when you make changes to another. On the other hand, data gathered from surveys can only show the relationship between both variables. Surveys show us how a variable we have no control over affects something while a marketing experiment allows us to measure how one variable is manipulated or influenced by another. Performing both of these prove beneficial as they provide insightful data that will lead to the solutions to the company’s research question and meet their objectives.