Limitations of Marketing Research
Though marketing research (MR) has many advantages, it also has many limitations or disadvantages.
- Marketing research studies consumer behavior and marketing environment. Since these factors keep on changing, it cannot give exact information.
- MR is also a social science. So, it cannot give exact solutions.
- It cannot be an alternative to decision making. In other words, it cannot replace decision making. It aids in decision-making. It can improve the quality of decisions. However, it cannot guarantee a 100% success.
- It can reduce the business risks. However, it cannot totally eliminate all these risks.
The demerits or limitations of marketing research are depicted below.
Imgage credits © Prof. Mudit Katyani.
The limitations or disadvantages of marketing research are as follows:
- Marketing research (MR) is a costly affair.
- It is also lengthy and time-consuming.
- It has a limited scope.
- It has a limited practical value.
- It can't predict consumer behavior.
- It can't give 100% accurate results.
- It provides suggestions and not solutions.
- Non-availability of qualified and experienced staff affects its quality.
- It uses a fragmented approach.
- It can be misused.
- Non-availability of a reliable data affects it.
- It is resistant to marketing managers.
Now let's discuss above listed limitations of marketing research.
- Costly : Marketing research is a costly affair. It needs a lot of money to conduct various market research activities. Huge funds are required to pay salaries, prepare questionnaires, conduct surveys, prepare reports, etc. It is not a viable choice for small businesses. It is suitable only to large companies who can afford its cost.
- Time consuming : Marketing research is a lengthy and time-consuming process. This process involves many important steps. All these steps are crucial and not even a single step can be neglected or avoided. In other words, there are no short-cuts in MR. Generally, it takes at least three to six months to solve a marketing problem. Therefore, it cannot be used in urgent or emergency situations.
- Limited scope : Marketing research solves many business-related problems. However, it cannot solve all business problems. It cannot solve problems related to consumer behavior, income and expenditure relationship, etc. Thus, its scope is limited.
- Limited practical value : Marketing research is only an academic exercise. It is mainly based on a hypothetical approach. It gives theoretical solutions. It does not give realistic solutions to real-life problems. Its solutions look good on paper but are harder to implement in a real sense. Thus, it has a limited practical value.
- Can't predict consumer behavior : Marketing research collects data about consumer behavior. However, this data is not accurate because consumer behavior cannot be predicted. It keeps on changing according to the time and moods of the consumers. Consumer behavior is also very complex. It is influenced by social, religious, family, economic and other factors. It is very difficult to study these factors.
- No accurate results : Marketing research is not a physical science like physics, chemistry, biology, etc. It is a social science. It studies consumer behavior and marketing environment. These factors are very unpredictable. Therefore, it does not give accurate results. It gives results, but it cannot give 100% correct results.
- Provides suggestions and not solutions : Marketing research provides data to the marketing manager. It guides and advises him. It also helps him to solve the marketing problems. However, it does not solve the marketing problem. The marketing manager solves the marketing problems. So, MR only provides suggestions. It does not provide solutions.
- Non-availability of technical staff : Marketing research is done by researchers. The researchers must be highly qualified and experienced. They must also be hard-working, patient and honest. However, in India, it is very difficult to find good researchers. Generally, it is done by non-experienced and non-technical people. Therefore, MR becomes a costly, time-consuming and unreliable affair. So, its quality is also affected due to non-availability of technical staff.
- Fragmented approach : Marketing research studies a problem only from a particular angle. It does not take an overall view into consideration. There are many causes for a marketing problem. It does not study all causes. It only studies one or two causes. For example, if there is a problem of falling sales. There are many causes for falling sales; like, poor quality, high-price, competition, recession, consumer resistance, etc. It will only study two causes viz; low-quality and high price. It will not study other causes. So, it is not a reliable one.
- Can be misused : Sometimes, marketing research is misused by the company. It is used to delay decisions. It is used to support the views of a particular individual. It is also used to grab power (managerial) in the company.
- Non-availability of reliable data : The quality of the marketing research report depends on the quality of the collected data. If the data is complete, up-to-date and reliable, then the MR report will also be reliable. However, in India, it is very difficult to get full, latest and trustworthy data. So, non-availability of a reliable data is also its limitation.
- Resistance of marketing managers : The marketing managers do not use the suggestions given in the marketing research report. Primarily, they feel that these suggestions are not practical. Secondly, they also feel that their importance will become less if they use these suggestions. There is a conflict between the marketing managers and the researchers.