The basic and critical problem in marketing research is seldom the problem that appears on the surface. It is therefore necessary to explore beneath the surface to ascertain the nature and size of the problem. This is the vital first step and must be done correctly, since every subsequent phase of the project is directed at solving the basic problem. For the research to be worthwhile (indeed, for it not to be a waste of resources), the problem must be stated clearly and correctly. Failure to do so is the most serious of mistakes in this project.
Correctly defining the research problem should lead to the establishment of the research parameters. A research study could be restricted by function (advertising); customer group (heavy users); market (Far East); and time frame (1999-2001). Because research is so costly, it is imperative that parameters are established and maintained.