Market research is defined as "a branch of social science which uses scientific methods to collect information about all those factors which impinge upon the marketing of goods and services". It includes "the measurement and analysis of markets, the study of advertising effectiveness, distributive channels, competitive products and marketing policies and the whole field of consumer behaviour".
Unfortunately, all too often the focus in market research is on the collection of new data, largely ignoring the worth that existing information may have in identifying marketing opportunities and issues. In fact, market research organisations often use the terms primary and secondary data for newly collected and existing data respectively, which reinforces the misleading assumption that existing data is inferior. Information vital for decision-making often exists within your business or is publicly available.