In today's business world, no one achieves results without proper market research. Every sector of every market is crammed with competing businesses, all trying to get some kind of advantage over the other businesses working in the same area. Tailored research into a market is the only way to claw a little extra ground for a company – a space in which it is able to start attracting customers that may otherwise have visited the sites or services owned and sold by similar enterprises.

The basic unit of marketing research is the individual consumer – a group of which, or whom, are referred to as the marketing demographic for the product or service in question. Basically, what market research does is to work out what kind of person, or kinds of people, are most likely to be interested in a particular type of product – and then direct advertising campaigns and actual marketing efforts towards attracting those people. The logic is simple and very effective – indeed, marketing research has been formally conducted with a great deal of success since the 1920s, when radio advertisers first found that the products they were selling sold better when their adverts were placed on stations that targeted the same audience as the product.

What happens is this. A market research company takes a product and brings it to the marketplace as a whole, whereupon it gathers significant amounts of data regarding people's reactions to that product. Once enough data has been amassed, the successful demographics for the product become clear. So a product that reacts very well with teenage girls develops a demographic in the teenage girl sector of the market, and its advertising campaigns are conducted accordingly. There's no sense in marketing multi coloured flexible hair curlers to balding middle aged men.