This topic is a bit more esoteric, but I think worthy of discussion. In our careers, we encounter various requests from customers, business partners, and corporate colleagues - all asking of us something.
When many corporations think of market research, they imagine expensive and elaborate studies. Large swaths of data, focus groups with one-way mirrors, telephone call centers with scripts, and a lot of time and expense. While all of the tools mentioned above are valid ways of conducting quantitative and qualitative research, market research does not need to be that complicated. Sometimes a lighter approach can be less daunting and yield good results that can still help guide a company.
Of the all disciplines in business, marketing is one if the few that touches almost every department in an organization. As a marketer, you need to have an understanding of every element that comes in contact with the customer experience.