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Changing Role Of Marketing Research

Organisations are dynamic entities existing within a continuous state of flux and trying to adapt to the requirements of rapidly changing environments. This very much applies to marketing research organisations whether they are in-house departments or agencies. The last 25 years have witnessed vast changes in the way in which information is handled in organisations of all types and sizes. Alongside this revolution in information management the role of marketing research has undergone substantial change. The change is not complete and it is impossible to say that the role of marketing research is now a fixed, static entity its role is certain to change further in the future. Adapting to the changing conditions of the business environment means dealing with new problems and decisions that may not previously have arisen. This accentuates the need for creativity in marketing research to enable new ways of researching new problem situations.

Nonresponse As An Issue In Marketing Research Effectiveness

In a society where people are becoming more and more cynical towards marketing research, non-response is becoming an issue that is relevant to the effectiveness of marketing research. Answers to questions posed in surveys, for example, may differ considerably between those who respond and those who do not. In busy shopping malls, those who spend time helping the researcher fill in questionnaires may have very different ideas and concerns to those who walk rapidly by and refuse to cooperate. Moreover, in the case of business-to-business research, the non-respondent may be an organisation of major significance whose exclusion results in the research having little meaning. While training of interviewers, extra incentives and even patience can sometimes overcome potential non-response, pressure of time, apathy, scepticism and greater feelings of rights to privacy all contribute to the potential problems posed by non-response. This chapter has explored how marketing research can take some...

Case study 15 21stcentury market research

Market research is coming out of the closet. Direct marketing firms have emerged to service the new phenomenon of relationship marketing - lifestyle databases underpinning the mailings of the firms to provide a direct interface between research and practice. Data mining is the new catchword for market researchers. Using what used to be considered as secondary sources of information, the researchers analyse direct marketing company records to build up an in-depth picture of the lifestyles of millions of consumers. New ways of segmenting markets based on lifestyles and attitudes are being discovered and ways of translating market research into market action are working more quickly and effectively. Because of the speed of analysing such research, market researchers are able to offer high-quality tailored research packages to small firms which previously could not have afforded professional market research. Another area in which market research is being revolutionised is through the...

Introduction to marketing research Scientific research approach and Problem definition

Research Problem Definition

The chapter will provide understanding towards the nature and scope of marketing research and the scientific process involved. It will also discuss the role of research in designing and implementing successful marketing programmes. It will explain the role of marketing research in marketing information systems and decision support systems and provide the conceptual framework of marketing research process. This chapter will also explain the process of defining a problem in marketing research and its importance. It will focus on describing the tasks involved in defining a marketing research problem and also explain in detail the nature and content of various components of a defining a correct problem. The chapter will help gain understanding of practitioners' view of marketing research and the complexities involved in the overall process of marketing research. At last, the chapter will focus on the issues marketing research cannot deal with and why decision makers need to be cautious...

Marketing Research As Defined By The American Marketing Association

Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer and public to the marketer through information - information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions monitor marketing performance and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues designs the method for collecting information manages and implements the data-collection process analyses the results and communicates the findings and their implications. Any definition of marketing research has to take account of the changing role of research in modern marketing. Marketing research connects the consumer, the customer and the public to the marketer through the medium of information. This information is used to distinguish and define marketing opportunities and threats or problems. It is also used to create, improve and assess marketing actions and to monitor marketing...

Kbf Marketing Research

Chapter 6 introduced interviews as the most versatile and widely used method of primary data collection. The device used by interviewers for delivering questions to respondents and recording their answers is a questionnaire. This chapter considers the use, design and content of questionnaires. Questionnaires are also used in telephone research and, without interviewers, in postal or self-completion research. They are also used in online research. These questionnaires may or may not be supported by interviewers, depending on the approach. Some guidelines for questionnaire construction are given, but in large-scale quantitative survey research questionnaires are usually written by research specialists and a framework for vetting questionnaires is suggested at the end of this chapter.

Market Research and Product Development

We've already seen just how valuable search data can be for market research, product development, and audience analysis. From an organizational standpoint, determine how use of search data can effectively be integrated into existing processes. This may be as easy as simply getting departments to share data. If the advertising department is already doing keyword research for paid search campaigns, it may be able to just share its findings with product development. If you are not currently using search data, user research, market research, or other departments you may need to learn how best to do keyword research and incorporate searcher personas into existing audience analysis and market research.

Omnibus research surveys

Omnibus research represents a middle ground between off-the-peg research services, where the data has already been collected and the researcher simply buys what is available, and primary research, where the researcher has to collect the information personally. Omnibus research describes regular research surveys that are being undertaken with a stated frequency and a decided method, using a set number of respondents and sampling points. The fieldwork 'omnibus' is running and the client is invited to 'board the bus' by adding a few personal questions to the questionnaire. The omnibus user has the advantages of original question design, privacy of information and representativeness of sample, without having to bear all the fieldwork costs alone. The user pays only for the number of questions included and this is a very cheap form of original survey research. Omnibus research is particularly suitable for fairly robust data, e.g. the usage and purchase of products. It is less reliable for...

Changing Role Of Market Research

In the years ahead, successful research suppliers will need to develop close cooperation with their research clients. It is likely that much of the day-to-day work formerly carried out by in-house market research departments will be outsourced to specialist research agencies. This will entail agencies having to have a much better understanding of their clients' problems and the manner in which research survey data can contribute towards the solution of such problems. Researchers are not primarily data gatherers, although data gathering is essential and the work must be properly organised and controlled. The specialist skill of researchers, however, is being able to spot how research can help resolve a problem and help a firm make better decisions. It is the skill and creativity that is part of knowing how to get worthwhile information, how to help clients understand what data are telling them and what decisions they should consider making as a result. Substantial changes have occurred...

Marketing Research Companies

One of the more widely used collateral service organizations is the marketing research firm. Companies are increasingly turning to marketing research to help them understand their target audiences and to gather information that will be of value in designing and evaluating their advertising and promotions programs. Even companies with their own marketing research departments often hire outside research agencies to perform some services. Marketing research companies offer specialized services and can gather objective information that is valuable to the advertiser's promotional programs. They conduct qualitative research such as in-depth interviews and focus groups, as well as quantitative studies such as market surveys.

Market research objectives

Causal Research

A clothing manufacturer, Corallo, wants to know why its sales of jeans are falling at a rate of 10 a year. They have asked Abacus Data Research (ADR), a market research consultancy, to find out. focus groups ____ market research _1 causal research study consumer research in-house research market research brief pilot questionnaire questionnaire secondary research

If youre working to assess levels of customer awareness interest or satisfaction customer opinion surveys are a good

You can conduct short surveys in-person at the point of purchase, or you can collect more extensive information through questionnaires delivered via phone, mail, or e-mail. Just listen Using focus groups Focus groups, by definition, are left to the professionals. A focus group is a gathering of customers or prospective customers who share input about a product or marketing idea with a professional moderator who guides the conversation, prompts input, and manages the discussion so it isn't dominated by one person or opinion. The only reason you should hold a focus group is if

Postal or selfcompletion questionnaires

As covered in Section 6.3, when an appropriate mailing list or easy mechanism for collecting self-completed questionnaires exists, postal or self-completion questionnaires can be a useful tool for primary data collection. This is particularly true for executives working on a small budget, or in markets where response rates are likely to be good. Industrial researchers often achieve good response rates from buyers or suppliers. Mail-order companies also use this technique to good effect. Self-completion questionnaires are widely used by hotels and other service-supplying institutions. One of the features of response to postal or self-completion questionnaires is that they are more likely to come from individuals with an interest in the subject, so if this is the group whose views are required the method is particularly appropriate._ The rate of response to postal or self-completion questionnaires is influenced by the covering letter introducing and explaining the purposes of the...

The purpose of marketing research 421 What is marketing research

Kotler (2000) defines marketing research as 'the systematic design, analysis and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation facing the company'. It is often asked whether there is a difference between market research and marketing research. The difference is in the scope of an investigation, as shown in Figure 4.1. Market research is used to refer to research into a specific market, investigating such aspects as market size, market trends, competitor analysis, and so on. Marketing research is a much broader concept, covering investigation into all aspects of the marketing of goods or services, such as product research and development, pricing research, advertising research, Areas covered by Market research Areas covered by Market research Areas covered by Marketing research Areas covered by Marketing research Market research Figure 4.1 Comparison of market research and marketing research. distribution research, as well as all the aspects of market...

Marketing research tools

The BRMB International offers the target group index (TGI). People are recruited to fill in an extensive questionnaire concerning their reading and shopping habits and their lifestyles. This allows media companies to use TGI data to produce a snapshot of the person who buys a particular magazine or newspaper and target promotions and advertising accordingly. CACI International has developed e-types - the first classification of online consumers and their behavioural habits. The e-types classification provides information such as how long consumers stay on one site, how frequently they purchase, what products they are buying, etc. Use of the Internet for research purposes greatly reduces data collection costs and it tends to be quicker. Virtual focus groups are employed to conduct marketing research using the Internet.

Focus of Marketing Research

The purpose of marketing research is to help you make better marketing decisions. (For an overview, see Malhotra and Birks.1) Marketing research can Much of marketing research focuses on customers their needs, their attitudes, and their behavior. End-user studies include Trends Demographic, social, technological, political regulatory, and economic trends can all affect the organization. Monitoring and forecasting such trends is also part of marketing research.

Conducting Marketing Research

Marketing research is the eyes and ears of marketing. Many marketing failures can be traced to not understanding customers, not understanding competitors, or not understanding trends in the competitive environment. Marketing research can be highly sophisticated and expensive. However, you can also learn a lot from much more modest techniques. Simply talking to your customers can provide a very high payoff in terms of knowledge about their needs, about what competitors might be doing, and about what trends in the environment might cause the customers to change their behavior. When you are conducting marketing research or even just looking at the results of a study, you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of how the information is collected and how it is analyzed and presented. Those strengths and weaknesses may affect your interpretation of the results and how useful they may be to you. This chapter is a short course in understanding different kinds of marketing research...

Clinical focus groups

Clinical focus groups are used because a person's true motivations and feelings are subconscious. We cannot take at face value what many customers have to say and the research needs to probe beneath the level of consciousness. It is assumed SOME APPLICATIONS FOR FOCUS GROUPS Focus groups can give the client firm ideas for new products. A gap in the market may be identified and further research can then seek to identify the true size of the potential gap in the market. If several focus groups should come up with the same idea it may well be worth serious consideration, even though it may have been considered before and rejected. It may be possible to adjust costs, for example, so that profitability is more positive. Focus groups can indicate the likelihood of success with a new product. It would be possible, for example, to test the concept of a new product for the current market. You would seek answers to questions such as When sales have declined rapidly on certain products, focus...

Employing focus groups

Focus groups provide data about problems through the mechanism of group dynamics. By talking among themselves and with a moderator, a relatively small group of interested people can produce more valuable thoughts and ideas than if each participant were interviewed separately. Nothing is quite the same as what can happen when a group interested in a topic or a product sit around a table for one to two hours discussing how they feel about it. In terms of bringing out suggestions, an experienced moderator can produce a degree of interaction and cooperation that produce unanticipated ideas. Focus groups are unique they can explore customary ways of doing things or customary beliefs and possible reactions to something new. They can try to determine why such conditions and reactions exist and what can be done to change them. Focus groups can highlight attitudes, prejudices, changing ways of using products and changing ways of viewing pricing and distribution.

Industrial focus groups

Focus groups that deal with industrial research problems are much like those covering consumer products, but with several important differences. First, the moderator must be knowledgeable in the field being discussed. Most moderators know about fast-moving consumer goods or shopping in supermarkets, but not all of them know enough about machine tools to conduct a discussion with a group of technicians and engineers. The screening of possible moderators in industrial areas must be even more thorough than for those in consumer product areas. Preparing the moderator and the moderator's guide about the industrial problem must also be very thorough. It may be advisable to have an in-house moderator lead the discussion, or at least to have one in the room to help the moderator with difficult technical points. The participants in industrial focus groups must also be carefully chosen to make sure that each can speak about the problem. Time considerations are important a group of people will...

Ethical Considerations In Marketing Research

In applying the term 'ethics' to marketing research, it is assumed that ethics involves the assessment of an action in terms of that action being morally right or wrong. Each society possesses standards to which it expects its members to adhere. Sometimes, these standards are quite precise and there is little dispute about their meaning. At other times, however, the standards are quite general and can be interpreted in different ways. The area of greatest concern is marketing researchers' treatment of participants. The abuses that arise in this area tend to fall into three broad categories invasion of privacy, deceptive practices and impositions (see Figure 1.3).

Using The Internet For Marketing Research

The Internet has remarkable potential as a tool for marketing research. It enables primary marketing research to become much less expensive to conduct than by using traditional media. Such research can, however, only really be exploratory. In using the Internet for collecting data and information, the scope of the sampling frame is restricted to those members of the Internet community who agree to respond. It has to be borne in mind that the demographics of users of the Internet are different from the general population. Results from Internet marketing research should not usually be generalised to the entire population. However, as more and more households gain access to the Internet this is a problem that may resolve itself in due course.

Marketing Research A Definition

Peter Chisnall (1992)1 points out that although the term 'market research' is now largely used as a synonym for 'marketing research' there was originally a distinct difference between the scope of the activities they covered. Some confusion has been caused by the term 'market research' being rather freely used to describe the full range of activities properly covered by marketing research. Chisnall (1992) notes, however, that market or marketing research is essentially about the disciplined collection and evaluation of specific data in order to help suppliers to understand their customer needs better. Moreover, since decision making necessarily involves some element of risk, the collection and evaluation of such data should be used to reduce and control, to some degree, the parameters of risk surrounding particular marketing proposals.

Telephone questionnaires

The types of question most appropriate to telephone surveys are brief, and require brief factual answers that the respondent can give accurately without much thought 'Do you ' or 'Don't you ', 'Have you ' or 'Haven't you ' This is because the telephone call is going to interrupt the respondent in the middle of some other activity. The difficulty of establishing rapport over the telephone also makes it unusual for a long conversation to be practicable. Some companies have managed to avoid this problem by maintaining a panel of respondents from which a sample may be drawn. Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) is a service offered by a number of research agencies. It gives advantages in questionnaire presentation since the interviewer reads a question from the screen, types in the code appropriate to the respondent's answer, and the next question appears on the screen. In this way, quite complicated questionnaires using filter questions can be devised without worrying that the...

Online questionnaires

Questionnaires developed and administered online through e-mail on the Internet are becoming increasingly popular in certain markets. The dot-com sector is a major user of this type of questionnaire. However, as the Internet becomes ubiquitous other business sectors are adopting the methodology, exploiting the advantages that this mode of delivery offers. They are cheap and fast to prepare and to administer, and results may be gained very quickly. In addition, the use of hypertext mark-up language (HTML) can create links to help areas for respondents completing self-administered questionnaires, or to video or other audio visual content to support the questionnaire. This means that if respondents have questions they can click on a link that takes them to a site which contains supporting information, or send an e-mail to the researcher asking for help. Questionnaires can be delivered to potential respondents in a number of ways. They can be sent through a link from a website, as an...

The role of marketing research in new product development

Marketing research has a vital role to play in ensuring that new products launched onto the market are successful ventures, rather than dismal failures. The main input that marketing research makes into the new product development process is in the areas of The creation of a marketing strategy for the development of a fashion product involves four stages. Each of the stages (discussed below) involves marketing research with the ultimate aim of testing a product for feasibility prior to its production, and to produce a plan for its production and marketing.

Marketing research begins at home

This is certainly true for industrial marketing research. Industrial organizations are likely to put far more reliance on the use of internal staff and internal records and the database as a major source of research information. Market intelligence will also form a more significant aspect of the marketing information system than in consumer organizations. This is because industrial organizations, by their very nature, are more directly in touch with their market than is usual in consumer markets, where the nature of the distribution system creates physical separation between the manufacturer and consumers. It is therefore both more feasible and more productive for an industrial organization to organize a market intelligence system using feedback from the sales force or other customer contacts as a mechanism for reporting customer views.

Types of research offered via the Market Research Society

In addition to the syndicated data and omnibus research services that can be bought off-the-peg, marketing research organizations provide a wide range of specialist research facilities. In this case the client is buying off-the-peg expertise in a particular area of research. The kinds of specialist technique that have been developed and are available for purchase are shown in detail in the MRS publication The Research Buyer's Guide. An indication of the range of off-the-peg expertise available is shown in Table 4.1.

The scope of marketing research

There is no area of marketing activity to which the techniques of marketing research cannot be applied. Marketing research can provide information on the size and structure of a specific market as well as information about current trends, consumer preferences, a competitor's activities, advertising effectiveness, distribution methods and pricing research. Marketing research also plays a vital role in the development of new products and new advertising and promotion strategies. It can also monitor performance following implementation of those strategies.

Marketing research as part of a marketing information system

Decision-makers in time to allow the company to maximize its opportunities and to avoid potential threats. Along with other information producing departments within the company (sales, accounts, etc.), marketing research can assist management in the decision-making process across the full range of marketing activities, from description of a market segment to prediction of future trends.

Who needs marketing research

'Marketing' is defined by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as, 'the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably'. This definition identifies the crucial part marketing research has to play in designing and implementing an effective marketing strategy. Marketing research provides the mechanism for identifying and anticipating customer requirements and for measuring whether customers are satisfied by these product offerings. For non-profit-making organizations the concept of 'profitability', used in the definition, may be translated to 'using resources optimally, i.e. gaining maximum customer satisfaction through the most effective deployment of resources'. The American Marketing Association replaces 'profitably' with the phrase 'to create mutually satisfactory exchanges'. It is in this sense that marketing and marketing research have just as important a contribution to make in the public sector and in non-profit-making...

International marketing research

International marketing research generally refers to marketing research undertaken in countries other than that in which the research was commissioned. The challenge for the researcher here is to provide information from a culturally diverse, rapidly changing world. Each country in which research is conducted will have its own unique characteristics and mores with which the researcher may not be familiar. At the outset

Customer or market research

Customer or market research can produce quantitative facts about particular markets and market segments, for example, the size of the market in terms of both unit sales and value. When these data are collected over time, it allows one to identify trends and helps to predict future sales. It can also provide information on where customers are located, their spending patterns, their earnings and their creditworthiness. It can also explain why customers prefer one brand to another and what price they are willing to pay. Market research can also provide information about market share of all the firms operating in a market or market segment.

Online market research

As electronic commerce is slowly but surely taking off, on-line testing happens to be a useful alternative or add-on to traditional market research methods. And package-goods companies are taking advantage of what the Web has to offer from speedier results to global reach so they can race to market and gain competitive advantage. Quick results are a prime benefit but longer test periods are possible with on-line testing, too since questionnaires can be posted on the Web for indefinite periods while results can be reported on a daily basis. Another benefit of on-line testing is that participants usually become more engaged than in other test methods, though they are not truly representative of the off-line consumer. Typically, the elderly and uneducated people are underrepresented among on-line consumers. This means that on-line test results may be skewed for low-tech concepts. On the contrary, the Web is the perfect place to run a concept test, a qualitative, or a quantitative study...

Computerassisted questionnaires

Computer-assisted programs can handle long and complicated questionnaires of practically any length and can also accommodate very large samples. They can also be personalised or seem to act in an intelligent manner. In the latter respect, answers from previous questions can be inserted automatically into the text of later questions. For instance, a questionnaire about computers may ask about whether the respondent has used any particular makes recently and ask him or her to name the makes. A later portion of the questionnaire may probe into each such computer experience and the program can be structured so that the name of each computer tried is inserted automatically into the questionnaire at the right point. Another useful feature is that the replies to an open-ended question are available to an interviewer for later access, if required. Any interview temporarily terminated at the respondent's request, for instance a telephone interview, can be rescheduled for completion at a later...

Focus groups

The focus group (also known as the group discussion) is a form of qualitative research. The group usually consists of between 6 and 12 respondents who discuss products, services, attitudes or other aspects of the marketing process. The discussion is led by a skilled researcher called a group moderator, who guides the discussion, following a checklist of topics. The group usually meets in an informal setting, often someone's home, and the group members are paid a small sum for attending. These discussions can take several hours to complete and are often used as a preliminary to survey research. It is also possible to conduct online focus groups via the Internet (see Section 4.14).

Market research

Within this context, market research becomes the crucial tool with which to understand the customer. Thus market research has the following goals The key aims of international market research are to provide reliable information, insight and consistency. These will change little - however, in the future it is likely that through the introduction of new technology the means by which the information is gathered, organized, analyzed and presented will change radically. For example, companies who supply electronic point of sale data to companies have an enormous wealth of information at hand. They know what consumers buy - not what they say they buy. In the future the research organization may be bypassed as the brand owner talks directly with their customers, for example, Toyota car owners can visit a website, register their car, and talk to designers and tell them what they like and dislike about their car and what they would like to see in their next car. While purists will argue about...

Online Surveys

Just as important as monitoring the Web site traffic and the number of visitors you have is knowing who your visitors are. If you know your Web site audience and their demographics, you can market your site more directly to the intended audience. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by conducting surveys. What questions you ask will be determined by what you want to know. Do try to keep surveys short and don't forget to ask a bit of background information, without getting too personal. The following survey services can help create, house, and distribute online surveys. The list is provided by Web Ad.vantage http www.zoomerang.com. Allows the easy creation of online surveys. http www.surveysite.com. Specializes in independent Web site evaluations, online focus groups, pop-up surveys and polls, and e-mail surveys. http www.infopoll.com. Offers online survey software, enabling anyone to create questionnaires and collect instant feedback.

Telephone surveys

If the study is one requiring a broad geographic sample, national or regional, the telephone survey may be ideal. Telephone surveys can also be used as an efficient follow-up method in connection with another basic method of data collection. Telephone surveys involve a team of interviewers working from a central location, with workstations provided along with outgoing telephone lines for each. ask to speak to the desired respondent. Then the interviewer uses the computer. Each question is shown on the monitor in sequence and the interviewer reads the question exactly as it appears on screen. Since most questions designed for telephone surveys are short-answer questions, where the respondent's replies are limited to a choice of possibilities, these are also shown on the screen. All the responses go immediately into the computer for later analysis.

Marketing Research

Managers cannot always wait for information to arrive in bits and pieces from the marketing intelligence system. They often require formal studies of specific situations. For example, Apple Computer wants to know how many and what kinds of people or companies will buy its new ultralight personal computer. Or a Dutch pet product firm needs to know the potential market for slimming tablets for dogs. What percentage of dogs are overweight, do their owners worry about it, and will they give the pill Co their podgy pooches 1 In these situations, the marketing intelligence system will not provide the detailed information needed. Because managers normally do not have the skills or time to obtain the information on their own. they need formal marketing research. Marketing research is the function linking the consumer, customer and public to the marketer through information - information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems to generate, refine and evaluate marketing...

Assistance From Outside Research Organisations

In recent years, there has been a trend towards using outside suppliers. This has probably occurred because of the more complex and sophisticated research techniques that have recently been developed and the fact that people in organisations do not usually have the necessary skills for these techniques. Computerisation has produced ways of finding and analysing information that could not have been dreamed of only a few years ago. While computers have been adopted almost universally, their use for marketing research has developed as a specialised field of knowledge and few firms have developed this expertise for themselves. Companies are also reducing their middle and top management staff. For financial reasons, many companies believe that an outside research firm can perform market research better and more cheaply than the companies' own personnel. Because of the wealth of information now available to clients on a continuing basis from agencies that specialise in gathering, analysing...

Use of pert in planning research

Planning Research Tasks

A marketing research plan is a form of project and as such may be thought of as a combination of interrelated activities that have to be carried out in a certain order so that the entire task is completed. There is a logical sequence to the interrelated activities in the sense that some of them cannot start until others are completed. Projects and planning activities have become extremely complex and require systematic and effective management techniques to help optimise the efficiency of executing such activities. Efficiency amounts to bringing about the greatest reduction in the time to complete the scheduled activities while taking into account the economic feasibility of using available resources. Figure 2.3 shows the standard cross-tabulation view of a marketing research plan. Two views or windows on the data are being displayed simultaneously. Moreover, the two views are synchronised to examine the same set of records. The two windows can be expanded or contracted to show more...

General population omnibus surveys

Pegram Walters, International Research and Consulting, 242-233 St. John Street, London EC1V 2PG (Tel 020 7689 5000, Fax 020 7689 5600). Four times a year, questionnaires are sent out to between 1000 and 10,000 households. National Superbus is also quarterly and can screen up to 50,000 panel households to identify users of low-incidence products and services.

What does the organization need research for

Being able to define precisely what marketing research can and should be doing for the organization is the first step in achieving it. One way of doing this is to reflect on the organization as a whole and decide what are its most pressing problems. The answers below were given by delegates to the Chartered Institute of Marketing's introductory course on market research From a dot-com business 'We have never done market research and have no way of evaluating the performance of our site in the market as a whole. Our cash is running out. We need to return to our backers with a solid business plan. We need research to establish our market size and share and the potential in our customer base. What customers should we be attracting and what products will they require and how can we generate revenue from our site ' Another approach to defining why a particular organization needs marketing research is to consider the range of uses to which it is already put by other organizations. Six main...

Case study 42 jeromes department store

In the last 12 months the store has experienced a slowing down of sales of clothes. Management felt that perhaps this was because it was not really very fashion conscious in what it had to offer. As a result a decision was taken to have a market research study conducted to ascertain whether the store should stock more designer clothing in the men's, women's and children's departments.

Interpreting and recording responses

In fully structured interviews the role of the interviewer in interpreting and recording responses is limited to doing so accurately. However, in open-ended and qualitative interviews the interviewer has an important role to play in correct interpretation and accurate comprehensive recording of responses. In depth interviews and group discussion or focus groups it is usual for a tape recorder to be employed to record responses, but when open-ended questions are used in questionnaires it is more usual for the interviewer to be required to write down exactly what the respondent says. If the respondent speaks fully and quickly this can prove a practical difficulty for the interviewer which may be overcome by editing responses. This may lose some of the quality and detail of information that the researcher would like to acquire. This is one of the reasons why open-ended questions often do not work well when used in fully structured quantitative research surveys. To help overcome this,...

Thematic apperception

The original clinical TAT used 20 standard cards, but when used in market research it is more usual for fewer pictures to be used, and for them to relate to the specific topic under investigation. In a picture interpretation test used by a public library, a picture was shown of an individual going into a library. Both users and non-users of libraries were asked to describe the events that had led up to that individual going to the library, what would happen while in the library and what would happen next. A comparison of responses revealed differences in attitude among library users and non-users, and suggested ways in which non-

Asking the questions yourself

In smaller companies, industrial companies and companies that have not used research previously, there is a strong temptation on the part of the newly appointed and usually inexperienced research executive to carry out his or her own research programme. For large-scale research surveys or for group discussion or focus groups this is unlikely to be viable in the first case because of the time and expense involved in using one's own time on a routine and repetitive task, and in the second case because the executive is unlikely to have the appropriate skills for the method to work to its best advantage. However, for industrial and trade interviewing when only 20 or 30 depth interviews may be required for an exploratory survey it could well be feasible for the manager to carry these out personally. Indeed, there may be good commercial and technical reasons for doing so for a small project, with no necessity for confidentiality. A desk research exercise followed by 15-20 personal...

ACORN categoriesHouseholds

ACORN has been used by local authorities to isolate areas of deprivation and by marketing firms seeking to identify areas of greatest demand for their products and services. Major retailers, banks and building societies use the service for site analysis and the mix of products appropriate to each branch. It is also used to target local advertising, posters, leaflet distribution and direct mail. Researchers can also use the system to select representative samples for questionnaire surveys.

Stratified random sampling

This approach is more suitable for sampling large consumer populations. It entails dividing the population into mutually exclusive groups and drawing random samples from each group. For example, the population might be divided into six groups, A, B, C1, C2, D and E, reflecting the social background of the people involved (see Table 4.1). Random samples are then drawn from each group. Again, however, there still remains the problem of obtaining suitable lists of people who make up the population and the various groups within it. Stratified sampling may be used in industrial marketing research where it is possible to identify a population of firms. A stratified sample is usually adopted to make sure that minority groups are adequately represented. The ABCDE classification conceived by Market Research Services Ltd has been the system most frequently used as a method of social classification for marketing purposes. Its failure to capture the complexity of class differences has led to new...

Syndicated research services

In practice nowadays, most syndicated research services are owned by the research companies that run them. An association of users of a service may meet to ensure that user interests are expressed in the method of collection and presentation of the data. Most syndicated research surveys are continuous panels and the advantages of these as a method of data collection are discussed in Chapter 6. (Where this is not the method used, then this is indicated for the services listed below.) The main problem for the intending user of syndicated research services is to identify what services are available and which companies provide them. The MRS website contains a searchable directory of organizations providing marketing research services in Great Britain. This is also available in The Research Buyer's Guide. Not all marketing research organizations supply syndicated services and so the following index and list of suppliers of syndicated research services was compiled from The Research Buyer's...

Ethical Considerations In Taste Testing With Drugs

The Market Research Society makes no reference to the testing of medicines in its Code of Conduct. Butterworth's Law of Food and Drugs details the requirements for clinical trials of the efficacy of products, but does not provide any definition of requirements for the testing of other aspects of pharmaceutical products such as flavour acceptability. Indeed, there are no real guidelines for taste testing pharmaceuticals. The responsibility for designing safe consumer research resides with the agency doing the work. Moreover, providing an agency takes sufficient steps to ensure the safety of the research protocol, responsibility for the safety of the actual product and product ingredients lies with the manufacturer. Ethics is also involved in the type of marketing research carried out and or whether it is carried out in an ethically correct manner. When the research involves the testing of products that might have potentially dangerous side effects on consumers, considerable care has to...

Semantic differential scale

The semantic differential scale technique was originated by Osgood, Suci and Tannenbaum.2 The originators of the technique discovered that the perceived meaning of a variety of words and concepts could be decomposed in terms of three components potency, activity and evaluation. In marketing research, the semantic differential is often used to measure attitudes towards the imagery surrounding products and services. In general, only the evaluative (e.g. good bad) component is measured. The scale consists of a number of bipolar adjectival phrases and statements that could be used to describe the objectives being evaluated. In the original work of Osgood et al., only single-word bipolar adjectives, not phrases, were used. However, common practice in marketing research applications is to use adjectival

Dichotomous questions

These are questions with only two possible answers, e.g. yes no questions. For use of these questions to be valid the answer must fall unambiguously into one of the two categories offered, e.g. 'Do you buy ready-made biscuits rather than bake your own ' is ambiguous because many people do both and so could not answer 'yes' or 'no'. Similarly, if qualified answers to the question are possible, then the answers may be invalidated. 'Do you intend to invest in new IT equipment ' is an example of a question that for many companies would be answered, 'It depends'. However, when a straight yes or no is appropriate, dichotomous questions are easy to ask, easy to answer and easy to analyse statistically. For completeness in recording responses, a 'don't know' category is included on the questionnaire. The three possible responses, 'yes no don't know', can be assigned code numbers which are printed on the questionnaire so that the interviewer just rings the response given. This precoding saves...

Importance of properly defining target population

It is up to the marketing researchers to provide explicit instructions to the field workers about the qualifications of the target population. This is achieved with the help of a list of screening questions that can be used to qualify respondents. Screening questions specifically define who should be included in the sample and who should be excluded. Most marketing research surveys exclude certain individuals for a variety of reasons. For example, in the case of a TV sports programme, if a member of a household works for a TV company, then they are excluded. This is usually the first question asked and the interview is terminated at this point if this is the case. These individuals may be excluded for security reasons since they may work for competitors and the researchers would not want them to find out what the study is about.

How much is the research information worth

Gathering information is a costly procedure and so some attempt at evaluating the worth of the information needs to be carried out before deciding on the level of research expenditure. Common sense indicates that there is no point in spending more money on marketing research than the costs of making a wrong decision and so an attempt must be made to estimate the costs of the decision. Marketing research expenditure can be looked upon rather like insurance, in that its aim is to reduce risk. Its value is therefore related to the level of risk likely to be incurred the higher the level of risk then the higher the level of research expenditure appropriate to guard against that risk. In assessing the value of research information most people operate at this subjective and intuitive level. However, some more formal devices offer a framework for putting a monetary value on information costs.

Using research in industrial markets

Most industrial markets are active users of research, and the need for good and timely information to support business decisions in this sector is as great as in consumer markets. Uses to which industrial marketing research is put are, in order of importance This list indicates the relatively limited range of applications for marketing research in industrial markets compared with consumer markets, and marketers in industrial organizations are perhaps less likely to use marketing research data than their counterparts in consumer product and services industries. The use of marketing research in industrial markets is growing, but there are some differences in emphasis in the way in which techniques outlined in this book are applied. This chapter considers each of the previous chapter topics in turn and indicates ways in which there are similarities or differences for using research in industrial markets.

Semistructured interviews

In semi-structured interviews, fully structured questions, as described above, are combined with 'open-ended' questions. These questions are easy to design and to ask, but require more of the respondent in answering, and of the interviewer in recording those answers. Structure is still present from the interviewer's point of view, in that the question wording shown on the questionnaire may not be departed from. The respondent is free to answer in whatever way he or she pleases, since no direction or structure is implied by the question. For example, 'What factors would you personally take into account when considering purchase of a camcorder This is followed by a space in which the interviewer is instructed to write down exactly what the respondent says. The interviewer may be required to encourage the respondent to think about the question by using probing questions like 'What other factors are there ' after one or two have been given. The use of interview 'probes' demands a higher...

Formal experimental designs

These designs are research methods based on statistical principles. This means that in analysing the results not only the result of the experiment can be calculated, but also an estimate can be made of the degree of experimental error in the procedure. Formal experimental designs therefore do for market experimentation what random probability sampling does for sample selection. They allow the experimenter to calculate not only the results of the experiments, but also the probability that the results are good within specified limits of accuracy, at a given confidence level. Since the declared aim of this book is to explain marketing research procedures without going into statistical detail, it would not be appropriate to explain how formal experimental designs are constructed. The non-statistical research user should simply take note of the fact that the use of appropriate statistical techniques in the design of market experiments can increase the number of variables that can be tested...

Madetomeasure research

Online research overall is likely to be cheaper than administering offline surveys, particularly if they are self-administered. In general, the administration of online surveys is carried out more efficiently than offline. Costs will vary according to the type of research that is to be carried out. If the survey is to be supported with an 'e-mail me' or 'call me' button, in order to support the respondent in the completion of the questionnaire, then the cost will be higher. Email surveys usually offer an incentive to respond and the cost of the incentive may be a significant part of the cost of the survey. The online medium is very adaptable, and questionnaires can be targeted at individuals who have viewed a particular page, expressed interest in or bought a particular product, or followed a certain route through a site. This interaction can produce very sensitive systems in which content, including questionnaires, can be delivered according to a developing customer profile. The...

Who provides the information

Sampling methods discussed in Chapter 7 are also used in Internet marketing research. The major problem in Internet marketing research is the availability of suitable, accurate sampling frames. E-mail lists are very unreliable at present and the proliferation of spam in the marketplace means that many prospective respondents will delete an e-mail that was not expected or of immediate relevance or interest. Random probability sampling is only possible when a comprehensive sampling frame (or list of all members of the population to be sampled) exists. In some markets such lists do exist and are used as the basis of random probability sampling. For Internet marketing internal lists such as customer lists or business mailing lists are the most useful and reliable source. Stratified and quota sampling are also used in Internet marketing research. The use of online panels can help this process. In business-to-business research, standard industrial classification (SIC) codes, or the size of...

How are the questions asked

Problems with question and questionnaire design discussed in Chapter 8 hold equally for Internet marketing research. However, there are some specific questionnaire design programs from which online research can benefit. The use of online survey design software, for example Confirm-IT, can produce effective questionnaires very quickly (Figure 14.9). These can deal with questionnaire logic and ensure integrity throughout the design process. As with computer-assisted telephone and personal interviewing (CATI and CAPI), coding and analysis can be built in and results can be downloaded, for example to PowerPoint presentations. Online questionnaires benefit from the richness of the medium, and the use of progress bars and summary tables can help with a sense of involvement and produce better results. Graphical interfaces and emoticons can be used to liven up scale questions, for example temperature gradients or smiley faces.

How do you buy good research

Systematic procedures for identifying, evaluating and selecting a marketing research agency, described in Chapter 11, are equally applicable in Internet markets. Relevant Internet expertise may be identified in the organizations listed in Chapter 4 or through the Market Research Society and ESOMAR websites. The Research Buyer's Guide also lists those research companies with expertise in this area.

Traditional approach to test marketing

In order to ensure that the fullest picture can be drawn from their new market research facility, the designers of Homelink have included a wide range of product and service categories. These include such things as baby products, household equipment, pet food, skincare products, home leisure entertainment equipment, types of food and much more. This enables people who use specific products and services or who lead particular lifestyles to be identified quickly and cost-effectively. Establishing a baseline from which all aspects of research can be compared is the fundamental question to be answered before the research can begin and Homelink enables this to be done very effectively. Moreover, the framework and database enable information to be gathered from the same respondents over a long period of time which in turn means that sample variability can be reduced. Homelink facilitates the researching of products with both large and small market shares in a cost-effective manner.

Who monitors the quality of international research

The European Society for Opinion and Market Research (ESOMAR) provides a similar service to the Market Research Society (MRS) in Europe. It represents market research specialists and sets standards for the industry. It runs an annual conference and publishes papers and a useful journal, Marketing and Research Today. ESOMAR can be contacted in Amsterdam (Tel +31 20 664 21 41, Fax +31 20 664 29 22, E-mail email esomar.nl). The World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) is a similar organization based in the USA (Tel +1 919 962 1204, Fax +1 919 962 0620). Other countries have their own organizations representing the market research industry a list of these is contained in the MRS Research Buyer's Guide.

Offthepeg research

Many researchers will be approaching the international arena as first timers. It is important to realize that many of the resources available in the home market are also available for overseas' research. It is possible to gain much of the information needed to solve international market research problems by using secondary or desk research, syndicated research and the increasing number of international omnibus surveys (see Chapter 4).

How do you ask the questions

Questionnaire design in international markets is a difficult process. Problems occur when one set of cultural values is used to interrogate another. Language is the most obvious problem questionnaires should be translated, and checked through the use of backtranslation. Understanding of a basic questionnaire can be enhanced through the increased use of show cards or other stimuli. However, even when this is done problems still occur. The view that the USA and the UK are divided by a common language reveals the importance of other cultural factors. Attitudes towards ideas of time, material culture, the role of women, religion and sexual behaviour will differ. This can be solved through the use of local research agencies and a desire to be locally sensitive to customer needs so that questionnaires are designed for the market under consideration rather than for the sponsor of the research.

How do you buy good research 15121 Preparing the brief

For example, a French leisure developer is currently considering investing in building a development on a piece of land available on one of the Caribbean islands. He knows that the British have a particularly strong reputation for market research, and has commissioned a research company in London to guide his decisions. He wants to know what kind of facility to build to give him the best return on his investment. The information he needs is

Government assistance for overseas research

If an organization is undertaking overseas research for the first time, then using the DTI's Export Marketing Research scheme will offer not only free professional advice, but also the possibility of financial assistance. This scheme is focused on the small to medium size business sector. Under the provisions of the scheme the DTI will fund up to 50 per cent of the cost of approved market research in overseas' markets up to a maximum grant of 20,000. Research proposals are assessed by three advisors at the Association of British Chambers of Commerce (Tel 01203 694 484, Fax 01203 694 690). Companies can apply to the scheme up to 10 times or to a maximum total grant of 60,000. Up to three studies can be made in Europe and North America. The scheme will also fund one third of any published research, syndicated work or multiclient studies.

Unstructured interviews

In this type of interview, neither the interviewer nor the respondent is bound by the structure of the questionnaire. Interviewers have only a topic guide or checklist of questions that must be asked, or subjects that must be covered. They are normally free to word the questions as they please, and to vary the order in which the questions are asked rather than disrupt the 'flow' of the respondents' answers. Respondents may answer at considerable length, and are encouraged to explore all their thoughts on a particular topic. Unstructured interviews are often used in industrial marketing research, for example, in surveys of managerial, professional or technical groups such as purchasing managers, architects or civil engineers. Unstructured interviews are used to provide qualitative data. They also make it possible to identify the relevant points that must be included in subsequent structured or semi-structured interviews if quantification of the data is needed.

Measuring differences

Provided that these criteria are met, we need to decide which of the two tests is the more appropriate. A Z test is used if the sample size is larger than 30. A t test is appropriate when the sample size is less than 30. If the population variance is not known, then the sample variance is assumed to equate to it and is used instead. The t test is usually employed in marketing research.

Use of similarities between numbers to show cause and effect

Another application of numbers in marketing research is in the analysis and understanding of the similarities between variables. Many surveys try to measure the sales impact of advertising or other marketing efforts. One often-used procedure compares the proportion of purchasers among two groups those who remember seeing or hearing the advertising and those who do not.

Market segmentation studies

These are research surveys designed to discriminate between consumers and identify different market patterns or segments. Segmentation criteria should predict or explain market differences and be exploitable in practice. The traditional segmentation criteria are geographic (north south), demographic (gender, age, social grade, income, marital status, number and ages of children) and product usage (heavy versus light buyers). In each case, collecting data using the criteria listed will increase understanding of the relevant characteristics of buyers.

Who are you and in which direction do you want to go 1721 Who are you

You may be a manager in some specialist area of marketing, or a manager in some other functional area working for a consumer organization, a service organization, an industrial organization, or local or central government. Your motivation for buying Marketing Research for Managers is your desire to use marketing research techniques appropriately and intelligently in improving your decision making. A second possibility is that you are a junior manager or an aspiring junior manager, perhaps a management trainee. You have been assigned some responsibility in the research area in your organization and feel that you would like to do some marketing research yourself on behalf of your organization. A third possibility is that you are pursuing studies in the business area and wish to know more about marketing research, either because of its value as a managerial tool, or because you wish to pass the marketing research component of your examination system.

In which direction do you want to go

A title like Marketing Research for Managers implies the first step in the development of your knowledge and expertise in this area. There are two directions in which that development may go. Either you may concentrate on developing your use of marketing research techniques for decision making in whatever area you may operate managerially (i.e. develop as a research user), or you may wish to concentrate on marketing research and become a specialist in that area of management (i.e. develop as a research practitioner). The implications of both possibilities are shown in Figure 17.1 and discussed in the following sections.

Biased towards research in consumer markets

Aaker, D. and Day, G. (2000) Marketing Research (7th edition), John Wiley. Aaker, D. and Kumar, V. (2002) Essentials of Marketing Research (2nd edition), John Wiley. Chisnall, P. (2001) Marketing Research (6th edition), McGraw-Hill. Crimp, M. and Wright, L. (2000) Marketing Research Process (5th edition), Prentice Hall. Hague, P. (1992) Marketing Research in Practice, Kogan Page. Kent, R. (1999) Marketing research measurement, method and application, International Thomson Business. Worcester, R. M. and Downham, J. (eds) (1988) Consumer Market Research Handbook, McGraw-Hill.

Evaluation of research

Marketing research needs to be evaluated post-facto in order to ascertain its usefulness cost-effectiveness and draw lessons from the experience that may prove useful when considering further research. In order to do this, the research objectives must be clearly specified in measurable or ascertainable terms so that the degree to which they have been achieved, exceeded or underachieved can be identified. It may not always be possible to link financial expectations in terms of expected savings or increased profits to the financial cost of carrying out research. In measuring advertising effectiveness, for example, the objective may be to measure increase in product awareness. There are several ways of evaluating research in non-financial terms. Lincoln and Guba1 suggest four criteria for evaluating qualitative research - credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. Credibility demonstrates that the research was carried out in a manner such that the subject of the...

Using Research in Online Markets

Figure 14.2 Interactivity and online questionnaires. Source VNU Business Publications Figure 14.4 Online focus groups. Source Research International Figure 14.6 Web-based questionnaires. Source Research International Figure 14.6 Web-based questionnaires. Source Research International (continued) Web-based questionnaires. Source Research International

Case study 85 hifi systems

It appears that the audiophiles' perception of 'newness' of the equipment is a factor and research was conducted by a UK university to find out how consumers judge newness in hi-fi equipment. Several focus groups were invited to examine three hi-fi systems and comment on which was the most innovative and why. The groups were allowed to examine the equipment, play CDs on it and (of course) discuss what they thought about the equipment. The focus groups were recorded on video tape and full transcripts of everything that was said were made a The following is a brief extract from the transcripts of one of the focus groups (note that this group was composed entirely of males aged 20 to 25)

Case study 84 brand valuation

Shell Oil realises the importance of the brands. Simon Saville, global brand manager for Shell International, says 'For some years Shell has tracked the health of its brand through market research surveys in key countries. We are extending this to include a tracking of brand value on an annual basis. In order to estimate the Shell brand value, we must first understand how that value is derived why customers buy our products and services, what they prefer about Shell, and how important this is to them in their purchase decisions.' The new accounting standard draws a distinction between intangible assets that have a limited life (for example most patents) and those that have an indefinite life (which would be true of many brands). The standard defines limited life as being less than 20 years. In practice, market research has a major role to play in the valuation of brands, because the consumer's view of the brand will determine not only whether the brand will be purchased during the...

Guide to syndicated research services

Albemarle Marketing Research, London (Tel 020 7462 7272, Fax 020 7462 7561). Advertising, Children youth, Consumer, Drinks (alcoholic), Drinks (non-alcoholic), Finance investment, Food, health beauty toiletries, Healthcare, Product development testing, Tobacco, Training education. 14. Cambridge Market Research Ltd, Essex (Tel 01799 524625, Fax 01799 521726). Consumer, Drinks (non-alcoholic), Drinks (alcoholic), FMCG, Food, health beauty toiletries, Healthcare, Home garden DIY, Printing packaging, Product development testing, Public services utilities, Retail wholesale. Website 15. Carrick James Market Research, London (Tel 020 7724 3836, Fax 020 7224 8257). Advertising, Children youth, Customer satisfaction, Food, Government politics, Media TV radio press, Sport leisure arts. 22. Croydon Market Research Centre, Surrey (Tel 020 8760 0776, Fax 020 8688 3343). Advertising, Automotive, Business-to-business, Consumer, Customer satisfaction, Drinks (alcoholic), Drinks (non-alcoholic), FMCG,...

Nonofficial sources of data

Euromonitor Market Research Europe (bi-monthly) Euromonitor Market Research Great Britain (monthly) Market Research Society Yearbook Mainly useful for providing comprehensive lists of organisations providing market research services in Britain An interesting new partnership has formed between the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Taylor Nelson Sofres. These two bodies are the largest gatherers and analysers of data in the UK in their respective sectors - public and private. The ONS's mission is to improve decision making in business by providing quality statistics. Taylor Nelson Sofres, as the UK's largest market research firm, has set the standard for market data analysis for more than 20 years. These two organisations have joined forces to produce UK Markets, published by Taylor Nelson Sofres from data provided by the ONS. The data relate to 4800 products taken from 28,500 statistical returns made by the ONS under the Products of the European Community (PRODCOM) inquiry. The...

Quantitative research

Quantitative research is the kind of research that the layperson brings to mind with a stereotyped picture of the researcher, with questionnaire and clipboard, interviewing people in the street. It involves the research techniques of representative samples, questionnaires, interviewers, data processing, and so on. These are all necessary to make it possible to express the results quantitatively, with such statements as, '25 per cent of the population own ' and '37 per cent of machine tool buyers think '. The word 'population' is used here in the research sense, meaning 'the whole group under consideration'. It can, therefore, refer to the human population of a country, but the 'populations' considered by management decision makers are usually more restricted than that. They may include only the buyers of the company's products, all housewives aged 16-45 or all personal digital assistant owners. The population being surveyed may be non-buyers, or potential buyers of a product or...

How are the data collected

There is very little difference in the way in which online and offline data are collected. The usual techniques of survey, depth interviews and focus groups are used online. The key difference is the mechanism by which the data collection instrument is delivered and information returned. Survey questionnaires may be delivered by e-mail or through a link on a website (Figure 14.5). Cold e-mail questionnaires (i.e. those not expected by the recipient) will almost certainly need to be incentivized to achieve adequate response rates. This is due to the proliferation of unsolicited e-mails or Spam. 'Warm' surveys, or surveys to existing customers or known individuals will achieve greater levels of response and the incentive may be more appropriate to the nature of the relationship. In delivering surveys by e-mail the researcher must be careful in using rich techniques such as HTML. As mentioned earlier, only around 60 per cent of e-mail users can read HTML e-mail. E-mails may deliver the...

Case study 122 central training college

The students, 41.4 of them, said that they had used an employment agency before. When asked whether they were satisfied with the service they had been offered, 50 said that they were. Students with experience of using agencies particularly liked a helpful, friendly consultant and career advice. The first factor was mentioned by 50 of students and 16.7 mentioned the second factor. One-third of the students who answered the question complained about agencies' poor communication with students. Consultants would agree to contact a student by a particular time but they would fail to do so and students' costs were therefore increased. Twenty-five per cent of students mentioned the frequency of being sent for an unsuitable position as another source of complaint. Another dislike mentioned by 16.7 of students was being referred to different consultants on each visit. Often, students would have to explain their interests and experience repeatedly to different consultants. Comments written on...

Measuring Customer Loyalty

This information is already available to a retailer through its EPOS scanning terminal. More specific customer information can also be obtained by issuing shoppers with a card and PIN number. Purchase information can then be recorded each time customers pay at the checkout. This kind of information is quantitative in nature and not qualitative. It will show the trend in consumer behaviour, but it cannot explain it. Explanations can only be obtained through consumer surveys and interviews.

Postal or selfcompletion research

In postal research the respondent is sent a questionnaire for self-completion through the post. The category also includes other means of distribution such as leaving questionnaires in hotel rooms, or giving them out as people enter museums or department stores. Perhaps 'self-completion' is a better descriptive term since the essence of the method is that the individual completes the questionnaire alone, and then returns it either through the post, or by leaving it in an indicated place. The fact that many of those sent or given self-completion questionnaires fail to return them is the major limitation of postal research. Response rates for completed questionnaires as low as 5 per cent are not uncommon, although the range is very wide. When topics are of particular interest to the sample the response may be much greater. An industrial distributor achieved 85 per cent response in a recent survey of customers, although this is unusually high. A well-run postal survey of interest to...

Syndicated test procedures

Other techniques for testing consumer response to new products are based around questionnaires. An example of this is MicroTest from Research International (Tel 020 7656 5500, Fax 020 7201 0701, E-mail info research-int.com). Other research companies also operate test marketing services, and these can be identified in the Market Research Society's Research Buyer's Guide.

The madetomeasure research process

Managers who need to commission and use research will be more effective in making use of this business tool if they know more about it. Each of the significant decision areas in the planning and operation of research surveys is explained in the following chapters research method in Chapter 6, sampling procedures in Chapter 7, questionnaire design in Chapter 8, fieldwork in Chapter 9, and analysis, interpretation and reporting of results in Chapter 10.

Case study 44 student research projects

The students carried out the necessary secondary research, then designed their own primary research programmes. Most used questionnaire-based surveys, a few used focus groups, and a small number used depth interviews, observation, experimentation or other techniques. The students were left to their own devices somewhat the idea was to allow them to learn from their mistakes and find out for themselves what the pitfalls of market research are. In most cases, students managed to produce fairly good results, but quite obviously some of them had serious difficulties. The questionnaire surveys turned out to be the ones that caused the most difficulty apart from the problems of designing the questionnaire, many of the students had made basic sampling errors. Here are some examples, taken from the students' written-up assignments 'The main problem we had with the interviews was that most people were too busy to stop and talk to us. Eventually, we managed to complete 70 useable...

Key elements in devising a sampling plan

Surveys attempt to find things out about a population. For marketing research purposes populations may consist of people or firms. A population for a survey comprises all the persons or companies to which you would like to direct questions. It would be highly advantageous to contact all members of a population and ask them to answer all the questions we want to put. If this could be done we could produce very accurate results. However, only seldom is it possible to contact or gain a response from all the members of a population. The exception is in the case of industrial market research where it may be possible to contact all the firms that make up a particular population because the population may be very small (see Figure 4.1). Usually, large populations are encountered in marketing research and it is impractical or too expensive to contact all the members. In such cases we have to take a sample from the population - but we must ensure that the sample we choose represents the...

Acquiring the required information

The research plan must specify exactly how the study is to be done - postal questionnaire, personal interview, focus groups or other method - and justify why the method has been chosen. A study may require the use of several types of research method. Focus groups, for example, are often followed by quantitative studies. The plan should indicate why the indicated approach is necessary. It should also state that the specified methods might have to be altered as the study progresses to meet changing needs.

Case study 54 opinion polling faces new scrutiny

He told the Market Research Society conference in Birmingham that the election would provide an opportunity to assess the relative merits of telephone and face-to-face polling and of sampling on a random basis or by setting certain quotas for the types of people to be questioned.

Why does presentation matter

The physical appearance of the questionnaire affects its likelihood of securing a response, and this is particularly so for self-completion questionnaires. Ease of use and analysis are dependent on good questionnaire layout. The questionnaire should be laid out using adequate space and reasonable quality paper. If it looks too 'amateurish' the respondent is less likely to co-operate. If the questionnaire looks as though its perpetrators attach little importance to it, then why should respondents give up their time

How secondary data can be used

Secondary data can be useful in one or more of three ways in marketing research in exploratory work, as a news source or in marketing decisions. When secondary data are used as part of an exploratory study, they are often associated with long-range considerations of a firm, such as whether to think seriously about

Consumer classification systems

World War and is still the major classification system used today. The reason for its widespread use is that members of each social group or class show broadly similar patterns of behaviour, consumption, lifestyle, attitudes and media use in many situations. This can help to explain differences in use of, or response to, all kinds of products and services, and therefore gives a basis for comparison. It is also relatively easy to apply in research surveys and so is used in most surveys and marketing activity. However, the very fact that it is a prewar classification system highlights its current social grading deficiencies. Although the process of social change is slow (hence the system still has broad relevance in many situations), since the Second World War there has been considerable social change resulting in more social diversity. For many situations the system of social grading is no longer relevant and so cannot help in explaining or understanding consumer behaviour. The...

Types of research available

A number of types of marketing research are offered by specialist agencies Agencies of this kind may be able to do almost all forms of marketing research. The companies often offer consulting in marketing and even general management. They also may offer computer-based information for use in databases, marketing strategy decisions and the like.

Pretesting and revising a questionnaire

When they are first drafted, questionnaires often contain questions that are ambivalent, cumbersome and vague. Instructions may also be confusing the questionnaire may be too long and questions that should have been included may have been omitted. The pretest is a means of discovering the faults in a questionnaire before it is administered. To pretest a questionnaire, a small subsample of the intended respondent group is selected perhaps a dozen or so people. A good range of respondents is needed. The pretest can be run as a debriefing session or by using the protocol method.

Stage 1 Defining the research required

Before any research programme can be undertaken, its scope and objectives must be defined. Too often, research surveys are undertaken with insufficient clarification of their objectives, with the result that the findings are found to be too vague, too narrow or entirely inappropriate. The responsibility for defining the research objectives lies mainly with the manager who initiates the research and wishes to apply its results in decision making. A non-specialist manager may know very little about research, but is likely to be the only person with a clear idea of why the research is needed and how the findings will be used. If this is not communicated adequately to the researcher, the research programme that follows may be entirely misdirected.

Secondary desk research 421 Introduction

Secondary data is relatively quick and cheap to obtain. The growth of online services has made the process of accessing secondary data at home and overseas much faster. Once obtained, a regular series of updating information can usually be acquired from the same source. At best, secondary data may provide the complete answer to a problem. At worst, it will save the organization time and money when it comes to carrying out a piece of original field research. Secondary data can define the scope or direction of a field research survey and indicate the type and range of information that may be available. It will suggest possible methods for carrying out field research. If past research surveys are found to be too out of date for the information to be of current relevance, they may at least provide a basis for comparison with a new survey replicating the method. This will give the added insight of market change data to an original piece of research. There are several possible sources of...

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