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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.

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...

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.

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).

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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...

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...

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.

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...

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

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...

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.

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...

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.

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...

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

Preface to the second edition

Many books on marketing research are aimed at developing the technical expertise of the intending or actual research practitioner. This book is aimed at those who are intending or actual managers with a need to use research rather than practise it. It owes its existence to managers from many different areas of industry who attended courses on marketing research run by Sunny Crouch. They demonstrated the need for a book aimed squarely at the individual who wishes to use marketing research as an aid to better decision making. Their feedback suggested that the material was both relevant and useful. These managers attended courses to learn more about marketing research because they believed, as we do, that the more a manager knows about this management tool, then the more effective he or she can be in using it. The book therefore aims to develop a better informed approach to the use of marketing research as an aid to decision making, by giving an insight into how marketing research is...

Preface to the third edition

Since this book first appeared in 1984, the marketing research industry has undergone a transformation. The industry has consolidated and concentrated. The turnover of the leading research organizations mirrors that of the largest marketing services organizations. These organizations have internationalized, largely following their client base, so that in almost every country in the world there is access to professional, locally sensitive but internationally aware, research companies. Progress in computing technology has changed the way the world does business. The cost of processing power and data storage has plummeted. The wholesale introduction of computers and their application in survey design, analysis and reporting has changed the skills required of the researcher. Surveys can be designed, administered, analysed and reported upon using integrated survey management systems that take some of the laborious data processing work out of marketing research. In addition, the businesses...

Who should read this book

It is assumed that the managers who will find the book most useful are those who wish to use marketing research as one of the tools of a manager's trade and not those whose major responsibility is for the design or conduct of research. For this reason, the emphasis is on the manager's role in commissioning and controlling, rather than conducting, research. Nevertheless, the manager who must do his or her own research should find considerable guidance to help in that task. It is not suggested that reading this book is all the preparation necessary for carrying out a 'do-it-yourself' research project. In fact, the reaction of most managers learning something about marketing research for the first time is, 'I didn't realize this was such a technical area ' That is not to say, of course, that the manager who is interested will never be able to carry out all or some of the parts of a research project, but simply that the aims of this book are to offer an introduction to and an appreciation...

What does the book cover

Marketing research involves the analysis of marketing problems and techniques for the collection and interpretation of data to assist in developing the most appropriate solutions to them. It is concerned with identifying and anticipating customer requirements and measuring satisfaction with the products and services made available. It also produces data used in assessing and controlling the performance of an organization. This book aims to assist managers in any organization to become more informed and therefore more effective research users. It introduces marketing research by explaining What marketing research is (Chapter 1) How research surveys are carried out (Chapters 5-10) Four features of the text will be particularly useful for new users of research. First, Chapter 4, on 'off-the-peg' research, guides the reader to sources of readily available information, both online and offline. Two sources not readily identifiable by the new user are listed syndicated research services and...

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...

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.

Madetomeasure field research

Some research can be carried out by executives within a user organization. Exploratory interviews in industrial or trade research and postal surveys are the most commonly used do-it-yourself research methods because they are possible and practical. However, the fact that they are apparently easy to do means that, as in do-it-yourself in many other areas, a great deal of bad workmanship can result If an organization does plan to do its own marketing research then the executives concerned will need to know rather more about it than could possibly be covered in a short introductory book such as this. Suggestions for improving personal research expertise are offered in Chapter 17. Research techniques almost always commissioned from research agencies are those involving large-scale interviewing or telephone research surveys, because these require more routine time and staff than most organizations are likely to wish to handle, or are able to do, cost effectively. Group discussions and...

What goes into an internal information system

Together, the four types of data illustrated can provide an internal desk research information system. This is a system that produces useful and usable information through organized methods for collecting, storing, retrieving, manipulating and reporting on data available from within the firm. The first category of data illustrated is called 'operating data' because it is produced as a result of the operation of the organization. The second data category is called 'market intelligence' because it refers to intelligence information acquired by individuals who work for the organization as a result of the personal contacts they make. Market intelligence differs from marketing research by being less systematic or representative in the selection of sources from which information is acquired. The third category is accumulated research and marketing information, and this forms the basis for setting up an internal 'information library' or database. The last category, decision support systems,...

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...

Continuous monitoring for problems

A systematic approach to problem definition can help to direct marketing research staff in their efforts to obtain relevant information. It is also informative to all those people in the organisation who will be affected by the findings and recommendations. Marketing research can find information that helps to answer the following questions

Deciding whether to undertake a research study

Whether marketing research makes organisations more profitable is open to question for there are other factors to consider. Profits are associated not just with increased revenues but also result from controlling or even cutting costs - to name but two sources Many of these factors may have nothing to do with marketing research. However, in theory decision making based on good information should be better than decision making made on the basis of no information or poor information. Of course, in practice, this may not hold true. Even information that is thought to be good may not necessarily be useful. People's attitudes and opinions do not always match with their actions so that information collected can sometimes be misleading. For example, people may say that they will buy a new car in the next year and that they will buy a specific model. Many factors can then intervene in the meanwhile that will mean that the intended actions are not followed through. The above, however, is a...

Uncertainty in decisions

MARKETING RESEARCH HELPS TO DISPEL UNCERTAINTY A producer of gourmet foods encounters uncertainty when contemplating a new product containing large percentages of saturated fat and cholesterol. How strong is consumer awareness of these dangers to health Are people likely to become rapidly more health conscious Marketing research would be very advisable for this new product.

Probable payoff of each option

The cost of getting information should be weighed against possible sales and profits that may result from implementing a proposed course of action. Hence, the nature and amount of marketing research to be undertaken must be strictly controlled by cost and profit considerations. In many cases the cost of research is small compared with the possible benefits to be derived from adopting a course of action. The profits associated with the introduction of new products can run into many millions of pounds whereas the cost of marketing research may be measured in thousands of pounds. However, there may be instances where marketing research is relatively costly in relation to expected benefits. In such cases, decision trees like the one in Figure 2.1, including the options of 'with' or 'without' research, can be set up to estimate the value of undertaking research. Value of marketing research

Costs of getting information

Using the maximum or minimum payoff projections, management should decide how much it could spend on research. There also has to be an estimate of the time that can be spent on adequate research. Marketing management is always keen to move ahead since a new product or a new service is exciting, especially when the future of the product appears bright. New lines and new markets stimulate the imagination. Taking time for adequate marketing research is difficult in such circumstances, but it is necessary. Failure to provide adequate time can lead to inadequate research, poor decisions - and regret and recriminations.

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.

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...

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

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.

Other general sources

This is a short-sighted and damaging decision. The GHS is a prime source of continuous survey data since 1971. Its value lies in an unbroken series embracing income, housing, family composition, health, employment status, education, disability, use of social services, informal care and much else. It provides a window into the growing world of self-employment, the effects of widening inequality and the growth and impact of lone parenthood, while providing measures of social integration and exclusion. It is used in government, in academia and in market research.

Deciding the data requirement

The second step involves generating a list of necessary information. In doing this, it is important to distinguish between what is essential to know, and what it would be nice to know, and to delete the latter. This can be accomplished by going back over the first list of necessary information and deleting from it those bits of information that are inessential. The resultant list of essential information now forms the basis for deriving research survey objectives, and makes it possible to redefine the original problem in marketing research terms. A manufacturer of industrial contract materials produced a new flooring material. The success of the product was very important to the organization because markets for most of their product ranges were in decline. Management had high hopes for the new product, which produced a more durable floor with a better finish than existing materials, although it was more expensive. Laying the flooring required a completely different technique to that...

Consumer geographies demographics and psychographics

Psychologists use the term psychographics to mean the personality characteristics of an individual. Now that its usage has been adapted to marketing research, its meaning has been expanded. It is used to describe people not only in terms of their personality characteristics, but also in terms of their interests and lifestyles as a reflection of these characteristics.

Case study 34 powerup electricity plc

For the French company, the UK was an unknown territory. Having seen some of the mistakes made by French utility companies during the privatisation of water supplies in Britain, the parent company's management were nervous about making the same errors, so they decided to carry out a major market research exercise in order to ascertain the likely acceptability of PowerUp plc. The company's target market was home owners with family incomes in excess of 25,000 a year an analysis of the French utility company's own records showed that these households (or at least, their French equivalents) had the lowest rate of default on credit, were relatively large consumers of electricity and were usually prompt payers. PowerUp needed to identify these customers, establish ways of reaching them and (more importantly) find out what would attract them to switch electricity suppliers.

Internet and email research

Self-completion questionnaires have been taken a step further by the introduction of direct computer interviewing via the Internet or associated e-mail systems. Here the respondent works directly with the computer, following instructions presented on the screen. This technique has also been transferred to telephone research, where responses generated via the telephone keypad initiate the next phase of the interview. The questions are prerecorded. The growth of wireless and cable networks, and applications such as interactive television and mobile telephony on Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) or third-generation mobile devices, means that the potential for development in this area is large. However, the impersonal nature of the process means that some respondents find this interview method intimidating, or simply beyond their level of technological know-how. Growth to date has been steady, although this is changing. The advantage of direct response by electronic means compared with...

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...

Definition of the population

The population is the total group to be studied, the target population (sometimes referred to as the universe). It is the grand total of what is being measured people, stores, homes or whatever. But since most samples in marketing research are of people, homes or stores, the term population, as we use it here, typically refers to one of these. If the purpose of the study has been well defined, the population is also well delineated. This is crucial if the study is to be significant and practical for the guidance of marketing management.

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...

How is the sample selected

Samples are selected from populations, and the term 'sample' has already been explained. In marketing research, use of the term 'population' refers to the whole group whose views are to be represented. For example, some surveys are interested in the views of the general population of the country. More commonly, marketing researchers are interested in the views of populations with characteristics of special relevance the population of motorists, the population of housewives, the population of retail outlets for a particular type of goods, the population of suppliers of a particular type of industrial machinery, the population of professional groups such as architects, or users of social services, and so on. Data collected from the sample are referred to as 'statistics' and these sample statistics are used to estimate the 'population parameter'. That is, results obtained from a sample are used to calculate the results that would have been obtained from the underlying population had a...

Obtaining the right respondent

When carrying out consumer telephone surveys, it is essential to make use of a recording form to ensure that the prescribed steps are properly carried out. This ensures that the consumer telephone sample is carried out as planned. The same kind of attention is required with a sample of business respondents. In a telephone survey where executives are the target sample, it is often difficult to get past the secretary or the assistant to the executive. A personal visit to the office often presents the same problem. Making a telephone call or sending a letter ahead of time, to see if a specific time can be set for that telephone call or personal visit, can help to resolve the problem. The nature of the questioning can be outlined. This not only gives the secretary a chance to clear it with the boss, but gives the executive time to obtain materials and documents ready for the interview. However, advance notice may also cause problems. It is often difficult for the potential respondent to...

Low cost per response

The costs of a postal survey are low. However, it is assumed that the user is an expert in postal surveys and understands how to get a high rate of return. On this assumption, the costs per return are low compared with most other survey methods. It is the going-in cost that is high once the basic costs have been paid,

Allowing for method of analysis

When preparing a questionnaire, a great deal of time and money at the analysis stage can be saved. One of the major ways of doing this is to use precoded questions, as mentioned in Section 8.6.1 and illustrated in Figure 8.2. Not only the question, but also a list of responses appears on the questionnaire. Code numbers for each response appear in the far righthand column of the questionnaire, and the interviewer simply rings the relevant response. These ringed codes can be entered into the computer directly from the questionnaire. This saves the intervening stage of coding original responses when the questionnaires are returned. By precoding responses, and deciding beforehand how many codes will be allotted to open-ended questions, the whole questionnaire can be laid out in such a way that as much direct input as possible is facilitated. Computer-assisted interviewing either by telephone (CATI), on the World Wide Web (CAWI) or in person (CAPI) clearly facilitates this process further....

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

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.

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.

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,...

Who are the interviewers

In the UK the market research industry depends mainly on freelance interviewers. Thus, the interviewers like to retain the freedom of when they will work and when they will not. For this reason most agencies need to have a much higher number of interviewers on their books than they will expect to use at any one time, since some of the interviewers will want to work at a particular time and others will not. Inevitably, there is some degree of lack of control in this type of situation where the interviewers do not see themselves as the employees of the company for which they work and indeed they will usually work for more than one research company. The typical characteristics used for selection of interviewers are as follows.

The Interviewer Quality Control Scheme

As part of its concern about instituting and maintaining good-quality fieldwork, the Market Research Society (MRS) operates an IQCS and in 2002, 84 companies were members of the scheme. The scheme covers the following types of fieldwork consumer, social and qualitative research, consumer and retail panels and audits, hall tests and telephone research. In each case the scheme lays down minimum standards for recruitment, office procedures, supervision, training, quality control (IQCS standards are in line with BS 5750) and survey administration. Each member company is visited annually by an independent inspector and required to produce documentation and other evidence that it conforms to or exceeds the minimum standards. Inspection can be made with a minimum of 24 hours' notice. If accepted as a member of the scheme, the company is shown in the MRS listing of organizations, and if providing market research services, in the Research Buyer's Guide. Members of the IQCS are also listed in...

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-

Briefing the interviewers

In most routine consumer surveys the interviewers are unlikely to be given a personal briefing. A good explanatory written brief must therefore be developed to be sent to the interviewers with the questionnaires. This may be followed up by a telephone briefing from the area supervisor. In complex or unusual consumer surveys it may be necessary to hold interviewer briefing meetings, and these will have to be paid for to cover the interviewers' time.

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...

Analysis of quantitative data

From the discussion in Chapter 5 it will be clear that quantitative data is typically produced using a questionnaire that is either interviewer administered or designed for self-completion by the respondent. In either case, the end result will be a large number (often 500 or more) of completed questionnaires containing both precoded and open-ended answers. To combine all the answers and thus make a meaningful summary of responses, there are several stages in the analysis process data preparation, data processing, computer and statistical analysis and testing. These are discussed in the following subsections.

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

Measuring statistical relationships

The importance of statistical tests of relationship between variables is that these measures indicate how various factors operating within a market influence and interact with each other. They can indicate how a market works by identifying and quantifying cause-and-effect relationships. These make it possible for a decision maker to predict the outcomes of particular actions that could be taken, because they indicate which variables influence the marketplace and by how much. Armed with this kind of information the decision maker becomes a far more informed operator in the market. He or she can measure which of the marketing and non-marketing variables have what effects in the marketplace, for example, how sales are affected by changes in price, advertising or average daily temperature. It is at this point that marketing decision making becomes more of a science than an art. These are compelling reasons why any commissioner and user of marketing research data should attempt to...

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.

Choosing the right agency 1141 Drawing up the shortlist

A good starting point is to obtain the Market Research Society's booklet The Research Buyer's Guide. The details given in this make it possible to match the agency to the job large job, large agency small job, small agency industrial job, industrial agency, etc. The booklet also identifies agencies with appropriate specialist services, e.g. in travel and tourism, motoring research, industrial research and financial research. Another useful source is to ask colleagues, friends and business acquaintances to recommend agencies with whom they have had good experience. From this selection procedure a shortlist of two or three agencies should be drawn up and a meeting arranged to discuss the research._

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.

The research proposal

It is not usual for agencies to charge clients for producing research proposals, but members of the British Market Research Association (BMRA) have a policy of asking clients how many agencies are being asked to write proposals. If it is more than three agencies then BMRA members may charge the offending organizations for each proposal produced. This is an attempt to control the activities of client companies who waste time and money by asking for an unreasonably large number of research proposals as a means of obtaining free research advice.

Was the research to specification

The importance of a detailed research proposal being agreed and confirmed in writing in the commissioning letter has already been emphasized. Since this commissioning letter contained the agreed specification for the research, it can be used to check that the research was to specification. The technical aspects of the survey should be checked sample, definition, method of selection, size, interviewing method, organization, questionnaires, data handling procedures, and so on. Are the tabulations as agreed, with the correct number of tables and the correct cross-tabulations Is the report as agreed, with the number of copies required

Electronic interviewing

Electronic interviewing is a method that can be used for both one-to-one interviews and focus groups, and offers practical advantages. In the first place it is not constrained by geographical locations or time zones and, second, electronic interviewing requires no additional transcription. Not only does this save money but it can also eliminate errors introduced through transcription. Third, electronic interviewing diminishes the problem of interviewer effect. It can also reduce problems caused by dominant or shy participants, particularly in electronic focus groups.

Madetomeasure research

In carrying out quantitative surveys, industrial marketing researchers are more likely than their consumer counterparts to make use of postal, online and telephone research. Postal research presents itself as a fairly obvious first step for an organization new to using research. It has the attraction of economy and may be seen as particularly appropriate when address lists of the population to be sampled, such as lists of customers, are readily available. It is also particularly suitable for gathering basic market data and very often in industrial marketing research this is what is required. Its limitations as to representativeness of respondents when response rates are low must, however, be considered. There is some evidence to suggest that as industrial organizations become more regular users of research they are less likely to be users of postal research methods. In the business-to-business sector, online research has a good chance of success. Almost all executives have access to...

Who provides the information

The sampling methods discussed in Chapter 7 are also used in industrial marketing. 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 industrial markets such lists do exist and are used as the basis of random probability sampling. Business directories are often used for this purpose, or internal lists such as customer lists or business mailing lists. Stratification as a sophistication of random sampling and, to some extent, quota sampling are also practised in industrial marketing research. In this case, the allocation of sample segments would be based on appropriate industrial criteria such as Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or the size of an organization in terms of turnover, or number of employees. When applied to customer lists, stratification is used in order to ensure appropriate representation of large, medium and small customers. A difficulty that exists in...

Who asks the questions

Here, industrial marketing research differs from consumer research in that it is more likely that the researcher will be a member of the organization's own staff. This is particularly so when the interviews are depth interviews with expert respondents, as in an exploratory market survey. In this case, the company researcher may wish to carry out these interviews personally as a briefing background to acquire greater insight into the market being studied. Some industrial organizations use sales personnel to carry out research interviews, but there are dangers in doing this. The first is that sales personnel are rarely sufficiently objective to make good researchers. The second is that although the use of sales personnel makes the research appear very cheap, once the opportunity cost of lost selling time has been costed into the procedure, the specialist industrial marketing research interviewers appear to be a more economical and effective means of gathering the required information....

How do you buy good research

Systematic procedures for identifying, evaluating and selecting a marketing research agency, as described in Chapter 11, are equally applicable in industrial markets. The main differences are that in many technical industrial markets characterized by relatively few and highly specialized potential customers, it may be more likely that the company's own research department will handle any depth interviewing required. It is also more likely that industrial companies will make use of industrial marketing research consultants for guidance on specific 'made-to-measure' projects, rather than establish an in-house research department. Appropriate industrial researchers can be found via the Business and Industrial Group (BIG) of the Market Research Society. This group is very active and has its own conference. Relevant industry expertise will be found in the Research Buyer's Guide. Details of BIG and other research interest groups can be found on the MRS website http www.mrs.org.uk.

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.

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