Pros And Cons Of Online Research


Online research is inexpensive. The cost of gathering survey information electronically is much less expensive man by iradi-¡iongl means. A typical e-mail survey oos-lg gbCHjl hai v,hot a conventional survey cosis, and return nates can lie as hirih as LO percent. For instance, used online research to launch its broadband service in the Uniied Kingdom in 2(XK. How the com-parry does au its research online. The brand has seen art increase in response rales from 17 percent with paper-based research id aftrtOst 72 fierceni and cosls haw dropped 90 pencenl

Online research is taster. On ne surveys are f&lfr Fo complete since the survey can automatically direct respomlants. lo applicable nuc^liOfii and be senl electronically to lhe research supplier once finished. One estimate is lhat 75 lo 60 percent ol a survey's targeted response can be generated in hours using online methods, AS compared to a telephone survey lhat can take 70 [¡'ays to Obluiu ISO interviews.

People tend lo be more honest online than they are in personal or telephone interviews- Britain's online polling company look 500 people and surveyed I8IF via intercom in a booth and the older hall online, inetn politically,confect questions Such as 'Should there be more aid to Africa?" Online answers vvere deemed much more honest. People may be more open aboul their opinions when Ihey can respond to a survey prl-valely and not to another person whom tfiey feel might be judg^ ing Diem, especially on sensitive loolcs. Online research is more versatile- Ihe multimedia applications oi online research ait eseedalty advantaijecus. Ft* instance. A-tuai reality software lets visitors inspect 3-D models ol products such as cameras, cars, and medical equipment, and product characteristics can lie easily Manipulated online. Even al the most basic level, online surveys mate answering a questionnaire easier and more Fun 1han paper-anrf-pencil versions.

Pisact vantages

■ Samples can be small and skewed. Perhaps itr:i la-gssF criticism reveled againsl online research is that not everyone is cmtine. Research subjects who respond lo onilirie surveys sts moie likely to be tech-sawy nrddte-class miles. Some 40 per-cenl of households are withoui Internet access in the Uniied States—and there is an even Higher percentage v.ithoul acCeSs when you reatli nul lo international markels. These people are liloety to differ in socioeconomic and education levels from those online While marketers can be certain that more and more people will go online, it is important for offline masWet researchers to lind creative ways lo reach certain popda:ion segmen's that are less likely to be online, such as older Americans or Mispanics. One option is lo combine oil line sources iviUi online findings, Proving temporary Internal access at locations such as malls and recreation centers is another strategy, Some research lirms use statical mMlels lo lill in the gaps in market research left by oitlme consumer segments.

Online market research is prone to technological problems and inconsistencies. Because onhne research is a relatively new method, many market researchers have not goflen survey designs right. A common error occurs in transferring a written survey lo lhe screen. Others overuse technology, coocenirating on lhe bells and whisttes and graphics, while ignoring basic survey design guidelines. Problems also arise because browser soft-rare varies. The Web designer's linal product may bs seen very dillerently depending upon the research stibjecl's screen and operating system

Sources: Catr.jín'jí Driefel tJ^: Dene Kit; Heiï v3(ipcf!urwic5 íi f*¡si in Online Restaren," utifXtfiriQ fie.ii. Apiii l. ?Pf:-i |j. 11". lírna M. Ray ann ínarw w. labor, "Conlribiiing Factors; Several Issues Aiiecl e-Fieseareh Yaiidir/,' M?rJii7% Wens Sepiembor 15. 3003. p CO: Lnjelia Mites. "Online. Rn Tap," Ma/teOng. June 16.2001. pp. 3ÍÍ-40: Joe Qysart. "Cutling Mar*iM FKjseancii Costs witft Ofi'Sitc Survey," Tfie Secured tender (MarMAfx.' 2CW): Sufr Gflstifad. "The Opiniw Formers." ffijtQWw. May 2(KW. pp. 42-4G: Bct> tmus. Curetas! Future of &-10-B ftesearcfi iî O-ilme." r.tiïketuy/feivs, Setxcnter 24.2001. pp. 9-10.

ktcOonalEt's, watching Disney movie clips, feeding pets General Mills cereal, or playing Reese's Polfs Mini Golf Willi them. In this unique Form ol interactive product placement, advertisers pay to become part Of the branded Neopet envitonment. In return, they get increased exposure to (heir products or services and dala flnllieir target market's consumer behavior. "We live and breathe market research,' says Flik Kinney, executive vice president oF the Glenrfgte. California, company. The primary research mechanism at Neopets is a ik to an online survey, prominently displayed on 1he homepage. Members are rewarded wilh Neopoints for answering questions about their shopping habils. and users complete 5,000 to 8,000 surveys a day. interestingly, despite building a profitable business around selling information on its loyal users, Neopets has wan kudos from privacy advocates because the company only releases data about its user base as a i htfwleor about certain segments, bul does not reveal any tacts on individual users.15

11 -I PART 2 CA ■ ... i NO M- ■ lïtCE '" \G i ' IS1ÛH1 '

Mien chi,nmaker Intel Research parted ta know How peûçilc in carmines around liie world use technology, it sent an anthropotog' si lo 1 nid out. Or. Genevieve Bell visited 100 households n IS cities in J countries in Asia and the p$cilic Stus cajfl® back to Inlet wllti 2Û g Oati/les of digital pliolos. 19 Mil notebooks and insights about technology, culture, and design that would challenge company assumptions about digital lechnoiogy.

it çlands to reason (hat Intel—a global tecii pawçihouse—wo^ljj vjant lo know how technoagy is used in ¡is ¡nownaiHnal rtieikets. Yci ai cornpan have a siaVe in knowirjg how the rest of Ihfi vjodd sens and uses whal niosl Westerners take for granted: internet technol-Ogry. With online research becoming me fastest-growing markel research lool, ma^Kererg wilh global ambitions need to know which counlr are online find why, or wtiy .'lui.

Internet penelraiinn is low in most parts cl Asia. Lstin Anwca and Central and Easle«i Europe. In Brazil, ¡or example, only 1 percent d tiff population is onlir>- Wh't nicgt ueopte assume Wial the HH penetration is dtie lo economies Ibal tton'l support an expensive technological i^frastiucture. (here are other factors inured There's cîmate, lor one. In Malaysia, power surges caused by monsoons can try computer motherboards. Government is also a powerful Spur or banier to Iniemel penetration While the Chirise economy <s ?ooniing ahead, it's unlikely Ihe aulho'ilerign Ch.nese gwernment wil (eel comfortable frith marhel researchers gathering inlormaliofr front its citiieiis via Ihe rnternet Contrast this wth South Korea, '.-.'hefe "he govemmenl has made wie spread broadband Internet access a priority, and lias provided incentives lo PC makers to bring cheaper «»dels lo msitaL

Other sigriiiicant factors 1hat can keep computers find .". j-Fi and dala pons trom crossing Hie threshold are IBfijyofl and culiure. Dr. Bell found lhat wlties ol humility and s-mp:i(;ity are deenjed incompatible With Internet techrology and make it less welcome in some

Hindu homes in India or Musi mi homes in Malaysia and Indonesia. She also neieo that wh le Americans Itave private space m ihe home lor leisure activities. Japaift (¡¡Jhler quarters arffOdd IH 6 pr .acy. ih;s may explain die huge popularity o! lent messaging on mobile phones among Japan's young people.

Or. Bell's lindings on global responses lo lechnalngy point up one of the biggest obslacfes lo conducting international research, whether oniire or noi: a lack of consistency. Nan Marti n, global accounts director for Synovatt Inc., a market research lum with offices n ^e countries, sa^s in global research. we fuve to adafit cullmally to fwiv, where and with whom we are doing me research

A simple research sludy conducted globally becomes much mere complicated as a result o1 thettihtiral nuances, and it's rwessary lor us to be sensdive to these nuances in data collection and interpretation." For .nstance. suppose internet penetralion is equal, in Latin America, where consumers are uncomfortable wish ihe impersona' rvilure o< the Inland. researchers might neeo lo inco'porale interactive etemems into a survey so participants feel Ibey are talking to a real person. In Asia, locus groups arechakng -¡ri because of Ihe oii-tmai tendency lo wnfortn. Online surveys may bring more honest responses and keep respondents Irom 'losing face."

And whal if a rcsfeirnher cc'lects dala face to-lace in Mexico, but [jy Internet in the United Stales? Nan Martin says mar. "not only are ihe suljjccis answering me tiuesli'on d. heredity because of cultural dillerence. hut Ihe da!a arc bciJig collected by a dillerent m^lhoo. lhat can shake ihe underpinnings of im1 ;escarch scientisis lee: alwul cottoning data- that every lims you change a variable, you're jnaKing interpretation of the results more challenging. It is so Challenging. in fact, thai some say this is an area where g'slial marketers aie best served by hiring an expert—an otdside research firm wflh ane>nenise n acouiriiHg and anal/^ng ntcmational data."

Soarctt. Artjixinii Pamar, "Shsnbln'ii UkKks; Hat Research Is Nol Owite GSdba: Hett% March 3. 200^. p. Si ; CaBlfirtie xVnoM. "GWHl

Pïrsiwci1»®; Eyoovate Ejîc Discusses Tuture cf intnmsUinal Fumcstc!:.' Marketing tow. May IS, 2(KM. p J3. Michael irard. "For Tochiioiajy No Small yM insrAV Nei? Wv* Jidibs May 6,20Q4. p. Detoan LVtoce. Jti^n Gjnsisimo,-. Lnwtto il» Eï^ns - itpitsfogHtK. /wii 2&. 2Dû3, p. 37

It is important m recognize thai not everyone in the sample population will be online. (See "Marketing Insight: Global Online Nhirfcct Research Cha[lcti^cs,"i

Step 4: Analyze the Information

The nest it)-last step ill the proccss is to extract findings from the collected data. The researcher tiihulates the data and devers frequency distribtttions Averages and measures of dispersion are computed for the major variables. The researcher will also apply sonic advanced staiisiieal lec huh pics and decision models in the hope of discovering additional findings.

Step S: Present the Findings

As the last step, (be researelier presents the finding. I he researcher should present limliiigs that are relevant to the major markelinK decisions facing management. The main survey findings lot tire American Airlines case show lhat;

1. ihe chief reasons lor using in-night Internet service are to pass tlu1 time Stirling, and tq send and receive messages from colleagues and family. The charge tvould be put on passenders' charge accounts and paid by their companies.

2. Abo ill 5 first-cJnss. passengers out of every 10 would List1 the Internet service during a flight at about t> would use ii at SI5. Thus, it charge of SITj would produce less revenue (S90 = 6 x S15) (ban S25 (S125 = 5 x S25). Hy charging S25. AA would collect S125 per iliglu. Assuming that the same flight takes place $65- days a year, AA would annually coVleti J&2S ly- $V2S x . SwwjC v\\c vnvcsMnent » %'jfy fSRfy, ii witt vaVue wfvpnMiv-malely I WO years held re Ain erica rl Airlines breaks even.

Offering in-flight service would strengthen the public's image of American Ai dines as an innovative and progressive airline. Am erica ti would gain some new passengers and customer goodwill.

Step 6: Make the Decision

The managers who commissioned the research need to weigh the evidence, if their confidence in ihi? findings is low they inay decide against introducing the in-flight Internet service. If they are predisposed to launching the service, the findings support llteir inclination. They may even decide to study the issues further atid do more research. The decision Is theirs, hut hopefully die research provided thepi with insight inin the problem, [Sl-l- Table <t.3,Jlf"

A growing number of ions are using a marketing decision support svstem to help their marketing managers make better decisions. MIT'S John Little tie lines a marketing decision support system (MiiSS) as a coordinated collection of data, systems, tools, and techniques with supporting software and hardware by which an organisation gathers and interprets relevant information from business and environment and turns it into a basis for marketing action,'7

A classic MUSS example is the CALLPIAN model which helps salespeople determine the [lumber of calls to make per period to each prospect and current client. The model takes into account travel time as well as selling time. When launched, the model was tested at (Jrifted Airlines with an experimental group (hid managed tt> increase its sales over a matched control group by B percentage points.11* Once a year, \ltifketing News lists hundreds of current marketing and sales software programs that assist in designing marketing research studies, segmenting markets, setting prices and advertising budgets, analyzing media, and planning sales force activity.

1. Scientific method.

2. Researdi creanvity.

3. MuMple ¡methods.

a. independence of models and data. 5. Ualue and cosl ol information.

6 HeatHiy skepticism. 7.. tinieal marketing.

tlfsclve picketing research uses the principles of the scientific methed; carcful observation, formulation of hypotheses. prediction, and testing. A1 il$ best, marveling research develops Innovative ways to stive a problem: a cfoltiing company calering to teenagEts gave several young men vitJeo cameras, Ihen [Lsed the videos tor focus gnxips heK in restaurants and oilier places teens ireqtient.

Marketing iesavrChets shy &f&i from wetteliaflM on any one method. TYiey also necognirc tne value ol using iv.oor IIiîec metiHXts le increase cnnlidence in the results.

Markeimg .researchers recognize lhai data are interpreted from underlying models thai guide liie type at information sougtsl. Marketing researchers snow concern for eslimal ng Ihe value el ¡rïlûfmaiion against its cost Cosls are typically easy la detemi ne. Out ihe value of research is harder lo quantity, Ii depends on the reliolbility and va Wily of the findings and managements willingness to accept end act on uiosc findings Malting researches stav a healthy skepitism toward giis assumptions maria by managers afoul haw a market works. They are alert to the problems caused by ■"marketing myitis*

Marketing le&earch benefits both the sponsoring company and ils customers. The misuse of marketing rcscfincti can harm or annoy consumers, increasing resentment at what consumers regard aj an invasion of Hicir prwacy or a disguised sales pilch.

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