Consumertracking studies

Associated with traditional test marketing, consumer-tracking studies (market-tracking studies) are diagnostic aids. These studies track what is, or is not, happening as a result of the marketing campaign. They do this by continuing contact with consumers, doing 'waves' of studies, as they are sometimes called, to measure such things as:

• brand awareness

• recall of advertising

• purchase behaviour

• product satisfaction

• intent to repurchase.

Questions about the recall of advertising probe for 'unaided advertising recall'. Typically, the person is first asked about what brands of a product or service they are aware of. The first two brands named are considered by marketers as an indication of probable purchase. Purchase and repurchase behaviour are particularly significant. Overall audit figures report only total sales and market shares. Such reports do not show repurchase behaviour.

Consumer-tracking studies take one of two forms: the one-off study or the panel. Both are carried out in waves, but the one-shot study is conducted with a separate, but comparable, sample of respondents each time. The panel study is conducted with the identical group of people on each wave. Both approaches often make use of the telephone interview method.

Tracking studies must meet rigorous requirements if they are to be useful. Large shifts are rare in tracking studies, so they must be able to measure small differences. Thus the sample design has to include a large and random sample with rigorous controls in execution.

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