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 of the risk out of marketing decision making by providing information that can contribute to sound marketing decision making. This may be achieved in all elements of the marketing mix and, through involvement in problem formulation and solution finding, marketing research becomes an integral part of the process of formulating marketing strategy. Marketing research can perform a variety of studies and makes use of both primary and secondary data sources. It can be applied either in-house or by marketing research companies that specialise in this form of consultancy. The latter offer a wide range of services from off-the-peg studies to tailor-made studies to meet the needs of individual clients. Like many other services involving the generation of confidential information and reports, ethical considerations are an important issue and need to be fully explored. New ways of asking questions pose challenges for marketing researchers and the introduction of creativity into marketing research is paramount.
1 Discuss how marketing research helps reduce the risk in marketing decision
2 Design a marketing information system for an SME marketing a soft drink. How would you incorporate marketing research data into such a system?
3 Discuss how marketing research is part of marketing strategy.
4 Why is there a need for more creativity in marketing research?
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