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 systems such as SAGACITY and ACORN.
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