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.
Web page self-completion forms facilitate the assessing of attitudes, wants and values of an organisation's customers. For example, a firm might use a self-completion form to learn about its customers' demographics and product preferences. The firm might employ such data as a basis for segmenting its market.
The Internet might be used during product/service development. A company can quickly assess globally customers' thoughts about product changes or new products before any research and development investments are made. In the same way, firms can gain much information through monitoring discussion groups made up of members of the firm's customer base. Executives can use this information to learn not only of the perceived strengths and weaknesses of their own products or services, but also of those of their competitors.
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