Factors to consider

Which research technique will be appropriate for any particular advertising problem will depend on the objective and significance of the campaign under consideration, the amount of uncertainty about the brand and the market segment, and the possible outcomes of advertising expenditure. Also relevant will be the purpose for which the research is being used. Research for creative development is typically small scale. It uses qualitative methods that are relatively quick and inexpensive, but rich in insight, ideas and depth. For targeting, media planning and campaign evaluation, large-scale quantitative surveys or syndicated data are more commonly used.

At a more sophisticated level, when attempts to measure or predict the effects of particular advertising approaches are required, some form of research experiment is normally indicated.

Experimentation in research may use any of the data-collection methods discussed. The key feature lies in the approach, structure and design of the research procedure. Experiments are normally used when the decision maker has more than one option open, and requires data on the possible outcomes of alternative strategies. The implication of this is that the research design must be sufficiently rigorous to ensure that valid comparisons can be made. Using research in experiments was discussed more fully in Chapter 12.

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