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Chapter: Business Science - Marketing Management - Marketing Research and Trends in Marketing

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Marketing Research

Marketing research is a process that identifies and defines marketing opportunities and problems, monitors and evaluates marketing actions and performance, and communicates the findings and implications to management


Marketing Research

 

Marketing research is a process that identifies and defines marketing opportunities and problems, monitors and evaluates marketing actions and performance, and communicates the findings and implications to management

 

1.Four steps of Marketing Research Process

 

1.                 Define the problem and research objectives

 

2.                 Develop the research plan

 

3.                 Implement the research plan

 

4.                 Interpret and report the findings

 

1.Research Approaches

 

Observational research Survey research

 

Experimental research

 

2.Contact Methods in Research

 

Mail

 

Telephone

 

Personal Interview

 

1.                 Individual (intercept) interview

 

1.                 In-depth interview Internet surveying

 

1.                 Electronic mail

 

1.                 Web page Focus groups

 

3.Sampling Plan

 

1.             A sample is a segment of the population selected to represent the population as a whole

 

2.             To design a sample four decisions must be made:

 

–   Who will be surveyed?

 

–   How many people will be surveyed?

 

–   How will the sample be chosen?

 

1.                 Probability or nonprobability samples

 

–   When will the survey be given?

 

4.Research Instruments

 

1.             Primary research instruments

 

–   The interview

 

1.                 structured e.g questionnaires

 

2.                 unstructured

 

–   Mechanical devices

 

–   Structured models eg. test markets

 

 

–               What are some types of closed-ended and open-ended questions?

 

4.Information Analysis

 

1.             Analysis of collected information can assist in distinguishing relationships between data

 

2.             Help managers answer questions like ―what if and ―which is best

 

5.Distributing Information

 

Information is not helpful unless it is able to reach the managers clearly and in a timely manner

 

Recent developments in information handling have led to a revolution in its distribution

 

Stage 1: Formulating the Marketing Research Problem

 

Formulating a problem is the first step in the research process. In many ways, research starts with a problem that management is facing. This problem needs to be understood, the cause diagnosed, and solutions developed.

 

However, most management problems are not always easy to research. A management problem must first be translated into a research problem. Once you approach the problem from a research angle, you can find a solution. For example, ―sales are not growing‖ is a management problem.

 

Translated into a research problem, we may examine the expectations and experiences of several groups: potential customers, first-time buyers, and repeat purchasers. We will determine if the lack of sales is due to:

 

1.             Poor expectations that lead to a general lack of desire to buy, or

2.             Poor performance experience and a lack of desire to repurchase.

 

What then is the difference between a management problem and a research problem? Management problems focus on an action. Do we advertise more? Do we change our advertising message? Do we change an under-performing product configuration?

 

If so, how?

 

Research problems, on the other hand, focus on providing the information you need in order to solve the management problem.

 

Stage 2: Method of Inquiry

 

The scientific method is the standard pattern for investigation. It provides an opportunity for you to use existing knowledge as a starting point and proceed impartially.

 

The scientific method includes the following steps:

 

1.             Formulate a problem

2.             Develop a hypothesis

3.             Make predictions based on the hypothesis

4.             Devise a test of the hypothesis

5.             Conduct the test

 

6.             Analyze the results

 

 

The terminology is similar to the stages in the research process. However, there are subtle differences in the way the steps are performed. For example, the scientific method is objective while the research process can be subjective.

 

Objective-based research (quantitative research) relies on impartial analysis.

 

The facts are the priority in objective research. On the other hand, subjective-based research (qualitative research) emphasizes personal judgment as you collect and analyze data.

 

Stage 3: Research Method

 

In addition to selecting a method of inquiry (objective or subjective), you must select a research method.

 

There are two primary methodologies that can be used to answer any research question: experimental research and non-experimental research.

 

Experimental research gives you the advantage of controlling extraneous variables and manipulating one or more variables that influences the process being implemented. Non-experimental research allows observation but not intervention.

 

You simply observe and report on your findings.

 

6.Defining the Problem and Research Objectives

 

Exploratory research – gather preliminary information to help define the problem and suggest hypotheses

 

Descriptive research – describe the size and composition of the market Causal research – tests hypotheses about cause and effect relationships

 

 

Developing the Research Plan

 

Determining Specific Information Needs – translate research objectives into specific information needs

 

Gathering Secondary Information –collect information that is already in existence

 

Planning Primary Data Collection – information being collected for the specific purpose at hand

 

Stage 4: Research Design

 

The research design is a plan or framework for conducting the study and collecting data. It is defined as the specific methods and procedures you use to acquire the information you need.

 

Stage 5: Data Collection Techniques

 

Your research design will develop as you select techniques to use. There are many ways to collect data. Two important methods to consider are interviews and observation. Interviews require you to ask questions and receive responses.

 

Common modes of research communication include interviews conducted face-to-face, by mail, by telephone, by email, or over the Internet. This broad category of research techniques is known as survey research.

These techniques are used in both non-experimental research and experimental research.

 

Another way to collect data is by observation. Observing a person‘s or company‘s past or present behavior can predict future purchasing decisions. Data collection techniques for past behavior can include analyzing company records and reviewing studies published by external sources.

 

In order to analyze information from interview or observation techniques, you must record your results. Because the recorded results are vital, measurement and development are closely linked to which data collection techniques you decide on.

 

The way you record the data changes depends on which method you use.

 

Stage 6: Sample Design

 

Your marketing research project will rarely examine an entire population. It‘s more practical to use a sample—a smaller but accurate representation of the greater population. In order to design your sample, you must find answers to these questions:

 

1.                 From which base population is the sample to be selected?

2.                 What is the method (process) for sample selection?

3.                 What is the size of the sample?

 

Once you‘ve established who the relevant population is (completed in the problem formulation stage), you have a base for your sample. This will allow you to make inferences about a larger population. There are two methods of selecting a sample from a population: probability or non-probability sampling.

 

The probability method relies on a random sampling of everyone within the larger population.

 

Non- probability is based in part on the judgment of the investigator, and often employs convenience samples, or by other sampling methods that do not rely on probability.

 

The final stage of the sample design involves determining the appropriate sample size. This important step involves cost and accuracy decisions. Larger samples generally reduce sampling error and increase accuracy, but also increase costs.

 

Stage 7: Data Collection

 

Once you‘ve established the first six stages, you can move on to data collection.

 

Depending on the mode of data collection, this part of the process can require large amounts of personnel and a significant portion of your budget. Personal (face-to-face) and telephone interviews may require you to use a data collection agency (field service).

 

Internet surveys require fewer personnel, are lower cost, and can be completed in days rather than weeks or months.

 

Regardless of the mode of data collection, the data collection process introduces another essential element to your research project: the importance of clear and constant communication.

 

Stage 8: Analysis and Interpretation

 

In order for data to be useful, you must analyze it.

 

Analysis techniques vary and their effectiveness depends on the types of information you are collecting, and the type of measurements you are using. Because they are dependent on the data collection, analysis techniques should be decided before this step.

 

Stage 9: The Marketing Research Report

 

The marketing research process culminates with the research report.

 

This report will include all of your information, including an accurate description of your research process, the results, conclusions, and recommended courses of action. The report should provide all the information the decision maker needs to understand the project.

 

It should also be written in language that is easy to understand. It‘s important to find a balance between completeness and conciseness. You don‘t want to leave any information out; however, you can‘t let the information get so technical that it overwhelms the reading audience.

 

One approach to resolving this conflict is to prepare two reports: the technical report and the summary report. The technical report discusses the methods and the underlying assumptions. In this document, you discuss the detailed findings of the research project.

 

The summary report, as its name implies, summarizes the research process and presents the findings and conclusions as simply as possible.

 

Another way to keep your findings clear is to prepare several different representations of your findings. PowerPoint presentations, graphs, and face-to-face reports are all common methods for presenting your information.

 

Along with the written report for reference, these alternative presentations will allow the decision maker to understand all aspects of the project.

 

 

7.APPLICATIONS OF MARKET RESEARCH

 

 

7.1.Pricing Research

 

We provide pricing strategy consulting backed by strong pricing research capabilities. Our perspective is broad when dealing with pricing research and pricing strategy decisions, and focus on finding for your business optimum price-product-feature configurations in the context of market positioning opportunities. We employ both qualitative and quantitative pricing research tools.

 

 

7.2Product Research

 

Product market research serves several goals: new product design and market validation research, or assessing existing product strength and line extension potential. We follow the product development cycle integrating research with creative positioning and technical product design efforts.

 

 

7.3.Concept Testing

 

Concept testing research evaluates advertising concepts, ad theme concepts and appeals, new product concepts, pricing, brand concepts, brand names, and positioning strategy concepts. We select techniques -- qualitative and quantitative -- to both develop concepts, refine, and screen to assess market potential.

 

 

7.4.Positioning Research

 

We offer experienced market positioning and creative branding research capabilities to define and go-to-market with a high-impact positioning strategy. First, it requires understanding the market positioning concept, your current and potential markets, and the process needed to generate brand name impact.

 

7.5.Marketing Due Diligence

 

We support venture investment firms with primary and secondary marketing research in a stand alone or component marketing due diligence study.

 

 

7.6.Customer Satisfaction Research

 

The buzz and interest around customer satisfaction research sometimes deflates if the research design does not lead to actionable results. Also, customer expectations generally rise overtime as advances in technology in many categories boost the consumer consciousness of what to expect. We build into our customer satisfaction study design "action indicators" to point to immediate use of customer satisfaction results.

 

 

7.8.Branding Research

 

Branding decisions drive branding marketing research strategy. Corporate, product and advertising brand development is a mix of creativity and marketing information to uncover brand positioning opportunities in cluttered market spaces.

 

 

5.2.7.9.Brand Equity Research

 

Brand equity research measures the breadth and depth of brand power in your target markets. We use both standard and custom tailored brand equity survey measurements. A key to research design is the goal of a brand equity measurement study.

 

7.10.Advertising Research

 

Advertising research design is determined by specific advertising goals and the stage of ad development, or campaign. We use a broad range of advertising research techniques including ad recall surveys, message and theme salience and impact measures, buying motivation and association with the ad message or positioning theme. We employ both qualitative and quantitative pricing research tools.

 

 

Market segmentation research maintains focus and delivers needed marketing information in today's moving economy where new markets and new product categories emerge and traditional market segments fade away. Market segmentation research is a way to keep 'your eye on the ball.' Often we start the market segmentation process with qualitative research to the range and breadth of customers. Then we follow with quantitative research using appropriate multivariate analysis (cluster, k-means factor, etc) to define meaningful segments.

 

 

Data mining -- finding gems of insight from sophisticated or basic analysis of your internal customer and sales and margin trend data -- is a key first step in product and brand analysis. Simply put, a marketing analysis data mining effort searches for meaning and insight among the stacks of sales data and marketing data already within a sales and marketing organization. Through these tools we can better target your best customers, find which advertising and promotion methods are most efficient and effective.

 

7.11.Market Analysis

Market Analysis: Concepts and Techniques

 

Market analysis contributes to all the steps in a business from the initial determination of customer needs to final delivery of a product or service. It can be divided into the following general functions: Market research, market strategy development, the identification of specific markets to serve, and use of market analysis in decision making.

 

Market research entails identifying potential customers and their needs. It strives to develop a thorough understanding of the industries in which the potential customers operate, the regulatory environment, and competing products and services. Market research involves systematic gathering, recording, and analysis of data relating to the marketing of goods and services. It employs a variety of different types of activities, such as analysis of industry data, demographic data, competitor activities, and customer surveys. Marketing research is an organized way of finding objective answers to questions every business must answer to succeed, such as:

1. Who are my customers and potential customers?

 

2.  Where are they located?

 

3.  Can and will they buy?

 

4.  Am I offering the kinds, quantities and quality of goods or services they want?

 

5.   Are my prices consistent with buyers' perceptions of the product's value?

 

6.   Are my promotional programs working?

 

7.  What do customers think of my technology and business?

 

8.  Who are my competitors?

 

1. How does my technology and business compare with alternative technologies and competitors?

 

Marketing research deals with people and their constantly changing preferences and actions, which can be affected by numerous influences. Because many of these influences cannot be quantified, market research is not an exact science. Marketing research does, however, seek to gather facts and opinions in an orderly, objective way; to find out how things are, regardless of any preconceived notions; and to find out what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell them.

 

7.11.Marketing Strategy Development

 

A marketing strategy includes the identification of customer groups which the business can serve better than its competitors and a plan for tailoring its product offerings, prices, distribution, promotional efforts and services towards that particular market segment. Ideally, the strategy should try to address customer needs which are not being met in the market place and which have the potential for enough business to justify development costs. A good strategy will recognize the resource limitations of a particular small business or business unit within a large company. Thus, a business must use the market information and its own capabilities to focus on the market segments it can serve best.

 

7.12.Selection of Specific Markets to Serve

 

Given the limitations of a technology and a business, marketing efforts usually need to concentrate on specific market segments. For example, the following are some ways to segment a market:

 

1.          Geographical segmentation. Specializing in serving the needs of customers in a particular geographical area (e.g., a city, state, or region close to home, areas that correspond to a government authority such as an EPA region or Corps of Engineers district).

 

2.          Customer segmentation. Identifying and promoting to those groups of people most likely to buy the product. In other words, selling to the heavy users before trying to develop new users. In the market for remediation technologies, customer segmentation can take a number of forms.

 

1.                 Type of site (for example, Superfund, RCRA, UST)

 

2.                 Stage of process (for example, site investigation, remedy design, etc.)

 

3.                 Ownership (for example, DOD, DOE, Private, other federal, local government)

 

4.                 Type of industry causing pollution (chemicals, equipment maintenance, wood preserving).

 

5.                 Regulatory authority (CERCLA, RCRA, state)

 

6.                 Type of contamination and media

 

7.                 Prime contracts versus subcontracts

 

3.          Product or Service. Linking marketing efforts to related existing products and services, such as site investigations or remedy design.

 

7.13.Integration of Market Decisions

 

The efforts in market research, strategy development and segmentation all are combined to aid in developing approaches to the following four key decision areas in a marketing program:

 

Products and Services. Based on the above considerations, describe the specific products and services and intended customers.

 

Promotion. Specify the type of advertising, sales, and other promotional activities.

 

Pricing. Determine price levels and pricing policies (including credit policy). Consider the effect of discounting policies, volume discounts, special strategies for government contracts, total cost to the customer, and the cost of competing and complimentary products.

 

Distribution. Decide whether to distribute products or services through subcontractors, prime contractors, or your own personnel.

 

Product advertising

 

Product advertising is the art of building and maintaining product awareness with potential buyers. A good advertising program educates potential customers on why they need the product, how it is used and the benefits derived from its use. A successful program also tells the consumer how the product is better than similar offerings by competitors.

 

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