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This chapter begins by explaining the limitations of marketing research in so much that it serves to reduce rather than remove the risks attendant to decision making. This reflects the fact that in order for a target market share to be reached some promotion (amount unknown) is necessary but will not be sufficient, on its own, to achieve the target. Maintaining objectivity in marketing research is essential if marketing management is to have sufficient confidence in its results to be prepared to take risky decisions based upon those results. Not many years ago an agricultural engineering company developed an improved rice milling machine.
Since they do not have sufficient cash to pay for milling their rice they get paid in 'brokens'. Although the need for precision and thoroughness in marketing research has been stressed here, it is to be remembered that, in practice, there is a perpetual conflict between the demands of expediency and the search for truth. Marketing research can be concerned with any of a variety of aspects of the market: the product, sales, buyer behaviour, promotion, distribution, pricing, packaging, etc. It is not at all unusual for marketing managers to neglect to tell the researcher the precise purpose of the research. The problem with the objective is that the marketing manager needs to know the potential market for the new tree-lifter is that it is not attainable. It was possible to test customer reaction to the concept of the new tree-lifter by showing pictures, line drawings and by supplying product specifications to prospective buyers. The solution would have been to undertake a study which would have described the market in detail in terms of customers, competitors and the environment.
Inevitably there are deadlines which the marketing research activity must fit and these must be stated clearly at the outset of the research. There are essentially two approaches to establishing the resource allocation to a particular marketing research exercise. The researcher must also know from the outset of the study the points in time when interim reports are required, if any, and the deadline for the final report. The point has already been made that the decision-maker should clearly communicate the purpose of the research to the marketing researcher but it is often the case that the objectives are not fully explained to the individual carrying out the study.
Whilst it is true that the purpose of research is to address some question, nonetheless one does not test research questions directly. A hypothesis is a conjectural statement regarding the relation between two or more variables. This is a relation stated between one variable, "red meat consumption", and another variable, "disposable incomes".
Again there is a clear statement of the relationship being investigated but there are question marks over the measurability with respect to at least one of the variables i.e. There is a second advantage of stating hypotheses, namely that implicit notions or explanations for events become explicit and this often leads to modifications of these explanations, even before data is collected. Marketing research can be carried out on one of three levels: exploratory, descriptive or causal. Exploratory research: The chief purpose of exploratory research is to reach a better understanding of the research problem. This is a good example of a situation where insufficient knowledge prevented the development of clear objectives, since the problem could not be articulated with any precision and therefore research of an exploratory nature was required.
Exploratory research is intended to help researchers formulate a problem in such a way that it can be researched and suggest testable hypotheses.
This type of study can involve the description of the extent of association between variables.
The principal difference between exploratory and descriptive research is that, in the case of the latter, specific research questions have been formulated before the research is undertaken.
In summary then there are three distinct types of marketing research study: exploratory, descriptive and causal. Those new to marketing research often intuitively believe that decisions about the techniques of analysis to be used can be left until after the data has been collected.
There is little point in spending time and money on collecting data which subsequently is not or cannot be analysed.
The word 'analysis' has two component parts, the prefix 'ana' meaning 'above' and the Greek root 'lysis' meaning 'to break up or dissolve'.
Where the data is quantitative there are three determinants of the appropriate statistical tools for the purposes of analysis. Suppose a fruit juice processor wishes to test the acceptability of a new drink based on a novel combination of tropical fruit juices. Comparing sales in a test market and the market share of the product it is targeted to replace.
Comparing the responses of a sample of regular drinkers of fruit juices to those of a sample of non-fruit juice drinkers to a trial formulation. Comparing the responses of samples of heavy, moderate and infrequent fruit juice drinkers to a trial formulation. Once the marketing researcher knows how many samples are to be compared, whether these samples are related or unrelated to one another and the level of measurement then the selection of the appropriate statistical test is easily made. Choosing format (a) would give rise to nominal (or categorical) data and format (b) would yield ratio scaled data. Too often marketing research reports chiefly comprise a lengthy series of tables of statistics accompanied by a few brief comments which verbally describe what is already self-evident from the tables. Customer oriented marketing researchers will have noted from the outset of the research which topics and issues are of particular importance to the person(s) who initiated the research and will weight the content of their reports accordingly. Marketing research serves marketing management by providing information which is relevant to decision making.
The manager or other individual initiating the research must provide guidance to the researcher in the form of a research brief.
Having read, questioned and understood the research brief the onus is then upon the marketing researcher to respond by preparing the research design. From your knowledge of the material in this chapter, give brief answers to the following questions below. 1 Name the 3 key words used in the definition of marketing research by Green, Tull and Albaum. The discussion proceeds to an outline of the research brief which has to be drawn up for the guidance of the individual or group charged with executing the study. The machine was introduced into Thailand where existing rice milling machines were of a design which resulted in a high percentage of brokens (broken kernels).
Important information is that information which directly assists in making decisions and the ICO had not told the research company the purpose of the research.
At first glance this might appear to meet all of the requirements of being clear, concise, attainable, measurable and quantifiable.


A small engineering firm had purchased a prototype tree-lifter from a private research company. One could find out how many tree-lifters were currently being sold but this is not the same as the objective set by the marketing manager. However, since the company had not decided their pricing policy an important element could not be tested.
As was said earlier, because of time pressures, management is often seeking quick answers from marketing research.
The form of interim reports should also be specified at the outset, whether verbal or written, and whether presentations are to be made to a group (nature and size of the group) or an individual. This is a document which develops after having given careful consideration to the contents of the research brief. Decision-makers seldom work out their objectives fully or, if they have, they are not willing to fully disclose them. Other helpful procedures include brainstorming, reviews of research on related problems and researching secondary sources of information as well as studying competitive products. There are two key characteristics which all hypotheses must have: they must be statements of the relationship between variables and they must carry clear implications for testing the stated relations. Typically, a descriptive study specifies the number and size of market segments, the alternative ways in which products are currently distributed, listing and comparison of the attributes and features of competitive products, etc.
For example, the researcher may observe that there is an association between the geographical location of consumers and their tendency to consume red meat.
That is, there are occasions when the researcher will want to know why a change in one variable brings about a change in another. The main methods of data collection are secondary data searches, observation, the survey, experimentation and consumer panels. These are the number of samples to be compared, whether the samples being compared are independent of one another and the level of data measurement.
There are several alternative research designs which might be employed, each involving different numbers of samples. To illustrate the importance of understanding these connections consider the following simple, but common, question in marketing research. Those who submit marketing research proposals involving quantitative data should demonstrate an awareness of the factors that determine the mode of analysis and a capability to undertake such analysis. This includes ensuring that once the task of preparing the data for analysis has begun there is a steady and uninterrupted flow of completed data forms or questionnaires back from the field interviewers to the data processors. However, it is perhaps worth noting that the end products of marketing research are conclusions and recommendations. That is, the researcher should determine what the marketing manager's priorities are with respect to the research study. In writing a research proposal, experienced researchers would be careful to limit the information which they firmly promise to obtain, in the course of the study, to that which is considered 'must know' information. This document should state the purpose of the research, its objectives, the time by which it must be completed, the budget to which the researcher must work in developing the research design and the timing and frequency of any interim reports which the researcher is expected to make. Research design begins with an accurate and, as far as is possible, precise definition of the problem.
Name the 3 factors which determine which is the appropriate statistical test to conduct on data obtained from a random sample. Kerlinger, FN.(1994) Foundations of Behavioural Research, 1st edition, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, p. At the moment they include free shipping and from what I can tell when comparing prices with other online merchants, Amazon do currently have the best deal especially with the free shipping option.
Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers. The model is further complicated by the fact that these interactions are themselves often not understood. This means that a detailed and carefully designed research plan is developed in which each stage of the research is specified. The characteristics of the scientific method are that it translates personal prejudices, notions and opinions into explicit propositions (or hypotheses). The more effective milling machine simply did not fit into the Thai rice processing system. Therefore management often seeks answers through marketing research in the shortest time possible and, moreover, at minimum cost.
The question remains as to how the researcher decides where to focus the study, and to what depth each issue should be investigated.
The initial reason for the study had been a suspicion, on the part of the ICO, that an increasing percentage of young people were consuming beverages other than coffee, particularly soft drinks, and simply never developed the coffee drinking habit.
This machine was suitable for lifting semi-mature trees, complete with root-ball intact, and transplanting such trees in another location. The market potential for any new brand is a function of at least 4 things, as shown in Figure 1.1. Alternatively, they can decide how much the management can afford to spend, at the time, and seek the best answer they can for the time, money and manpower allocated. In theory, responsibility for ensuring that the research proceeds along clearly defined lines rests with the decision-maker.
For example, the decision-maker could be asked what he has in mind when he uses the term market potential.
These characteristics imply that it is relationships, rather than variables, which are tested; the hypotheses specify how the variables are related and that these are measurable or potentially measurable. The point has been made that it is all too easy when conducting research to collect "interesting data" as opposed to "important data".
When there is little understanding of the topic it is impossible to formulate hypotheses without some exploratory studies. If by accident or design format (a) were chosen then the analyst would have only a very small set of statistical tests that could be applied and these are not very powerful in the sense that they are limited to showing association between variables and could not be used to establish cause-and-effect. Whether the data is to be analysed manually or through the use of a computer program, data can be coded, cleaned (i.e.
With respect to the marketing planning function, marketing research helps to identify potential threats and opportunities, generates alternative courses of action, provides information to enable marketing managers to evaluate those alternatives and advises on the implementation of the alternatives.
When conclusions are drawn from raw data and when recommendations are made then data is converted into information. Rather, marketing research helps to reduce the uncertainty surrounding the decisions to be made.
In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). It is for these reasons that marketing researchers cannot guarantee that decisions based on their information will always prove 'successful'. Such a research plan is only considered adequate if it specifies: the research problem in concise and precise terms, the information necessary to address the problem, the methods to be employed in gathering the information and the analytical techniques to be used to interpret it.


Intuitively a successful product would be predicted, launched with hardly any need for marketing research when the new mill had such obvious advantages over existing products. Knowing that 60% of those interviewed thought that product A was superior to product B is, in itself, of little value. On such occasions its methods tend to be less theoretically rigorous and its analysis more superficial. Had this been explained to the research company then it is likely that their proposals would have been radically different. The researchers began by looking at the basis of competition to determine whether it was on price, product quality or unique product features. He or she is likely to put forward a design which is less elegant, and gives rise to less precise information but delivers the results on schedule. This is a legitimate question since the researcher is charged with the responsibility to develop a research design which will provide the right kind of information. However for the purposes of statistical testing it is more usual to find hypotheses stated in the so-called null form, e.g. For example, crop residues such a straw are high in lignin (a wood-like substance) and low in nutrients.
Nonetheless if the relationship between the two is fairly stable this descriptive information may be sufficient for the purposes of prediction. Samples are said to be dependent, or related, when the measurement taken from one sample in no way affects the measurement taken from another sample.
Format (b), on the other hand, since it gives the analyst ratio data, allows all statistical tests to be used including the more powerful parametric tests whereby cause-and-effect can be established, where it exists.
A second logistical issue concerns any plan to build up a picture of the pattern of responses as the data comes flowing in. It is information which management needs to reduce the inherent risks and uncertainties in management decision making.
In order to do so effectively, marketing research has to be systematic, objective and analytical. There will then be an intermediate stage whereby the hypotheses are restated in a testable form, i.e. At the same time alternative explanations of the event or phenomena of interest are given equal consideration. The agricultural engineering company went through the expensive and time-consuming process of importing the machine into Thailand. To appreciate the difference consider the case of the marketing research agency which was contacted by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) and asked to carry out a survey of young people in the age group 15-24.
To begin with, the sample would have been composed of 15-24 year old non-coffee drinkers rather than a random sample of all 15-24 year olds. These are only briefly discussed here since the remainder of this textbook consists of a detailed explanation of each step.
Another approach is to focus the discussions with the person commissioning the research on the decisions which would be made given alternative findings which the study might come up with. This makes them a poor animal feed since the lignin acts against digestibility and the low nutrient content means poor food value. The researcher may, for example, be able to predict how fast the per capita consumption of red meat is likely to rise over a given time period. Thus a simple change in the wording of a question can have a fundamental effect upon the nature of the data generated. They set up extensive distribution and servicing facilities only to be surprised when the mill failed to gain acceptance.
Data is equivalent to the raw materials of manufacturing; it has to be converted into information before it becomes useful in decision making. The brief must inform the researcher which aspects of the market are particularly important. They wanted information on the coffee drinking habits of these young people: how much coffee they drank, at what times of day, with meals or between meals, instant or ground coffee, which other beverages they preferred and so on. Second, the focus would have been non-coffee drinking habits rather than coffee drinking habits. They examined the pattern of response on past occasions when one or other of those companies already in the market had launched a new product.
This process frequently proves of great value to the decision-maker in that it helps him think through the objectives and perhaps select the most important of the objectives.
However, if treated in a strong alkali, plus a little heat, the lignin breaks down and the nutrient content increases.
The measurement of the responses of fruit juice drinkers to the trial formulation in no way affects or influences the responses of the sample of non-fruit juice drinkers. For instance, suppose that research was being undertaken within a particular agricultural region with a view to establishing the size, number and type of milling enterprises which had established themselves in rural areas following market liberalisation. This will probably only be done if it is intended that statistical analysis is to be undertaken. In response, the research organisation developed a set of wide-ranging proposals which included taking a large random sample of young people. An audit of the environment was undertaken too, but the missing component was the company's' own plans for exploiting the market.
A company was established to exploit this technology and did so successfully for 4 seasons.
It may be that the West of the district under study mainly wheat is grown whilst in the East it is maize which is the major crop. Where the research is more qualitative in nature then it is still recommended that hypotheses should be developed.
Since the company had no involvement in the agricultural engineering sector, prior to acquiring the rights to the tree-lifter, they had no agreements with distributors, no idea of which, if any, of the distributors would be prepared to stock their product; they had no salesmen trained in selling into this industry and so on.
It would make sense to coordinate the fieldwork with data analysis so that the interim picture was of either wheat or maize milling since the two are likely to differ in terms of the type of mill used (e.g. That is, the same individuals are asked first to taste formulation X and then to taste formulation Y. The company, Animal Feed Systems, did not know whether the whole industry had slowed down or if only their product was suffering. Nor did they know if the problem was temporary in that perhaps the market comprised of "early adopters" had been saturated but it was only a matter of time before other farmers began to buy their systems when they saw how well they worked. It is only when the analysis plan has been considered that fieldwork, in the form of data collection, should be undertaken. It was also possible that if a problem did exist it could lie in any one of a number of areas: animal populations might be declining, distributors may not be promoting the product aggressively, customers may be experiencing difficulties in getting the chemicals, and so on and on.



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