Chapter 8, Class Notes

Content List


In order to implement the marketing concept, marketers require information about the characteristic, needs, wants and desires of their target markets.

Marketing research is the process of defining a marketing problem & opportunity, systematically collecting and analyzing information, & recommending actions to increase an organizations marketing activities.

It is the function that links the consumer (customer) and public to the marketer through information.
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Need to approach the research in a logical manner. Difference between good and bad research can depend on the quality of the inputs. There are 5 steps in the marketing research process, it is an overall approach, not a rigid set of rules.
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  1. Defining and Locating the problem

    Usually a departure from some normal function, IE conflicts between or failures in attaining objectives. (goals may be unrealistic) Need to probe beneath the superficial symptoms.
    Research objective specifies what information is needed to solve the problem.
    Marketing determine the unfulfilled needs/wants within specified target market(s). (University students/local residents)
    May need to use exploratory research here, before conclusive research.
    Therefore query news group with your ideas to better define your research needs perhaps, refine your ideas before developing your hypothesis!!
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  2. Assess the decision factors

    Different sets of variables, alternatives and uncertainties that combine to give the outcome of a decision.
    Alternatives---decision maker has control
    Uncertainties--uncontrollable factors

    Decision maker must:

    1. Determine the principal alternatives that can be considered reasonable approaches to solving the problem...i.e. reasonable outcomes of research.
    2. The major uncertainties that can affect particular alternative and result in it being a GOOD OR POOR SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM.
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  3. Collect Relevant Information

    Developing Hypothesis
    Drawn from previous research and expected research findings. An informed guess or assumption about a certain problem or a set of circumstances.
    Residents of Newark, DE, as well as students of the University of Delaware would frequent a Bagel Store.
    As information is gathered researchers can test the hypothesis. Can have more than one hypothesis in a study.
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    Collecting the data
    Two types of data, Primary, Secondary inside or outside the organization.

    Secondary data collection
    Internal database data (MIS). Accounting data, government data, magazines, survey of buying power, syndicated data services, Marketing Research Corporation of America.

    PRO Inexpensive, quick to obtain, multiple sources available, obtain info. that cannot be obtained through primary research, independent therefore credible.

    CON maybe incomplete, dated, obsolete, methodology maybe unknown, all findings may not be public, reliability may be unproven.

    SOURCES: internal = budgets, sales figures, profit and loss statement, all research reports.
    External = government, must consider dates, census of population/manufacturing/retail trade, regular publications, IE Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Commercial research houses: for a fee as a subscriber IE AC Nielsen.

    Primary data collection
    Information "collected specifically for the purpose of the investigation at hand", Dictionary of Marketing Terms. When a thorough analysis of secondary research provides insufficient information for a marketing decision to be made.

    PRO Fits the precise purpose of the organization, information is current, methodology is controlled and known, available to firm and secret from competitors, no conflicting data from different sources, reliability can be determined, only way to fill a gap.

    CON Time consuming, costly, some information cannot be collected.

    Research Design
    The frame work or plan for a study that guides the collection and analysis of data, it includes: Return to Contents List
    Gathering Data
    To select representative units from a total population.
    A population "universe", all elements, units or individuals that are of interest to researchers for a specific study. IE all registered voters for an election.
    Sampling procedures are used in studying the likelihood of events based on assumptions about the future. Return to Contents List
    Survey Methods
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    Questionnaire Construction
    Designed to elicit information that meets the studies requirements. Questions should be: Need to define objectives before designing the questionnaire. Must maintain impartiality and be very careful with personal data. Four basic types of questions are: Time frame must be stipulated so that it does not drag on. Only ask needed questions...keep it short!!
    Demographic questions at the end!!...Always!!
    Always attach an explanatory cover letter!!

    Example of poor questions from a survey sent to parents of children that went on summer camp:

    What is your income to the nearest hundred dollars?
    Should not be at the beginning! Should use multiple choice...categories of income!

    Are you a strong or weak supporter of overnight summer camping for your children?
    What does strong/weak mean!? No middle ground answer!

    Do your children behave themselves well at summer camp?
    Yes [ ] No [ ]

    Of course they do ;-) Would parents really know?!

    How many camps mailed literature to you last April, this April?
    No-one will remember!

    What are the most salient and determinant attributes in your evaluation of summer camps?
    What do you mean ;-)

    Do you think it is right to deprive your child of the opportunity to grow into a mature person through the experience of summer camping?
    Of course not!!

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    Observation Methods
    Record overt behavior, note physical conditions and events. "How long does a McDonald's customer have to wait in line". Can be combined with interviews, IE get demographic variables. To avoid bias must avoid being seen.

    Mechanical observation devices, IE cameras, eye movement recorders, scanner technology, Nielsen techniques for media.

    Observation avoids the central problem of survey methods, motivating respondents to state their true feelings or opinions. If this is the only method, then there is no data indicating the causal relationships.

  4. Find a Solution

    The best alternative that has been identified to solve the problem.
  5. Evaluate the results

    Coke, do the results make sense, don't always accept them at face value.
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