systematically gathering and analyzing information related to goods, services, customers, competitors, etc.
TYPES OF MARKETING RESEARCH
- Exploratory Research
marketing research to gather preliminary information that
will help to better define problems and suggest hypotheses
- E.g.: Professor Bob has noticed that many successful
entrepreneurs and salespeople appear to be the type of
people who in the past had been fired from jobs, were
labeled by others as independent and not especially
good "team players," got bored easily, didn't
sleep much, etc.
These are traits often associated with
people who have the syndrome called "attention
deficit disorder" (ADD).
Suspecting that there
might be some relationship between ADD and the
"entrepreneurial spirit" that is found in
many successful business owners and salespeople, the
professor would like to contact sales agents with an
insurance company who earn over $100,000 in commissions
He is not sure what are the relevant research
questions to ask, so would simply ask each salesperson
to describe her or his job history before going into the
insurance business and about her or his personal work
Salespeople could be interviewed individually in this way through
individual depth interviews (IDIs)
or they could be interviewed in group discussions
through focus groups.
Such a study is exploratory because it might
be able to provide some initial,
general intuition about a relationship between ADD and
"entrepreneurial success," but it could not be used to draw
any absolute conclusions about a relationship.
From this exploratory research, we might then have some
insights or evidence that can be used to speculate about
factors associated with ADD and with a propensity for
entrepreneurial quot;success," however we might
an informed guess about the answer to a research question;
often, research is conducted to specifically test whether or not
this is a plausible answer
- Causal Research
marketing research to test hypotheses about cause-and-effect
- E.g.: On the basis of interviews with these
"successful" insurance salespeople, the
professor could then look for commonalities and patterns
in the histories these people.
Any that are found and
that appear to bear a resemblance to factors associated
with ADD can then be used in a more formal study
designed to test the general question, "is there a
relationship between these ADD factors and a propensity
for entrepreneurial success?"
(or actually, the hypothesized answer that "people
who are successful entrepreneurs or salespeople exhibit
ADD behaviors more than the general population").
Factors identified in
the exploratory study, in association with factors
associated with ADD, could then be used in designing
specific questions (or "scales") for this second
The survey could then be administered to
"successful" salespeople and entrepreneurs and
to people randomly selected from the general population.
A relationship between ADD factors and "propensity
for success" would be implied if the
"success" group scored significantly different
from the "general population" group on these
- Descriptive Research
marketing research to better describe marketing problems,
situations, or markets
- E.g.: Many sales organizations assess job
applicants with aptitude tests.
These tests ask the
applicant to indicate some amount of agreement or
disagreement with such statements as, "I would like to
write a college textbook" and "I become irritable when
colleagues do not work as quickly as me."
There are no
right or wrong answers on these tests; if you become irritable with slower
colleagues, does that imply that you
are a fast and efficient worker or that you are someone
who does not get along well with others?
tests are merely attempting to find some sort of profile
in your answers, with previous research showing the sort
of entry-level profile that is possessed by salespeople
who currently do well with the organization.
is merely descriptive of the people who work in a particular
organization; it does not necessarily suggest any sort of
As a generalization, the kind of research that you would do in an environmental
analysis would be descriptive research.
For example, of you look up local demographics at the US Census Bureau website,
count the number of competitors in the local Yellow Pages, and find articles
discussing changes in technology that will affect a particular industry, your
report in an environmental scan will be descriptive research.
The term competitive intelligence research or
CI is often used by online researchers with regard to activities
associated with monitoring and describing the external environment.
- Secondary data
Data compiled inside or outside of the organization for
some (previous) purpose other than the current investigation.
- Primary data
Data observed and recorded directly from respondents for
the specific purpose at hand.
Note that secondary data already exists, so it is generally
relatively low in cost to collect secondary data.
data must be collected to answer specific research questions,
so it will generally be much more expensive to collect.
Primary data, however, might be much more useful to answer
If you wanted to start a new restaurant, would you first
survey people to find out whether they would patronize a
business such as you propose (primary data), or would you
first collect existing data regarding the local economy,
local per capita expenditures on entertainment, and the
locations and sales of local restaurants (secondary data)?
As a general rule, you should start your research with
existing secondary data, which is easy, quick, and
inexpensive to collect, and then move toward answering
more specific questions with primary data if secondary
data suggests that your business idea has merit.
information that already exists somewhere, having been
collected for another purpose
Data warehousing refers to electronically storing data for future
Data mining as to do with analyzing that data to find patterns
or relationships, such as customer profiles.
Database marketing has to do with tailoring marketing efforts
around the profiles of individuals or organizations that are gleaned from a
from sources within the firm, e.g.,
- credit card purchase records
- scanner data (bar code readers at retail checkout)
- accounting records
from external sources, e.g.,
- purchased commercial database
- government census
- industry/trade reports
data collected to answer a specific question or problem at
researcher records relevant people, actions, and situations;
We once had tire store as a class client.
To get an idea of the nature of the competition, some students simply stood
across the street from competitors and took notes about what kinds of cars were
entering and what kinds of tires and wheels were on those cars when they
This gave students an idea of how our client's business was positioned against
competitors in terms of the kinds of customers served and the kinds of
This kind of personal observation is very time consuming, and some types of
observation can be automated through mechanical means.
We can, for example, measure street traffic by laying a strip across a road
which detects the number of cars passing across the strip; we can observe
household TV viewing behavior by putting a box on a research participant's
TV which tracks channel switching and time of day.
gathering of data by asking people questions about their
knowledge, attitudes, preferences, and buying behavior;
- personal (face to face)
- group/focus group
In focus group research, the research moderator uses
a topic guide to lead research participants through a discussion
that is designed to probe particular issues of interest to the researcher.
A face-to-face personal interview is called an individual depth
interview or IDI, whether it consists primarily of
open-ended questions or of closed-ended questions.
Similarly, such a survey conducted on the telephone is called a telephone
depth interview or TDI.
Individual and group surveys and interviews can be conducted on the Web as long
as the research design recognizes important shortcomings of this medium.
A moderator could, for example, run a focus group in a chat room if potential
participants are geographically dispersed, albeit with an absence of body language
and other such factors that have an important impact on group dynamics.
An advantage of online methods is that the questionnaire data can be automatically
recorded and analyzed, and focus group sessions can be automatically transcribed.
Do be cautious of anyone who promotes online methods without outlining any
methodological shortcomings, especially if the emphasis is on low price.
selecting matched groups of subjects, giving them
different treatments, controlling related factors,
and checking for differences in group responses
If you wanted to test the classic formula of a soft drink against a new
formula, you would run an experiment.
Some research participants would taste the old formula and rate it against
the major competitor.
Other participants would taste the new formula and rate it against the major
If those in the new-formula treatment rate it higher than those in the
old-formula treatment, then you might have grounds for changing the
(Note that a focus only on the taste cannot alone be used to predict marketplace
Taste interacts with such factors as an existing brand image, and a change in
the taste could result in alienating existing customers.)
open ended questions
allow respondents to answer in their own words
closed ended questions
include all possible answers and respondents make choices among them
a limited number of people chosen to represent
the characteristics of a total population
each population member has a known chance of being included
in the sample
- simple random sampling
all members of a population have an equal chance of
appearing in the sample
- stratified random sample
the population is divided into mutually exclusive groups
from which a sample is drawn
- convenience sample
the researcher selects the easiest population members from
which to obtain information
- judgment sample
researcher chooses population members
- quota sample
researcher selects participants to ensure a particular ration
edited 21 JUN 05