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Marketing Research Process

Marketing Research Process

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Published by: abhilash831989 on Mar 08, 2010
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50
CHAPTER 3
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ESEARCH 
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Learning Objectives
Be familiar with the various stages of the marketing research process.
Highlight the importance of the problem/opportunity identification stage of the research process.
Understand the issues related to hypotheses development.
Explain the concept of value of information, and its role in deciding whenmarketing research is beneficial.
Introduce the international marketing research process.How is the market research project conceived, planned, and executed? Theanswer, in part, is through a research process, consisting of stages or steps thatguide the project from its conception through the final analysis, recommenda-tion, and ultimate action. The
research process
provides a systematic, plannedapproach to the research project and ensures that all aspects of the research proj-ect are consistent with each other. It is especially important that the researchdesign and implementation be consistent with the research purpose and objec-tives. Otherwise, the results will not help the client.The research process is described in this chapter and Chapter 4. This chap-ter provides an overview of the research process, a discussion of the researchpurpose and research objectives, and a consideration of the value of researchinformation. Negative findings are as valuable as positive ones. In fact, they areoften more revealing, as they provide valuable insight into customers’ psyches.Today, the research process has evolved to encompass decision making. Thiscombined process transforms mundane marketing research to marketing intelli-gence. Chapter 4 gives an overview of the research design and its implementa-tion. Together, these two chapters are the foundation for the rest of the book.
OVERVIEW OF THE MARKETINGRESEARCH PROCESS
Research studies evolve through a series of steps, each representing the answerto a key question.1.
Why should we do research?
This establishes the research purpose as seen bythe management team that will be using the results. This step requires under-standing the decisions to be made and the problems or opportunities to bediagnosed.2.
What research should be done?
Here the management purpose is translated intoobjectives that tell the managers exactly what questions need to be answered by the research study or project.
THE MARKETINGRESEARCH PROCESS
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3.
 Is it worth doing the research?
The decision has to be made here about whetherthe value of the information that will likely be obtained is going to be greaterthan the cost of collecting it.4.
 How should the research be designed to achieve the research objectives?
Designissues include the choice of research approach—reliance on secondary dataversus conducting a survey or experiment—and the specifics of how to col-lect the data. Chapter 4 deals with how to approach these issues.5.
What will we do with the research?
Once the data have been collected, how willit be analyzed, interpreted, and used to make recommendations for action?The necessary steps are linked in a sequential process (see Figure 3-1).Although the steps usually occur in this general order, we must emphasize that
Planning systemInformation system
Strategic plans
Tactical plans
Databases
DSSMARKETING PLANNING AND INFORMATION SYSTEM1. AGREE ON RESEARCH PROCESS
Problems or opportunities
Decision alternatives
Research users2. ESTABLISH RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
Research questions
Hypotheses
Boundaries of study4. DESIGN THE RESEARCH
Choose among alternative research approaches
Specify the sampling plan
Design the experiment
Design the questionnaire3. ESTIMATETHE VALUE OFINFORMATIONIs benefit > cost?5. COLLECT THE DATA6. PREPARE AND ANALYZE THE DATA7. REPORT THE RESEARCH RESULTS ANDPROVIDE STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATIONSDO NOT CONDUCTMARKETING RESEARCHNOYES
FIGURE 3-1
The marketingresearch process.
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“early”decisions are always made by looking ahead to “later”decisions. Theearly decisions are constantly being modified to account for new insights andpossibilities presented by later decisions. Also, the steps do not function in isola-tion. Rather, they are embedded in the ongoing planning process of the business,which culminates in the development of strategies, programs, and action. Thisplanning process provides the purposes of the research. In turn, planning is sup-ported by the information system, which (1) anticipates the type of informationrequired by decision makers and (2) organizes data that have been collected toensure their availability when needed.The development of a research purpose that links the research to decisionmaking, and the formulation of research objectives that serve to guide theresearch, are unquestionably the most important steps in the research process. If they are correct, the research stands a good chance of being both useful andappropriate. If they are bypassed or wrong, the research almost surely will bewasteful and irrelevant. These aspects of research, too often neglected by man-agers, will be discussed in detail in this chapter. The next chapter deals withresearch design; the chapters in Part II discuss the various methods to collectdata; and the chapters in Part III of the book deal with analysis and interpreta-tion of the data.
THE PRELIMINARY STAGES OF THEMARKETING RESEARCH PROCESS
Step 1—Research Purpose
Research problems are more likely to be poorly defined, only partially under-stood, and missing possible decision alternatives that should be analyzed. Defin-ing problems accurately is a combination of data and judgment that demandsreal thought and effort. Problems, opportunities, and “nonproblem”situationsare closely related to structure. Together they make up a family of gaps. The con-cept of analyzing the gaps as problems is based on:1.
Recognizing/understanding a problem
. Aproblem is a gap between what wassupposed to happen and what did happen between our objective and ouraccomplishment. Three elements are required to recognize a problem:
Something must be expected to happen.
Feedback must be received on what actually happens.
Expectations and feedback must be compared.
2.
Knowing where and when the gap or problem occurred
. Once a problem isdefined, it is easier to approach the cause and solution to the gap(s), inaccordance with the level of detail of the analysis. In the end, problemdefinition is and will always be a creative act, a balance between thoroughresearch and intuition. Problem definition is best thought of as a solutiondefinition—the selection of a domain is likely to be rich in ideas to solvethe problem. Problem definition is a creative act. The payoff from goodmarketing definition is enormous—nothing else we do has so muchleverage on profit.
1
Seldom will research problems come neatly packaged with obvious infor-mation requirements, clear-cut boundaries, and pure motives on the part of thedecision makers. Launching a research study with such shaky inputs is a recipe
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