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MARKETING REASEARCH

Summary 1
Globalisation, the widespread adoption of the Internet, and associated innovations,
including the rise of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, have dramatically changed
the pace of change in the business world. Yet, managers must still make decisions, and the
role of marketing research is to provide information to help managers make better decisions.
Because marketing research is part of marketing, to understand marketing research, we must
understand the role it plays in marketing. The American Marketing Association (AMA)
defines marketing as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating,
communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients,
partners, and society at large. There are new frameworks for understanding marketing. One
such framework is called the “service-dominant logic for marketing,” which increases the
need for marketers to “hear” their consumers and even to collaborate with them. Marketing
researchers are creating products that will allow managers to find out what consumers are
saying about them on social media and to help those rms collaborate with their customers
using social media. Marketers must “hear the voice of the consumer” to determine how to
create, communicate, and deliver value that will result in long- lasting relationships with
customers. Some rms “hear” the voice and have success; others do not and experience
product and service failures. There are many examples of product failures including Life-
Savers sodas, Colgate food entrees, and Frito-Lay Lemonade. In all these cases managers
might have made better decisions with better information.

Because philosophies guide our day-to-day decisions, marketers should follow the
philosophy known as the marketing concept. The marketing concept states that the key to
business success lies in being more effective than competitors in creating, delivering, and
communicating customer value to chosen target markets. Companies whose philosophy
focuses on products and selling efforts do not tend to stay around long. If a rm’s
management follows the marketing concept philosophy, they develop the “right” strategies,
or plans, to provide consumers with value. In short, to practice marketing as we have
described it, managers need information to determine wants and needs and to design
marketing strategies that will satisfy customers in selected target markets. Furthermore,
environmental changes mean that marketers must constantly collect information to monitor
customers, markets, and competition.

One definition of marketing research is that it is the process of designing, gathering,


analysing, and reporting information that may be used to solve a specific problem. The
AMA defines marketing research as the function that links the consumer, customer, and
public to the marketer through information—information used to identify and define
marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions;
monitor marketing performance; and improve the understanding of marketing as a process.
Some differentiate between marketing research and market research. Marketing research is
the broader of the two names and is used to refer to the process of gathering, analysing, and
reporting information for decision making. Market research refers to applying marketing
research to a specific market. However, in practice, the two names are often used
interchangeably.

To link the consumer to the marketer by providing information that can be used in making
marketing decisions is the function of marketing research. The uses of marketing research
are to (1) identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; (2) generate, refine, and
evaluate marketing actions; (3) monitor marketing performance; and (4) improve our
understanding of marketing. Most marketing research is considered to be applied research in
that it is conducted to solve specific problems. A limited number of marketing research
studies would be considered basic research in that they are conducted to expand the limits of
our knowledge.

Summary 3
While there is great variability in marketing research projects, there are enough
commonalities among these projects to enable us to characterise them in terms of steps of
the research process. The value in characterising research projects in terms of successive
steps is that (1) the steps give researchers and non researchers an overview of the entire
research process, and (2) they provide a procedure in the sense that a researcher, by
referring to the steps, knows what tasks to consider and in what order. The steps are (1)
establish the need for marketing research, (2) define the problem, (3) establish research
objectives, (4) determine research design, (5) identify information types and sources, (6)
determine methods of accessing data, (7) design data collection forms, (8) determine sample
plan and size, (9) collect data, (10) analyse data, and (11) prepare and present the final
research report.

The first step is determining the need to conduct marketing research. Can the needed
information be obtained from the internal reports system? From the marketing intelligence
system? From the decision support system? If these ongoing sources of information do not
supply the needed data, marketing research may be needed. Sometimes the need to respond
quickly to competition means there isn’t time to conduct marketing research. Though
placing a dollar figure on value is difficult, value can be estimated, and a more informed
decision may be made justifying or not justifying marketing research.

Problems are situations calling for managers to make choices among alternatives. Research
objectives state specifically what information the researcher must produce so that the
manager can choose the correct alternative to solve the problem. Figure 3.2 depicts a
process that may be used for defining the problem and determining the research objectives.
There are two sources of problems. “Failure to meet an objective” arises when there is a gap
between what was supposed to happen and what did happen. “Opportunity” refers to
problems that arise when there is a gap between what did happen and what could have
happened. Managers recognise problems either through monitoring control systems (in the
case of failure to meet an objective) or through opportunity identification systems.

Symptoms are changes in the level of some key monitor that measures the achievement of
an objective. Symptoms alert managers to both types of problems. The researcher is
responsible for ensuring that management has properly defined the problem even in cases
when management has already defined the problem through invitations to bid or requests for
proposals. In many cases, a situation analysis is required to help define the problem.

When defining the problem, researchers must validate the symptoms that alerted
management to the problem to ensure the symptoms are correctly reporting what they
portend to report. Researchers should work with managers to determine all possible causes
for the symptoms and to reduce all possible causes down to probable causes.

The selection of a probable cause creates the decision. The decision itself must specify
alternatives that may be used to eliminate the symptom. Researchers must work with
managers to clearly state the decision alternatives and to determine the consequences of
each alternative. Researchers should assess the assumptions managers have made in
determining the consequences of each alternative. If the manager is certain about the
assumptions made, a decision alternative may be selected without any further research.
However, in most cases, managers are uncertain about their assumptions. Lack of sufficient
information creates an information gap, which serves as the basis for establishing research
objectives. Sometimes hypotheses are stated to help to guide the development of the
research objective.

Research objectives should be specific and address four criteria: (1) specify from whom
information be gathered, (2) specify what information (construct) is needed, (3) specify the
unit of measurement used to gather the in- formation, and (4) word questions used to gather
the information using the respondents’ frame of reference.

Action standards refer to the predesignation of some quantity of a measured attribute or


characteristic that must be achieved for a research objective for a predetermined action to
take place. Problem definition is sometimes impeded because managers fail to change their
normal behaviour of dealing with outside suppliers in an efficient manner during problem-
solving situations. Marketing research proposals are formal documents prepared by

the researcher serving the functions of stating the prob- lem, specifying research objectives,
detailing the research method, stating the deliverables and costs, and specify- ing a
timetable. There are ethical issues involved in the research proposal.

Summary 4
Research design refers to a set of advance decisions made to develop the master plan to be
used in the conduct of the research project. There are three general research designs:
exploratory, descriptive, and causal. The significance of studying research design is that, by
matching the research objective with the appropriate research design, a host of research
decisions may be predetermined. Therefore, a research design serves as a “blueprint” for
researchers. Research designs are not carried out in a particular order; in fact, some projects
may require only one form of research. But research is often an iterative process in which
initial research indicates the need for additional studies, often of a different design.

As a rule, researchers are much more knowledgeable of the marketing research process than
managers. This imbalance of knowledge, which is not unique to marketing research, may
lead to serious ethical issues. Ethical codes and standards developed by professional
organisations prohibit such practices as designing research that is much more complex and
expensive than needed.

Selecting the appropriate research design depends, to a large extent, on the research
objectives and existing information about the problem. If very little is known, exploratory
research is appropriate. Exploratory research is unstructured, informal research undertaken
to gain background information; it is helpful for more clearly de n- ing the research
problem. Exploratory research is used in a number of situations: to gain background
information, to define terms, to clarify problems and hypotheses, and to establish research
priorities. Reviewing existing literature, surveying individuals knowledgeable in the area to
be investigated, relying on former similar case situations, or conducting focus groups are
methods of conducting exploratory research. Exploratory research should almost always be
used because it is fast and inexpensive; sometimes it resolves the research objective or is
helpful in carrying out descriptive or causal research.

If concepts, terms, and so on are already known and the research objective is to describe and
measure phenomena, then descriptive research is appropriate. Descriptive research
measures marketing phenomena and answers the questions of who, what, where, when, and
how. Descriptive studies may be conducted at one point in time (cross-sectional), or several
measurements may be made on the same sample at different points in time (longitudinal).
Longitudinal studies are often conducted using panels. Panels represent sample units who
have agreed to answer questions at periodic intervals. Continuous panels are longitudinal
studies in which sample units are asked the same questions repeatedly. Brand-switching
tables may be prepared based on data from continuous panels. Market-tracking studies may
be conducted using data from continuous panels.

The second type of panel used in longitudinal research is the discontinuous panel.
Discontinuous panels, some- times called omnibus panels, are those in which the sample
units are asked different questions. The main advantage of the discontinuous panel is that
research rms have a large sample of persons who are willing to answer whatever questions
they are asked.

Causal relationships provide relationships such as “If x, then y.” Causal relationships may
be discovered only through special studies called experiments. Experiments allow us to
determine the effects of a variable, known as an independent variable, on another variable,
known as a dependent variable. Experimental designs are necessary to ensure that the effect
we observe in our dependent variable is due to our independent variable and not to other
variables known as extraneous variables. The validity of experiments may be assessed by
internal validity and external validity.

Laboratory experiments are particularly useful for achieving internal validity, whereas fields
experiments are better suited for achieving external validity. Test marketing is a form of
fifieldss experimentation. Various types of test mar- kets exist (standard, controlled,
electronic, and simulated).

Although test markets garner much useful information, they are expensive and not infallible.
Test-market cities are selected on the basis of their representativeness, isolation, and the
degree to which market variables such as distribution and promotion may be controlled.

Summary 5
Data may be grouped into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary data are gathered
specifically for the research project at hand. Secondary data have been previously gathered
for some other purpose. There are many uses of secondary data in marketing research, and
sometimes secondary data are all that is needed to achieve the research objectives.
Secondary data may be internal, previously gathered within the rm for some other purpose.
Examples include data collected and stored from sales receipts, such as types, quantities,
and prices of goods or services purchased; customer names; delivery addresses; shipping
dates; and salespeople making the sales. Storing internal data in electronic databases has
become increasingly popular and may be used for database marketing. Databases are
composed of records, which contain subcomponents of information called fieldss.
Companies use information recorded in internal databases for purposes of direct marketing
and to strengthen relationships with customers. The latter is a process known as customer
relationship management (CRM). External secondary data are obtained from sources
outside the rm. These data may be classified as (1) published, (2) syndicated services data,
and (3) databases. There are different types of published secondary data, such as reference
guides, indexes and abstracts, bibliographies, almanacs, manuals, and handbooks.
Syndicated services data are provided by rms that collect data in a standard format and
make them available to subscribing rms. Online information databases are sources of
secondary data searchable by search engines online. Examples include Factiva, IBISWorld,
LexisNexis, and ProQuest.

Secondary data have the advantages of being quickly gathered, readily available, and
relatively inexpensive; they may add helpful insights should primary data be needed, and
sometimes secondary data are all that is needed to achieve the research objective.
Disadvantages are that the data are often reported in incompatible reporting units (e.g.,
county data are reported when ZIP code data are needed), measurement units do not match
researchers’ needs (e.g., household income is reported when per-capita income is needed),
class definitions are incompatible with the researchers’ needs (e.g., income is reported in
classes up to $50,000 but the researchers need to know what per- cent of the population
earns $75,000 or more), and secondary data may be outdated. Evaluation of secondary data
is important; researchers must ask certain questions to ensure the integrity of the
information they use. The ACS may represent the most significant change in the availability
of secondary data to be used for marketing research purposes in several decades. The ACS
makes data available on an annual basis instead of the 10-year interval required in the past
to update census data.

Packaged information is a type of secondary data in which the data collected and/or the
process of collecting the data is the same for all users. There are two classes of packaged
information. Syndicated data are collected in a standard format and made available to all
subscribing users. An example would be the Nielsen TV ratings. Packaged services offer a
standardised marketing research process that is used to generate information for a particular
user. Esri’s Tapestry Segmentation is a system of classifying residential neighbourhoods into
65 different segments. That process is standardised; it is the same for all Tapestry users. The
information from the process is then applied to generate different data for each user. With
syndicated data, the data are the same for each user, and with packaged services, the process
of generating data for each user is the same.

Syndicated data have the advantages of shared costs of obtaining the data among all those
subscribing to the service, high data quality, and the speed with which data are collected and
distributed to subscribers. Disadvantages are that buyers cannot control what data are
collected, must commit to long-term contracts, and gain no strategic information advantage
in buying syndicated data because the information is available to all competitors.

Packaged services have the advantage of use of the supplier rm’s expertise in the area,
reduced costs, and speed with which supplier rms can conduct the service. The
disadvantages of packaged services are that the process cannot be easily customised and the
supplier rm may not know the idiosyncrasies of the industry in which the client rm operates.

Four major areas in which packaged information sources may be applied are measuring
consumers’ attitudes and opinions, defining market segments, monitoring media usage and
promotion effectiveness, and conducting market-tracking studies.

Summary 7
The data collection step in the marketing research process is accomplished via five basic
survey modes: (1) person- administered surveys, (2) computer-assisted surveys, (3)
computer-administered surveys, (4) self-administered surveys, and (5) mixed-mode,
sometimes called hybrid, surveys.

Person-administered survey modes are advantageous because they allow feedback, permit
rapport build- ing, facilitate certain quality controls, and capitalise on the adaptability of a
human interviewer. However, they are slow, prone to human error, and costly, and they
sometimes produce respondent apprehension known as interview evaluation. Computer-
assisted interviews have all the person-administered survey advantages and disadvantages,
with added advantages of less error, more efficiency, and use of computer media.
Computer-administered interviews, on the other hand, are faster and error free; they may
include pictures or graphics capabilities, allow for real-time capture of data, and make
respondents feel more at ease because another person is not listening to their answers.
Disadvantages are that technical skills are sometimes required, and high set- up costs may
be required if users are not computer literate. Self-administered survey modes have the
advantages of reduced cost, respondent control, and no interview evaluation apprehension.
The disadvantages are that respondents may not complete the task or complete the task in
error, there is no monitor to guide respondents, and the questionnaire must be “perfect” to
facilitate self-administration.

Finally, mixed-mode or hybrid surveys use multiple data collection methods. The
advantage of mixed-mode surveys is that researchers can take the advantages of each of the
various modes to achieve their data collection goals. Disadvantages are that different modes
may produce different responses to the same research question, and researchers must
evaluate these differences. In addition, multimode methods result in greater complexities, as
researchers must design different questionnaires and be certain that data from different
sources all come together in a common database for analysis.

Nine survey data collection methods may be used: (1) in-home interviews, which are
conducted in respondents’ homes; (2) mall-intercept interviews, conducted by approaching
shoppers in a mall; (3) in-of ce interviews, conducted with executives or managers in their
places of work; (4) telephone interviews, either from central location tele-phone interviews
conducted by workers in a telephone interview company’s facilities or using a CATI system;
(5) computerised, fully automated surveys; (6) online surveys; (7) group self-administered
surveys, in which the questionnaire

is handed out to a group for individual responses; (8) drop-off surveys, in which the
questionnaire is left with the respondent to be completed and picked up or returned at a later
time; and (9) mail surveys, in which questionnaires are mailed to prospective respondents
who are requested to ll them out and mail them back. The specific advantages and
disadvantages of each data collection mode were discussed.

Researchers must take into account several considerations when deciding on a survey data
collection mode: (1) the survey time horizon, (2) the survey data collection budget, (3) the
type of respondent interaction required, (4) incidence rate, and (5) cultural and infrastructure
considerations. All should be considered, but one or more factors may be paramount
because each data collection situation is unique. Ultimately, the researcher will select a data
collection mode with which he or she feels comfortable and one that will result in the
desired quality and quantity of information without exceeding time or budget constraints.

Summary 8
This chapter discussed the concepts involved in measurement of the subjective properties of
marketing phenomena. The three types of measures used in marketing research are (1)
nominal or simple classifications, (2) ordinal or rank order, and (3) scale measures that
include ratio scales us- ing real numbers with a true zero and interval scales using equal-
appearing spaced gradations.

Marketing researchers commonly use interval scales to measure subjective properties of


objects. First, the Likert scale appears as an agree–disagree continuum with ve to seven
positions. Lifestyle questions use a Likert approach to measure people’s attitudes, interests,
and opinions. Second, the semantic differential scale uses bipolar adjectives to measure the
image of a brand or a store. Third, the Stapel scale uses a symmetric + and – number
system. Some constructs are measured with a symmetric interval scale, while others, which
do not have gradations of negativity, are commonly measured with a non-symmetric interval
scale.

Finally, reliability and validity of measurement were described. Reliability is the degree to
which a respondent is consistent in his or her answers. Validity, on the other hand, is the
accuracy of responses. It is possible to have reliable measures that are inaccurate, and
therefore, not valid.

The questionnaire design process involves question development to ensure unbiased


questions and question organisation, or sequencing, on the questionnaire. We advocate that
the designer follow a step-by-step development process that begins with question
development and proceeds through question evaluation, client approval, and a pretest to
ensure that the questions and instructions are understandable to respondents. The objective
of question development is to create questions that minimise question bias and to ensure that
questions are focused, simple, brief, and crystal clear. Question bias is most likely to occur
when question wording is leading, loaded, double-barreled, or overstated.

The organisation of questions on the questionnaire is critical, including the first statements,
or introduction to the survey. The introduction should identify the sponsor of the survey,
relate its purpose, explain how the respondent was selected, solicit the individual’s
cooperation to take part, and, if appropriate, qualify him/her for taking part in the survey.
The order and ow of questions on the questionnaire relates to the roles of screens, warm-
ups, transitions, “difficult” questions, and classification questions.

Survey questions are typically coded with numbers corresponding to all possible responses
to facilitate analysis. Marketing researchers may use software systems that perform online
questionnaire design; we briefly described the features of these programs. This chapter
concluded with a discussion of the function of and details for pretest- ing a questionnaire.

Summary 9
Sampling methods facilitate marketing research without requiring a census of an entire
population. Marketing researchers aim to avoid sample frame error, which includes
omissions and inaccuracies that will adversely affect the sample drawn from it.
A sample is taken because it is too costly to perform a census and there is sufficient
information in a sample to al- low it to represent the population. We described four prob-
ability sampling methods in which there is a known chance of a member of the population
being selected into the sample. Simple random sampling uses devices or aids, such as
random numbers, to ensure that every member of the population has the same chance of
being selected into the sample. Systematic sampling uses a random starting point and
“skips” through a list. Cluster sampling can be applied to areas such as subdivisions so that
only a few areas are selected and canvassed or sampled. Stratified sampling is used when
different strata are apparent in the population and each stratum is randomly sampled.

We also described four non-probability sampling methods that contain bias because all
members of the population do not have a fair chance of being selected into the sample.
Convenience sampling uses high-traffic locations, such as a malls, to make it easy for an
interviewer to intercept respondents. Purposive sampling rests on someone’s subjective
judgement as to who should be in the sample. Referral sampling relies on respondents to
give up names of friends to be asked to take part in the survey, and quota sampling is
convenience sampling with quotas or limits on the numbers of respondents with specific
characteristics. Finally, we described six steps needed to develop a sample plan: (1) define
the relevant population, (2) obtain a sample frame, (3) decide on the sample method, (4)
decide on the sample size, (5) draw the sample, and (6) validate the sample.

Summary 10
Many managers adhere to the “large sample size” bias. To counter this myth, eight sample
size axioms relate the size of a random sample to its accuracy, or closeness of its findings to
the true population value. These axioms are the basis for the confidence interval sample size
determination method, which is the most correct method because it relies on sound logic
based upon the statistical concepts of variability, confidence intervals, and margin of sample
error.

When estimating a percentage, marketing researchers rely on a standard sample size formula
that uses variability (p and q), level of confidence (z), and acceptable margin of sample
error (e) to compute the sample size, n. Confidence levels of 95% or 99% are typically
applied, equating to z values of 1.96 and 2.58, respectively. For variability with percentage
estimates, the researcher can fall back on a 50%/50% split, which is the greatest variability
case possible. When estimating a mean, another formula is used. The standard sample size
formula is best considered a start- ing point for deciding the final sample size, for data
collection costs must be taken into consideration. Normally, the researcher and manager will
discuss the alternative sample error levels and their associated data collection costs to come
to agreement on a final acceptable sample size.

Although they have limitations, there are at other methods of determining sample size: (1)
designating size arbitrarily, (2) using a “conventional” size, (3) basing size on the
requirements of statistical procedures to be used, and (4) letting cost determine the size. Two
sampling situations raise special considerations. With a small population, the finite
multiplier should be used to adjust the sample size determination formula. With non-
probability sampling, a cost-benefit analysis should take place.

Summary 6
This chapter described the various qualitative research techniques used by marketing
researchers. Quantitative research uses predetermined structured questions with
predetermined structured response options. It is also normally characterised by the use of
large samples. Qualitative research is much less structured than quantitative approaches.
Qualitative research involves collecting, analysing, and interpreting data by observing what
people do or say. The observations and statements are in an unstructured, non-standardised
form. The advantage of qualitative research is that it allows researchers to gather deeper,
richer information from respondents. Pluralistic research involves using both qualitative and
quantitative research methods.

Observation is a qualitative research technique in which researchers observe what


consumers do rather than communicate with them. Observation techniques can be direct or
indirect, covert or overt, structured or unstructured, and in situ or invented. Circumstances
most suited to observational studies involve a (1) short time interval, (2) public behaviour,
and (3) the likelihood of faulty recall if respondents are asked about previous experiences.
The primary advantage of observation is that researchers record what respondents actually
do instead of relying on their recall of what they think they do. The limitations of
observation studies are that they often rely on small samples, so representativeness is a con-
cern. Another disadvantage is the subjective interpretation required to explain the behaviour
observed. Researchers do not know consumers’ motives, attitudes, or intentions.

Focus groups, or moderated small-group discussions, are a popular form of qualitative


research. The major task of the moderator is to ensure freewheeling and open
communication that stays focused on the research topic. Traditional focus groups use about
6 to 12 persons in a dedicated room, with a one-way mirror for client viewing. Recent
innovations in contemporary focus groups include online focus groups in which clients may
observe from a distant location via video streaming over the Internet. Another form of
online focus group allows people to participate from their homes or any remote location
where they observe and respond to other participants via chat rooms. Focus groups have the
following advantages: (1) they generate fresh ideas; (2) they allow clients to observe their
participants; and (3) they may be directed at understanding a wide variety of issues.
Disadvantages include lack of representativeness, subjective evaluation of the meaning of
the discussions, and high costs per participant. Focus groups should be used when there is a
need to describe marketing phenomena. They should not be used when there is a need to
predict a phenomenon such as projecting sales for a new product evaluated by a focus
group. Four main objectives of focus groups are to generate ideas; to understand consumer
vocabulary; to reveal consumer needs, motives, perceptions, and attitudes on products or
services; and to better understand findings from quantitative studies.
To convene a focus group, marketing researchers should have 6 to 12 participants. sharing
similar characteristics and come up with a plan for potential “no shows.” Focus group
facilities exist in most major cities, but any large room with a central table can be used. The
moderator’s role is key to a successful focus group, and he or she should become involved
early on in the research project.

Another qualitative technique involves in-depth interviews (IDIs) to examine consumer


motivations and hidden concerns. Protocol analysis induces participants to “think aloud” so
the researcher can map the decision-making process a consumer uses in making a purchase
decision. Projective techniques, such as word association, sentence completion, or role
playing, are also useful in unearthing motivations, beliefs, and attitudes that subjects may
not be able to express well verbally. Ethnographic research involves observing consumers in
near-natural settings to monitor their behaviours, relations with others, and emotions.

New qualitative research techniques have emerged with advances in computer, Internet, and
communications technologies. Some physiological measurements, such as pupil dilation or
eye movement and electrical activity in the skin or brain, may also offer clues to consumer
reactions to products and messages. Neuromarketing is an emerging fields that may offer
additional qualitative insights into consumer behaviour.

Summary 11
Total error in survey research is a combination of sampling error and non-sampling error.
Sampling error may be controlled by the sample plan and the sample size. Researchers must
know both the sources of non-sampling error and ways to minimise the effect on total error.
The data collection phase of marketing research holds great potential for non-sampling
errors. Intentional and unintentional errors on the parts of both interviewers and respondents
must be regulated. Dishonesty, misunderstanding, and fatigue affect field workers, whereas
falsehoods, refusals, misunderstanding, and fatigue affect respondents. Several controls and
procedures may be used to overcome these sources of error such as supervision, validation,
careful selection, and orientation sessions for interviewers. In addition, researchers use
anonymity, confidentiality, incentives, validation checks, third-person technique, well-
drafted questionnaires, direct questions, response options such as “unsure,” reversals of
scale endpoints, and prompters to minimise respondent errors.

Nonresponse errors of various types are encountered in the data collection phase, including
refusals to take part in the survey, break-offs during the survey, and item omission or not
answering particular questions while answering all the others. Nonresponse error can be
measured by the calculation of the response rate using the CASRO response rate formula.

Responses to surveys are organised into a dataset, which is rows and columns of mostly
numbers where each respondent is represented by a row and each question or question part
is recorded in a column. Researchers use a data code book that indicates how the code
numbers relate to the question responses on the questionnaire. Prior to data analysis, the
dataset should be inspected for data quality issues such as incomplete, yea-saying, nay-
saying, middle-of-the-road, and other respondents whose answers are suspect. These
respondents’ answers should be removed from the dataset.

Summary 16
Technology has changed the way we do many things, and it has also affected report writing
and presentations. The marketing research report is a factual message that transmits re-
search results, vital recommendations, conclusions, and other important information to the
client, who in turn bases his or her decision making on the contents of the report. The
client’s decisions may hinge on how well the report communicates the research results.
Regardless of the care in the design and execution of the research project itself, if the report
does not adequately communicate the project to the client, all is lost.

While preparing and writing the report may be time consuming, advances are being made to
make report writing more efficient. Online reporting software is an efficient tool that assists
marketing researchers in monitoring data collection and disseminating research results. It
also allows data users to interact with the reports and to massage data. Word processing
software has many features to enhance efficiency in report writing. Tools are available that
automatically provide citations for sources of information used in a report. Statistical
packages, such as SPSS, have features that allow for ease of preparation of tables and
visuals such as bar charts and pie charts. Technology will continue to improve report
writing, presentation preparation, and distribution of reports.

Marketing research reports should be tailored to their audiences. They are typically
organised into the elements of front matter, body, and end matter. Each of these elements
has subparts, each serving a specific purpose.

Plagiarism refers to representing the work of others as your own. It is a serious offence in
the real world to plagiarise; people lose their jobs due to this ethical lapse. Proper
referencing of source materials not only allows writers to avoid charges of plagiarism but
offers other advantages.

Conclusions are based on the results of the research, and recommendations are suggestions
on how to proceed based on conclusions. Not all clients wish to have the researcher prepare
recommendations in the report.

Guidelines for writing the marketing research report include proper use of headings and
subheadings, which serve as signposts and signals to the reader, and proper use of visuals,
such as tables and figures. Style considerations include beginning paragraphs with topic
sentences, using transitional sentences, and keeping paragraphs short. Style also includes
spare use of jargon, strong verbs, active voice, consistent tense, and proofreading.

Care should be taken to ensure that all presentations are clear and objective to the reader.
Many visual aids may be distorted so that they have a different meaning to the reader.
Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines when preparing research reports. Reports rely
on tables, figures, and graphical displays of various types. SPSS includes routines for
creating report tables and graphs. We describe step-by-step commands on how to use SPSS
to make professional-appearing tables and graphs.

In some cases, marketing researchers are required to present the findings of their research
project to the client orally. Guidelines for making an oral presentation include knowing the
audience and their expectations and the key points you wish to make; correctly preparing
visuals; practicing; checking out presentation facilities and equipment prior to the
presentation; and being positive.

STATISTICS

Summary 12
This chapter introduced the descriptive statistics researchers use to inspect basic patterns in
datasets. There are five types of statistical analysis: descriptive, inferential, differences,
associative, and predictive.

Descriptive analysis is performed with measures of central tendency such as the mean,
mode, or median, each of which portrays the typical respondent or the typical answer to the
question being analysed. Measures of variability, including the frequency distribution,
range, and standard deviation, provide bases for envisioning the degree of similarity of all
respondents to the typical respondent. Basically, descriptive analysis yields a profile of how
respondents in the sample answered the various questions in the survey.

The chapter then distinguished a sample statistic from its associated population parameter.
We introduced the concept of statistical inference, which is a set of procedures for
generalising the findings from a sample to the population. A key factor in inference is the
sample size, n. It appears in statistical inference formulas because it expresses the amount of
sampling error: Large samples have less sampling error than do small samples given the
same variability. A population parameter, such as a mean or a percent, can be estimated by
using confidence intervals computed by application of the standard error formula. A
researcher can use the sample findings to test a hypothesis about a mean or a percentage.

Summary 13
Differences matter to marketing managers. Basically, mar-ket segmentation implications
underlie most differences analyses. It is important that differences are statistically
significant, but it is also vital that they are meaningful and stable and provide an
actionable basis of marketing strategy.

Differences between two percentages or means in two samples can be tested for statistical
significance. The chapter illustrates how to determine if two percentages drawn from two
different samples are significantly different. The t test procedure in SPSS is used to test
the significance of the difference between two means from two independent samples. This
chapter presented an illustration of how to use SPSS for this analysis using the Global
Motors dataset.

When a researcher has more than two groups and wishes to compare their various means,
the correct procedure involves analysis of variance, or ANOVA. ANOVA is a flagging
technique that tests all possible pairs of means for all the groups involved, and indicates
via the Sig. (significance) value in the ANOVA table if at least one pair is statistically
significant in its difference. If the Sig. value is greater than .05, the researcher will waste
his or her time inspecting the means for differences. But if the Sig. value is .05 or less, the
researcher can use a post hoc procedure such as Duncan’s multiple range test to identify
the pair or pairs of groups where the means are significantly different. This chapter also
discussed the paired-samples test.

Summary 14
This chapter dealt with instances in which a marketing re- searcher seeks to determine if
there is a relationship between the responses to one question and the responses to another
question in the same survey. Four different types of relationship are possible. First, a
non-monotonic relationship indicates that the presence (or absence) of a label for one
nominal variable is systematically associated with the presence (or absence) of a label for
another nominal variable.

Second, a monotonic relationship indicates the direction of one variable relative to the
direction of the other variable. Third, a linear relationship is characterised by a straight-
line appearance if the variables are plotted against one other on a graph. Fourth,
curvilinear relationship refers to a pattern with a definite curved shape. Associative
analyses are used to assess these relationships statistically.

Associations can be characterised by presence, direction, and strength, depending on


the scaling assumptions of the questions being compared. With Chi-square analysis, a
cross-tabulation table is prepared for two nominal-scaled questions, and the Chi-square
statistic is computed to determine whether the observed frequencies (those found in the
survey) differ significantly from what would be expected if there were no non-monotonic
relationship between the two. If the null hypothesis of no relationship is rejected, the re-
searcher then looks at the cell percentages to identify the underlying pattern of
association.
A correlation coefficient is an index number, constrained to fall between the range of
+1.0 to –1.0, that communicates both the strength and the direction of association
between two scale variables. The sign indicates the direction of the relationship, and the
absolute size indicates the strength of the association. Normally, correlations in excess of
±.8 are considered high. With two questions that are interval and/or ratio in their scaling
assumptions (scale variables), the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient is
appropriate as the means of determining the underlying linear relationship. A scatter
diagram can be used to inspect the pattern.