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Marketing Research Problem and Objectives

Step 1: Define the Marketing research problem

The very first, and the most important step in research:
A problem well-defined is half solved Nature of the problem determines the type of study to conduct. Symptoms, for example, declining sales, profit, market share, or customer loyalty are not problems.

A research problem must be accurately and precisely defined, otherwise the task of designing a good research difficult.

Marketing problems may be difficulty-related or opportunity-related. For both, the prerequisite of defining the problem is to identify and diagnose it.
Conduct situation analysis. It provides the basic motivation and momentum for further research.

Get the right answer to the question: What exactly does the firm want (or need) to know? The basic question to address is: How to know that there is a problem? Problems may become apparent from:
deviation from the business plan, company records and reports, customer complaints and grievances, conversations with company employees, and observation of inappropriate behavior or conditions in the firm; the success of the firms competitors, and published materials reporting issues such as, changes in market or environmental trends, new government regulations, anticipated changes in the economy, etc.)

Once the symptoms of a problem are detected..

Conduct some initial fact finding to determine the nature of the true problem. Talk to others about the problem and conducting a preliminary literature search on the topic.

In the initial stage, a problem may be recognized in a very broad and general form only. This may restrict the research program from being comprehensively designed. Both the researcher and the marketing manager (or the research client ) need to work together to formulate the problem into a precise and definite statement. This fact-finding exercise helps the researcher to refine his educated guess to a more accurate problem statement.

Management Decision Problem Vs. Marketing Research Problem

Management Decision Problem Should a new product be introduced? Marketing Research Problem To determine consumer preferences and purchase intentions for the proposed new product. To determine the effectiveness of the current advertising campaign. To determine the price elasticity of demand and the impact on sales and profits of various levels of price changes.

Should the advertising campaign be changed?

Should the price of the brand be increased?

Example of Problem Formulation Ford SUV

A recent report suggests that middle-class families with children are taking more frequent and longer road trips for vacations. Ford wants to exploit this opportunity and add features to their nextgeneration sport utility vehicle (SUV) in order to make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Management Decision Problem Ford SUV

How to increase SUV sales?

Marketing Research Problem

To identify and analyse potential buyers preferences in the SUV segment, in particular, regarding the following features: built-in TV/Video system, food warmer, and refrigerator.

Step 2: Establish Research Objectives

If you do not know what you are looking for, you wont find it

Research objectives are related to and determined by the problem definition. In establishing research objectives, the researcher must answer the following questions:
i) What specific information should the project provide? ii) If more than one type of information will be developed from the study, which is the most important? and finally, iii) What are the priorities? When specifying research objectives, development of hypotheses, might be very helpful. When achieved, objectives provide the necessary information to solve the problem.

Research Objectives
Research objectives can be stated as Questions Researchable statements Hypotheses
A hypothesis is a conjectural statement about a relationship between two or more variables that can be tested with empirical data.


Research Objectives Question Form Ford SUV

Consider the following research objectives:
What is the likely consumer demand for an SUV with an inbuilt refrigerator? With a built-in refrigerator, would consumers need additional cup holders in the SUV? If so, what locations in the vehicle would be most convenient? What is the likely consumer demand for an SUV with Video/TV system at different price points: (i) $1500, (ii) $2000 or (iii) $2500. What are the characteristics of consumers who would buy the video system?

Research Objectives Statement Form Ford SUV

Consider the following research objectives:

Estimate consumer demand for an SUV with an in-built

refrigerator. Determine whether, with a built-in refrigerator in the SUV, consumers would need additional cup holders; if so, identify the most convenient locations in the vehicle. Estimate consumer demand for an SUV with Video/TV system at different price points: (i) $1500, (ii) $2000 or (iii) $2500. Identify the characteristics of consumers who would buy the video system.


Research Objectives Hypothesis Form Ford SUV

Consider the following research objectives:
H1: Demand for SUVs with built-in refrigerators will be higher in Sun Belt states (e.g., Florida, Texas) than in other states. H2: Customers who would buy an SUV with a built-in refrigerator would also prefer that the vehicle have more cupholders. H3: Demand for SUVs with video/TV systems will be highest among families with young children 1-6 years of age, compared to families with older children or no children.