The Marketing Research Process Overview
Learning Objectives • To learn the steps in the marketing research process. • To understand how the steps in the marketing research process are interrelated and that the steps may not proceed in order. • To be able to know when market research may be needed and when it may not be needed. • To know which step is the most important in the marketing research process.
Steps in the Marketing Research Process • Establish the need for the marketing research. • Define the problem. • Establish research objectives. • Determine the research design. • Identify information types and sources. • Determine the methods of accessing data. • Design data collection forms. • Determine sample plan and size. • Collect data. • Analyze data. • Prepare and present the final research report.
Steps in the Marketing Research Process Few comments about the process: • It is rare in practice a research project follows all the exact steps. • Research is an interactive process where a researcher by discovering something may move forward or backwards in the process. • May not involve every step shown • The research problem may be resolved, for example by a review of secondary data, thereby eliminating the need to determine a sample plan or size. • What’s important is although every research project is different, there are enough commonalities to follow the eleven steps of marketing research.
1: Establish the Need for Marketing Research • A good monitoring system will alert the marketing manager to a problem that can be attacked by marketing research. • Regardless of the monitoring system used a good monitoring system constantly searches for hints that the companies marketing mix may be out of “sync” in the market place. • Marketing research may not be needed • Information is already available • There is insufficient time for marketing research • Resources are not available • Costs outweigh the value of the research
2: Define the Problem • Defining the problem is the single most important step in the marketing research process. • Often studies are commissioned without a clear understanding of the problem that needs to be addressed. • Exploratory research is needed to define the problem so research may be conducted. • Problem definition involves: • Specifyingthesymptoms • Itemising the possible causes of the symptoms • Listing the reasonable alternative courses of action that the marketing manager can undertake to solve the problem.
3: Establish the Research Objectives • Research objectives identify what specific pieces of information are necessary to solve the problem at hand. • Research objectives step is the specification of the specific types of information useful to the managers as they grapple for a solution to the marketing problem at hand.
4: Determine Research Design There are three types of research design: • Exploratory Research Design - is defined as collecting information in an unstructured and informal manner. Examples: Reading periodicals, visiting competitors premises, examine company sales and profits vs. industry sales and profit, clipping service. • Descriptive Research Design - refers to a set of methods and procedure that describe marketing variables. Portray these variables by answering who, what, why and how questions. example: consumer attitude survey to your companies services. • Casual Research Design – designs allow us to isolate causes and their effects. • Casual research is conducted by controlling various factors to determine which factor is causing the problem. • By changing one factor, say price, we can monitor its effect on a key consequence, such as sales. In other words, casual design allows us to determine causality, or which variable is causing another variable to change.
5: Identify Information Types and Sources. Basically two types of data information available to a marketing researcher: • Secondary data – as it name implies, refers to information that has been collected for some other purpose. • Primary data - refers to information that has been gathered specifically to serve the research objectives at hand.
6: Determine Methods of Accessing Data Once the researcher has determined which type or types of information are needed, he or she must determine methods of accessing data. Methods of accessing external secondary data have improved over the last five years: • Information processing technology. • Easy and Quick retrieval. • Internal data- company reports, salespersons, executives, MIS and other information sources. There are several different methods of collecting primary data including: • Telephone surveys • Mail surveys • Door-to-doorinterviews • Mall-intercept studies • New data collection methods are emerging.
7: Design Data Collection Forms • Questionnaires and observation forms must be designed with great care. • Questionnaires – which record the information communicated by respondents or the respondent’s behavior as observed by the researcher • Structured Questionnaires - list questions that have pre-specified answer choices. • Unstructured questionnaires – have open ended questions and/or questions that are asked based on a response. • Disguised-true object of the study is not identified. • Undisguised- respondent is made fully aware of the purpose/or sponsor of the survey.
8: Determine Sample Plan and Size • A sample plan identifies who is to be sampled and how to select them for study. • A sample element refers to a unit of the entity being studied. • A sample Frame is a list from which the sample elements are drawn for the sample. • A sample plan specify how to draw the sample elements from the sample plan. • Methods are available to help the researcher determine the sample size required for the research study.
9: Collect Data • Data collection is usually done by trained interviewers who are employed by field data collection companies to collect primary data. • Being ware of errors that may occur is important. • Non-sampling Errors are attributable to factors other than sampling errors. • Wrong sample elements to interview • Securing participants who refuse to participate • Notahome • Interviewing subjects who give the wrong information. • Hiring interviewers who cheat and fill out fictitious survey questionnaires.
10: Analyse Data • Data analysis involves entering data into computer files, inspecting it for errors and running tabulations and various statistical tests. • Data cleaning – process by which the raw data are checked to verify that the data has been correctly inputted from the data collection form to the computer software program. Use SPSS • Coding – is the process of assigning all response categories a numerical value males=1, females=2. • Tabulation – which refers to the actual counting of the number of observations that fall into each possible response category.
11: Prepare and Present the Final Research Report • Preparing the marketing research report involves describing the process used, building meaningful tables, and using presentation graphics for clarity. • Preparing the SPSS software allows you to prepare graphics to enhance your written or oral presentation.
Summary • Virtually all market research projects are different. • Some are limited to review of secondary data; others require complex designs involving large scale collection of primary data. • Understand the eleven steps of the research process. • Steps can give researchers an overview of the entire research process. • Gives researchers a procedure to follow and a framework. • Many steps outlined are interactive and the researcher may decide which ones to use.
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