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PROPOSAL ON MARKET RESEARCH
Marketing, the all-embracing function that links the company with customer tastes to get the right product to the right place at the right time. Marketing decisions are made through the marketing model , based on findings of market research, and carried out through the marketing mix. At all stages in the marketing process, the firm needs to work closely with the production department and research and development, to ensure that what is promised is delivered.
Market research is the main process of gathering primary and secondary data on the buying habits, lifestyle, usage and attitudes of actual and potential customers. The intension is to gather evidence that can enable marketing and production decisions to be made in a more scientific way than would otherwise be possible. Most large consumer goods firms agree on one phrase used by Sherlock Holmes “It’s a capital mistake to theorise before one has data”.
Market research can be subdivided as follows:
- Desk research
- Quantitative Qualitative
- Retail audits Expert opinion
- Field research
- Quantitative Qualitative
- Usage and attitude studies Group discussions
Market orientation, the extent to which firm’s strategic thinking stems from looking outwards to consumer tastes and competitive pressures. The main alternative is production orientation, where the firm looks inward to its own production needs and limitations. For many years, British firms were criticised for their lack of market orientation, but that changed in the 1980s. However, there is a danger that market orientation results in lost power and status for engineers and production managers, which might affect long-term technological competitiveness.
Primary research is the gathering of first-hand data that is tailor-made to a firm’s own product, customers or markets. This can be carried out by fieldwork, whereas Secondary research is the use of existing data that has already been collected. It can be anything from own sales statistics to the Department of Trade and Industry reports. Other secondary sources of information include journals, company reports, government statistics, and surveys published by research organisations.
Secondary data may be useful but is unlikely to provide the answers to the exact questions you are interested in. For example, secondary data might provide information about total consumer spending on trainers. To find out about consumer attitudes to Nike would require primary research to gather primary data. Secondary data is information collected from second-hand sources such as reference books, government stats or market intelligence reports. Such data can provide information on market size and market trends for most product categories. It may be accessible publicly and therefore free, but is in any case not as expensive to gather as primary data.
In market research, we find that samples are also used. Samples are groups of respondents to a market research exercise selected to be representative of the views of the target market as a whole. These are four main methods of sampling: random, quota, stratified and cluster. In consumer research (which is our main sector for this market research), the quota sample is the one used most commonly.
Quotas are sample surveys of a few thousand people. The people to be interviewed are chosen according to their socioeconomic group and their sex and age in proportion to the total number in the population. For example, in a general survey, you would include 51% women and 49% men, because at the last count of the total population in the United Kingdom there were roughly 29.1 million men and 30.1 million women.
In market research, it is best and most recommended to use random samples. A random sample is contacting survey respondents so that every member of the population has an equal chance of being interviewed. This sounds straightforward but is, in fact, both hard and expensive to achieve. The reason is that random must not be confused with haphazard. If all that an interviewer did was to stand outside Marks & Spencer on Tuesday afternoon and interview as many people as necessary, various distortions would occur in the sample:
- Relatively few men would be interviewed
- Few working women would be interviewed
- Few hardworking students would be interviewed
- In other words, the sample would be mainly pensioners, parents of preschool children and the unemployed.
In order to avoid these pitfalls, random samples are drawn from local electoral registers, and interviewees are contacted at home. The interviewer must call three times before giving up on an address. This is to overcome the problem that busy people are the least likely to be at home. The need to visit and revisit specific common in social research, businesses tend to use quota samples
By doing field research, you come across many problems, one such problem is bias. Bias is a factor that causes data or an argument to be weighted towards one side. Statistically, biases occur when a sample has – by chance or by mistake – an overweighting towards one subgroup (e.g. too many pensioners within a research sample).
Personal biases occur when a decision-maker consciously or subconsciously favours one side over another. Scientific decision-making methods such as investment appraisal or decision trees are supposed to avoid bias. In fact, the results they produce will depend on the assumption made, and they may reflect personal prejudice or bias.
The conclusion that Urban Hype arrives at is that the main way of collecting research should be through field research, this is due to the fact that the best information that can be collected is first-hand research which tells you what the consumer will appeal to, thus guiding you in the right track for success in your marketing plan.
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