Questions and Answers on Social and Marketing Research
Hi guys, today we would be taking a question and answer series to sharpen up your social and marketing research skills. Lets begin:
What is marketing research?
Marketing Research is the conceptualization of a marketing problem followed by objective and systematic collection, recording, analysis, interpretation and reporting of data and information for the purpose of clarifying the problem and solving it.
Marketing research may also be defined as the objective gathering, recording and analysis of all facts relating to the transfer and sale of products and services from the producer to the consumer or end users with the aim of producing answers that are consistent with accepted theoretical principles.
Marketing research may again be defined as the systematic gathering, recording and analysis of data about marketing problems in order to facilitate marketing decision making. It is the systematic approach to the development and provision of information for marketing management decision making.
Itemize the scope of marketing research
The scope of marketing research includes:
- Determination of market characteristics
- Development of market characteristics
- Market share analysis
- Competitive product analysis
- New Product acceptance and potential analysis
- Short range forecasting
- Studies of business trend
What are the features of marketing research?
The following are the features of marketing research:
- Marketing research is systematic: This means that marketing research project should be well planned and organized
- Marketing research is objective: This means that marketing research must strive to be unbiased and unemotional in performing its responsibilities. The interpretation of data should also be unbiased, unemotional and scientific.
- Marketing research provides the information used in marketing decision making process.
What is the relationship between marketing and marketing research?
In marketing, there is need to identify the market and market needs and wants. Products need to be developed to meet the needs and wants of consumers or customers. Marketing managers have one implicit function which is decision making and this is done by gathering information. The information for developing the products could be acquired from different sources; from experience, from judgement and from intuition. But these sources are subject to bias. The most accurate source of information for marketing decision making is marketing research.
Describe the marketing research process.
Marketing research process involves the following:
- Definition of problem
- Decision on the research design to be used, e.g qualitative design like the use of survey research, experiment, etc
- Decision on the method of collecting data, e.g through survey, experimentation, observation, questionnaire, etc.
- Decision on the sampling method to be used. Generally there exist two sampling methods:
- Probability method of sampling
- Non-probability method of sampling (or convenience sampling)
- Editing, data cleaning and analysis of the data
- Interpretation of the analyzed data and
- Writing the report for managerial actions and possible theory building.
What is the role of marketing Research in marketing management?
Through marketing Research, satisfactory answers are obtained for the following questions:
- Who are the customers or clients? What are they like?
- Who are the non-customers and why do they not buy?
- How is the market made up?
- How the market is divided, is it separate sections or segments?
- What are the patterns of market behavior and why does this behavior occur?
- What products or services are demanded and in what quantities and qualities?
- What is the size and economic viability of these markets?
- Which changes are taking place in these markets?
Marketing research shapes the direction of plan and strategy in any organization. For effective policy formulation, objective information is required and this is provided through marketing research. Embarking on a new product without adequate knowledge of the market will be a worthless exercise. Banks are able to know their customers through marketing research; the pattern of behavior towards a service can easily be established, thus, formulation of effective policy is greatly accelerated.
What are the problems of marketing research?
The problems of experienced in marketing research include:
- Funding: Because marketing research is time and fund consuming it is either not done at all or poorly done.
- Poor manpower: Most developing countries lack well trained experts in the field of marketing and research. There is shortage of skilled manpower because of the relegation of training and marketing to the background
- Poor conception and perception of marketing research: Instead of regarding market research as a scientific aid that assists in making informed marketing decisions, most managers see it as a mere investigative tool that go a little further than distributing and collating questionnaire.
- Late delivery of results: Because most market research is time consuming, its result is delivered late, at times so late enough as not to meet the purpose for which the research was first instituted.
- Public apathy to market research: A lot of respondents will not return questionnaire sent to them while others will regard fielded questions an incursion into their privacy. This lack of cooperation makes market intelligence difficult to gather and renders the result of the market research incomplete and misleading.
- Use of wrong research methodology: At most times the research methodology used by market researchers is either error prone or misleading and thereby result in wrong results which can be grossly misleading when used by management.
- Absence of market research department
Give three examples of how marketing research helps marketing managers to make sound decisions
- Marketing research helps managers to do market selection. It helps managers to know what products to produce, the size of the products, the shape of the products, the benefits to expect from the production, etc.
- Marketing research helps marketing managers to know the level of demand. It helps marketing managers to know what price the customers can pay. It helps them to know price elasticity; it helps them to know when they make profit, i.e revenue minus cost. Marketing research enables marketing managers to know the competitive structure, e.g, whether it is monopolistic competition, oligopoly, etc.
- Marketing research enables marketing managers to know the level of sales and predict sales. Are sales adequate, are they low, are they the result of distribution, promotion, etc.
Give a good example of decisions made by marketing managers and point out how marketing research can help in making such decisions.
Marketing decisions generally fall into the following four controllable categories:
- Place (distribution)
Product refers to tangible, physical product as well as services. Examples of product decisions made by marketing managers include:
- Brand name
- Repairs and support
- Accessories and services
Examples of pricing decisions made by marketing managers include:
- Pricing strategy (skim, penetration, etc)
- Suggested retail price
- Volume discount and wholesale pricing
- Cash and early payment discount
- Seasonal pricing
- Price flexibility
- Price discrimination
Distribution (Place) Decisions
Distribution involves getting the products to the customers. Examples of distribution decisions include:
- Distribution channels
- Market coverage (inclusive, selective or exclusive distribution)
- Specific channel members
- Inventory management
- Distribution centres
- Order processing
- Reverse logistics
In the context of the marketing mix, promotion represents the various aspects of marketing communication, that is, the communication of information about the product with the goal of generating a positive customer response.
Marketing promotion/communication decisions include:
- Promotional strategy (push, pull, etc)
- Personal selling and sales force
- Sales promotions
- Public relations and publicity
- Marketing communications budget
The knowledge gained from marketing research helps marketers make more informed decisions. Market research does this by giving marketers a picture of what is occurring (or likely to occur) and offering alternatives from which choices can be made. For instance, good research may suggest multiple options for introducing new products or entering new markets. In most cases, marketing decisions prove less risky (though they are never risk free) when the marketer can select from more than one option.
Marketing research is divided into two categories; consumer market research and business-to-business marketing research, which was previously known as industrial marketing research.
Consumer marketing research studies the buying habits of individual people while business-to-business marketing research investigates the market for products sold by one business to another. Consumer marketing research is a form of applied sociology that concentrates on understanding the behaviours, whims and preferences of consumers in a market based economy.
Market research examines all aspects of a business environment. It asks questions about competitors, market structure, government regulations, economic trends, technological advances and numerous other factors that make up the business environment.