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Chapter 8. Marketing Research Decision-Support Systems, and Sales Forecasting. Chapter Objectives. Describe the development of the marketing research function and its major activities. Explain the steps in the marketing research process

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chapter 8

Chapter 8

Marketing Research Decision-Support Systems, and Sales Forecasting

chapter objectives
Chapter Objectives
  • Describe the development of the marketing research function and its major activities.
  • Explain the steps in the marketing research process
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary data and identify the sources of each type.
  • Explain the different sampling techniques used by marketing researchers.
  • Identify the methods by which marketing researchers collect primary data.
  • Explain the challenges of conducting marketing research in global markets.
  • Outline the most important uses of computer technology in marketing research.
  • Explain how the use of information technology, particularly marketing decision support systems (MDSSs), can enhance and refine market research and it’s impact on decision making.
  • Identify the major types of forecasting methods.
the marketing research function
The Marketing Research Function
  • Marketing research: the process of collecting and using information for marketing decision-making
  • Development of the Marketing Research Function
    • First organized marketing research project done by N.W. Ayer in 1879
    • First commercial research department in the U.S. established by Charles C. Parlin for the Curtis Publishing Co. in 1911
    • Parlin counted soup cans in garbage to convince the Campbell soup Company that working-class families would buy canned soup
L'Oreal Kids
    • Using Marketing Research to Match New Products to Potential Customers.
    • The Tangle Free Shampoo and the Bottle Design Resulted From Research Among Mothers and Children.
Who Conducts Marketing Research
    • The size and organizational form of the marketing research function is typically tied to a given company’s structure
    • Many firms depend on independent marketing research firms
Syndicated Services
    • Organizations that regularly provide a standardized set of data to all customers
    • Nielsen
    • IRI

Full-Service Research Suppliers

    • Organizations that contract with clients to conduct complete marketing research projects

Limited-Service Research Suppliers

    • A marketing research firm that specializes in selected activities like:
      • Field or telephone interviews
      • Data-processing
      • Focus groups
Customer Satisfaction Measurement Programs
    • Procedure for measuring customer feedback against customer satisfaction goals and developing a plan of action for improvement
  • Figure 8.2
    • Research Designed to Assess Levels of Customer Satisfaction
Step 1: Define the Problem
    • Avoid confusing symptoms of a problem with the problem itself
    • The problem(s) should be agreed upon by all concerned parties
    • Doing so helps to keep everyone concerned in agreement and to keep the project focused on solving the problem(s)
    • Doing so also helps to prevent the all-too-common tendency to spend resources attempting to answer “interesting, but not necessary” questions
Step 2: Conduct exploratory research
    • An Informal investigation seeking to discover the cause of a problem by discussing it with informed internal and external sources
    • Company records such as sales and profit analyses
    • Competitive data
    • Using Internal Data
      • Sales records, Financial statements, and Marketing cost analyses
        • Sales analysis
Step 3: Formulate a Hypothesis
    • Hypothesis: a tentative explanation for some specific event – a statement about the relationship among variables that carries a clear implication for testing this relationship
    • Sets the stage for more in-depth research by further clarifying what researchers need to test
    • Not all marketing research tests specific hypotheses
Step 4: Create a Research Design
    • Research design: a series of decisions that, taken together, comprise a master plan or model for conducting marketing research
    • Must ensure that the study will measure what the marketer intends to measure
    • Must also ensure an appropriate selection of respondents
Step 5: Collect Data
    • Secondary data is data from previouslypublished or compiled sources (e.g. Census data)
      • Almost always less expensive to gather
      • Less time is usually necessary to locate and use it
    • Primary data refers to data collected for the first time specifically for a marketing research study
      • Can provide richer, more detailed information than secondary data
Step 6: Interpret and Present Research Information
    • Findings must be presented to decision-makers in a format that allows them to make effective judgments
    • Cardinal rule of presenting marketing research requires that it assists decision-making rather than being an end in itself
Secondary Data Collection
    • Government Data
      • Nation’s most important source of marketing data
      • Most frequently used government statistics
      • Census information available at no charge
      • TIGER System: Topographically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing System P.265
        • The system combines topographic features like railroads, highways, and rivers with census data such as household income figures
Secondary Data Collection
    • Private Data
      • Encyclopedia of Associations
      • Urich’s Guide to International Periodicals
      • Sales & Marketing Management’s Annual Survey of Media Markets
      • Dialog’s ABI/Inform
      • CompuServe’s Knowledge Index
      • Find/SVP’s FindEx, the Directory of Market Research Reports, Studies, and Surveys
      • Starch Readership Reports
      • A. C. Nielsen’s SalesNet
Harris InfoSource
    • One of many providers of secondary data
Secondary Data Collection
    • Online Sources of Secondary Data
      • Cyberspace sometimes simplifies the search for secondary data
      • A Web-based research project can cost less, and can yield significantly faster results than offline research
      • Caveat Emptor should guide Internet searches for secondary data
Sampling Techniques
    • Sampling:the process of selecting survey respondents or other research participants
      • Population (universe): total group that researchers want to study
      • Census: a collection of data on all possible members of a population or universe
Probability sample: sample that gives every member of the population a known chance of being selected
    • Simple random sample – every member of the relevant population has a equal opportunity of selection [draft lottery]
    • Stratified sample – randomly selected sup samples of different groups represented in the total sample [opinion polls, groups share divergent views]
    • Cluster sample – a sample in which researchers select areas [clusters] from which to draw respondents
  • Non-probability sample: arbitrary grouping that produces data unsuited for most standard statistical tests
    • Convenience sample – respondents selected who are readily available [mall intercepts]
    • Quota sample – a sample that is divided to maintain representations for different segments [three McDonalds users, two Burger King users, one Wendy’s user]
Primary Research Techniques
    • Observation Method
      • Researchers actually view, or watch, the overt actions of the research subjects
      • Useful in helping to understand how consumers actually behave in certain situations
      • Can be as simple as counting passing cars or as sophisticated as people meters recording household TV-viewing habits
      • Interpretive Research – a researcher observes a customer or group of customers in their natural setting [grocery shoppers]. Their behavior is interpreted based on an understanding of the social and cultural characteristics of that setting
Survey Method
    • Telephone Interviews
      • An inexpensive and quick method for obtaining a small quantity of relatively impersonal information
      • Relatively high response rates
      • Limitations include:
        • Only simple, clearly worded questions draw appropriate responses
        • Personal information difficult to obtain
        • Respondents can’t view pictures
        • Caller-ID
Survey Method
    • Personal Interviews
      • Best means for obtaining detailed information about consumers
      • Interviewer can explain confusing or vague questions
      • Offer Good Flexibility
      • Mall intercepts
      • Limitations:
        • Slow
        • Expensive
Survey Method
    • Focus Groups
      • A Focus Group is an information gathering procedure in marketing research that typically brings together 8 to 12 individuals to discuss a given subject
      • Can provide quick and relatively inexpensive insights
      • May not produce completely honest responses to questions
Figure 8.7
    • Focus Groups: Insights into Consumer Perceptions
Figure 8.8
    • Benefits of Online Focus Groups
Survey Method
    • Mail Surveys
      • Cost Effective
      • Provides anonymity that may encourage respondents to give candid answers
      • Limitations include:
        • Typically low response rates
        • Take a long time to conduct
        • Questionnaires cannot answer unanticipated questions that occur to respondents as they complete the forms
        • Complex questions may not be suitable
        • Bias from nonresponse
Survey Method
    • Fax Surveys
      • Low response rates and long follow-up times associated with mail surveys have spurred interest in the alternative of faxing survey documents
      • Faxing provisions may supplement mail surveys
      • Or, faxing may be the primary method for contacting respondents and obtaining their answers
Survey Method
    • Online Surveys and Other Internet-Based Methods
      • Growing number of Internet users has sparked interest in going online to conduct surveys . . . and even focus groups
      • Benefits include the lack of geographic restrictions, faster turn-around time, and dramatically lower costs
      • Growth of the Internet is creating a need for new research techniques to measure and capture information about website visitors
Survey Method
    • Experimental Method
      • Scientific investigation in which a researcher manipulates test group(s) and compares the results with those of a control group that did not receive the experimental controls or manipulations
      • The most common use to date has been test marketing
      • Major problem with controlled experiments comes from the failure to account for all variables in a real-life situation
      • Expensive to conduct
Conducting International Marketing Research
    • As corporations expand globally, they need to gather knowledge about consumers in other countries
    • The basic steps are the same as for domestic studies, however, face some different challenges
    • A major secondary information source is the U.S. Department of Commerce
      • Foreign Economic Trends and Their Implications for the United States
      • Overseas Business Reports
interpretative research
Interpretative Research
  • Observes a customer or group of customers in their natural settings and then interprets their behavior based on an understanding of social and cultural characteristics of that setting
    • Ethnographic
  • Focuses on understanding the meaning of a product or the consumption experience in a consumer’s life
  • Takes time and is expensive
computer technology in marketing research
Computer Technology inMarketing Research
  • Marketing Information System (MIS)
    • A planned, computer-based system designed to provide managers with a continuous flow of information relevant to their specific decisions and areas of responsibility [raw data, i.e. sales reports]
Marketing Decision Support System (MDSS)
    • Consists of computer software that helps users quickly obtain information and apply that information in a way that supports marketing decisions
    • An MDSS can create simulations or models to illustrate the likely results of changes in marketing strategies or marketing conditions [manipulation of the raw data into graphs, charts, trend lines, etc.]
Data Mining
    • The process of searching through computer files to detect patterns
    • Focuses on identifying relationships that are not obvious to marketers
    • The data is stored in a huge database called a data warehouse
    • Can be an efficient way to make sense of huge amounts of data
    • Can help create customer profiles, pinpoint reasons for customer loyalty or the lack thereof, analyze the potential returns on changes in pricing or promotion, and sales forecasts
Business Intelligence
    • Process of gathering information and analyzing it to improve business strategies, tactics, and daily operations
  • Competitive Intelligence
    • Form of business intelligence that focuses on finding information about competitors using published sources, interviews, observations by salespeople and suppliers in the industry, government agencies, public filings and other secondary sources including the Internet
sales forecasting
Sales Forecasting
  • Estimate of company revenue for a specified future period.
    • Qualitative Forecasting Techniques
    • Quantitative Forecasting Techniques
Qualitative Forecasting Techniques
    • These techniques rely on subjective data that repots opinions rather than exact historical data.
      • Jury of Executive Opinion – top executives
      • Delphi Technique – “Blue Chip” economic forecasts
      • Sales Force Composite – good starting point
      • Survey of Buyer Intentions – very subjective, limited application
Quantitative Forecasting Techniques
    • This method uses statistical computations such as trend extensions, computer simulations, and economic models.
      • Market Tests
      • Trend Analysis
      • Exponential Smoothing