1. In what ways can marketing research influence the development and implementation of marketing strategy? Does that mean that organizations that conduct market research will perform better than organisations that does not? Please provide adequate references and examples for each of the points in your discussion.
In the business world, competition is so strong. Companies always want to stay on top and get the biggest market share. Because of this, organizations are working hard on winning the trust of the majority of the customers and various strategies are being implemented. The management continuous to seek for improvement in terms of the products and services they give to their clients. This is done to continuously increase customer satisfaction and net profit as well. It is true that a company cannot exist without customers. With this, the company must be able to satisfy their customers by giving them the best products and services.
For companies and organization to succeed, there is a need for the conduct of constant market research. Marketing research does not only focus on the “market” research but also includes research into new products and modes of distribution. In the conduct of a marketing research, there is a need to define the problem, the determination of ways and means in collecting the data and how these data will be analyzed. (http://www.marketingteacher.com/Lessons/lesson_marketing_research.htm)
Marketing research gives much influence in the implementation of any marketing strategies since through the conduct of such research, the management will know what the customer wants and what the market demands. The conduct of a market research must be used by a company to gain competitive advantage. It is the understanding of what product or service to deliver to what market and of what price and where that defines the success of a company. If an organization intends to introduce a new product to the market, the management can choose to assume that they know what the customer wants. The management will then start conceptualizing the product, price it at a level that the management thinks is appealing to the market and promotes and distributes it. While the product has been dispatched, sales have been disappointing. Customers will comment that the product is not appealing and is expensive. That particular scenario might be avoided should there be a conduct of a market research. Though marketing research does not really guarantee success, but at least the management has considered what the customers want. Marketing research, also, alleviates risks that a company might encounter when introducing or conceptualizing a new product. Based on the scenario given, the feedbacks from the customers matter – from the feedback stem ideas which can lead to the strategic direction of the company. The cost may be high in the conduct of a market research but the cost may even be higher if customers do not buy the product. (http://www.onlinebusadv.com/?PAGE=168)
For organizations to gain customers’ trust, they must give them the best services and products available. This can only be possible should the company have a good marketing strategy. The strategy involves knowing how customers perceive the company. It is also important to develop a marketing campaign in order to shape the customers in a positive manner. The management must be able to find out the kind of services and products the customers want from them. With this, the development of new products can be made easily. (http://www.4hb.com/0107flmarketingcampaign.html)
One of them most successful companies in the global market is McDonalds – known for its tasty burger, chicken, fries and other food products. The company has been in the business for years now. McDonalds is known worldwide for its colour scheme – red and yellow theme. It is through the combination of sound operational practices and innovative marketing strategies that McDonalds attains its global success. (http://www.mcdonalds.ca/en/aboutus/marketing.aspx)
It is very evident that McDonalds have been implementing strategies to gain the trust of its valued customers. The said food chain gives their customers a chance to voice out their concerns through their comments and suggestions. Having implemented this kind of policy, customers are free to give out suggestions. The comments and suggestions are then used by the management to improve their services. Having noted the strategy of the said successful company, it is important for companies to consider the voice of their customers for it is their customers whom they are serving. This is one way of conducting a research, day-by-day the company gets feedback from the customers, which can then be used to enhance their current services or develop new ones.
As mentioned, the conduct of a market research gives much influence on what strategies need to be implemented to gain competitive advantage. In a company, it is the management’s and executives’ responsibility to decide on what is best for the company. A good marketing strategy is basically based on the management’s understanding of the market such as the product life cycle, evaluation and purchase process as well as market segmentation. In a successful marketing strategy and research, it is needed to ask the customers what they want, know the reasons why customers want the product and observe what customers do. It now becomes easier to invent marketing strategies when the management has gathered the profiles of each customer. (http://www.allen.com/cgi-bin/gt/tpl.h,content=97)
One common mistake for organizations is the sample size they consider in their study is either too large or too small. The margin of error must also be considered in conducting a research. Margin of error is used since questions will be asked only to a sample not the entire population. The conduct of such research may be confusing for some, which is why the management needs to have a clear understanding of the statistical implications of the data which can be gathered from the study. (http://www.onlinebusadv.com/?PAGE=168)
Marketing research may be expensive and time consuming, but it the benefits an organization can get. It is a tedious process, a long but rewarding process. The conduct of a market research may ensure that new products and services will be embraced by the customers. It is through this that the management will know what their customers want from them. It is through this that the customers can suggest to the company how they want the product to be developed. It is through this that the management and the customers will have a clear understanding of what they want from each other. It is also through this that an open communication link is established between the company and the customers.
2. What possible issues associated with consumer behaviour and consumption patterns might be extremely sensitive ones to directly question respondents about? How might researchers overcome the difficulties of collecting these types of sensitive data? Please provide examples and adequate references for each of the points in your discussion.
Conducting marketing research is one best way for a firm to improve its products and/or services. This research and study must not only be done when a firm experiences bankruptcy but must be done frequently to know how the customers perceive their products and/or services. For some organization, research study is conducted prior to the development of a new product and/or service. This is done to ensure that the management always offer what the customer wants from them.
Market research is an ongoing process for continued success of an organization. It is important for any firm to identify the goals of conducting the research so as not to be confused and to know what type of data they want to gather. (http://www.entrepreneurship.org/uploadedfiles/Documents/FTGV-pp50-51.pdf)
The conduct of a Market Research involves the gathering of information to help certain organization in identifying the needs of the customers. This is conducted using sample surveys, questionnaires and open-ended questions by using techniques to study the market. (http://www.surveybounty.com/articles/marketdef.htsml) Since it is most important for the company to know what their customer wants, the items in the market research questionnaire must be directed at getting answers toward enriching products and services.
It is through the study of customers which helps an organization improve their marketing strategies and techniques through the understanding of the psychology of how consumers think, feel and reason between different alternatives; the psychology of how the environment influence the customers; the knowledge of the customers and how consumer strategies and motivation differ between and among products. In consumer research methods, there are two types: primary and secondary research methods. The latter means using information in which these information have already been collected. An example is when a person wants to start a business of making clothes for tall people. There is no need for a conduct of a research to question as how many tall people there are since it is already published by the US government. On the other hand, primary research means the designing of the research instrument is made by the management. This is what is frequently being used by most companies. (http://www.consumerpsychologist.com/)
Various research methods exist such as Personal Interviews, Questionnaire and observation – among the commonly used techniques. For personal interviews, though the researcher can get into depth with the respondents, this method is costly. Another issue of personal interviews is that it is vulnerable to leading the respondent to the answer through the facial expression of the interviewer and gestures. Observation on the other hand is one effective way of gathering data. It is an advantage when the customer does not know he is being observed because when he does, he tends to act in a different way. For instance, an American firm wants to know the reason why their sales in Japan are low. Based on the observation of a Japanese customer, it is found out they examine the product and search for a major manufacturer. Lastly, questionnaires give the customers the freedom to write what they want to. However, there are instances when respondents tend not to take each question seriously since the researcher is not watching over them while answering the questions. (http://www.consumerpsychologist.com/)
To overcome such issues, the company must thoroughly study the problem and must carefully identify the sample of the study. The success of the research solely depends on the data gathered so it is important to have a sample size who take the study very seriously. The management must carefully choose who the respondents will be in the sampling for it can surely affect the data they can gather. In addition, the researcher must carefully choose what type of research method the company will use. They must ensure that such method gives the company the data that can bring change to the entire organization.
One of the primary and widely used research tools is the questionnaire. The company who wants to conduct a research must develop a questionnaire which is brief and concise, instructions must be clearly stated, use various types of questions to get general and specific answers and most importantly the researcher must ask the demographic profile of the respondents and must not require the respondents to write their names. (http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing/market-research/1959-1.html)
Suppose a company wants to know the kind of people who are using the tourism infrastructure and the consumers’ level of satisfaction, the questions that might be included in the questionnaire include the number of days a customer usually stay in the place, the type of accommodation they get, purpose of the visit, their means of transportation in getting to the place, what made them attract the place, their level of satisfaction with their stay in the place, the activities they have participated in the place and asking the customers their comments and suggestions on how to improve their amenities and services. (http://www.limavady.gov.uk/filestore/documents/tourism/visitor_survey.doc.)
For researchers to collect sensitive data from customers, they must carefully study and review the questions and must also study the respondents of the sample. The researcher has to make sure that respondents of the survey will treat the research very significant. Thus, the researcher must randomly select the best respondents from the pool of customers. Most importantly, to avoid problems in the conduct of any marketing research, the management must appoint an employee who is equipped with the knowledge in quantitative and qualitative research. In this way, the management need not train the employee about statistical approach to be used in the research. Also, appointing an employee who has an experience in qualitative and quantitative research ensures the company that they can really get the data and information they need to keep the company ahead of the other companies having the same business interest.
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