Overcoming barriers in use of marketing research


Marketing research techniques have grown rapidly during recent years all over the world. There is no company which may not be using market research to promote their business one way or the other. In spite of the rapid growth of marketing research, many companies still fail to use it sufficiently or correctly for several reasons.

A narrow conception of the research:

Many managers see marketing research as a fact finding operation. They expect the researcher to design a questionnaire, choose a sample, conduct interviews, and report results, often without a careful definition of the problem or of the decisions facing management. When fact finding fails to be useful, management’s idea of the limited usefulness of marketing research have to be taken into consideration.

Caliber of researchers:

Some managers view marketing research as little more than a clerical work and treat it as a not so significant activity. Less competent marketing researchers are hired, and their weak training and deficient creativity lead to unimpressive results. The disappointment in not getting proper results makes management’s thinking against marketing research. Management continues to pay low salaries to its market researchers, thus perpetuating the basic problem.

The problem:

We are giving here a case where Coca-Cola introduced the New Coke after much research. The New Coke has failed in the market despite Market research by the Coke Company. The failure of the New Coke was largely due to not setting up the research problem correctly, from a marketing perspective. The reason for this is because, the consumers felt about Coca-Cola as a brand and not necessarily the taste in isolation.

Late and Erroneous findings:

Managers want results that are accurate and conclusive. They may want the results tomorrow. Yet good marketing research takes time and money. Managers are disappointed when marketing research costs too much or takes too much time.

Failure to use marketing research properly has led to numerous gaffes, including the one given below:

“Star wars�

In the 1970s, a successful research executive left General Foods for a daring gambit: Bring market research to Hollywood to give film studios access to the same research that had spurred General foods’ success. A major studio handed him a science fiction film proposal and asked him to research and predict its success or failure. His views would inform their decision about whether or not to back the film. He concluded the film would fail. For one, he argued, Watergate had made America less trusting of its institutions and, as a result, Americans in the 1970s prized realism and authenticity over-science fiction. This particular film also had the word “War� in its title; he reasoned that America, suffering from its post-Vietnam hangover, would stay away in droves. The film was Star Wars. What this researcher delivered was information, not insight. He failed to study the script itself, to see that it was a fundamentally human story—of love, conflict, loss, and redemption—that merely played out against the backdrop of space.

Our inference about the failures of Market research is that some of the facts are differences between the styles of line managers and marketing researchers often get in the way of productive relationships. Managers want correctness, simplicity, and certainty. A marketing researcher’s report may seem abstract, complicated, and tentative. Yet in the more progressive companies, marketing researchers are being included as members of the product management team, and their influence on marketing strategy is growing. Failure to use marketing research properly may lead to unpredictable failure in introducing new products in the markets.