Collecting information in market research

The data collection phase of marketing research is generally the most expensive and the most prone to error. In the case of surveys, four major problems arise some respondents will not be at home and must be contacted again or replaced. Other respondents will refuse to cooperate. Still others will give biased or dishonest answers. Finally, some interviewers will be biased or dishonest. Getting the right respondents is critical.

Media mark Research

Media mark Research interviews 26,000 Americans in their homes on the kinds of media they use, the brands and products they use, and their attitudes towards topics such as sports and politics. Until 2002, the company had tended to exclude non-English speaking Hispanics from the research. As the Hispanic population increased in numbers and buying power, the company recognized that it could no longer afford this limiting and potentially biased approach. Media mark recruited a bilingual traveling task force so that when interviewers come to a Hispanic household, respondents can answer the survey in English or Spanish. They are creating a more seamless interviewing database by asking the same questions to all people no matter what language they speak and what level of acculturation they have.

Data collection methods are rapidly improving thanks to computers and telecommunications. Some research Firms interview from a centralized location. Professional interviewers sit in booths and draw telephone numbers at random. When the phone is answered, the interviewer reads a set of questions from a monitor and types the respondents’ answer into a computer. This procedure eliminates editing and coding, reduces errors, saves time, and produces all the required statistics. Other research firms have set up interactive terminals in shopping centers. Persons willing to be interviewed sit at a terminal, read the questions from the monitor and type in their answers.

One savvy marketer gets primary data via online surveys from a highly coveted demographic as they play games.

With more than 22 million members and 27,000 new ones joining every day, Neo pets is one of the most popular children’s Web sites. The Web site is free, and it allows users to create, nurture, and care for cyber pets as they earn “neo-points.� They raise their neo pet in a virtual neighborhood that includes eating at McDonald’s watching Disney movie clips, feeding pets General Mills cereal, or playing Reese’s Puffs mini-golf with them. In this unique form of interactive product placement, advertisers pay to become part of the branded Neo pet environment. In return, they get increased exposure to their products or services and data on their target market’s consumer behavior. The primary research mechanism at neo pets is a link to an online survey, prominently displayed on the homepage. Members are rewarded with Neo points for answering questions about their shopping habits, and users complete 6,000 to 8,000 surveys a day. Interestingly, despite building a profitable business around selling information on its loyal users, neo-pets has won kudos from privacy advocates because the company only releases data about its user base as a whole or about certain segments, but does not reveal any facts on individual users.