Appropriate Data collection for realistic results in MR

Experts were called by a company to assess the effectiveness and repositioning of existing brands. Experts’ task was to assess the number of consumers correctly recalling the ad campaigns of the company’s existing brands. However, when experts interacted with the top management of the company, the brief was modified to include an assessment of positioning of the three brands in the target market and to suggest changes if any in their positioning. The research done concluded that positioning in the child market was weak. The child did not perceive the purchase and consumption of the drink to be fun. To the child fun was imitating some family member or known friend. Based on these findings the company repositioned its product and targeted to the adolescent market with the fun and excitement theme. This strategy repositioning based on Market Research (MR) helped the company emerge as a winner in the Orange flavored soft drink segment.

MR is, therefore a key to the evolution of successful marketing strategies and programs It is an important tool to study buyer behavior, changes in consumer life-style and consumption patterns, brand loyalty and also, forecast market changes. Research is also used to study competition and analyze the competitor product’s positioning and how to gain competitive advantage. Realizing the contribution that MR makes, more and more companies are now turning towards it.

Therefore to make MR effective, it is important that it has a linkage with business strategy and should respond to future or emerging scenarios in the market place.

If the definition of the problem – the marketing problem involved or the marketing research problem is faulty, the research results will be misleading and confusing. For example, a problem of poor profit may be understood wrongly as a problem of inadequate sales, while actually there may not be anything wrong with the sales level. Then, questions like how sales could be improved and whether advertising will improve sales etc., may be taken up for consideration and sometimes another research project on the impact of advertising on sales is commissioned. In the cited case, the problem of profits may not have anything to do with either sales or advertising. Instead, it may be related to pricing or cost, or it may be that that firm is carrying on with quite a few unprofitable products lines and customers. Thus, proper defining of the marketing problem is a must proceeding further with marketing research process. The types of research to be carried out, the question to be raised, the sampling procedure to be followed, the data to be collected, all depend on a correct understanding of the problem. Also, by clearly focusing on the real problem, the research job can be simplified and completed with the minimum cost, effort and data.

We shall now discuss primary data. As mentioned earlier, primary data is original data collected by the researcher first hand. If the secondary data is found inadequate, the researcher goes for secondary data. First, he decides what primary data needs to be collected he identifies the correct data sources. Then, he chooses the research approach and procedure for the data.

Primary data can be collected be collected through observational studies market surveys, or experiments. It is a task that demands technical expertise. The provider of data is termed as ‘respondent’. A respondent may respondent may give response/data passively or actively. When response/data is gathered through the mere of the observation of the respondent’s behavior, he is said to provide is passively. When he gives response/data through written or spoken response, he said to provide it actively.
Measuring the data gathered from the respondents is an important aspect of any research study. Measurement may be easy, if the answers consist wholly of quantitative data. But in many marketing situations, the responses sought from the respondents are qualitative in nature, relating to perception, feelings likes and dislikes, inclination and preferences. Suitable devices have to be found for measuring such responses.

Interview is the most common method and questionnaire is the most common instrument for contacting respondents and collecting and collecting primary data. Different types of interviews such as personal interview telephone and mail interview can be employed depending on the context. The interview may be structured or unstructured direct or indirect. Sometimes a depth or a qualitative interview is also employed to elicit information Mail interview: As per this approach, the questionnaire along with a covering letter explaining the purpose of the study and seeking the respondent’s corporation is sent to all respondents in the sample. Obviously, this method cannot be used if the respondents are illiterate.

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