Chapter 3, The Marketing Research Process


Exploring Marketing Research

William G. Zikmund

Chapter 3: The Marketing Research Process


• • Reduces Uncertainty Helps focus decision making

• • • Exploratory Descriptive Causal

Types of Research


Degree of Problem Definition

Exploratory Research (Unaware of Problem) Descriptive Research (Aware of Problem) Causal Research (Problem Clearly Defined) “Our sales are declining and “What kind of people are buying “Will buyers purchase more of we don’t know why.” our product? Who buys our our products in a new package?

competitor’s product?” “Would people be interested “Which of two advertising in our new product idea?” “What features do buyers prefer campaigns is more effective?” in our product?”

Exploratory Research Secondary Data Experience Survey Pilot Studies

Exploratory Research

• • • Initial research conducted to clarify and define the nature of a problem Does not provide conclusive evidence Subsequent research expected

Secondary ( historical ) Data Pilot Study Exploratory Research Experience Survey Case Study

Exploratory Research Techniques - Two Examples

• Secondary Data (Historical Data) – Previously Collected – Census of Population – Literature Survey • Pilot Study – A number of Diverse Techniques

Focus Group Interview

Descriptive Research

• Describes characteristics of a population or phenomenon • Some understanding of the nature of the problem

“I keep six honest serving men, (they taught me all I knew), their names are what, and why, and when, and how, and where and who.” --Rudyard Kipling

Descriptive Research Example

Weight Watchers average customer: – Woman about 40 years old – Household income of about $50,000 – At least some college education – Trying to juggle children and a job

Descriptive Research Example

Men’s fragrance market: – 1/3 size of women’s fragrance market – But growing at a faster pace – Women buy 80 % of men’s fragrances

Causal Research

• Conducted to identify cause-and-effect relationships

IDENTIFYING CAUSALITY A causal relationship is impossible to prove.

Evidence of causality: 1. The appropriate causal order of events 2. Concomitant variation--two phenomena vary together 3. An absence of alternative plausible explanations

Stages of the Research Process Problem Discovery and Definition Discovery and Definition Research Design and so on Conclusions and Report Sampling Data Processing and Analysis Data Gathering

Research Stages

• • • Cyclical process - conclusions generate new ideas Stages can overlap chronologically Stages are functionally interrelated – Forward linkages – Backward linkages

Problem Discovery and Definition

Problem discovery

Experiment Laboratory Field Selection of exploratory research technique Secondary (historical) data Experience survey Research Design Pilot study Problem definition (statement of research objectives) Selection of basic research method Interview Survey Questionnaire Case study Observation Secondary Data Study Sampling Selection of exploratory research technique Probability Nonprobability Data Gathering Data Processing and Analysis Conclusions and Report Collection of data (fieldwork) Editing and coding data Data processing Interpretation of findings Report

The Marketing Research Process Problem Discovery Selection of Sample Design Exploratory Research Selection of the Basic Research Method Collection of the Data

The Research Process (cont.) Editing and Coding Report Data Processing Interpretation of the Findings

Research Proposal

• A written statement of the research design that includes a statement explaining the purpose of the study • Detailed outline of procedures associated with a particular methodology

Problem Discovery and Definition

• • • • First step Problem, opportunity, or monitor operations Discovery before definition Problem means management problem

Defining Problem Results in Clear Cut Research Objectives Symptom Detection Analysis of the Situation Exploratory Research (Optional) Problem Definition Statement of Research Objectives

“The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution”

Albert Einstein

State the research questions and research objectives


• A statement that can be refuted by empirical data

If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.

Research Design

• • • Master plan Framework for action Specifies methods and procedures

Sample: subset of a larger population.

Selecting a Sample



• • • Who is to be sampled?

How large a sample?

How will sample units be selected?

Data Gathering Stage

Data Processing and Analysis

Conclusions and Report Writing

• Effective communication of the research findings

Research Program Strategy