Consumer research has developed from the more general field of market research. It is a field of study that has been influenced by researchers and practitioners in several other fields, including psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Consumer research is important for marketers as the competitive landscape in almost every industry becomes even more challenging and with growth in global and cross-cultural markets.
Here we see an overview of the consumer research process that a typical marketer might follow when conducting research. As you can see, the marketer will first develop objectives to guide their research. Next comes the collection of secondary data which we will learn is data that is available because it had been collected previous to the marketer’s particular research. In the next phase, the marketer branches to both qualitative and quantitative research. In each of these areas, the marketer collects and analyzes data and then presents it in either a written report, a presentation, or both.
Information can be classified as either primary or secondary. Secondary information is information that has been collected for another purpose. It is already available to the researcher often for a fee. Primary research can be either qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative research includes focus groups and in-depth interviews. The more numerically-oriented quantitative research includes observational research, experimentation, and survey research.
It is extremely important that research objectives are determined at the beginning of the process. Without this agreed-upon roadmap for the research, money can easily be wasted and research objectives not fulfilled. At this point, it is important to define the purpose of a particular study. A small-scale exploratory study might be executed upfront if more information is needed by the researcher. This might include a few focus group sessions or a limited number of one-on-one interviews.
What might be three objectives of a research plan for your new business? To determine the target market, to set pricing strategies, and to design effective marketing messages How could you gather these data? Primary and secondary research. Primary research might include focus groups, surveys, and observation studies of local students and their traffic patterns.
Before jumping into primary data collection, a researcher will collect all the relevant secondary data that is available. Some of this data is within the organization and some of it can be collected or purchased from outside organizations. Collecting secondary information is important in guiding primary research decisions.
Secondary data is readily available. As an employee of a company, you may have access to the company’s internal records and databases, which are rich with customer, intermediary, and company data. In addition, as a student, you can access many databases through your school library. Most of this external data comes from online databases which combine articles from books, newspapers, periodicals, as well as trade and academic journals. Some schools supply access to commercial data including Nielsen, Arbitron, SRDS, and MRI/Mediamark. These are four of the many research companies that gather information and then sell the data to companies and institutions. Another excellent source of information is the government. The web link on this slide will bring you to the U.S. Census Bureau. This site is full of statistics and data on the U.S. population and commerce.
How can marketers justify their need for data? In many instances, marketers are gathering this data to truly provide better products and services. In addition, they want to know their customers better so they can better predict their needs. For example, if a company knows a customer’s policy is about to expire, they can contact the customer to determine if they want to renew their policy. How can they acquire data and maintain customer privacy? A couple of things must happen here. First of all, companies should be careful when sharing information. If the information is sold, it should always be in aggregate and never expose a customer’s personal information. Second of all, they must be clear with the customer when and how information will be shared. Finally, companies must carefully screen their employees who work with personal information to prevent such problems as identity theft.
Qualitative research is a great way to begin your primary research. It is extremely helpful in identifying attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs about your product. Because these methods generally use small samples, qualitative research techniques are often followed by quantitative processes. The major types of qualitative research are shown in this slide and explained in more detail on the following slides.
Depth interviews provide important information for targeting, positioning, and product redesign. They can be as short as 20 minutes or last up to an hour. The interview is often recorded, either with video or audio recordings so that the interviewer can play it back or transcribe the session to have all the details. To get the most from the subject, an interviewer will usually ask probing questions in order to gain more insights from the subject.
Probing subjects for more information can be very challenging, especially for people who are new to conducting research. Here is a group of questions which can be very helpful should you need to interview subjects for this course or another class. Note how the questions will be more effective in different questioning situations.
Whereas one-on-one interviews are conducted directly with the interviewer and a respondent, a focus group uses a small group of subjects for the research. Some researchers favor this approach because the respondents interact with each other and build off of each other’s comments. In addition, many people’s opinions are included in a shorter amount of time than individual interviews. A disadvantage of focus groups is that participants might not always be honest and are less willing to expose private thoughts and personal views due to the presence of other members. Researchers must balance the advantages and disadvantages of this method when deciding if it is right for their research project.
Discussion guides are an important part of focus groups and depth interviews. They provide an agenda for the session and help ensure that the researcher’s objectives that were established for the research plan are met. Some interviewers follow the guide exactly, but most will “go with the flow” and let the participants partly drive the direction of the research. This is not to say that the points on the discussion guide are not covered, just that the session has a more natural flow based on the feedback of the participants.
This is an example of a discussion guide for the research done for a food manufacturer and marketer. The participants would be screened and then invited to participate in the focus group. The moderator or leader of the focus group would use this guide to bring them through the session.
Projective techniques have their roots in psychoanalytic theory and practice. As a group, they tap into the consumer’s unconscious associations and motivations. There are a variety of these techniques and they are generally administered one-on-one with the respondent in a closed setting. In many situations, the research purpose is disguised and the respondent simply knows they are answering questions for a researcher.
Here are four of the most common projective exercises. You can see by the description of the techniques that it is often important that the researcher does not tell the subject the nature of the study. Many of these theories are based on the fact that people cannot easily locate and verbalize their true feelings toward a product category or brand.
It is believed that much of communication is nonverbal and that people do not think as much in words as they do in images. Given this, they also use metaphors at the root of their thoughts and communication. The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique is based on this use of metaphors. In these studies, respondents are asked to find pictures that describe their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about products, companies, and brands. The results are then combined to see if there are common themes or constructs that consumers mention in their results.
There is an emerging field of consumer research that works to interpret online conversations. The web link on this slide brings you to Converseon, a company that is working in the field. With the growth in social marketing, there are increasing conversations and comments online regarding products and brands. Marketers can use this information to develop new products, introduce new features, and to gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs and wants.
Quantitative research findings are descriptive and empirical. Unlike qualitative research, they can often be generalized to larger populations. Quantitative research helps marketers “predict” future needs, trends, and levels of satisfaction and are heavily used in research. Observation and experimentation can often be done without the subject’s input but a survey always needs direct cooperation from the subject.
In observational research , the researcher does not interact with the subject but watches their actions and behavior. Observation research can be done in stores, in malls, and in people’s homes. Observation research is very helpful in uncovering problems with a product as well as to gain ideas for product improvements and new products. This type of research is often done to understand how people interact with the product, each other, the design of the stores, and complementary products.
Mechanical observation research eliminates the need for a trained observer gathering data on behaviors. These mechanical tools can count and record customer behavior. Examples of mechanical observation methods are electronic traffic counters, videotape technology, and meters. In addition, a customer’s usage of frequent shopper cards at stores will help provide data to the retailers and brand managers. Researchers working in this area must always respect the consumer’s right to privacy.
Experimentation is useful for researchers in testing variables, including package design, alternative price points, and promotional offers. It is helpful for understanding cause-and-effect situations like the change in sales that is associated with a coupon. An example of an experiment might be to find out how much the use of a celebrity endorser will affect sales. Experiments can be carried out in the field as is the case for test markets. Test markets involve bringing the product to market in only one area and then measuring customer response. With this limited roll-out, marketers can decide if a national campaign and introduction make sense for their product. Experiments can also take place in a lab, on the Internet, and by using virtual reality methods. These more “remote” types of experiments are growing in usage because they are very cost efficient for marketers.
What might direct marketers test in experiments? Direct marketers often test their promotion. For example, a catalog marketer can send one catalog that offers free shipping and another can offer 20% off. The marketer will then see which offer is stronger and results in the most orders and the larger order sizes. How can they use the results? They use the results in designing future promotions and to refine their marketing.
These are the four major survey methods. This table summarizes their advantages and disadvantages. As you can see, they differ in their speed, costs, response rate – three very important factors to consider when designing market research. Online surveys are becoming increasingly popular because they are easy to use, inexpensive, and can reach very spread-out respondents. This web link is to surveymonkey.com which is one of the most popular online survey websites.
It is important for research to be both valid and reliable . It is only with these two characteristics that you can ensure that the data you have collected is useful for the purpose and can be expanded from the sample to the population. Validity asks the question of whether the data is really applying to the objectives you have set and reliability tells you, the researcher, if the results would be repeated if conducted on a similar group at the same time.
Attitude scales are used to help researchers understand evaluations of certain product and brand attributes. The four scales in this slide are the most commonly used attitude scales. In general, these scales are easy to administer and provide excellent information for the researcher. You have probably taken many surveys that were full of attitude scales.
It is important for every company to measure the level of customer satisfaction . Analysis can be quantitative as in the case of customer satisfaction surveys. With these surveys, it is important to measure the difference between what the customer expected from the company and their perception of what they received. Qualitative analysis might include mystery shoppers who pose as customers in order to interact with service personnel. The mystery shopper files a report on how effectively the employees work with customers. Companies should have a system where they can analyze their customer complaint data so that they can make changes for improvement. A good complaint analysis system should encourage customers to complain and provide suggestions for improvements in service and products.
It is almost always impossible to get information from every member of the population. This is why marketers need to use a sample of the population. To determine the sample a researcher will use, it is important to put together a sampling plan which includes the details on whom to survey, how many to survey, and how the survey respondents will be chosen. Once this is decided, the marketer can choose a probability or nonprobability sample. The basic difference between these two types of samples is that in a probability sample, every member of the population has a chance of being selected as opposed to a probability sample, where the researcher uses their judgment to select the respondents for the sample.
The responses from qualitative research are analyzed in addition to the results of the quantitative research. For survey data, the open-ended responses are coded so that they can be entered into a spreadsheet or analysis software. Once all the data is entered, it is tabulated and then analyzed. The final step of the research process is to put together a report . In addition to the executive summary, body, tables, and graphs, the research report might include strategic recommendations based on the research findings.
Schiffman cb10 ppt_02
CHAPTER TWO The ConsumerResearch Process
Learning Objectives1. To Understand the Importance of Consumer Research for Firms and Their Brands, as Well as Consumers.2. To Understand the Steps in the Consumer Research Process.3. To Understand the Importance of Establishing Specific Research Objectives as the First Step in the Design of a Consumer Research Project.Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 2
Learning Objectives (continued)4. To Understand the Purposes and Types of Secondary Consumer Research That Is Available for Making Decisions or Planning Future Consumer Research.5. To Understand Specific Features and Applications of Different Research Methods to Be Carried Out in Consumer Research Studies.6. To Understand Where Data Analysis and Reporting of Findings Fit in the Research Process.7. To Understand How Each Element of the Consumer Research Process Adds to the Overall Outcome of the Research Study.Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 3
Why Do Marketers Regularly Test Print Ads Like This One Before They Are Placed in the Media?Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 4
To Test the Impact of the Message Before Spending Large Amounts of MoneyCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 5
The Importance of the Consumer Research Process• Marketers must understand customers to design effective: – marketing strategies – products – promotional messagesCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 6
The Consumer Research Process Figure 2.2Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 7
The Consumer Research Process• Secondary research• Primary research – Qualitative – QuantitativeCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 8
Developing Research Objectives• Defining purposes and objectives helps ensure an appropriate research design.• A written statement of objectives helps to define the type and level of information needed.Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 9
Discussion Questions• Assume you are planning to open a new pizza restaurant near your campus. – What might be three objectives of a research plan for your new business? – How could you gather these data?Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 10
Secondary Data • Data that has been collected for reasons other than the specific research project at hand • Includes internal and external dataCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 11
Types of Secondary Data Internal Data External Data• Data generated in-house • Data collected by an outside• May include analysis of organization customer files • Includes federal• Useful for calculating government, periodicals, customer lifetime value newspapers, books, search engines • Commercial data is also available from market research firmsCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 12
Discussion Questions Personal Privacy• Many people do not like the fact that their personal data are used for marketing.• How can marketers justify their need for data?• How can they acquire data and maintain customer privacy?Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 13
Designing Primary ResearchCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 14
Qualitative Collection Method Depth Interview• Also called one-on-one interview• Usually 20 minutes to 1 hour• Nonstructured• Interviewer will often probe to get more feedback (see following slide for probing)• Session is usually recordedCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 15
Probing Options for Interviews Figure 2.3Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 16
Qualitative Collection Method Focus Group• 8-10 participants• Respondents are recruited through a screener questionnaire• Lasts about 2 hours• Always taped or videotaped to assist analysis• Often held in front of two-way mirrors• Online focus groups are growingCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 17
Discussion Guides for Research• Step-by-step outline for depth interviews and focus groups• Interviewers will often “improvise” and go beyond the discussion guideCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 18
Focus Group Discussion Guide - Figure 2.4Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 19
Qualitative Collection Method Projective Techniques• Research procedures designed to identify consumers’ subconscious feelings and underlying motivations• Consist of a variety of disguised “tests”Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 20
Common Projective Exercises Table 2.1 (excerpt) DescriptionWord The researcher has a list of words, some of them to be studied and someAssociations just as “filler.” The researcher asks the respondent(s) to react, one-at-a time, to each word by stating or (in a focus group setting) writing on a pad the first word that comes to mind, and to explain the link.Sentence The researcher has a series of incomplete sentences that theCompletion respondent(s) needs to complete with a word or phrase.Photo/Visual The researcher creates/selects a series of photos of consumers, differentfor brands or products, range of print ads, etc., to serve as stimuli. TheStorytelling respondents are asked to discuss or tell a story based on their response to a photo or some other visual stimulus.Role Playing Is quite similar to storytelling; however, instead of telling a story, the participant(s) will be given a situation and asked to “act out” the role(s), often with regard to a product or brand, or particular selling situation. Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 21
Qualitative Collection Method Metaphor Analysis• Based on belief that metaphors are the most basic method of thought and communication• Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) combines collage research and metaphor analysis to bring to the surface the mental models and the major themes or constructs that drive consumer thinking and behavior.Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 22
Qualitative Collection Method “Looking-In”• Look at information from threads and postings on social media, including blogs and discussion forums• Methodology to capture consumers’ experiences, opinions, forecasts, needs, and interestsCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 23
Designing Primary ResearchCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 24
Data Collection Methods Observational Research• Helps marketers gain an in-depth understanding of the relationship between people and products by watching them buying and using products• Helps researchers gain a better understanding of what the product symbolizesCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 25
Data Collection Methods Mechanical Observational Research• Uses mechanical or electronic device to record consumer behavior or response• Consumers’ increased use of highly convenient technologies will create more records for marketers• Audits are a type of mechanical observation which monitor salesCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 26
Data Collection Methods Experimentation• Can be used to test the relative sales appeal of many types of variables• An experiment is usually controlled with only some variables manipulated at a time while the others are constant• Test markets are conducted on a single market area• Experimentation can be conducted in laboratories or in the field Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 27
Discussion Questions• What might direct marketers test in experiments?• How can they use the results? Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 28
Data Collection Methods Table 2.2 Mail Telephone Personal Online InterviewCost Low Moderate High LowSpeed Slow Immediate Slow FastResponse rate Low Moderate High Self-selectedGeographic Excellent Good Difficult ExcellentflexibilityInterviewer N/A Moderate Problematic N/AbiasInterviewer N/A Easy Difficult N/ASupervisionCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 29
Validity and Reliability• If a study has validity, it collects the appropriate data for the study.• A study has reliability if the same questions, asked of a similar sample, produce the same findings. Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 30
Attitude ScalesCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 31
Customer Satisfaction Measurement • Customer Satisfaction Surveys – Analysis of Expectations versus Experience • Mystery Shoppers • Customer Complaint AnalysisCopyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 32
Sampling and Data Collection• Samples are a subset of the population used to estimate characteristics of the entire population.• A sampling plan addresses: – Whom to survey – How many to survey – How to select them• Researcher must choose probability or nonprobabililty sample. Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 33
Data Analysis and Reporting Findings• Open-ended questions are coded and quantified.• All responses are tabulated and analyzed.• Final report includes executive summary, body, tables, and graphs.Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall Chapter Two Slide 34