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The Problem Definition Process: Examples

General Situation Diagnosis Marketing Problem Research Problem

Marketing Share is declining

Customers are switching to brand A

Reinforce brand loyalty

Find out why brand A is preferred

Sales are down

Store traffic is down

Build store traffic

Find out why fewer people are visiting store

Profit declined

Big advertising campaign failed

Design new ad campaign

Evaluate alternative ads and media

Product line is growing obsolete

New product is needed

Select new product for commercialisation Assign sales force and distribute local advertising budget

Evaluate alternative product designs

A new product line is being introduced

Promotional resources must be allocated to geographical markets Salespersons spend a lot of time and money on travel

Identify and array high sales potential markets

Personal selling costs are high

Route salespersons more efficiently

This is not a marketing research problem

Nine Basic Methods of Research

Method Historical Purpose To reconstruct the past objectively and accurately, often in relation to the tenability of an hypothesis To describe systematically a situation or area of interest factually and accurately To investigate patterns and sequences of growth and or change as a function of time To study intensively the background, current status, and environmental interactions of a given social unit: an individual group, institution, or community



Case and Field


To investigate the extent to which variations in one factor correspond with variation in one or more other factors based on correlation coefficients To investigate possible cause and effect relationships by observing some existing consequence and searching back through the data for plausible causal factors To investigate possible cause and effect relationships by exposing one or more experimental groups to one or more treatment conditions and comparing the results to one or more groups not receiving the treatment (random assignment being essential) To approximate the conditions of a true experiment in a setting that does not allow the control and/or manipulation of all relevant variables. The researcher must clearly understand what compromises exist in the internal and external validity of his design and proceed within these limitations To develop new skills or new approaches and to solve problems with direct application to the applied, e.g., the marketplace.

CausalComparative or Ex Post Facto True Experimental

Quasi Experimental