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Defining the Research

Problem

The Marketing Research Process


Step 1: Defining the Problem
Step 2: Developing an Approach to the Problem
Step 3: Formulating a Research Design
Step 4: Doing Field Work or Collecting Data
Step 5: Preparing and Analyzing Data
Step 6: Preparing and Presenting the Report

Problem Discovery
and Definition

Problem
discovery

Sampling
Selection of
exploratory research
technique

Secondary
(historical)
data

Experience
survey

Probability

Pilot
study

Case
study

Problem definition
(statement of
research objectives)

Experiment
Laboratory

Interview

Data
Gathering

Collection of
data
(fieldwork)

Data
Processing
and Analysis

Editing and
coding
data

Conclusions
and Report

Survey
Field

Nonprobability

Data
processing

Selection of
basic research
method

Research Design

Selection of
exploratory research
technique

Questionnaire

Observation

Secondary
Data Study

Interpretation
of
findings

Report

The Problem Definition and Approach Development Process


Tasks Involved
Discussions with
Decision Makers

Interviews with
Experts

Secondary Data
Analysis

Qualitative
Research

Environmental Context of the Problem


Step 1: Problem Definition
Management Decision Problem
Marketing Research Problem
Step 2: Approach to the Problem
Analytical Framework
and Models

Research
Questions and Hypotheses

Step 3: Research Design

Specification of
Information Needed

Beware the Iceberg!


The Iceberg Principle
The dangerous part of many marketing problems is
neither visible to nor understood by many marketing
managers.
Submerged parts of the problem must be
understood and including in the research design for
the research to be useful.

Symptoms vs.
Problems
Microbrewery
Symptom
Consumers prefer the taste of competitors brand

PD based on the Symptom


What type of reformulated taste is needed?

True Problem
Old-fashioned package influenced taste perception

Symptoms vs.
Problems
Manufacturer of palm-size computers with
Internet access
Symptom
Distributors complain prices are too high

PD based on the Symptom


Investigate business users to learn how much prices need to
be reduced

True Problem
Distributors do not have adequate product knowledge to
communicate products value

Management Decision
Problems vs.
Marketing Research Problems
Management
Decision Problems
Ask what the decision
maker needs to do
Action oriented
Focus on symptoms

Marketing
Research Problems
Ask what information is
needed and how it
should be obtained
Information oriented
Focus on the underlying
causes

Translating Management
Problems into Research Problems
(Questions)
Management Problem
Determine the best ways the firm can communicate with
potential purchasers of laptop computers

Research Questions
How familiar are consumers with the various brands of
computers?
What attitudes do consumers have toward these brands?
How important are the various factors for evaluating the
purchase of a laptop computer?
How effective are the communications efforts of the various
competitive marketers in terms of message recognition?

Errors in Defining the Market Research Problem


Common
Errors

Problem Definition is
too Broad
Does Not Provide
Guidelines for
Subsequent Steps
e.g., Improving the
Companys Image

Problem Definition
is too Narrow
May Miss Some
Important Components
of the Problem
e.g. Changing Prices in
Response to a
Competitors Price
Change.

Bad vs. Good Research


Questions
Research questions should be
stated as clearly as possible
Bad research question
Is advertising copy X better than advertising copy Y?

Good research question


Which advertising copy has a higher day-after recall
score?

Development of Research Questions & Hypothesis


Components of
the Marketing
Research Problem

Research
Questions

Hypotheses

Analytical
Framework
and
Models

Analytical Framework &


Models
Research questions & hypotheses are
developed within analytical frameworks
Basically, theories & models

Theory suggests that satisfaction improves


morale & perceptions
A sales manager who wants to increase
market share (management problem) may
Ask how to encourage salespeople to generate more sales
(research question)
State that (based on theory) higher job satisfaction leads to
greater sales productivity (hypothesis)