Secondary data have been called the first line of attack for marketing researchers. Discuss this description.
Secondary data can be obtained quickly and at a relatively low cost. Thus, the first place to start researching a problem is to see if the needed information is already available. Many primary data collection studies have “reinvented the wheel” because they did not know the answer to the manager’s question was available in secondary data sources.
Identify some typical research objectives for secondary data studies.
The text states there are three general categories of research objectives: fact-finding, model building, and database marketing.
The simplest form of secondary data research is fact-finding. Applications of fact-finding include identifying consumer behavior for a product category, trend analysis, and environmental scanning.
Model building is more complicated than simple fact-finding and involves specifying relationships between two or more variables, perhaps extending to the development of descriptive or predictive equations; however, model building need not be a complicated mathematical process. In fact, decision-makers using simple models, ones that everyone can readily understand, often find these models superior to complex models that are difficult to comprehend. Some common model building objectives deal with estimating market potential for geographic areas, forecasting sales, and trade area analysis and site selection.
Database marketing is the practice of using CRM databases (i.e., customer data bases with customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, past purchases, responses to past promotional offers, and other relevant data such as demographic and financial data) to develop one-to-one relationships and precisely targeted promotional efforts. Because database marketing requires vast amounts of data compiled from several and perhaps numerous sources, much secondary data is acquired with the exclusive purpose of developing or enhancing a customer database. The transaction record, which often provides the item purchased, its value, customer name, address, and zip code, is the building block for many databases. This may be supplemented with data customers provide directly, such as data on a warranty card, and by secondary data purchased from third parties. For example, credit services may sell databases about applications for loans, credit card payment history, and other financial data.
What is self-selection bias?
Self-selection bias is a problem that frequently plagues self-administered questionnaires, such as a satisfaction card left at the table at a restaurant. It distorts surveys because they overrepresent extreme positions while underrepresenting responses from those who are indifferent.
Do surveys tend to gather qualitative or quantitative data? What types of information are commonly measured with surveys?
A survey is defined as a method of collecting primary data based on communication with a representative sample of individuals. Because most survey research is descriptive research, the term survey is most often associated with quantitative findings, but some aspects of surveys may also be qualitative. The type of information gathered in a survey varies considerably depending on its objectives. Typically, surveys attempt to describe what is happening or to learn the response for a particular marketing activity. Identifying characteristics of target markets, measuring consumer attitudes, and describing consumer purchasing patterns are common survey objectives. Questions about product use and desirable features help with product development and advertising messages. Demographic information and information on media exposure might also be collected in the survey to help plan a market segmentation strategy.
In a survey, chief executive officers (CEOs) indicated that they would prefer to relocate their businesses in Atlanta (first choice), San Diego, Tampa, Los Angeles, or Boston. The CEOs who said they were going to build the required office space in the next year were asked where they were going to build. The CEOs indicated they were to build in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Chicago. Explain the difference.
The difference between the chief executive officers’ answers of where they want to go and where they will actually end up reflects the fact that the two questions address different issues. Atlanta and other cities with high quality of life reflect preferences but companies tend to expand into areas where they already have operations. And for most of the companies those are the major business centers, such as New York.
What potential sources of error might be associated with the following situations?
In a survey of frequent fliers age 50 and older, researchers concluded that price does not play a significant role in airline travel because only 25 percent of the respondents check off price as the most important consideration in determining where and how they travel, while 35 percent rated price as unimportant.
There is a potential for response bias due to social desirability, which may be deliberate falsification or unconscious misrepresentation. Furthermore, the frequent fliers, who are likely to be business people who have someone else arrange for travel, may not know the importance of price to the actual decision maker. Thus, potential administration error due to sample selection is another likely source of error.
A survey of voters finds that most respondents do not like negative political ads—that is, advertising by one political candidate that criticizes or exposes secrets about the opponent’s “dirty laundry.”
This question has the potential of response bias because the question asks about negative advertising in general. It may be that in an advertisement for a specific candidate the viewer is persuaded by the ad. This is reflected in a general phenomenon in which people tend to say “I hate advertising (general), but I love those Bud Light ads (specific).” Also, people do like “dirty laundry” but may not admit it. Remember people do buy and read those negative tabloid papers.
Researchers who must conduct a 45-minute personal interview decide that they will offer $10 to each respondent because they believe that people who will sell their opinions are more typical than someone who will talk to a stranger for 45 minutes.
In general, researchers avoid paying people for responses. Some individuals would welcome the money and say things to please the interviewers (interviewer bias). Also this has the potential of self-selection bias.
A company’s sales representatives are asked what percentage of the time they spend making presentations to prospects, traveling, talking on the telephone, participating in meetings, working on the computer, and engaging in other on-the-job activities. What potential sources of error might be associated with asking such a question?
A respondent in this typical situation will give an answer to questions about time spent in various activities. However, it is very likely that the respondent has some memory problems and does not know the exact percentages of time spent on each activity. Asked for an answer, in general, the individual will tend to give a generalized answer, reflecting the ideal or expected behavior for situations. This is an example of unconscious misrepresentation.
e. A survey comes with a Water Hardness Packet to test the hardness of the water in a respondent’s home. The packet includes a color chart and a plastic strip to dip into hot water. The respondent is given instruction in six steps on how to compare the color of the plastic strip with the color chart that indicates water hardness.
A major source of error would be nonresponse error. This task requires considerable effort on the part of the respondent, and many will simply refuse to participate.
Name some common objectives of cross-sectional surveys.
Typically, surveys attempt to describe what is happening or to learn the response for a particular marketing activity. Identifying characteristics of target markets, measuring consumer attitudes, and describing consumer purchasing patterns are common survey objectives. Questions about product use and desirable features help with product development and advertising messages. Demographic information and information on media exposure might also be collected in the survey to help plan a market segmentation strategy.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using consumer panels?
Consumer panels involve a longitudinal study which includes gathering data from the same sample over time. The panelists record their purchasing habits in a diary for a set period of time. Panels are generally expensive and, thus, are usually managed by contractors that specialize in maintaining consumer panels. Such panels enable the investigator to keep track of repeat purchase behavior habits affected by changes in price, special promotions, or other aspects of marketing strategies. Panels generally give high response rates to surveys because the panel members have already agreed to cooperate with an organization’s research.
What obligations does a researcher have with respect to confidentiality?
With respect to rights and obligations of research participants, in return for being truthful, research subjects have the right to expect confidentiality. Confidentiality in this case means that information involved in the research will not be shared with others. Which respect to rights and obligations of researchers, confidentiality comes into play in several ways. The marketing researcher often is obligated to protect the confidentiality of both the research sponsor and the research participant.
What is the difference between ethical relativism and ethical idealism? How might a person with an idealist ethical philosophy and a person with a relativist ethical philosophy differ with respect to including a sales pitch at the end of a research survey?
Relativism is a term that reflects the degree to which one rejects moral standards in favor of the acceptability of some action. This way of thinking rejects absolute principles in favor of situation-based evaluations. Thus, an action that is judged ethical in one situation can be deemed their morality on moral standards. Someone who is an ethical idealist will try to apply ethical principles like the Golden Rule in all ethical dilemmas. In the sales pitch scenario, the idealist will probably think it is always wrong to do such behavior, while a relativist might say “it depends.”
What key questions help resolve the question of whether or not research participants serving as subjects in an experiment are treated ethically?
Key questions that can determine whether a research participant is being treated unethically due to experimental procedures:
Has the research subject provided consent to participate in an experiment?
Is the research subject subjected to substantial physical or psychological trauma?
Can the research subject be easily returned to his or her initial state?
List at least one research obligation for research participants (respondents), marketing researchers, and research clients (sponsors).
The main obligation for research participants is to be truthful. There are several obligations for marketing researchers: the purpose of research is research (i.e., not sales or pseudo-research), objectivity, not misrepresenting research (i.e., honesty in reporting results and errors), and maintaining confidentiality of both the research sponsor and the research participant. The obligations of research clients include: ethical behavior between buyer and seller and an open relationship with research suppliers and interested parties. Both researchers and clients share the responsibility of maintaining research participants’ privacy.
How should a marketing researcher help top management better understand the functions and limitations of research?
This is largely an educational process. Researchers must become part of the management team, gaining top management confidence. To do this they must reflect a management viewpoint by being decision oriented. They must recognize that managers sometimes urgently need information. Only then can they be expected to be able to indicate what research can do and what it cannot do. They must point out to managers that the marketing researcher only provides information and that the executive must make the decision. The researcher must make it perfectly clear that marketing research is only a tool. It is not a substitute for decision making.
Why is it so important today for researchers to take advantage of new technologies in finding new ways to communicate with respondents?
While marketing researchers still use traditional means of collecting data, more and more they are using some less personal interview approaches that better leverage technological advances. Digital technology is having a profound impact on society in general and on marketing research in particular. Perhaps its greatest impact for research is in the creation of new forms ofsurveys continue to fall and perhaps by better matching a segment’s preferred means of communication, researchers stand a better chance of getting someone to respond to their questions.
Define interactive and noninteractive survey approaches. Why might a researcher choose an interactive survey approach over a noninteractive survey approach?
Interactive survey approaches are those that allow spontaneous two-way interaction between the interviewer and the respondent. These can be either personal or electronic, and they try to capture the dynamic exchange that is possible through face-to-face interviews. Noninteractive survey approaches are those that do not facilitate two-way communications and are thus largely a vehicle by which respondents give answers to static questions. Noninteractive approaches can be the approach in some situations, such as simple opinion polls, awareness studies and even surveys assessing consumer attitudes.
What type of survey approach would you use to conduct the following surveys? Why?
Survey of the business-related buying motives of industrial engineers
A personal interview conducted by a professional interviewer is probably the most likely type of communication medium. Industrial engineers are busy individuals. The presence of an interviewer will generally increase participation among professional groups. The answers to questions may be complex and considerable probing may be necessary. Depending upon the nature of the questions, props may be necessary.
Survey of the satisfaction levels of rental car users
Most likely this will be a mail survey, possibly on a postcard. The source of rent-a-car users and their addresses is provided on the rental contract, thus the mail survey is highly feasible. The satisfaction measure probably can be checked in a simplified fashion.
Survey of television commercial advertising awareness
Most likely this will be a telephone survey during the program or within 24 hours after a certain program has been broadcast. Using central location interviewing, program viewers may be quickly contacted at a relatively low cost.
Survey of the service quality offered at major tire retail stores
Many retail and service providers use Internet surveys by putting the address of the Web site on the sales receipt. Mail, landline and/or mobile-phone surveys (if customers agree) could also be used as many tire retail stores most likely collect address and telephone information from customers.
What do you think should be the maximum length of a self-administered e-mail questionnaire?
A general rule of thumb on both mail and e-mail surveys is that they should not take more than 12 minutes to complete.
What type of survey approach is most likely to yield the highest response rate? What approach(es) will yield the lowest response rate? What can be done to improve response rates in e-mail and Internet surveys?
Door-to-door personal interviews have the best respondent cooperation, but it may be difficult for interviewers to reach people at home, or potential respondents are not willing to answer the door. Mall intercept personal interviews have low response rates due to shoppers being too busy to participate. Personalized invitations may improve response rates in e-mail and Internet surveys. Basically, the methods for improving response rates for an Internet survey are similar to those for other kinds of survey research, such as monetary incentives, interesting questions, follow-ups, and advance notification.