Traditionally, marketing researchers were responsible for providing the relevant information and marketingdecisions were made by the managers. However, the roles are changing and marketing researchers are becomingmore involved in decision making, whereas marketing managers are becoming more involved with research. Therole of marketing research in managerial decision making is explained further using the framework of the"DECIDE" model:
Define the marketing problem
Enumerate the controllable and uncontrollable decision factors
Collect relevant information
Identify the best alternative
Develop and implement a marketing plan
Evaluate the decision and the decision processThe DECIDE model conceptualizes managerial decision making as a series of six steps. The decision process begins by precisely defining the problem or opportunity, along with the objectives and constraints. Next, the possible decision factors that make up the alternative courses of action (controllable factors) and uncertainties(uncontrollable factors) are enumerated. Then, relevant information on the alternatives and possible outcomes iscollected. The next step is to select the best alternative based on chosen criteria or measures of success. Then adetailed plan to implement the alternative selected is developed and put into effect. Last, the outcome of thedecision and the decision process itself are evaluated.Marketing Research has 3 basic principles or guidelines for generating information useful to managers.
Attend to the timeliness and relevance of research.
Define research objectives carefully and clearly.
Do not conduct research to support decisions already made.These principles are simple and perhaps even intuitive. Nevertheless, they are crucial to the proper and successfulapplication and marketing research.First, marketing research is systematic. Thus systematic planning is required at all the stages of the marketingresearch process. The procedures followed at each stage are methodologically sound, well documented, and, asmuch as possible, planned in advance. Marketing research uses the scientific method in that data are collected andanalyzed to test prior notions or hypotheses.Marketing research is objective. It attempts to provide accurate information that reflects a true state of affairs. Itshould be conducted impartially. While research is always influenced by the researcher's research philosophy, itshould be free from the personal or political biases of the researcher or the management. Research which ismotivated by personal or political gain involves a breach of professional standards. Such research is deliberately biased so as to result in predetermined findings. The motto of every researcher should be, "Find it and tell it like itis." The objective nature of marketing research underscores the importance of ethical considerations, which arediscussed later in the chapter.Marketing research involves the identification, collection, analysis, and dissemination of information. Each phaseof this process is important. We identify or define the marketing research problem or opportunity and thendetermine what information is needed to investigate it., and inferences are drawn. Finally, the findings,implications and recommendations are provided in a format that allows the information to be used for management decision making and to be acted upon directly. It should be emphasized that marketing research is
A marketing research report is a written statement prepared by the marketing team of a company which uses both quantifiable and non-quantifiable information to analyze the present market conditions of a particular industry and predict future marketing trends. In this article, we shall try to demonstrate how to prepare a market research report.
How to write a marketing research report?
Step 1: Conduct a market survey
Market survey is the first step towards writing a research paper. Marketing survey requires collection of quantifiable and un-quantifiable data from sample group of consumers who may either be randomly chosen or carefully selected according to specific company requirements.
Step 2: Be clear about your research objective
Surveys may differ from each other on the basis of their research objectives. Some surveys may either be product-oriented, customer-oriented or brand-oriented. For instance, surveys like brand equity research, brand name testing, ad tracking and commercial eye tracking are done to test the association of a brand with a group of customers. On the other hand, product-based surveys include demand estimation, distribution channel audits and test marketing. Finally, there is another group of sample surveys which are performed to exclusively reveal the insight into customer behavior.
Step 3: Perform situational analysis
From consumers, the marketer must move on to the survey of the company and its relative position. A marketing researcher must conduct two types of analysis. These are internal analysis and external analysis using a variety of marketing tools like SWOT, PESTEL and Porter’s Five forces model. These tools help companies to identify their competitive advantage within a particular industry. For example, here is the SWOT and PESTEL analysis of Marks and Spencer. It is a multinational retailer of clothing, luxury food and homeware, headquartered in the City of Westminster, London.
PESTEL Analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Ethical and Legal Analysis) of Marks and Spencer
Marks and Spencer has been in recent years mired in political controversy. Pro-Palestinian groups have claimed that Marks and Spencer is pro-Zionist.
The Company should learn from the 1997/98 incident. Profits margins were pushed up to untenable levels and the company depended extensively on British supplies unlike its rivals which depended on low cost countries for their supplies.
Marks and Spencer has indulged in several social and charitable causes. The company follows fair trade and environment-friendly policy. It has also associated with charitable causes like breast cancer.
Marks and Spencer for instance follows a policy under which a Muslim service person may refuse to provide services to a man with pork and alcohol.
In 2000, Marks and Spencer dropped the St. Michael brand and replaced it with Marks and Spencer brand as part of its product innovation strategy.
SWOT Analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat Analysis) of Marks and Spencer
Step 4: Create an effective marketing mix using the four Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion and Place
An effective marketing strategy helps to create innovative policies regarding the product, its pricing and the places in which the product needs to be sold and the tactics used for promotion. Here is a marketing mix for an imaginary brand of sugar-free chocolates, Nestle is launching for the European market
Marketing Mix (4Ps of Nestle Kit Kat)
|Product: Kit Kat has a brand value that is associated with a four fingered bar. Changing the product itself is potentially harmful. It is advised that the sugar-free version would be an alternative edition sold along with the original version and not instead of it. |
|Price: The original brand is very competitively priced. It is advised that the sugar-free version must not be more expensive than the mother version since that might scare off potential buyers.|
|Place: It is advised that the new product should be sold in various other places like news stalls and cigarette vendors along with supermarket. |
|Promotion: Since consumers usually associate Kit Kat with the iconic line, ‘have a break, have a Kit Kat’, advertisers must not change the tagline but the additional dimension of being healthy and sugar free can be brought in.|
Discussed above were the main points to remember while writing a marketing research assignment. Here is a quick recap of how to proceed:
- Conduct your market survey to collect data
- Use the data to do a situational analysis of the company
- Use any one or all of the following tools: SWOT, PESTEL and Porter’s Five
- End with a marketing mix with your own recommendations on the marketing strategies.
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