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BUS 461: Marketing Research: Phase 1: Research Ideas

Project Objectives

Semester-Long Project Objectives:
Your group will be responsible for:

  • Selecting a company, entity, or authority of your choosing. 
  • Finding a contact person who holds a position in your chosen company, entity, or authority institution OR a researcher who has expertise in the field of your research.
  • Completing each phase of the project as outlined in your syllabus. Use the tabs above to navigate to helpful resources for each project phase.

Company & Industry Research


EBSCO's Business Source Complete includes company profile MarketLine reports in addition to business-related articles from scholarly and trade publication journals.

 


Step 1: Browse or Search for a Company Profile


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Step 2: Explore the Company MarketLine Report


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Image result for nexis uni image Nexis Uni  includes company information for over 80 million companies. Search by name or using the ticker symbol.Step 1: Choose Company DossierClick image for larger view


Step 2: Explore the Data ProvidedClick image for larger view

**NOTE: You can also choose the Company Dossier option (at the bottom of the Get Company Info box). Choose Find a Company and type in the company name or ticker symbol. Finally, select Only Show Headquarters Locations to complete your search.

For additional Company Research Tips, refer to the Business Research Guide's Company Research Tab. The sections on the right-hand side of the page have many useful resources - including private company research tips.


First Research provides over 900 industry profiles (updated on a consistent basis) to help you quickly learn the key business issues at hand.

 

Step 1: Browse or Search for an Industry Profile

Step 2: Explore the Industry Profile
Pay close attention to the left side limiters, and expand the middle pane sections when necessary by clicking the words "View All..." The right side of the page will also provide you with Industry Websites that may have additional useful info.

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Much like First Research, Hoover's provides industry intelligence that helps to drive business growth.

 

 

Step 1: Browse or Search for an Industry Profile

Step 2: Explore the Industry Profile
Pay close attention to top navigation links, and expand the middle pane sections when necessary by clicking the words "View ..." The right side of the page will also provide you with Industry Forecasts, Indicators, etc.


Click image for larger view


 

For additional Industry Research Tips, refer to the Business Research Guide's Industry Research Tab. The sections on the right-hand side of the page have many useful resources.

Research Questions

When developing your research questions, consider questions such as:

  • What are the hiring trends of the company?
  • What is the manufacturing process of the product?
  • What is and/or will be the market size and growth rate for the industry?
  • What are the key market trends?
  • What are the market opportunities and threats?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the company?
  • What is driving the market?
  • Who is currently buying a company's product or service?
  • Why are people not buying a company's product or service?
  • Where would people buy a company's product or service?
  • When, where and how would a person use or consume a product?
  • What image or perception do people have of a company's brand vs. your competitors'?
  • What do people think about the different aspects of a company's product or service (name, packaging, features, advertising, pricing, etc...)
  • How is price driving or stifling sales?

Survey Tools

Survey Design

Before including a question in your survey or questionnaire, ask yourself: "how will I use the data gathered?" If the question doesn't directly address the research question, it shouldn't be included. Consider the following as you think about your survey design:

  • Demographic Questions: age, gender, household size, household income, profession, education level, and location
  • Buying Patterns: 
    Do you purchase _____?
    How often do you purchase _____?
    How long does it take you to make a buying decision?
    What is your typical budget for _____?
    How far would you travel to make the purchase?
  • Benefits Questions:
    What feature do you look for when you purchase _____?
    What problems motivate you to purchase _____?
    What needs are you trying to meet when you purchase _____?

The questions above are simply examples that can help you begin writing your survey questionnaires keeping in mind that multiple choice or scale-type answers will need to be developed alongside what's above.

Research Methodology

After determining your research questions based on the company or other entity of your choosing, you are required to choose and describe with justification your choice of a particular research method. Common marketing research methodologies are described below:

Written Surveys / Questionnaires
Surveys and questionnaires (whether paper or electronic) require a well-thought out set of questions that are given to a sample of a population. 

Benefits: Relatively easy to administer
Disadvantages: Honesty can be an issue if an incentive is not given (the "what's in it for me" mentality). Finding survey participants due to time involved.

Tips:

  • Use multiple choice fixed-response questions (simplifies interpretation of data and enhances reliability).
  • For ease of data analysis, consider creating an e-form for your survey or questionnaire and administer using a hand held device such as an iPad.

Phone Surveys
Phone surveys require the interviewer to use a paper or electronic questionnaire when asking the questions.  

Benefits: Relatively easy to administer
Disadvantages: Finding participants can be difficult due to negative reactions to telemarketing. Additionally, visual illustrations or product demonstrations are not able to be shown, so this methodology may not be suited for certain types of marketing research.

Tips:

  • Use multiple choice fixed-response questions (simplifies interpretation of data and enhances reliability).
  • For ease of data analysis, consider creating an e-form for your survey or questionnaire. Submit as the participant answers using a computer or hand held device such as an iPad.

E-surveys
E-surveys can be sent via e-mail or through the use of social media, making this form of data collection a popular choice.

Benefits: Relatively easy to administer, no interviewer bias, and low cost.
Disadvantages: Low response rates and the researcher has no control over the environment.

Tips:

  • Use multiple choice fixed-response questions (simplifies interpretation of data and enhances reliability).
  • For ease of data analysis, create an e-form for your survey or questionnaire. 

In-depth Interviews
This methodology requires a face-to-face interview with sample participants or could also be administered by walking up to consumers in shopping environments.

Benefits: Clarification of a question can be given, so more complex questions can be asked. Visual aids and/or demonstrations can also be given, making it a more meaningful type of data received.
Disadvantages: Potential for interviewer bias/influence based on non-verbal communication signs.

Tips:

  • Experiment with more in-depth questions as opposed to multiple choice.

Observation
This methodology requires you to record behavioral patterns of people, as well as data on objects being observed. There is no questioning or communication with subjects. This type of methodology lends itself to answering questions related to: store layout, department locations, shelf locations, merchandise displays, etc. 

Benefits: Flexible with the ability to record a wide variety of observational data.
Disadvantages: Unstructured which may lead to observation bias. Data interpretation is also highly subjective

Tips:

  • Think about the type of data you could record before-hand (e.g. store traffic counts, store traffic flow, one product brand vs. another, etc.)

Focus Groups
The purpose of a focus group is to "gain insights on issues of interest to the researcher by listening to a group of people from the appropriate target market." Discussion is usually free-flowing.

Benefits: Immediate and rich comments from real customers with group interaction.
Disadvantages: Perception of conclusive results rather than exploratory and can sometimes be difficult to moderate.

Tips:

  • Focus groups are often audio recorded or video taped to preserve comments for analysis.
  • Groups generally include 8-12 participants.
  • You as the moderator must establish a good rapport with the participants in order to keep the conversation moving forward.
  • Create an outline of topics to be covered prior to administering the focus group session.

Causal Experimentation
​Causal experimentation examines a hypothesis that X will lead to Y...cause and effect essentially. The method for performing this method of research is an experiment.