Friday, June 5, 2015

Market Research

Generally, market research should be left to marketing research professionals. The role of a brand manager is to clearly articulate the questions that the research needs to answer. Ideally, the answers to those questions will impact key decisions and actions. If deep insight is sought, usually some sort of qualitative research is required, such as depth interviews, focus groups and mini-groups. There are now a variety of online qualitative research approaches. Top moderators are skilled with a large array of techniques for probing including guided imagery, laddering and many different projective techniques. If something needs to be quantified, usually quantitative research is the answer.

Asking the right target markets and market segments to participate in the research is critical. Understanding the impact of sample size on confidence levels is also critical. If designed the proper way, quantitative research can be used to understand differences between market segments including those based on demographics, psychographics, product purchase behaviors and product usage behaviors. Question ordering is important so as not to bias subsequent responses. How a question is worded will alter the responses. If a rating scale is used, the number of points on the rating scale and its symmetry or asymmetry will make a difference in the range of responses.

Brand managers need to know what the research can provide and what it cannot provide before it is fielded. Sometimes clients ask for research outputs that the research was never intended to deliver. 

How one invites a person to participate in the research will affect the response rate but also any biasing or the lack thereof.

Today, there are countless marketing research methodologies. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. One of the roles of a competent marketing research professional is to determine the most appropriate technique for the questions to be answered. 

Brand Aid, second edition has one chapter dedicated to brand research and another dedicated to brand equity measurement. It also has a chapter dedicated to understanding the consumer and another to understanding the competition. You can order a copy of the book here.

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