Categories Pricing Corporate

Essentials of Marketing Research: Part I

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Lingua:  English
Marketing research is a critical part of marketing decision making; it helps in improving management decision making by providing relevant, accurate, and timely information.
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Marketing research yields relevant, accurate, and timely information about consumers, and plays a critical role in managerial decision making. By putting marketing research results to creative use, firms can achieve and sustain a competitive advantage over their competitors. However, textbooks on this subject are often overwhelming to the layperson, focusing on abstract concepts and using difficult terminology in their explanations. By contrast, this e-book primer, Essentials of Marketing Research, introduces students and managers to important technical and analytical concepts in a very accessible manner. It can be downloaded for free here.

The text is divided into eight chapters, each of which focuses on a specific issue relating to marketing research projects. The first chapter introduces the marketing research process and discusses the scientific research approach in detail, particularly how to define the research problem. Chapter two and three explain exploratory and conclusive research designs. These introductory chapters form the basis of the rest of the text which explores such topics as focus groups, cross-sectional, longitudinal, and causal research designs, survey methodology (such as personal interviews, telephone surveys, online surveys, and observational studies), sampling techniques, measurement and scaling (such as the Likert scale), questionnaire design, data analysis, and writing a market research report.

Charts and tables are used throughout the text, and abstract concepts are always explained with direct and easily-applied examples.

The field of marketing has experienced unprecedented developments in the 20th century which have continued at no lesser pace in the 21st century. Within the last few decades shifts have been observed in the marketing thought, marketing practice and every direct and indirect issue and function related to marketing. The constant shift in the field has led to many interesting developments including the field of marketing research.

Despite the accessibility and prevalence of research in today’s society, many people when asked, share common misperceptions about exactly what research is, how research can be used, what research can tell us, and the limitations of research. For some people, the term “research” conjures up images of scientists in laboratories watching guinea pig and chemicals experiments. When asked what is ‘marketing research’ people associate it with telemarketer surveys, or people approaching them at the local shopping mall to “just ask you a few questions about your shopping habits.” In reality, these stereotypical examples of research are only a small part of what research comprises. It is therefore not surprising that many students (and managers) are unfamiliar with the various types of research methods, the basics of how research is conducted, what research can be used for, and the limits of using research to answer questions and acquire new knowledge.

As an active researcher, academic, consultant and trainer, I find the students and managers I interact with struggling to understand the various issues associated with marketing research. When probed they express three major concerns: 1. incapability to comprehend research language used in most books; 2. the coverage of most books and its usage in real life; and 3. Relevance of the examples used. Most books in the subject area are comprehensive and cover the subject in minute details but majority of the time readers require an overview and not the most in-depth understanding of a specific phenomenon. The heavy emphasis on technical language and the little found use and relevance of the books disengages the readers from purchasing, reading and understanding the research books and in turn these readers remain distant from the research process.

Therefore, there seems a need for a research book which can cover the relevant issues in a simple and palatable form for the readers and make them engaged in the process of research. This book attempts to attend to the above stated issues by introducing technical and analytical concepts in a very accessible manner. Some of the readers may get really interested in the field of marketing research after reading this book and so this book can be called a primer and simple background for understanding advanced technical textbooks in the field.

Every attempt has been made to keep this compendium simple and accessible however sometimes the use of jargons (technical terms) becomes necessary. In such cases, examples have also been added to make it easier for you to understand the phenomenon.

At this juncture, I would like to thank Kristin and Johan at Ventus publications who motivated me for this endeavour from conceptualization to concretization. I also take this opportunity to thank my students, friends, and colleagues, who have created this learning experience for me. Their discussions, remarks and debates have helped me learn and share this learning with you via this compendium. My special thanks to Ekta, my wife, without whose sacrifice and constant support this compendium would not have seen the light of the day. Hence, I dedicate the book to her.

Brighton, 29 Oct, 2008

  1. Introduction to marketing research: Scientific research approach and Problem definition
    1. Introduction
    2. Marketing Research
    3. Scientific marketing research process
    4. Defining a problem
    5. What marketing research cannot do?
    6. Conclusion
  2. Exploratory research design
    1. Chapter summary
    2. Research design and its importance in research
    3. Classification and differences between research designs
    4. Exploratory research design
    5. Conclusion
  3. Conclusive research design
    1. Chapter summary
    2. Conclusive research design
    3. Descriptive design
    4. Causal designs
    5. Survey methods
    6. Observation
    7. Conclusion
  4. Sampling
    1. Chapter summary
    2. Importance of sampling in marketing research
    3. Sampling: basic constructs
    4. Determining sample size
    5. Classification of sampling techniques
    6. Probability sampling techniques
    7. Nonprobability sampling techniques
    8. Selecting an appropriate sampling technique
    9. Conclusion
  5. References

Paurav Shukla

Paurav Shukla is the Professor of Marketing at Essex Business School, University of Essex, UK. His research interests include cross-cultural marketing, comparative consumer behaviour, and marketing in emerging markets with a particular focus on luxury brands. His research highlights the hidden meanings and associations embedded within consumption practices across cultures and offers novel insights for researchers and practitioners. 

Paurav’s career began in industry, and he continues to work hand in hand with industry as a researcher, practitioner and advisor. Previously he has held academic positions at Glasgow Caledonian University (UK), University of Brighton (UK), Liverpool Hope University (UK), Gujarat Law Society (India) and corporate organizations including 7th Sense Consulting (UK & India), Scanpoint Graphics (India), Claris Lifesciences (India) among others.

He also holds visiting professorship at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Germany; Aalto University, Finland; Misr International University, Egypt among others. He has also delivered corporate training, teaching and consulting assignments for organisations in Europe, Asia and Africa, and has been actively involved in funded research projects.

He has written widely in the areas of his research domain in top-tier journals including Journal of Business Research, Journal of World Business, Marketing Letters, Information & Management, International Marketing Review, Psychology & Marketing, Eating behaviours, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Advances in Consumer Research, Journal of Entrepreneurship, and Journal of Product & Brand Management among others. He is an expert in quantitative techniques including structural equation modelling and complex lab and field experiments and has also published papers using mixed methods approach. He has contributed chapters to edited books, case studies and popular accounts of his work have appeared in the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Woman’s Wear Daily (the fashion bible), Luxury Society, Business Week, National Post of Canada and LiveMint Wall Street Journal, among others. He has been involved as a guest editor for journals, conference chair, and track chair for prestigious conferences such as EMAC. He is also on the editorial and review boards of several renowned conferences and journals.