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Chapter 4

Defining the Problem and Determining Research Objectives

XiaoXiang BusinessSchool,HunanNormalUniversity xiaoxiang100@126.com

The Importance of Properly Defining the Problem

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Properly defining the problem is the most important step in the marketing research process. If the wrong problem is defined, all the remaining steps in the marketing research process are wrong. Two sources of problems:
A problem exists when a gap exists between what was supposed to happen and what did happen, i.e., failure to meet an objective. An opportunity occurs when there is a gap between what did happen and what could have happenedcalled an opportunity.

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To recognize a problem, managers must be knowledgeable of objectives and actual performance. To be aware of opportunities, managers must have a process for monitoring opportunities
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The Role of Symptoms in Problem Recognition

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Managers must be careful to avoid confusing symptoms with problems.


We have a problem we are losing money

Symptoms are changes in the level of some key monitor that measures the achievement of an objective. The role of the symptom is to alert management to a problem; there is a gap between what should be happening and what is happening.

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The Role of the Researcher in Problem Definition


Researchers should ensure managers are defining the problem correctly. This is particularly true when the manager has already defined the problem in very specific terms.

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Researchers sometimes take additional investigations, known as a situation analysis, to ensure the problem is adequately defined.

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Impediments to Problem Definition

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Failure to change behavior for problem definition situations


Managers deal with outside suppliers efficiently with little interaction. Marketing research requires a great deal of interaction and communication.

There are differences between managers and researchers backgrounds.


Traditionally researchers were technicians and managers were trained in general decision making. Today managers are much more aware of technical software such as using your SPSS.

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Defining the Problem & Establishing Research Objectives


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A Process: There is no universally accepted, step-by-step approach used by marketing researchers to define the problem and establish research objectives. Defining problems accurately is more an art than a science. Lawrence D. Gibson

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Assess the Background and the Managers Situation


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The researcher should first understand the industry, the competitors, and the company. The researcher must understand the managers unique situation
Does the manager have a particular objective? What constraints is the manager operating under?

The researcher must understand the control system and determine what symptoms are being identified by the system.
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Pinpoint Suspected Causes of the Symptom

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Theres always some cause or causes for a change. It is important to determine all possible causes. Researchers should narrow possible causes to a small set of probable causes.

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University Estates Case Study

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Situation: Last year, University Estates (which targets mainly university students) experienced a decline in its occupancy rate from 100% to 80%. Manager & Researcher brainstorm a list of POSSIBLE CAUSES What are some possible cases for University Estates Occupancy Decline?

Wait! You give it a try.


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4.4 _______________________________________________________________

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What is/are the probable cause(s) for University Estates Occupancy Rate Decline? _______________________________________________________________ Something that changed just before or at the same time as the symptom(s). If it did not change, how could it cause the symptom? 1. 2. 3. 4. Competitors Actions Basic Cable TV Consumers (Student Renters) University Estates Itself The Environment No change No change No change

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What can University Estates do?


Add Satellite TV

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150 channels /4 Premium channels/Pay-for-view

Specify Possible Solutions that May Alleviate the Symptoms


Possible solutions include any marketing action that the marketing manager thinks may solve the problem, such as price changes, product modification, etc.

Speculate on Anticipated Consequences of the Solutions


What if questions should be made regarding possible consequences of each marketing action being considered.

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Identify Managers Assumptions about Solutions Consequences


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Assumptions are assertions that certain conditions exist or certain reactions will take place if considered solutions are implemented. If the manager is completely certain of assumptions there is no need for research. For those uncertain assumptions, research will eliminate a managers uncertainty and therefore aid in decision making.

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The Role of Hypotheses in Defining the Problem

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Hypotheses are statements that are taken for true for the purposes of argument or investigation. Assumptions about the consequences of solutions are hypotheses. When a manager makes a statement or an assumption that he/she believes to be true and wants research to determine if there is support for that statement, we call this statement a hypothesis.

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Assess the Adequacy of Information on Hand


To specify research objectives
The information state should be assessed. The information state refers to the quantity and quality of evidence a manager possesses for each of his or her assumptions. Information gaps are discrepancies between the current information level and the desired information level. Information gaps are the basis for establishing research objectives. Research objectives are set to gather the specific bits of knowledge that need to be gathered in order to close the information gaps.

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Information Gaps (Management Questions) and Research Objectives for University Estates _______________________________________________________________
Information Gap/Question
How will prospective residents react to the inclusion of the satellite television programming package with the base apartment?

Research Objective(s)
To what extent do prospective student residents want satellite television?

Will University Estates be more competitive if it adds a satellite television package?

Will University Estates be more attractive than competing apartment complexes if it has the satellite television programming package?

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How to get research objectives from management questions


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Review: State the marketing management question. List the specific pieces of information needed to answer the question. Do this for each and every management question.

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The Marketing Research Proposal


Three functions:
It states the problem. It specifies the research objectives. It details the research method proposed.

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Proposals also contain a timetable and a budget.

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Research Objectives
Precise Detailed Clear Operational

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Operational definitions describe the operations to be carried out in order for constructs to be measured.

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The Role of ITBs and RFPs

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ITBs are Invitations to Bid. RFPs are Requests for Proposals. When ITBs and RFPs are issued management has already defined the problem. Phony ITBs and RFPs present an ethical problem in the marketing research industry.

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The Role of Constructs

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A construct is an abstract idea inferred from specific instances that are thought to be related. Typical marketing constructs are brand loyalty, satisfaction, preference, awareness, knowledge. Research objectives typically call for the measurement of constructs. There are customary methods for defining and measuring constructs.

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Constructs
CONSTRUCT Brand awareness

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OPERATIONAL DEFINITION Question: Have you heard of Brand A? ____ Yes ____ No Measure: Percentage of respondents having heard of the brand Question: Do you recall seeing an advertisement for Brand A? Measure: Percentage who remember seeing a specific ad Question: Indicate which of Brand As features you know about. Measure: Percentage who know about each feature Question: Are you unfamiliar, somewhat familiar, or very familiar with Brand A? Measure: Percentage for each familiarity category Question: For each product benefit statement, indicate if you agree or disagree. Measure: Percentage who agree with each benefit statement

Recall, recognition of advertising Knowledge of product features

Brand familiarity

Comprehension of product benefits

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Constructs

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OPERATIONAL DEFINITION Question: Rate Brand A on a 15 scale, where 1 = poor and 5 = excellent Measure: Average rating Question: What is the probability that you will buy Brand A the next time you purchase this product? Measure: Average probability Question: Have you used Brand A in the past three months? Measure: Percentage who have used it Question: With your last five purchases of the product, how many times did you buy Brand A? Measure: Percentage of times Question: Rate Brand A on a 15 scale, where 1 = unsatisfied and 5 = very satisfied Measure: Average rating
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CONSTRUCT Attitudes, feelings toward brand

Intentions to purchase

Past purchase or use

Brand loyalty

Satisfaction
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model

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A model is a logical arrangement of constructs and relationships based on theory or experience Hierarchy of Effects
Unaware-Aware-Knowledge-Liking-Intention-Purchase-Loyalty

Importance-Performance Model
Importance: Performance on attributes

Segmentation Model
Divide up the market based on demographics, etc.

Company Performance Model


Sum of evaluations on various attributes
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HIERARCHY STAGE

DESCRIPTION

RESEARCH QUESTION (University Estates Example)

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Unawareness Not aware of your brand What percentage of prospective student residents are unaware of satellite television? What percentage of prospective student residents are aware of satellite television? What percentage of prospective student residents who are aware of it know that satellite television (1) has 150 channels, (2) premium channels, and (3) pay-for-view? What percentage of prospective student residents who know something about satellite television feel negatively, positively, or neutral about having it in their apartment? What percentage of prospective student residents who are positive about having satellite television in their apartment intend to rent an apartment with it? What percentage of the market purchased (tried) your brand in the past? What percentage of the market has purchased your brand more than other brands in the last five purchases?
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Awareness

Aware of your brand

Knowledge

Know something about your brand Have a positive feeling about your brand Intend to buy your brand next Have purchased your brand in the past Purchase your brand regularly

Liking

Intention

Purchase*

Repurchase/Loyalty *
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HIERARCHY STAGE

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Unawareness Awareness Knowledge Liking Intention Purchase Repurchase/Loyalty/


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4.8 _______________________________________________________________

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Key terms
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Marketing management problem Opportunity identification Marketing research objective Background Managers objective Symptoms Iceberg phenomenon
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Key terms
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Cause Possible cause

Probable cause
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Solutions Consequences Assumptions Information state


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Key terms
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Information gaps Research objective Marketing research proposal Construct Operational definition Relationship Model
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Case The Hobbits Choice Restaurant

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For each of the management problem items specified in Table 4.8 identify a corresponding research objective. For each of your research objectives, identify relevant constructs and possible ways to measure each construct.

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Problem Item Will the restaurant be successful?

Description/Research Objectives Will a sufficient number of people patronize it? What percent of people want to dine in an upscale restaurant? How often will those who want to, do so?

How to design the restaurant?

What about dcor, atmosphere, specialty entrees and deserts, wait staff uniforms, reservations, special seating, and so forth. What are the preferences of those who want to dine in an upscale restaurant with respect to (each of the above)?

What should be How much are patrons willing to pay for the standard entrees the average price as well as for the house specials? of entrees? What do they expect to pay for: (1) standard entrees and (2) house specials?

Problem Item What is the optimum location?

Description/Research Objectives

How far from patrons homes are they willing to drive, and are there any special location features (such as waterfront, ample parking, etc.) to take into consideration? What is the distance (in miles or minutes) that those who would patronize an upscale restaurant will drive to patronize it? Are they willing to drive a greater distance with each special location feature, and if so, how far? What is the What are the demographic and/or life style profiles of those profile of target who are going to patronize The Hobbits Choice? market? What demographic characteristics and/or life style differences are specific to those who would patronize the restaurant? What are the What advertising media should be used to best reach the target best promotional market? media? What are the media usage patterns that are specific to those who would patronize the restaurant?

Research Objectives What percent of people want to dine in an upscale restaurant? How often will those who want to, do so?

Construct and Measurement Likelihood of using unlikely to very likely Frequency of patronage number of times per month

What are the preferences of those who want to dine in an Desirability scale undesirable to upscale restaurant with very desirable for each item respect to (each of the above)? What do they expect to pay Dollar amount they expect to pay for for: (1) standard entrees and standard entrees and for specials (2) house specials?

Research Objectives

Construct and Measurement

What is the distance (in miles or Estimated driving distance (from home) minutes) that those who would patronize an upscale restaurant will Additional driving distance they would travel for each special location feature drive to patronize it? Are they willing to drive a greater distance with each special location feature, and if so, how far? What demographic characteristics and/or life style differences are specific to those who would patronize the restaurant? Use standard demographics from Census age, education, income, family size, and so on. Use life style inventory (this is the standard way to measure life style)

What are the media usage patterns Frequency (never to very often) of viewing, that are specific to those who listening, reading (whatever is appropriate) for would patronize the restaurant? each local media option, such as TV station programs, radio stations, newspaper, and so on by time of day