The scope of the research:
The company is to launch a new entertainment product viz. a Computer game (Speed Bann), dealing in motor sport in speed ways, which will be suitable to any age group starting from 8 years to 80 years in Australia. The number of imported computer games available for sale in Australia has reached levels never seen before. Experts are placing greater emphasis on trade liberalization, globalization of markets, advances in communication, thus allowing consumers to be exposed to a wider range of imported goods.
The research is focused on the uniqueness of the game as any age group will feel pleasure in playing the game and the judgment of product quality. Research has shown the perceptions of product quality and the variety the game will influence the market. Some of the brand computer games have a good established market in Australia and the present status of the new game to be launched has to pass in different phases.
The scope of the study is:
a) To make a detailed study of the computer game market in terms of its existing market size, future market potential, major geographical markets and important customer segments;
b) To record, who are the major competitors for this product, their respective product attributes, brand positioning and marketing strategies;
c) To study each of the major customer segments viz., institutions such as schools, colleges and educational institutions etc. and retail outlets, the brand awareness and brand preference of the different segments, the purchase pattern for computer games in terms of identification of manufacturers from whom the product is purchased, price paid, credit facilities enjoyed by the institutions and retailers and the delivery schedules.
The objective of the study is to investigate the linkages between the people with views of products. The research problem here is to determine how Australian customers evaluate the new products introduced in the market.
Main Research Problems, Issues and Needs
In the area of marketing, much of the information required for decision-making exists outside the firm e.g., information on why people buy only certain products and not other products; information about the competitor’s next move ; information about new rules and regulations which can affect the working etc. Speed Bann faces a challenging task in attempting to improve this decision-making. The variables involved in the marketing decisions being external to the firm make collection of information cumbersome and expensive. Since the variables are often qualitative and dynamic in nature their measurement is also difficult, and the results not always accurate. Moreover many of the variables interact with each other in a very complex fashion which makes it difficult to isolate and measure specific variables. Thus the pressure on the company is very strong to correctly choose the most critical decision variables and seek relevant information about them. The wrong choice of information variables will not only result in unnecessary expenditure but can also lead the decision-making process astray. It also needs to monitor what is happening in the market place and in the general environment of the firm. The only way the company can monitor all these is through regular market research.
The biggest problem confronting anyone who sets out to conduct research is the meagre secondary data. The census which contains a wealth for data takes many years to be compiled and released for public usage. Data contained in journals and handbooks is usually two to three years old. Thus whatever data is readily available is usually obsolete and this greatly reduces its utility.
In collecting primary data the problems are those of widely scattered sampling units, location of some sampling units, and lack of communication facilities which compounds the problem of inaccessibility. The other kind of problem encountered in collecting primary data is the uncooperative attitude of respondents arising out of sheer lack of knowledge about the nature of marketing research and its utility.
Most of the market research organizations are located in the cities and have an urban-base to the extent that they have neither a penetration/base in the rural areas. Most market research is conducted in the cities for products used by city dwellers.
Component Parts of the Research- Secondary/desk Research Sources
Marketing research is undertaken in order to improve the understanding about a marketing situation or problem and consequently improve the quality of decision-making related to it. The usefulness of the marketing research for Speed Bann output will depend upon the way the research has been designed and implemented at each stage of the process. There are five steps in every marketing research process:
• Problem definition
• Research design
• Field work
• Data analysis
• Report presentation and implementation
i) Problem Definition: A problem is any situation which requires further investigations. However, not all marketing problems need formal investigation or research. Many problems are of a routine and trivial nature which can be solved immediately after ascertaining all the facts of the case. Our distributor wants 90 days credit against the usual 60 days because he is facing certain financial problems. The distributors past record in honoring his outstanding and ascertain the genuineness of his problem and make a decision.
Some problems faced by companies are such that they can be handled on the basis of past experience and intuition. It is very important that we define the problem for research properly. Clear, precise, to the point statement of the problem itself provides clues for the solution.
ii) Research Design: If the problem is correctly and precisely stated. It would be able to spell out the precise objectives for research. The Speed Bann research design spells out how we are going to achieve the stated research objectives. The data collection methods, the specific research instrument and the sampling plan that we will use for collecting data and the corresponding cost are the elements that constitute the research design
iii) Field work: This is the stage where the research design has to be converted from the planning stage to that of implementation. To achieve the stated research objectives data has to be collected. This data collection is known as field work. The two stages in field work are planning and supervision.
iv) Data analysis: After collecting the data, one need to process, organize and arrange it in a format that makes it easy to understand and directly helps the decision- making process. Raw data has to be processed and analyzed to obtain information. There are three phases for analyzing the data:
a) Classifying the raw data in a more orderly manner; b) Summarizing the data;
c) Applying analytical methods to manipulate the data to highlight their inter-relationship and quantitative significance.
v) Report presentation and implementation: The final step is the preparation, presentation and implementation of a report giving the major findings and recommendations. A typical format of the report may comprise of the following sections:
a) Objectives and methodology in which the research objectives are stated and details of the sampling plan are described.
b) Summary of Speed Bann conclusions and recommendations in which the main findings of the research are highlighted. On the basis of the findings, some recommendations may be made.
c) Sample and its characteristics which contains descriptions of the sampling units in terms of their geographical location, socio-economic profile and other relevant details.
d) Detailed findings and observations in which the data which has been collected is presented in a form which is easily comprehensible to the user.
e) Questionnaire and supporting research instruments are presented in the last section.
The research agency may or may not be involved in the implementation of the recommendation made in the report.
Data Collection Methods A great deal of data is regularly collected and disseminated by international bodies, International Labor Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and many other agencies The secondary data for Speed Bann already exists in an accessible form, it only has to be located. One must first check whether any secondary data is available on the subject matter into which we are researching and make use of it, since it will save considerable time and money. But the data must be scrutinized properly since it was originally collected perhaps for another purpose. The data must also be checked for reliability, relevance and accuracy.
‘Nice to know’ and ‘Need to Know’ Information
The company is proposing to launch the computer entertainment game and to know the product thoroughly some of the need based informations are required to be fully satisfied which will be the requirement of the general customers.
Need to Know
The information should have certain characteristics to be valuable to its recipient. If information is not accurate, the decision maker may not rely on the information. The situation becomes worse if the recipient of the information is not aware of its inaccuracy. The decision maker may use inaccurate information assuming it to be accurate. The following is a comprehensive list of ‘need to know’ characteristics:
1) Accurate: The information should be accurate and error free so that the computer game works smoothly in the user hands once it is put in the market.
2) Complete: The information must be complete. The information should not have been filtered that presents a blared picture.
3) Economical: The data has an associated cost and it is expected to be beneficial for the final decision of fixing the cost. The benefit must be much greater than the cost.
4) Flexibility: The product should stand in the market as compared to other varieties available in the market and the product should be flexible when changes are made.
6) Relevant: This will broadly tell about the general relevancy of the product.
7) Simple: The information about the product is presented in proper format to make it simple for user. Too much information may result in information overload.
8) Timely: The information may loose its value if it is not received in a timely manner.
Nice to Know
Besides the features already existing in the computer game, the company should have additional information as to how the product will bear the pressure to survive in the market.
Customer acceptance is essential for survival of the product. The management should be familiar with the following facts:
1) Satisfactory performance
2) Customer acceptance
3) Economical production
4) Adequate distribution
5) Adequate servicing arrangements where required, and
6) Effective packaging and branding.
A market test should, therefore, be conducted before launching the new product. This will help us find out whether the product can be launched successfully on a commercial scale or not.
The introduction of a new product is not an easy decision. It has to be weighed very carefully in terms of possible markets, the costs involved and the potential profits. The question of timing, sometimes, is also relevant
The Gaps in the Information – filled by Primary Research
When secondary data is not available or it is not reliable, we would need to collect original data to suit the objectives. Primary data for Speed Bann can be collected from customers, retailers, distributors, manufacturers or other information sources. Primary data may be collected through any of the three methods: observation, survey and experimentation.
The following informations need to be filled by primary research:
Total number of brands of computer games presently available in the market.
Total number of brands imported in Australia during the last three years.
Number of games sold by valuation by making three categories, i.e., Low Cost, Medium Cost and High Cost.
How many pieces are lying with distributors and retailers for repairing and the brand which has the minimum numbers?
Item wise sales for institutions and retail.
Which brand has done the maximum publicity and its present market position?
Triangulation of all Aspects of Research for Increasing Confidence
Marketing research is concerned with all aspects of marketing, relating to product design and development, pricing, packaging, branding, and sales, distribution, competition, target customer segments and their buying behavior, advertising and its impact. Specifically, the scope of research includes customers, products, distribution, advertising, competitive information.
i) Marketing for Speed Bann is concerned with identifying and fulfilling customer needs and wants. Thus, research should precede marketing. The unfulfilled wants should first be identified and translated into technically and economically feasible product ideas, which then should be marketed to the customers. Mere identification of customer wants is not enough. Marketing requires continuous effort to improve the existing product, increase sales and beat the competition. For this it is important to know who the customers are for our products, what their socio-economic profile is in terms of income, education, cultural and professional background and further where they are concentrated in terms of location. Besides this information, it is also important for us to know the process by which a prospective customer arrives at a decision to buy our product. If we know the sequential steps in the purchase process and the influencing variables in each, we can design appropriate strategies to exert a positive impact on them, and thus ensure an actual purchase. The study of consumers and their purchase behavior is very important.
ii) The second area which is of concern for research is product and product design. Research is helpful in determining the final design of the product and its physical attributes of color, size, shape, packaging, and brand name. It is useful in arriving at the right combination of product, the number of variations of the basic product, accessories and attachments. It can also help decide the quantities to be produced according to the projected demand estimates. Research can also be used to gauge customer reactions to different prices.
iii) Marketing research helps in discovering the types of distribution channels and retail outlets which will be most profitable for our product. On the basis of comparative information for different channels and different types of outlets we can choose the combination most suitable for our product. Distributor, stockist, wholesaler, retailer may represent one kind of distribution channel in contrast to another in which we may use only the distributor and retailer.
All the relevant informations are available if marketing research is done thoroughly.
Main Ethical, Professional, and Reputation Issues Facing As Researcher
The basic purpose of marketing research is to facilitate the decision-making process. The researcher has before him a number of alternative solutions to choose from in response to every marketing problem and situation. In the absence of market information he may make the choice on the basis of his hunch. By doing so the researcher is taking a big risk because he has no concrete evidence to evaluate this alternative in comparison with others or to assess its possible outcome. But with the help of information provided by marketing research the researcher (Speed Bann) can reduce the number of alternate choices to one, two or three and the possible outcome of each choice is also known. Thus the decision-making process becomes a little easier.
The second purpose of marketing research is that it helps to reduce the risk associated with the process of decision-making. The risk arises because of two types of uncertainties:
uncertainty about the expected outcome of the decision, and uncertainty about the future. Uncertainty about the expected outcome of the decisions will always remain no matter how much information the researcher may have collected to base his decision on hard facts. Unforeseen factors have the uncanny ability of upsetting even the most stable research data.
The third purpose of researcher is that it helps firms in discovering opportunities which can be profitably exploited. These opportunities may exist in the form of untapped customer needs or wants not catered to by the existing firms.
1. Hitt, Michael A, (2001), Strategic market Research: Competitiveness and globalization, 4th ed., Thomson Learning.