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            Business research is one of the most important factors in the industry and the economy nowadays, where information about the market is key in attaining success in the business world. Knowing the what, who, when, where, and how of clients and other businesses offer a very distinct advantage for those who hold this information (Duboff & Spaeth, 2000). Quality Research Associates, a company that specializes in market research, is facing six very different cases with clients concerning their businesses, products, and services. Finding the right research method for each client is important for their success.

1.      Hamptons Bank’s Image Study

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Janey Dean, Marketing Director of Hamptons Bank, is concerned with conducting an image study for the bank in order to determine how customers view their business. This is extremely important for banks, as customers choose banks based on their perceptions of the bank’s characteristics (Barr, 2009). Quality Research Associates has not yet conducted any bank image studies; however this is an opportunity for the company to start.

The best course of action for the company is to conduct a cross-sectional descriptive research method in order to determine how customers perceive Hamptons Bank. The research findings will be used to predict how customers view the bank’s image, thus requiring a descriptive research. Factors such as how customers see the bank’s financial stability, reliability, bank location, personal service, and similar factors will be looked into – important factors that customers often look for in choosing a bank (Barr, 2009). The study would be aimed at current clients of the bank and customers who are actively seeking for a bank; the former to determine what clients liked with the bank and the latter to determine what customers want. Thus, a cross-sectional study would be best as the study would seek to find the current needs and wants of the customers.

2.      Wesleyan College Football Team

Cayleigh Rogers, Business Manager for the Wesleyan College, is looking to set-up a   football team for the college. Before pushing through with the project, the College President wants to know whether support from both the alumni community and the present students will be present.

In determining whether alumni members of the College will be willing to aid the formation of the team through solicitations to help with start-up costs, a cross-sectional descriptive research design should be employed. Starting up the football team will be a one-time cost and discerning whether or not alumni members will donate can be studied at one point in time. On the other hand, the support of present Wesleyan students can be studied using a longitudinal descriptive research. This is to measure if the students would want the formation of the football team, and how the students would react once the team is created. Studying if students will still support the football team over time is also vital to the success of the project. It would also be recommended for the President to continue the project even if initial student reactions are not favorable as these may improve as time passes. Using two different research designs is important (Baines & Chansarkar, 2002), as the alumni community and the current Wesleyan students provide two different types of support for the football team.

3.      M&M Mars Promotional Strategy

The M&M Mars Company is seeking to improve their promotional campaign. Lawrence Brown, the brand manager of M&M Mars, wishes to look into the effectiveness of previous candy bar promotional campaigns that were used in the last five years to determine which promotional strategy works best in improving sales.

The recommendation for the company is to utilize an exploratory research in order to study the last five years of candy bar promotions. This is needed for the company to understand the general background of candy bar promotions by studying both primary and secondary data. Research should be done to discover the types of promotions used and corresponding candy bar sales so to see which promotion strategies worked in the past. It is also vital that the market conditions in which the companies operated in are also investigated so that the effects on sales can be weighed against such factors (Treacy & Wiersema, 1997). In order to verify such findings, a causal research should also be used to ensure that the increase in sales is brought about by the promotional material, and not of other factors. This type of research design will also help the company find out which promotions are truly effective in increasing product sales.

4.      M&M Mars Cereal Expansion

M&M Mars is also looking to expand their product line into the cereals industry. Tom Greer, the representative of M&M Mars, explains that the current plan of the company is to release a candy-flavored cereal, and the company wishes to determine customer reaction to the product. While M&M Mars has already conducted similar taste-tests, further research is needed to verify product success.

It is recommended that the product be tested via focus groups by using an exploratory research design. This would allow the focus group to give their opinions regarding the product, allowing the company to adjust accordingly. Similarly, free tastes could be done to reach out to a larger market. Packaging, flavor, texture, and other factors which may affect the product’s sales will be looked into, and how customers react. The exploratory research will key in determining initial customer demand. This would also allow the company to study a larger sample population to verify the initial results of M&M Mars.

Using a causal research method would also help the company ensure the success of the product (Gale Group, 2002). Given that numerous characteristics of the cereal will be incorporated in the demand of the product, the company should determine which factor critically affects sales or which factor is the biggest draw for customers to purchase the cereal. Once the critical factor has been ascertained, analyzing the success of the factor and trying to spread this to the entire product would allow M&M Mars to have a very strong market presence.

5.      McBride’s Market Color Advertisements

Phyllis Detrick is the representative of McBride Markets, a nationwide supermarket chain with over 150 stores in eight states. Advertising is one of the company’s biggest concerns, with over a million spent in advertisements – with a large problem. Initial exploratory research has shown that the current newspaper ads of the supermarket are left unnoticed by potential customers. The main research goal of McBride Markets is to determine whether the additional cost of having colored advertisements in newspapers will be enough for potential customers to notice the ads and have a positive effect on drawing customers towards their supermarkets .

A causal research design is the best way to approach the problem. Determining whether or not the addition of color advertisements would affect customer attention towards the ads would be the main goal. If the results are positive, then further research would be gone with regards to determining the best advertisement layout and design which would captivate customers the most. It is important for McBride to identify the best marketing scheme in order to attract the most customers (Hackley, 2003).

After causal research has determined which layout and color scheme attracts customers, an exploratory research should be conducted to verify the results. Similar to the initial research done by McBride, the exploratory research aims to establish whether or not the advertisements are noticed by potential customers, and how these individuals react upon seeing these advertisements. Given that the company spends around a million in advertising, it is vital that the company makes certain that the advertisements do actually generate additional customers for the supermarkets.

6.      New Toothbrush Product

With the advent of a new toothbrush storage and sanitation device produced by Phillips, Yarbrough, and Rogers; the trio is interested in learning which promotion campaign would work best for the product. While initial research has been conducted via focus groups and surveys, both showing a positive response from customers – the final decision of how to release the product to the market is now being decided. Chain buyers are interested to shelf the product, but are looking for further evidence of large sales.

There are two choices for the promotional campaign for the product and in order to determine which will allow for more product sales, an exploratory research design will be employed. Focus groups will be subjected to the two different campaigns, and their reactions to the way the product is marketed will be the basis for the decision. This will allow the product to be marketed properly.

Once the decision of which promotional campaign will be used, a cross-sectional descriptive research should also be conducted in order to investigate the demand of the product for consumers. Since the purchase of the product is a one-time event, the study should focus on a specific period of time. If the results of the study are positive, this should be sufficient evidence for chain buyers of sure product sales.

Works Cited
Baines, P., & Chansarkar, B. (2002). Introducing Marketing Research. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Barr, G. (2009, July 14). Bank’s image key to success. Houston Business Journal .

Duboff, R., & Spaeth, J. (2000). Market Research Matters: Tools and Techniques for Aligning Your Business. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Gale Group. (2002, April). The Industry Needs Less Descriptive and More Causal Research. Restaurant Administration Quarterly . Cornell University.

Hackley, C. (2003). Doing Research Projects in Marketing, Management and Consumer Research. New York: Routldge.

Treacy, M., & Wiersema, F. (1997). The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market. Reading, MA: Perseus Books.

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