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Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Importance of Surveys

Surveys are a great, inexpensive way to get information from your target market. Surveys help businesses determine how to manipulate the 4 P’s of marketing: Price, Place, and Promotion. They can also help company management decide what policies work in the office, what members want in the county club dining room, etc. The possibilities are seemingly endless.

Surveys have to be reliable and valid. Reliability means that the survey yields consistent results. Validity means that it measures what it is designed to measure and it accurately performs its designated function. In other words, you don’t want to give a survey to determine how much flour people use per week, when what you actually want to know is how much butter your customers are purchasing per week.

According to Patten (2009) the purpose of the survey is “to determine the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of a population” (p. 9). Surveys can’t be given to each member of the entire population because it can be a large group of people. Instead, researchers must draw a sample of the population. A sample is a smaller group of individuals that is still representative of the population.  When the sample is “representative” it contains the same age group(s), the same economic levels, geographic locations, etc. as the target population. Researchers must be careful in obtaining these groups because they can be biased in many ways.

Surveys, despite their flaws, are highly efficient, inexpensive, and simple ways of obtaining information from the populous. Two examples of surveys at work:

1.       XYZ Company wants to create a new flavor of soda. They need to know what flavors of soda their customers prefer. XYZ Company hires a research firm to determine what flavors are the favorites of not only the current purchasers of the XYZ soda; but also the opinions of desired customers. The research firm has a small budget to work with, but still need good and reliable information. They decide to send out surveys via mail to consumers and people in the entire distribution area.

2.       ABC Company wants to start offering insurance to their employees. They need to know what their employees need and what they desire in insurance benefits. What company do they need to choose? Which company has the benefits that their employees need? These are questions that can be answered by giving their employees a survey.

Surveys can be constructed for several purposes, at several lengths, distributed several different ways, and contain different levels and types of questions. However they are formed and distributed, they are extremely effective and inexpensive to distribute. As long as they are constructed correctly and are reliable and valid, surveys are a prodigious way to obtain information. An example of a survey question can be found on the main page of this blog, in the right panel.


Patten, M. (2009). Understanding research methods: An overview of the essentials. (7th ed). United States of America: Pyrczak Publishing.

What is a Target Market?

The target market is the group to which you are trying to sell your product. It can consist of the desired age group and/or gender, those with specific hobbies or interests, or even those with specific medical issues. Companies use many different ways to obtain information about who their target market is and what they want from a product. Businesses cut the market into sections. This is called market segmentation. Markets can be segmented into location, age, income, education level, use of technology, etc. The particular product that the company is producing will determine what target market and which market segment the company will focus their 4 P's toward.

For example:
If a company is making candy bars. Their main target market will be kids, those that desire the product. But they also have to take into consideration the parents, those that purchase the product. Their market segment will have many characteristics, but some of them could be: middle class income families with children ages 2-13 that have parents who have disposable income. The 4 P's of this  segment could be:
  • Price- $.50-1.50
  • Place- checkout (placed for impulse buying) and shelf (placed for controlled purchase)
  • Product- chocolate bar
  • Promotion- colorful packaging with  a large, recognizable name.
This example product is similar to many candy companies out there in the market today.
Can you list products with these criteria for their target market, market segmentation, and 4 P's?

Knowing who your target market is extremely important to understand. You must know who to sell to and how, as well as how to meet their needs with your product. There are many ways to determine this information. You must first define your target market. You can ask them directly to obtain information about the customer you want. But this is not easy because your target market could be large. You must obtain information is several different ways. Surveys, polls, direct interviews, direct observations, audits of consumer behavior, commercial and governmental research, and the list goes on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What does the future hold?

Business Research is sometimes called Marketing Research because businesses use the research they conduct to change their products and to know what products to create in the future. An example of this research in action is the approximately 50 flavors of jelly beans offered by Jelly Belly Candy Company. Marketing reseach is ever-changing. It developes and changes over the years to incorporate new technology and to change with the desires of consumers.

The YouTube video below gives you something to think about. It depicts the Future of Marketing Research. Check it out and tell me what you think...

(This video does not in any way reflect the opinions of the author of this site).


Welcome to my new blog!

My name is Ashley Pittman and I am a Business Education graduate student at the University of West Georgia. Please visit my website for information about me and to see my digital portfolio.

I have created this weblog for my ABED 6107 Instructional Strategies of Technology, a class taught by Dr. Sunil Hazari. I created this blog, not only for the assignment, but because I believe that business research is an important topic . Research has become an important tool in the business world today. It is increasingly being used for decision-making and to formulate new business strategies. Marketing departments all over the business world use research to determine the needs and desires of the consumer public. As consumers, it is important to understand why businesses use research and the methods that are used to obtain information.

Business research is defined "as the systematic and objective  process of generating information for aid in business decisions." (William G. Zikmund's Business Research Methods)

Included in this site will be:
  1. Information on basic terms and concepts of the business research process
  2. Sample business problems that require research
  3. Sample surveys
  4. Links to on-line data services
  5. Links to other business research blogs such as Business Blog
  6. Research designs
  7. Sampling procedures
  8. Measurement issues
  9. Data collection instruments
  10. And Much, Much More...
I hope that this blog will provide a lot of information for you in your journey to discover the wonderful world of business research!