Sample Of A Case Study ON Marketing Research at P&G
Marketing Management (EBC2009) Individual Participation
• Read the “Marketing Research at P&G” case study (attached to this document);
• Answer the three questions for discussion on page 10 in the case in an academic paper in which you have to refer to minimum 13 concepts discussed during this academic year’s edition of the Marketing Management course. You must determine which and how
many concepts are appropriate to address each of the three questions. Please make sure you clearly indicate what concepts you are referring to and why they are relevant for answering the case question and provide the appropriate references.
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Today it is almost impossible to sell products or services without conducting effective market research. According to Armstrong and Kotler (2015), the importance of conducting market research is that organizations understand several solutions that would help develop business processes, improve the company performance, analyze competitors, increase profitability and ensure customer satisfaction. In short, marketing research helps the organization to understand what customer wants and what they think about their products or services. It is from the results or findings of the marketing research that the company can analyze its position and how to improve its products to meet its customer’s expectations.
Marketing research involves a continuous process of gathering, investigating, analyzing, and interpreting data about a specific market that an organization operates in, as well as about the past, present, and future customers who consume the manufactured products or services. Besides, marketing research is also essential in analyzing existing and potential competitors. There are several possible methods of conducting market research as described below in this paper.
P&G was among the few companies worldwide to recognize the importance of conducting MR as early as 1924. Explain the various qualitative and quantitative research techniques employed by the company and describe how they were used to generate valuable information about consumers’ needs and preferences.
The purpose of this testing concept is to test new products with the help of target group consumers to understand the products or services that appeal strongly to consumers. The testing concept is part of new product development where the P&G has to analyze how a group of consumers will respond to their products, either the existing ones or new products they aim to launch into new markets.
Offering means the total products or services offer to the entire group of customers. Indeed, an offering is often more essential than the product itself as it entails several elements that add value to the consumers (Kotler, 2011). It is also important to note that having a strong offering has the ability to differentiate P&G’s products from that of competitors as well as create value by meeting consumer’s needs more effectively. Therefore, P&G would apply marketing offering concepts of analyzing the customers’ needs to allow them to make some improvements in the new or existing products.
Understanding Consumer Needs, Wants, and Demand
According to Ciuchita (2016), understanding consumer needs, wants, and demand is a concept in marketing that allows marketers to investigate how other people feel and think about a particular company’s products. In this view, P&G is recommended to implement a number of data collection techniques to understand consumers’ needs, wants, and market demands. This concept will help P&G to make plans about the new products they aim to produce and launch into new markets.
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Strategic Planning Concept
The strategic planning concept is the process in which marketers of a company go through to develop and implement effective marketing strategies. In this case, P&G will create and implement effective marketing strategies that will help them collect data from consumers that will help them improve their product delivery.
The Marketing Concept
According to Armstrong and Kotler (2015), the marketing concept holds that the key of an organization to be effective in selling requires the firm to be more aggressive in its marketing campaigns than its competitors in developing and communicating consumer value to the niche market or selected shoppers. To achieve the organization’s selling objectives, P&G needs to analyze its customer’s expectations to determine the kind of products to produce.
Solution for Question 1
Qualitative Research Methods
P&G used focused group discussion method through gathering a group of people with the aim of discussing specific products (Calder, 1977). Focus group discussion often facilitates free exchange of information between the selected participants and the moderator in regard to all aspect of the company’s products. The research tool is useful as it helps the company to generate new ideas about the product and at the same time gauge the consumer’s response to those products (Edmunds, 2000).
How Focus Group was Useful
Focus group helped the company to draw some inference as a result of the discussion episode (Basch, 1987), and thus the company was able to have some actual data about the consumer’s response when the product will be launched.
The P&G marketers used in-home visits to gain information about the products in the market. In-home visit is done to those customers using the P&G products. The marketers visited the P&G customers and interviewed them as they were going on with their day-to-day works. The research marketers inquired about the customer’s expectations about the products, the purpose their purchased the P&G products, the parameter in which they can judge the company’s products, and the modification they wish to be included in the products.
How In-Home Visit was Useful
The tool allowed marketers to analyze and observe the real market conditions that the product could be utilized and the issues that consumers encounter when using the P&G products. The tool also offers vital valuables about the kind of attributes that consumers want from the products and hence, help the firm make some adjustments and modifications that would allow them to enter new markets (Armstrong, Adam, Denize and Kotler, 2014).
Researchers used this qualitative technique method to assess the practical issues faced by consumers while using P&G products. They also used this tool to ask the consumers to elicit their opinions about any modification they wish to see in the products.
How In-Context Visit was Helpful
This tool enabled the researchers to observe the actual market. In this view, the company could analyze how customers think about P&G brands. In addition, the company understood its competitors and how its consumers think and compare their products with those of the competitors. The tool helped the company to make major improvements regarding it products.
The researchers used this technique to identify the core factors that influence customers’ purchasing decisions at locations where P&G products are sold. In order to acquire sufficient and valuable data, the researcher interviewed consumers at grocery stores and shopping malls.
How In-Store Interview was helpful
Through this tool, the company inquired about the impact of labeling, packaging, and point of purchase display in regard to the consumer purchasing decision.
Quantitative Research Techniques
The company used blind test techniques when launching new products or making some improvements to the existing products. In this exercise, consumers were given the improved products, a new version of existing P&G products, or a competitor’s product without informing them and were requested to use them. In many cases, P&G often used their close rival’s products when using the blind test interviews to compare their products.
How Blind Test was Useful
The outcome is the blind tests were effectively used by the company, especially in the promotional campaign of its products as part of the advertisement strategies of its brands. Still, blind tests were also useful in dispelling consumer doubts about P&G products
Concept Aided Usage Test
This concept-aided test was used by P&G researchers as means of educating consumers about the company’s brand concepts it uses, and its applications. As a result, the test was to give the consumers the products to test and see if their expectations of the product were achieved.
How it was Helpful
The outcome revealed the consumer’s opinion in relation to aspects such as attractive packaging, pricing, and advertisements of the company’s products. In addition, the test allowed the company to undertake a preliminary opinion regarding its brands’ concepts before investing on producing other products on a large-scale production.
Habitant and Practices Technique
In this quantitative technique, the participants were requested by researchers to maintain all the records of products used, either manually or by storing the data on a computer for a particular period of time. The company will then collect the information to assess how many products a single consumer can use in a particular time.
This technique was applied by the researchers to assess whether the products manufactured by P&G met customer’s expectations and product design process.
P&G conducted MK through its own full-fledged MR department and also through external MR agencies. Critically examine the benefits of conducting MR in-house vis-à-vis outsourcing the same. What are its drawbacks? Elaborate.
Applicable Marketing Concepts
This concept involves inviting stakeholders of a particular company, such as customer researchers, employees, independent scientists, and the community, to be part of the new product innovation process. The Marketing Research department at P&G can invite different stakeholders to contribute and give their views on issues regarding innovation of products.
Societal Marketing Concept
Ciuchita (2016) argues that the societal marketing concept considers the company’s future. Through the research and development department, P&G can implement societal marketing concepts to make sure that the company only develops products that the consumer desires. The concept can also be used by P&G to develop products consumers want to establish society’s long-term relationships.
Value and Satisfaction Concept
According to Armstrong and Kotler (2015), consumers might choose among many different products that meet their needs and satisfaction. Therefore, P&G needs to conduct effective research either through external MR activities or in-house MR programs to understand how to meet customer’s expectations.
Product Life Cycle Concept
Every product passes through a sequence of phases that starts from introduction, then growth, maturity, and decline. This process is referred as the product life cycle and can be linked with changes in the marketing situations, and hence influencing the marketing plans and mix of a certain organization. Therefore, P&G can engage the services of external researchers to analyze the product life cycle of a particular product in order to determine the strategic actions to take that will help them remain competitive in the market.
The Selling Concept
The selling concept holds that id consumers are not informed about the company’s products, sales will be low. Therefore, an organization such as P&G must implement aggressive promotion and selling efforts to make a profit. The organizations assume that consumers must be coaxed to buy their products to make a sale. Indeed, P&G must engage the services of experts that can develop an effective and attractive marketing campaign that would coax consumers into buying their products.
New Product Development Concept
The new product development concept is the process of bringing a completely new product or service to the market. There are many challenges and uncertainties that P&G must face when introducing a new product to the market. Therefore, to have a smooth launch of new products to the market, P&G needs to conduct market research to establish if a certain market of the segment is appropriate for new products.
Solution for Question 2
Advantages of Outsourcing Marketing Research Activities
The following are some of the core benefits of outsourcing marketing research activities:
First, MR departments specialize in collecting, analyzing, and reporting information. As a result of specialization, they can complete this task better than any other group in the organization. This is because they have access to a diverse group of talents that only a few companies have (psychologists, statisticians, etc). While conducting a full-scale consumer survey, likely, an organization would not have the required professionals to complete the task effectively. Even if they have, the company would not wish to spend a lot of resources to train them just for a single job. That is why Marketing Researchers are essential.
Secondly, marketing researchers have facilities and software to effectively complete tasks, such as a fixed focus group room with a two-way mirror and state-of-the-art facilities to record collected information through electronic interviews and a product test center. Security and anonymity is other benefits associated with Marketing Research. Reputable and professional market research firms never share their clients’ information with other businesses. This factor will offer P&G the validity of the research by minimizing bias. Additionally, market research firms have access to extensive data and enter into business with different customers in different industries. Therefore, they clearly understand where to gather valuable data a factor that can be useful in the case of P&G.
Advantages of In-House Marketing Research Department
The following are the advantages of having an in-house marketing research department over outsourcing MR activities: First, the company will better understand any situation involving marketing research (Homburg, 2012). In most cases, it is doubtful that a vendor will ever understand the customer’s situation or how the employees do. It is true that with outsourcing, one gets a broad range of experience that is absent with the internal MR, but the real touch and relationship between the company and client is lacking (Churchill and Iacobucci, 2006). This means that within the in-house MR the company will have deeper information about the company and its demands.
Secondly, the company will have more control over the different activities carried out. Outsourcing MR activities means the company has less control of the activities as the vendor is the one in charge. Managing employees means that the company will have control of every activity in the marketing department. Finally, external researchers might slow adjust to the company’s needs and demands. External researchers have their own process of carrying out their activities. In this view, they might be slow in conducting marketing activities according to the company’s demands and needs, particularly if they have other projects to complete.
Since the late 1990s, P&G has been conducting MR online in a big way. Examine the benefits to the company. What, according to you, are the possible limitations of conducting MR online?
Applicable Marketing Concepts
The Four P’s or Marketing Mix
According to Armstrong and Kotler (2015) the application of a marketing mix in a company such as P&G is vital as it will help in developing the right products for the right market. The four P’s include price, product, promotion and place. Indeed, it is an excellent tool that helps the company understand what products to offer and how to strategize for an effective product offering.
Sustainable Marketing Concept
Sustainable marketing concept is largely concerned with a company being socially as well as environmentally ethical (Armstrong and Kotler, 2015). This is a new concept in marketing where sustainable marketing aims to achieve the needs of the current generation without causing damages to the future. In this view, conducting online interviews is one core sustainable marketing method. Therefore, P&G would use sustainable marketing concept in the online survey to build relationships with shoppers while letting them understand that they are paramount and the future generation.
Exchanges and Relationships Concept
The core aim of marketers is to build long-term relationships with consumers (Armstrong and Kotler, 2015). Exchange happens when two parties exchange goods and services for money. In marketing approach, every exchange is supposed to be supported by utility. This means that the value of what one party trade is equal to the value of what the party gets. Therefore, the MR department should collect the necessary data that will help the company deliver or exchange products that meets the consumer’s expectations.
The Production Concept
The production concept holds that shoppers will likely to prefer products that are inexpensive and widely available. Companies that focus on production concept will put for emphasizes on achieving high production, mass distribution and low costs (Ford and Ibrahim, 2006). In this case, P&G will engage the services of MR department in order to conduct an online survey that is likely to gain more feedback from a wide range of consumers about its products. The Production concept will allow the company to acquire information about the largest customer segment that uses its products, and hence be able to understand the level of units to produce.
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Solution for Question 3
The Benefits and limitations of P&G conducting MR online could well be explained through the use of SWOT analysis.
SWOT Analysis of P&G
– Reduced cost through online MR
– Higher reliability
– The process of data collection is simplified
– Ability to have instant feedback
– Eliminating and reducing the wastage of paper work, phone charges, printing, postage, and labor, hence overall cost reduction.
– It is possible to gain data from many participants at one time.
Easy to reach diverse culture
– Only accessible to individuals with internet connectivity.
– Poor consumer participation as a result of privacy
– It is possible to have misleading information as the consumer will not take the survey serious as it could have been face-to-face
Only effective in countries where the connectivity is high. `
– It can generate high online sales as it will target individuals who likely purchase products online.
– Easy to target different market segments for instance, can be used to target young people who frequently use the internet.
– It can be applied in developing countries as the IT infrastructures are being installed.
– Can be targeted by malicious software or hackers and thus collect misleading information.
– A higher number of P&G consumers of home products do not use the internet, and thus, they will not get the actual data.
– It can easily get misleading information as online users might not take the time to respond to the questions as requested by the marketers.
Limitations of Conduction MR Online
While the major advantage of online marketing research is global reach, its limitation is the coverage area due to lack of Internet connectivity. In this view, places with restricted Internet connectivity might limit P&G’s gain an adequate response from across the range of the community. The company might not get a sufficient response from rural areas that are part of the segment and might provide valuable information that might help the company develop new products. To tackle the issue of low connectivity or the Internet is unavailable in every home, the company needs to invest in hybrid techniques where individuals are assigned to visit each home and gather data face-to-face. The data is then fed into the computer for computation. In this way, the company will have collected sufficient and valuable data that represent the real situation across all levels of society.
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