Saturday, October 1, 2016

Reflection on marketing research

Problem definition
Marketing research has become an important process that business firms carry out to systematically record, gather and analyze collected data on a problem facing an organization. This may relate to marketing products or even services that are being offered by a business. In our marketing research which involved a group of seven researchers, we observed through symptoms that there was lack of understanding in the management of Toyota Motor Corporation of consumer attitude and perception of hybrid cars found in the UK market. From the research, it was evident that this lack of understanding made it impossible for the corporation to penetrate, monitor or even come up with ways of creating awareness among consumers and changing their attitudes towards hybrid vehicles.  

            Baker and Mouncey (2003, p. 415) indicate that understanding diverse needs of consumers leads to formulation of important product decisions that ensure services and products are competently offered to meet the needs of consumers. On the same note, Sleight (2004, p. 380) and Hartman (2004, p. 409) are quite unanimous that understanding the attitude of consumers is a central pillar for most organizations that aim at winning consumer loyalty at both local and regional markets. In our research, it was evident that understanding consumer attitudes and perceptions in the hybrid car market in the UK eventually leads to the provision of required products. According to Holzwarth, Janiewski and Neumann (2006, p. 30), the latter creates an opportunity for businesses to develop customer loyalty and leverages demand for continued market dominance and profitability.
            Our team defined the objectives associated with consumer perceptions and attitudes towards hybrid industry in the UK and was driven by the need to provide accurate information, determination of any indecisiveness in the management of Toyota Motors as well as identifying the reaction of consumers and competitors when improvements will be realized. As such, our objectives included analyzing and exploring secondary data on the UK hybrid car industry, obtaining data on trends and activities of hybrid car owners and various marketing aspects that dictate the trends in the UK car market.
Conducting secondary research
            It was definite for our research team to appreciate that in order to save expenses and time in the due process of conducting primary research, it was important for the group members to conduct secondary research. We applied several techniques that we had learnt in our tutorials in the markets in the UK hybrid industry. Besides, we used several research databases such as EBSCO, Nexis UK and Mintel Marketing Intelligence to obtain data on consumer perception of the UK hybrid industry. The reason for adopting secondary research was to understand the situation facing the hybrid car market in the UK and also to know the trend of usage and purchase of vehicles in this industry.

            According to Manfreda et al (2008, p. 100), secondary research should be undertaken since previous data that was collected in a similar study can be used for the purpose of supplementing the current study. As such, our team checked for secondary data which we mostly found to be internal. Archives, libraries Invoices from sales as well as warranty cards provided the needed information in the process of conducting research.
            Besides secondary data, our study also made use of primary data. The research involved primary collection of materials necessary for ensuring that all the information was considered for conclusive compiling of results. The primary methods that were employed included use of a quantitative approach through questionnaires. The reason for this choice was so as to obtain a qualitative understanding of the management problem and to answer the question ‘why’.  As such, it involved visiting the company retail outlets where questionnaires were distributed and relevant information obtained from managers.  They were able to provide information on the quality of their products and how consumers perceived them in addition to the major reason that had led to reduced sales.
Research design
            The research design for our study was descriptive in nature. Bryman and Bell (2003, p. 100) indicate that a descriptive research design entails the use of scientific methods of behavioral patterns and description as well as observation of the subject matter without any major influence towards it.  It is vital to put in place some data that can be analyzed. Moreover, it is a major pointer to future statistical researches for a product in an organization. In this design, our team employed the six W's for effectiveness during application of the research process.  To begin with, we sought to establish who was to be considered when conducting the research.  This was critical in determining the correct market niche that aids in improving the marketability of the organization’s products.  Since different products have varying target consumers in the market, Pallant (2010, p. 120) points out that organizations identify their consumers and thereafter focus on them for future product improvement in addition to maintaining a desirable market share. 
            In addition, we established where respondents would be obtained from.  The fact that Toyota Motor Corporation products were being well assimilated in several destinations, it was necessary to determine the regions which the research would be carried out for effective outcomes.  Hence, representative samples were preferred from all the regions for an inclusive and effective research of the organization.  Holzwarth, Janiewski and Neumann (2006, p. 30) indicate that it may be necessary to focus on a particular region at different times especially when testing new products and their suitability. Therefore, we took great care to ensure that the selected region was well informed for consumers to be prepared with the information required.
Lessons learnt and recommendations
            From the research, I learnt that the use of quantitative research involves exploring various and diverse variables in an organization. In addition, these variables ought to be adhered to in the process of managing an organization.  Whereas the confirmation may reduce the emphasis of the research for the organization, we wrote a proposal and noted that it should still be conducted since it may form the basis for the next research.  Gathering new data from the market in form of conducting research is a continuous process that involves all the sections with the aim of improving overall suitability of the organization for the sake of higher productivity. Therefore, depending on the original objectives of the research, it is possible to initiate future research which is aimed at improving the quality of the organization’s operations. 
            Besides, we noted that the research assisted in making the records of the organization that may be used for future reference.  Since the current business world is quickly changing due to globalization, the records may help in establishing the trend of objective research necessary for organizational growth.  As indicated earlier, when the different variables are extrapolated assist the management to understand the organization's inner details with ease.  This might be especially necessary for new managerial practices in an organization.
Feedback and proposal
            From the research, we obtained both negative and positive feedback in our application of secondary and primary research methods. Most importantly, the feedback was critical in learning the weakness of our methods and improving on better and productive techniques. Cooke and Buckley (2008, p. 270) indicate that one of the advantages of secondary data is that it reduces the cost of gathering information in addition to saving time. However, some members of our team seemed to have hesitated in their application of secondary research in this study by citing the problem of inaccuracy. They indicated the perspectives held by Liu (2006, p. 75), who elaborates that secondary data does not perfectly fit a management problem due to lack of accuracy. In contrast to the primary data, it may be impossible to verify facts. Since the published and republished data may have errors; our group was keen on evaluating secondary data to determine its usefulness, presence of bias, the preset objectives of data collection, errors and accuracy as well as nature of data used such as categories and variables. 
            After gathering relevant information, we embarked on wring a proposal which we gave an introduction on client and the reason for conducting research. The idea was to be precise and knowledgeable of the current trends in the UK hybrid market. It is important to note that managers require information on the feelings of consumers on their products in order to generate positive results or change their products as part and parcel of improving consumer’s perception. I noted that marketing research on consumer attitudes towards certain products required efficiency, accuracy and openness among the stakeholders for correct information to be generated.  Since marketing research involves approaches that may redefine or change the initial mode of organizational management, there was a need for group members to apply ethics, honesty, as well as provide direction and facts which the management at Toyota Motor Corporation would use to add value to the minds of customers.


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