American Idol Case - Essay

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American Idol: A Big Hit for Marketing Research?1 What Are the Benefits of Taking a Professional Approach to Answer Marketing Research Questions?1 “This could be more of a challenge than we previously thought,” Melissa Marcello told her business associate Julie Litzenberger. After nodding in agreement, Litzenberger put down her cup of coffee at the Vienna, Va. Starbucks coffee-shop near her firm’s headquarters. Both Marcello and Litzenberger were far along their career paths as researchers in the winter of 2006 when they met at Starbucks. Marcello was CEO of research agency Pursuant, Inc. (www.pursuantresearch.com), while Litzenberger led the public relations division at marketing communications agency Sage Communications (www.sagecommunications.com). Both were based in the Washington, DC area. Litzenberger took the last bite of her cinnamon scone before sipping her latte. She nodded again to Marcello across the table for two before answering. “Research studies that are the most successful in moving the needle are the studies where the research firm uses scientific and credible methods, poses the right questions, and provides the client company with the insights needed to sufficiently reduce risk in decision making,” Litzenberger said. “In short, improving decision making is what effective marketing research is about.” Over the years, Marcello and Litzenberger had witnessed how resistance to pursuing marketing research had been voiced within prospective client companies. Sometimes, skeptics of taking a professional approach sounded warnings about “how enough was already known about customers to make decisions”. Other times, skeptics would assail the sampling methods of studies in attempting to dismiss the results. While at other times, skeptics would merely claim that answering such questions about customers would be too expensive to obtain. In sum, professionally done marketing research was presented as being impractical. Marcello and Litzenberger were...
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