Critical Thinking Related to
American Idol: A Big Hit for Marketing Research?
What Are the Benefits of Taking a Professional Approach
to Answer Marketing Research Questions?1
1. Marcello and Litzenberger felt it was important to conduct this study because _________? (State the relevant background information used to justify their work.)
Answer: Marcello and Litzenberger were attempting to overcome a challenge in client development. Specifically, they were attempting to obtain evidence to confront skeptics of using professionally-done marketing research without comprising the privacy of previous clients with whom they had worked. It was inappropriate for them to share the results of previous studies with anyone else than the clients who had contracted them for those studies.
2. The main purpose of Marcello and Litzenberger’s study was ____________? (State as accurately as possible the purpose for doing the study.)
Answer: Marcello and Litzenberger were now focused upon one project for demonstrating the usefulness of marketing research to prospective clients. The research question they now pursued was the following: What still needs to be known about the viewers and voters for contestants of the popular TV show American Idol?
3. The key questions Marcello and Litzenberger are addressing are __________? (Identify the key questions in the mind of the case protagonists.)
Answer: First, Marcello and Litzenberger are attempting to answer the big question about the benefits of conducting marketing research in a professional way. They face skeptics who try to dismiss marketing research as being impractical. For example, 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 by these skeptics.
Second, Marcello and Litzenberger are focused on a specific research question in their attempt to justify the use of professionally-done marketing research. The question was “What still needs to be known about the viewers and voters for contestants of the popular TV show American Idol?”
4. The methods used to answer their key questions were __________? (Describe the general approach used and include details that assist in evaluating the quality of the results – sample size, etc.)
Answer: In answering their big question, Marcello and Litzenberger should be given high marks for respecting the members of their intended audiences: prospective clients and media journalists. They could have simply said “Trust us. Marketing research that is professionally done is worth it.” Instead, they fielded a study to provide evidence that would address the issue of professionally-done marketing research in a meaningful way.
In answering the specific research question of the American Idol study, Marcello described their approach this way:
“We could place about six questions on Opinion Research Corporation’s CARAVAN national omnibus survey to find out more about whom, among adults 18 or older living in the U.S., watched and voted in the 2006 season of American Idol. Such an omnibus survey could be done by telephone from during three days in April 2006. It will run about $1,000 per question. We’ll have the Opinion Research Corporation ask our questions along with those of other sponsoring companies to a randomly selected national sample of 1,045 adults comprised about evenly of men and women. With a total sample size of more than 1,000, we will be able to say with 95 percent certainty that the results would be accurate to within +/-3.0 percent. This exceeds acceptable standards for a survey about media...
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