Practical Guide to Market Research

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All rights reserved Copyright © Paul Hague Paul Hague is hereby identified as author of this work in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 This book is published by Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd 28–30 High Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3HY. www.grosvenorhousepublishing.co.uk

This book is sold subject to the conditions that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the author’s or publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 1-905529-30-9

Contents

Page Preface Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Bibliography The Basics of Market Research Research Objectives Research Design An Introduction to Research Methodologies Introduction to Qualitative Research Introduction to Quantitative Research Introduction to Sampling An Introduction to Questionnaire Design Turning Data into Findings Reporting and Communicating Findings Professional Development and the Market Research Industry 3 5 19 39 59 75 94 112 129 150 164 177 187

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Preface

I was fortunate to find market research. It is the only work I have ever done and it has kept me interested all my life. My first job was with the Dunlop Rubber Company, where I had the title “Marketing Executive” and where I spent happy days researching markets for the General Rubber Goods Division. I remember, as if yesterday, my very first assignment; I was asked to research the market for dock bay seals. I had no idea what they were and, as a new graduate, was too timid to ask. Furthermore, it was 1969 and there were few text books telling me how I should go about the task. I soon learned that with a tongue in my head I could easily ask and keep asking and eventually I would find the answers. I found out that dock bay seals are foam rubber surrounds that fit around loading bays so that trucks can reverse against them and make a seal to stop warm air getting into cold stores. This led me to cold store operators and soon I was speaking to them and building a picture of the market. It was like being a commercial detective and I was hooked. I moved from Dunlop to a steel company and there I learned the trade of an industrial (now business to business) market researcher. Then, with terrifyingly few years of experience under my belt, I set forth on my own and established Business & Market Research, a market research agency which carried out all types of ad hoc consumer and business to business surveys. Twenty five years later I sold B&MR and after a short period as a consultant, formed B2B International where I have worked for the last eight years. This potted history of my career is to convey to you my enthusiasm for the subject of market research. Over the 35 years I have been working, I have probably managed more than 2,000 research projects. Each one different, but with more common ground between them than you may think. They all had a research design geared to a set of objectives. All had a method that in many cases involved a mixture of secondary and primary research or qualitative or quanti3

tative research. In every case, data had to be analysed and clearly reported to the sponsor so that they could move forward with more confidence and less risk in making decisions. If you are reading this book you will have an interest in market research. Possibly you have a market research project to complete and need help with how to go about it. You may be studying for a business degree and market research is part of your course. You may be taking the Market Research Society/City & Guilds Certificate in Market & Social Research. Whatever the case, I hope that the knowledge that I share with...
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