1)The question "Should Nike switch from a focus on celebrities to a focus on its products in its advertising" is a classic example of a management decision problem where a particular problem confronting the management of a company (Nike in this case) and they are then required to make a decision of what course of action to pursue.
Clearly in this case it is a very important decision and it may determine the continued future success of the company and so it would be folly to make it based on an opinion or a educated guess and so it is vital that the basis of the decision that is made is the robust, reliable and relative consumer information data and Market Research is the means of acquiring this data and forming the correct decision path.
Market Research has been defined as the following by the American Marketing Association on the website ESOMAR Marketing Glossary http://www.esomar.org/index.php/glossary-m.html (2007): "The systematic and objective identification, collection, analysis and dissemination of information for the purpose of improving decision making related to the identification and solution of problems and opportunities in marketing."It is further defined by the European Society for opinion and Marketing Research as:"A key element within the total field of marketing information. It links the consumers, customers and the public to marketers through information which is used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; to generate, refine and evaluate marketing actions; and to improve understanding of marketing as a process and of the ways in which the specific marketing activities can be made more effective."(Malhotra 2006, p6)So in order to answer the question initially raised it will be necessary to carry out appropriate Marketing Research. The objective of any research done will be to obtain a body of information/data that is sufficient to allow the Nike Management Board to make an informed and considered decision.
In order for the decision-maker (Nike) to have the confidence to do this the information presented to them by Market Research must be of a certain defined quality and quantity that meets some of the following criteria:Accurate - information should be valid and reliableCurrent - Information should be as up to date as possibleSufficient - The amount of information available, more gives a better pictureAvailable - The information must be easily accessible and interpretableRelevant - The type and format of information needs to make sense to the decision-makerOf all of these factors listed above the most important is 'Relevant' because the information obtained must be targeted at the particular decision that needs to be made. Having a concise database of how many MP3 players were bought in the UK in the last 2 years will have no bearing at all on the management decision problem posed to Nike regardless of how accurate and complete this database is.
So it is important for Market Research to be done to assist Nike in their decision and it is equally important that the research is focused on the particular market field that the decision is based upon (in this case the Athletic foot ware market) and that the information so obtained is accurate, current, sufficient and easily available.
The role of Marketing Research in providing this support to the marketing decision maker can be summarised as helping them to understand:The nature and scope of target market(s)The forces that shape the marketing systemHow to evaluate marketing mix variableHow to evaluate success and failures of marketing decisions (Malhotra 2006, p6)This support is done by formulating an appropriate Marketing Research Design. This is a strategy that defines the particular marketing research efforts to be made and how they will be conducted. For the Nike situation the following design is recommended in the following stages.
Exploratory Research - It is recommended that a series of focus groups are conducted...
References: (1)- ESOMAR. (2006). ESOMAR Marketing Glossary. [Online]. Available form: http://www.esomar.org/index.php/glossary-m.html [Accessed 15th December 2007].
(2)¬- Business Wire. (June 1, 2004). "Price and Selection Are Key Motivators for Where Consumers Purchase Athletic Footwear; New Vertis Study Identifies Purchasing Trends among Sporting Goods Shoppers". [Online]. FindArticles.com. Available form: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2004_June_1/ai_n6048884 [Accessed 13th December 2007].
(3)- Harris Interactive SportTainment. (2001). "Marketing to the Masses: Improving Existing Customer Loyalty More Important Than Increasing the Customer Base". [Online]. Available from: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/printerfriend/index.asp?NewsID=408 [Accessed 15th December 2007].
(4)- Mintel Group. (2006). Sports Fashion - UK - October 2006. [Online]. Available from: http://academic.mintel.com/sinatra/oxygen_academic/search_results/show&/display/id=173674/display/id=241582 [Accessed 15th December 2007].
(5)- Mintel Group. (2005). Sports Goods Retailing - UK - September 2005. [Online]. Available from: http://academic.mintel.com/sinatra/oxygen_academic/search_results/show&/display/id=125583 [Accessed 15th December 2007].
(6)- Business Resource Software. (2007). Inc.Breeze Technology, Inc. [Online]. Available from: http://www.businessplans.org/Breeze/Breeze00.html [Accessed 15th December 2007].
(7)- Malhotra, N.and Briks, D. (2006). Marketing Research: An Applied Orientation. 3rd edition. Pearson Education.
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