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Marketing Research

For ordinary research, the problem definition is comprised of a description of the background situation and the statement of the problem. In the context of market research, particularly in the case of applied market research in a practical setting, problem definition refers to an entirely different process. According to Malhotra (1996), “Problem definition involves stating the general problem and identifying the specific components of the marketing research problem. Only when the marketing research problem has been clearly defined can research be designed and conducted” (p. 47). Gibson (1998) stated that “Problem definition is best thought of as solution definition – the selection of a domain likely to be rich in ideas to solve the problem” (p. 5). Most recently, Wild & Diggines (2010) said that “Problem definition is the most important step in a research project…often more important than its solution” (p. 42). As may be deduced, there is no one hard and fast definition of problem definition in market research, except the stress on its importance to effect a solution, and from this therefore it must be said that problem definition should result in an actionable research plan. Malhotra (2011) provides the following diagram and example of a marketing research problem defined: Source: Malhotra (2011, p. ...
etermining the various needs of automobile users and the extent to which current product offerings were satisfying those needs.” Note that the broad statement includes the target of the research (i.e., automobile users), the object of research (their needs), and the subject of research (the extent to which the needs were satisfied). To complete the problem definition, the specific components are as follows: Component 1: What needs do buyers of passenger cars, station wagons, and sports utility vehicles seek to satisfy? Component 2: How well do existing automobile product offerings meet these needs? Component 3: Is there a segment of the automobile market whose needs are not being adequately met? Component 4: What automobile features does the segment identified in number 3 desire? Component 5: What is the demographic and psychographic profile of the identified segment? (Malhotra, 2011, 2-17 to 2-18). The problem definition should be neither too wide that the problem becomes vague, nor too narrow that important considerations are left out. A well formulated problem definition should be able to answer the following basic questions: (Zikmund & Babin, 2006, p. 122) What is the purpose of the study? How much is already known? Is additional background information necessary? What is to be measured? How? Can the data be made available? Should research be conducted? Can a hypothesis be formulated? As to subject matter, Emanuel H. Demby, formerly of MPI Marketing Research Inc in New York (in Marketing News, 1975, p. 8), marketing problems may be classified into four, namely: Market targets – understanding the who and why of the potential consumer Product positioning – critical benefits that will create a strong edge in the target market Decision-making process – should ...Show more

Summary

Marketing Research Introduction Before a marketing problem can be solved, it has first to be properly defined. Unlike the usual problem definition typical in everyday applications, the marketing problem has to be defined in such a way that it meets specific criterion to serve the marketing function…
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