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CHAPTER THIRTEEN COMMUNICATING MARKETING RESEARCH FINDINGS LEARNING OBJECTIVES (PPT slide 13-2) 1. Understand the objectives of a research report. 2. Describe the format of a marketing research report. 3. Discuss several techniques for graphically displaying research results. 4. Clarify problems encountered in preparing reports. 5. Understand the importance of presentations in marketing research. KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS Appendix Believability Credibility Executive summary Introduction Limitations Methods-and-procedures section CHAPTER SUMMARY BY LEARNING OBJECTIVES Understand the objectives of a research report. The key objective of a marketing research report is to provide the client with a clear, concise interpretation of the research project. The research report is a culmination of the entire study and therefore must communicate the systematic manner in which the study was designed and implemented. Secondary objectives of the report are to provide accurate, credible, easy-to-understand information to the client. The end result of the report is its ability to act as a reference document to guide future research and serve as an information source. Describe the format of a marketing research report. The research report generally includes the following: a title page, a table of contents, and an executive summary, which includes a statement of the research objectives, a detailed statement of the research method and procedures, a brief statement of findings, and conclusions and recommendations. Following the executive summary are the introduction of the report, a description of the methodology employed, and a discussion of data analysis techniques and findings. The final elements are conclusions and recommendations, and a description of limitations. An appendix may include technical explanations or documentation. Discuss several techniques for graphically displaying research results. A vast array of graphic techniques is available to display research results. A variety of bar charts can be used to display analyses from simple frequencies to Crosstabs, t–tests and ANOVA. As well, pie charts can be used to display the results of frequencies. Tables are especially helpful for portraying related results, including means, t-tests, and correlations. Conceptual models showing relationships between variables are often used to portray regression results. Clarify problems encountered in preparing reports. Problem areas that may arise in the preparation of the research report are (1) lack of data interpretation, (2) unnecessary use of multivariate statistics, (3) emphasis on packaging rather than quality, (4) lack of relevance, and (5) placing too much emphasis on a few statistical outcomes. Understand the importance of presentations in marketing research. Presentations are important because research results must be effectively communicated to those seeking to use the information in decision making. The report or presentation may be the only part of the research project that will be seen by those commissioning the report. The content of the research and the presentation form of the research are closely intertwined. CHAPTER OUTLINE Opening VIGNETTE: It Takes More Than Numbers to Communicate The opening vignette in this chapter talks about the fact that visual display of data is not easy, and even research experts do not always do it well. Nevertheless, the ability to present data visually in a way that is illuminating is important in writing research reports. The person most known for his expertise in presenting visual data is Professor Edward Tufte. The New York Times calls him the Leonardo da Vinci of data presentation. I. Value of Communicating Research Findings (PPT slide 13-3) No matter how well research projects are designed and implemented, if the results cannot be effectively communicated to the client, the project is not a success. An effective marketing research report is one way to ensure the time, effort, and money that went into the research project will be completely realized. II. Marketing Research Reports (PPT slide 13-4 to 13-7) A professional marketing research report has four objectives (PPT slide 13-4): To effectively communicate findings of the marketing research project To provide interpretations of the findings in the form of sound and logical recommendations To establish the credibility of the research project To serve as a future reference document for strategic or tactical decisions Since a major purpose of the research project is to obtain information to answer questions about a specific business problem, the report must explain both how the information was obtained and what relevance it has to the research questions. A detailed description of the following topics should be communicated to the client (PPT slide 13-5): The research objectives The research questions Literature review and relevant secondary data A description of the research methods Findings displayed in tables, graphs, or charts Interpretation and summary of the findings Conclusions and recommendations The objectives and questions in qualitative research tend to be broader, more general, and more open-ended than in quantitative research. The literature review and relevant secondary data may be integrated in the analysis of findings in qualitative data analysis, rather than being presented separately from other findings. The description of research methods in both qualitative and quantitative research helps to develop credibility for both kinds of research projects, but different kinds of evidence are offered in developing credibility in quantitative and qualitative analyses. Data display is important in both methods. Qualitative researchers rarely present statistics, but they are the bread and butter of a quantitative presentation. Writing conclusions and recommendations is the final step in both qualitative and quantitative reports. Too often quantitative researchers are so concerned about doing statistical analyses they forget to provide a clear, logical interpretation of their results. Researchers must recognize that clients are seldom knowledgeable about sampling methods and statistics. Thus, researchers must present technical or complex information in a manner that is understandable to all parties. Many words used to teach research to students are not necessary in a marketing research report. In writing a report, researchers must cross the gap from doing and understanding statistics to communicating findings in a way that is completely understandable to nontechnical readers. Most researchers are comfortable with statistics, computer outputs, questionnaires, and other project-related material. In presenting results to the client, researchers should keep the original research objectives in mind. The task is to focus on the objectives and communicate how each part of the project is related to the completion of the objectives. Exhibit 13.1 illustrates a research objective that focused on identifying senior segments with respect to Internet adoption and use. In addition to presenting results in an easy-to-understand fashion, the research report or presentation must establish credibility for the research methods, findings, and conclusions. Credibility is the quality of a report that is related to its accuracy, believability, and professional organization (PPT slide 13-6). These three dimensions cannot be treated separately, for they collectively operate to build credibility in the research document. For the report to be accurate, all of the input must be accurate. No degree of carelessness in handling data, reporting of statistics, or incorrect interpretation can be tolerated. Errors in mathematical calculations, grammatical errors, and incorrect terminology diminish the credibility of the entire report. Believability is the quality of a report that is based on clear and logical thinking, precise expression, and accurate presentation (PPT slide 13-6). It is important to note that whenever findings are surprising, or are different from what the client expects, research analysts can expect to be questioned. The methodology will be scrutinized to find an explanation that explains away the surprising findings. Sampling method, question wording, and nonresponse error are some of the most common ways of explaining away surprising findings. Researchers must anticipate these questions and have clear explanations for all findings. The credibility of the research report is also affected by the quality and organization of the document itself. The report must be clearly developed and professionally organized. The overall look of the report must not only clearly communicate results, but convey the professionalism of the research effort. Also, the document must reflect the preferences and technical sophistication of the reader. Reports are written to reflect three levels of readers (PPT slide 13-7): Readers who will read only the executive summary Readers who will read the executive summary and look at the body of findings more closely Readers with some technical expertise, who may read the entire report and look to the appendix for more detailed information The fourth objective of the research report is to be a reference. Most marketing research studies cover a variety of different objectives and seek to answer several research questions. This is accomplished in the report using both statistical and narrative formats. To retain all of this information is virtually impossible for the client. As a result, the research report becomes a reference document that is reviewed over an extended period. Many marketing research reports become a part of a larger project conducted in various stages over time. It is not uncommon for one marketing research report to serve as a baseline for additional studies. Also, many reports are used for comparison purposes. III. Format of the Marketing Research Report (PPT slides 13-8) Although the terminology may differ among industries, the basic format discussed in this section will help researchers plan and prepare reports for various clients. The parts common to all marketing research reports are the following: Title page Table of contents Executive summary Research objectives Concise statement of method Summary of key findings Conclusion and recommendations Introduction Research method and procedures Data analysis and findings Conclusions and recommendations Limitations Appendixes A. Title Page (PPT slide 13-9) The title page indicates the: Subject of the report Name of the recipient, along with his or her position and organization Numbers or phrases to designate a particular department or division Name, position, employing organization, address, and telephone number of the person(s) submitting the report Date the report is submitted B. Table of Contents (PPT slide 13-10) The table of contents lists the: Topics of the report in sequential order Subdivisions within each area and corresponding page numbers Tables and figures and the pages where they can be found C. Executive Summary (PPT slide 13-11) The executive summary is the part of a marketing research report that presents the major points; it must be complete enough to provide a true representation of the document but in summary form (PPT slide 13-11). It is the most important part of the report. The rest of the report supports the key findings included in the summary, but the overview provided by the executive summary must nevertheless seem complete. While the executive summary comes near the front of the report, it should actually be written last. Until all the analyses are done, researchers cannot determine which findings are most important. The executive summary has several purposes: To convey how and why the research was undertaken To summarize the key findings To suggest future actions The executive summary must contain the research objectives, a concise statement of method, a summary of the findings, and specific conclusions and recommendations. Research objectives should be as precise as possible, but not longer than approximately one page. The research purpose along with the questions or hypotheses that guided the project should also be stated in this section. Exhibit 13.2 shows a PowerPoint slide from a presentation that summarizes research objectives for a project in which employee’s reactions to their company’s consumer ads were measured. After explaining the research purpose and objectives, a brief description of the sampling method, the research design, and any procedural aspects are addressed in one or two paragraphs. Exhibit 13.3 shows a slide that summarizes a few of the key findings from a research project. The findings presented in the summary must agree with those found in the findings section of the full report. Only key findings that relate to the research objectives should be included. Finally, the summary contains a brief statement of conclusions and recommendations. The conclusion section of the report summarizes the researcher’s findings. Conclusions concisely explain research findings and the meaning that can be attached to the findings. Recommendations, in contrast, are for appropriate future actions. Recommendations focus on specific marketing tactics or strategies the client can use to gain a competitive advantage. Conclusions and recommendations typically are stated in one to two paragraphs. D. Introduction (PPT slide 13-12) The introduction contains background information necessary for a complete understanding of the report (PPT slide 13-12). It communicates the following details: Definition of terms Relevant background information The study’s scope and emphasis Specific research objectives and questions the study was designed to answer Hypotheses—stated in everyday language Length of study Any research-related problems E. Research Methods and Procedures (PPT slide 13-13) The methods-and-procedures section communicates how the research was conducted. Issues addressed in this section include the following (PPT slide 13-13): The research design used: exploratory, descriptive, and/or causal. Types of secondary data included in the study, if any. If primary data were collected, what procedure was used (observation, questionnaire) and what administration procedures were employed (personal, mail, telephone, Internet)? Sample and sampling processes used. The following issues are usually addressed: How the sample population was defined and profiled? Sampling units used (for example, businesses, households, individuals) The sampling list (if any) used in the study How the sample size was determined? Was a probability or nonprobability sampling plan employed? A presentation slide summarizing the methodology used in the senior adoption of the Internet study appears in Exhibit 13.4. F. Data Analysis and Findings (PPT slide 13-14) Data analysis requirements differ for each project, so the presentation of findings will be somewhat different for each project. No matter how complicated the statistical analysis, the challenge for researchers is to summarize and present the analysis in a way that makes them easy to understand for nonspecialists. Findings should always include a detailed presentation with supporting tables, figures, and graphs. All results must be logically arranged to correspond with each research objective or research question listed in the report. The researcher must decide how to group the findings into sections that facilitate understanding. Best practices suggest that tables, figures, and graphs be used when results are presented. Graphs and tables should provide a simple summation of the data in a clear, concise, and nontechnical manner. Text is used to explain the findings in graphs and tables. When writing the report, the information must be explained in the body of the report in a straightforward fashion without technical output and language. Technical information most readers will have trouble understanding is best suited for the appendix section of the report. There is probably no one best way to present a particular analysis. Instead there often are several effective ways to portray a particular finding or set of findings. The text then discusses some specific methods to illustrate frequencies, crosstabs, t-tests, ANOVAs, correlations, and regressions: Reporting frequencies: Frequencies can be reported in tables, bar charts, or pie charts. For example, Exhibit 13.5 contains a table illustrating the results for the research question “How frequently do you eat at the Santa Fe Grill?” (PPT slide 13-15) Using bar charts to display frequencies: Exhibit 13.6 shows the simplest type of bar chart that can be made in SPSS (PPT slide 13-16). Exhibit 13.7 illustrates how to make a simple bar graph in SPSS. Portraying frequencies using pie charts: Pie charts are particularly good at portraying the relative proportion of response to a question. Exhibit 13.8 shows how to change the properties of a pie chart in the SPSS chart editor. (PPT slide 13-17) Reporting means of thematically related variables: Researchers may want to report the means of several thematically related variables in the same chart or table. Exhibit 13.9 shows a table that was constructed in PowerPoint using the table function. Exhibit 13.10 shows how to use a bar chart function in SPSS to summarize thematically related means. Exhibit 13.11 shows a bar chart displaying thematically related means (PPT slide 13-18). Reporting Crosstabs (bar charts): The bar chart function in SPSS can be used to display Crosstabs. Exhibit 13.12 shows how to use the SPSS bar chart function to portray cross-tabulations. Exhibit 13.13 illustrates a bar chart portraying a Crosstab (PPT slide 13-19). Reporting t-tests and ANOVAs (bar charts): Exhibit 13.14 shows a table created in PowerPoint with information from SPSS output that pictures the results of five different t-tests that are thematically related (PPT slide 13-20). Exhibit 13.15 shows how to use SPSS to create bar charts to display ANOVA results. Exhibit 13.16 shows a bar chart portraying ANOVA results (PPT slide 13-21). Reporting correlation and regression: Correlations may be included in a report to illustrate relationships between several variables that re later used in a regression or to show the relationship of several variables to an outcome variable of interest. Exhibit 13.17 is a table showing the correlation of several variables with overall satisfaction for a retailer named Primal Elements (PPT slide 13-22). Exhibit 13.18 displays regression findings (PPT slide 13-23). G. Conclusions and Recommendations (PPT slide 13-24 and 13-25) Conclusions and recommendations are derived specifically from the findings. As illustrated in Exhibit 13.19, conclusions are descriptive statements generalizing the results, not necessarily the numbers generated by statistical analysis (PPT slides 13-24). Each conclusion directly references research objectives. Recommendations are generated by critical thinking. The task is one where the researcher must critically evaluate each conclusion and develop specific areas of applications for strategic or tactical actions. Recommendations address how the client can act on the findings. Exhibit 13.20 outlines the recommendations that correspond to the conclusions displayed in Exhibit 13.19 (PPT slide 13-25). H. Limitations (PPT slide 13-26) All research has limitations. Limitations are weaknesses in research methodology that might affect confidence in research conclusions (PPT slide 13-26). Researchers must note the limitations of a project, and speculate intelligently about if and how the limitations may have affected their conclusions. Common limitations associated with marketing research include: Sampling bias Financial constraints Time pressures Measurement error Every study has limitations, and the researcher has to make the client aware of them. Researchers should not be embarrassed by limitations but rather admit openly that they exist. However, limitations should not be stated in a way that undermines the credibility of the entire project. Researcher reports address limitations, but do so in a way that develops reasonable confidence in the conclusions made in the report. Treatment of limitations in the research report usually involves a discussion of results and accuracy. If limitations are not stated and are later discovered by the client, mistrust and skepticism toward the entire report may result. When properly reported, limitations rarely diminish the credibility of the report but instead improve client perceptions of the quality of the project. I. Appendixes (PPT slide 13-27) Appendixes are sections following the main body of the report (PPT slide 13-27). They are used to house complex, detailed or technical information. Common items included in appendixes include the: Questionnaires or data collection instrument used for the research project Interviewer forms Statistical calculations Detailed sampling maps IV. Common Problems in Preparing the Marketing Research Report (PPT slide 13-28) Industry best practices suggest five problem areas that may arise in writing a marketing research report: Lack of data interpretation—researchers must provide unbiased interpretation of any findings. The unnecessary use of complex statistics—researchers must avoid using statistical methods unless they are essential to derive meaning from the data. Emphasis on packaging instead of quality—while professional graphic representation of the results is essential in the report, researchers must never lose sight of the primary purpose (to provide valid and credible information to the client refers to the use of fancy reports when the primary purpose is not the focus). Lack of relevance—researchers must develop reports with the research objectives clearly in focus and must avoid adding unnecessary information just to make the report longer. They should always remain in the realm of practicality and should suggest ideas that are relevant, doable, and consistent with the results of the study. Placing too much emphasis on a few statistics—researchers should never base all conclusions or recommendations on one or a few statistically significant questions or results, but on the weight of evidence from their literature reviews, secondary data, and the pattern of results in their entire report. They should always attempt to find substantial supporting evidence for any recommendation or conclusion. V. The Critical Nature of Presentations (PPT slide 13-29 to 13-31) Presentation of marketing research results can be as important as, if not more important than, the results of the research itself. This is true for several reasons: Any research, no matter how well done or how important, cannot be properly acted upon if the results are not effectively communicated to those who will use the information in making decisions. The report or presentation is often the only part of the marketing research project that will be seen by those commissioning the report. The content and presentation form of the research are closely intertwined. A. Guidelines for Preparing Oral Presentations (PPT slide 13-29) The primary goal of the oral presentation is to condense complex research oriented information (sampling concepts, statistics, graphs, figures, etc.) into an interesting, informative, and conclusive discussion. Effectively communicating marketing research information is more of an art than a science—an art associated with being a dynamic and credible communicator. A few simple best practices can be very helpful in providing a professional presentation: Don’t let the visual component of the presentation detract from the information being communicated. Keep the visual presentation simple and avoid flamboyant graphics and unnecessary audio. Always be friendly, honest, warm, and open in your oral communication. Being too formal, stuffy, or overbearing can lead to a lack of interest in your discussion. Be knowledgeable and confident in your delivery. If necessary, have experts available (research analysts, statisticians, technicians) to complement or facilitate your presentation. Have a well-organized and inspiring dialogue prepared. Practice your presentation with others in your research team, as well as mentally in front of a mirror (or recording device) before you make the presentation to the client. Be an effective active listener. Understand questions and comments arising from the audience. If no questions or comments are being posed within the first five minutes of the presentation, open up the discussion for questions. B. Guidelines for Preparing the Visual Presentation (PPT slide 13-30 and 13-31) The visual presentation has one primary goal: to provide a visual summary of the marketing research report, designed in a manner that will complement and enhance oral communication of the written marketing research report. In many cases, Microsoft PowerPoint is the preferred method of preparing the visual marketing research presentation. Regardless of the complexity of the presentation, industry practices suggest the following guidelines (PPT slide 13-30): Begin with a slide showing the title of the presentation and the individual(s) doing the presentation. In addition, the client and the marketing research firm should also be identified. A sequence of slides should be developed indicating the objectives of the research and the specific research questions to be addressed, followed by the research methodology employed and a description of the sample surveyed. Additional slides should be developed that highlight the research findings or particular results of the study which the researcher deems important for communication purposes. The presentation should conclude with recommendations, conclusions, and research implications as they pertain to the study at hand. MARKETING RESEARCH IN ACTION WHO ARE THE EARLY ADOPTERS OF TECHNOLOGY? (PPT slide 13-32) The Marketing Research in Action in this chapter explains that the latest digital recorder/players do a lot more than just record material. The latest devices include hard drives and programming guides with lots of functionality. The recording and storage market is large and rapidly getting much larger. No longer limited to home entertainment playback boxes, it is being combined with increasing numbers of consumer electronics products: computers, wireless phones and other portable devices, appliances, and industrial systems. DVDs hit the market in the late 1990s and enjoyed very fast growth. The DVD market experienced the most rapid rise of any consumer electronics technology ever introduced. Digital player/recorders have caught the imagination and interest of consumers. Set-top boxes boomed in sales due not only to their functionality, but also to their rapidly falling prices. Two of the biggest challenges of electronics marketers are (1) the successful introduction of new technology-based product innovations into consumer markets, and (2) stimulating the diffusion of those innovations to profitable penetration levels. To meet these challenges, researchers must gain clearer insights into the key factors consumers use in deciding whether to adopt technology innovations in consumer electronics. Researchers recently completed a study to investigate opinions of potential purchasers of digital recorder/player devices. The study compares the innovator and early adopter segments with regard to product usage, digital device purchase likelihood, demographics, and related issues. Using an Internet panel, data was collected from a sample of 200 individuals. The sample frame was consumers with annual household incomes $20,000 or more and ages 18 to 35 years. The questionnaire included questions about innovativeness, lifestyle, product, and brand image. Some of the questions employed interval level measures while others were nominal and ordinal. A copy of the questionnaire is provided in Exhibit 13.21. Instructor Manual for Essentials of Marketing Research Joseph F. Hair, Mary Celsi, Robert P. Bush, David J. Ortinau 9780078028816, 9780078112119

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