Who Will Be the Next President
Internet surveys are gaining in popularity. and the November 2000 U.S. elections provided market researchers with a unique opportunity to test online survey methods. their accuracy. and also their ability to predict elections. Harris Interactive took the initiative to conduct online research in 73 different political races. including nationwide votes for president. statewide votes in 38 states. and several senatorial and gubernatorial elections. Interactive online interviews were conducted between October 31 and November 6. 2000. with a total of 240.666 adults who were characterized as likely
voters. The results turned out to be almost identical to those found in the nationwide Harris Interactive telephone poll. which happened to be the only other poll to have Bush and Gore tied in its final prediction. with the following results
The accuracy of the other 72 races turned out tobe quite high as well. The accuracy of these online polls in predicting the results of 73 races proved that well-designed Internet surveys can reliably predict elections. Likewise. Internet polls were also accurate in predicting the votes and George W. Bush as the winner in the 2004 presidential election and in predicting Obama as the winner of the 2008 presidential election. Therefore. the popularity of Internet surveys for election polling and other uses is expected to continue to grow
Marketing Research: The Japanese Way
Japanese companies rely heavily on personal observation as a means of obtaining information, When Canon Cameras was losing market share in the United States to Minolta. Canon decided that its distributor. Bell & Howell. was not giving adequate support. However. Canon did not use data from a broad survey of consumers or retailers to make this decision. Instead. it relied on personal observation and sent three managers to the United States to look into the problem.
Canon’s head of the team. Tatehiro Tsuruta, spent almost six weeks in America. On entering a camera store. he would act just like a customer. He would note how the cameras were displayed and how the clerks served customers. He observed that the dealers were not enthusiastic about Canon. He also observed that it would not be advantageous for Canon to use drugstores and other discount outlets. This led Canon to open its own sales subsidiary. resulting in increased sales and market share. Its own sales subsidiary was also a major asset in expanding the sales of its digital cameras in the early 2OOOs.As of 2009. Canon sold its products in more than 115 countries worldwide through direct sales and resellers with about 75 percent of its sales generated outside Japan
Telephone and Internet interviews. as well as other survey methods, are becoming increasingly popular for predicting election results and have many other applications. Observation methods are employed less frequently, but they too have important uses in marketing research, as indicated by the Canon example
The survey method of obtaining information is based on the questioning of respondents. Respondents are asked a variety of questions regarding their behavior, intentions, attitudes. awareness. motivations. and demographic and lifestyle characteristics. These questions may be asked verbally. in writing, or via computer. and the responses obtained in any of these forms. Typically, the questioning is structured. Structured here refers to the degree of standardization imposed on the data collection process. In structured data collection, a formal questionnaire is prepared and the questions are asked in a prearranged order; thus the process is also direct. Whether research is classified as direct or indirect is based on whether the true purpose is known to the respondents. As explained in Chapter 5, a direct approach is’ non disguised in that the purpose of the project is disclosed to the respondents or is otherwise obvious to them from the questions asked.
The survey method has several advantages. First, the questionnaire is simple to administer. Second, the data obtained are reliable because the responses are limited to the alternatives stated. The use of fixed-response questions reduces the variability in the results that may be caused by differences in interviewers. Finally, coding, analysis, and interpretation of data are relatively simple
Disadvantages are that respondents may be unable or unwilling to provide the desired information. For example, consider questions about motivational factors. Respondents may not be consciously aware of their motives for choosing specific brands or shopping at specific department stores. Therefore, they may be unable to provide accurate answers to questions about their motives. Respondents may be. unwilling to respond if the information requested is sensitive or personal. Also, structured questions and fixed-response alternatives may result in loss of validity for certain types of data such as beliefs and feelings. Finally, wording questions properly is not easy (see Chapter 10 on questionnaire design). Yet, despite these disadvantages, the survey approach is by far the most common method of primary data collection in marketing research, as illustrated by the political polling example in the “Overview” section and the example of Ariba.
Survey Supports Customer Support
Ariba a B2B software provider. utilizes both the Internet and sophisticated computer applications to collect survey data. Ariba has integrated its Vantive Enterprise Customer Relationship Management platform (a proprietary software system) with the Web Survey System from With this setup.Ariba has the ability to gain real-time feedback.track trends, and obtain immediate not ification of unsatisfied customers. Other advantages that Ariba receivesfr..JID this system are the ability to distribute positive data figures to build company morale and to implement best practices procedures as a result of the data
Survey methods can be classified based on the mode used to administer the questionnaire. These classification schemes help distinguish among survey methods
Survey Methods Classified by Mode of Administration
Survey questionnaires may be administered in four major modes: (I) telephone interviews, (2) personal interviews, (3) mail interviews, and (4) electronic interviews (see Figure 6.1). Telephone interviews may be further classified as traditional telephone interviews or computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). Personal interviews may be conducted in the home, as mall-intercept interviews, or as computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI) .
The third major method, mail interviewing, takes the form of ordinary mail surveys or surveys conducted using mail panels. Finally, electronic interviews can be conducted via e-rnail or administered on the Internet. Of these methods, telephone interviews are the most popular, followed by personal interviews and mail surveys. The use of electronic methods, especially Internet surveys, is growing at a fast pace. We now describe each of thesc’methods.
As stated earlier, telephone interviews can be typed as and computer assisted
Traditional Telephone Interviews
Traditional telephone interviews involve phoning a sample of respondents and asking them a series of questions. The interviewer uses a paper questionnaire and records the responses with a pencil. Advances in telecommunications and technology have made nationwide telephone interviewing from a central location practical. Consequently, the use of local telephone interviewing has decreased in recent years
Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing
Computer-assisted telephone interviewing from a central location is far more popular than the traditional telephone method. Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) uses a computerized questionnaire administered to respondents over the telephone. A computerized questionnaire may be generated using a mainframe computer, a minicomputer, or a personal computer. The interviewer sits in front of a computer terminal and wears a mini-headset. ‘lJte computer replaces a paper and pencil questionnaire, and the mini-headset substitutes for ~ telephone. Upon command, the computer dials the telephone number to be called. When contact is made, the interviewer reads questions posed on the computer screen and records the respondent’s answers directly into the computer’s memory bank
The computer systematically guides the interviewer. Only one question at a time appears on the screen. The computer checks the responses for appropriateness and consistency. It uses the responses as they are obtained to personalize the questionnaire. The data collection flows naturally and smoothly. Interviewing time is reduced, data quality is enhanced, and the laborious steps in the data-collection process, coding questionnaires and entering the data into the computer, are eliminated. Because the responses are entered directly into the computer, interim and update reports on data collection or results can be provided almost instantaneously. The Harris Interactive phone survey in the polling example in the “Overview” section made use of CAT!, as does the following example.