Boston Market Some Place Like Home
According to seconder home meal replacement (HMR) will be the family dining business of the twenty-first century. I “JR is portable, high-quality food that’s meant for takeout, and it is the fastest growing and most significant opportunity in the food industry today. According to Nielsen’s consumer panel data percent of respondents purchased a meal for at-home consumption several times a month. Convenience and type of food were the two most influential factors when purchasing HMR. Also. 77 percent of the respondents preferred their meals ready to eat. Another recent study by consultants & Co. projects that virtually all growth in food sales will come from food service, defined as food prepared at least partially away from home. Estimates of total HMR size, as well as future potential, vary widely. Numbers ranging from $25 billion to $100 billion have been given for the year 2010. It is the most important trend to hit the food industry since the advent of frozen food.
Most industry experts say the trend started when Boston Market came to town. attracting consumers with promises of food just like mom used to make. Boston Market is now the HMR leader. The company constantly monitors HMR-related data available from secondary sources and uses them as inputs into its research and marketing programs. Currently. Boston Market is using such data to test new products that could be introduced in 2010. Such product tests being conducted include prepackaged “take and go” lunch boxes, expanded catering services, enhanced drive-through operations, call-ahead pick-up services, and signature meal
High Touch Goes High Tech
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 50 percent of the American workforce was over 40 years old by 2005. By 2015, women will account for about 50 percent of the workforce. There will also be a decline in the number of young (age 16-24) workers available to fill entry-level positions. This potential shortage of young workers has caused many fast-food restaurants to switch from a “high touch” to a “high tech” service orientation. Many of the services formerly rendered by workers are now performed by consumers by using high-tech equipment. The use of touch screen kiosks is becoming a popular trend that provides a new avenue to cut labor costs and increase customer service. Fast-food companies that are deploying this new technology include Taco Bell, Arby’s, and Pizza Hut
Primary Versus Secondary Data
Primary data are originated by a researcher for the specific purpose of addressing the problem at hand. The collection of primary data involves all six steps of the marketing research process Obtaining primary data can be expensive and time consuming. The department store patronage project cited in Chapter I is an example of primary data collection.
Secondary data are data that have already been collected for purposes other than the problem at hand. These data can be located quickly and inexpensively. In the department store patronage project, secondary data on the criteria used by households to select department stores were obtained from marketing journals (Journal of Retailing, Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and Journal of Marketing Research). Several other examples of secondary data were provided in the preceding section. The differences between primary and secondary data are summarized in Table 4.1. As compared to primary data, secondary data are collected rapidly and easily, at a relatively low cost, and in a short time.
Advantages and Uses of Secondary Data
As can be seen from the foregoing discussion, secondary data offer several advantages over primary data. Secondary data are easily accessible, relatively inexpensive, and quickly obtained. Some secondary data, such as those provided by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, are available on topics for which it would not be feasible for a firm to collect primary data. Although it is rare for secondary data to provide all the answers to a non routine research problem, such data can be useful in a variety of ways,” Secondary data can help you
1. Identify the problem.
2 Better define the problem.
3. Develop an approach to the problem.
4. Formulate an appropriate research design (for example, by identifying the key variables).
5, Answer certain research questions and test some hypotheses.
6. Interpret primary data more insight fully
Examination of available secondary data is a prerequisite to the collection of primary data. Start with secondary data. Proceed to primary data only when the secondary data sources have been exhausted or yield marginal returns
The rich dividends obtained by following this rule are illustrated by examples we have given in the introduction to this chapter, These examples show that analysis of secondary data can provide valuable insights and lay the foundation for conducting primary data anaiysis. However, the researcher should be cautious in using secondary data, because they have some limitations and disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Secondary Data
Because secondary data have been collected for purposes other than the problem at hand, their usefulness to the current problem may be limited in several important ways, including relevance and accuracy. The objectives, nature, and methods used to collect the secondary data may not be appropriate to the present situation. Also, secondary data may be lacking in accuracy. or they may not be completely current or dependable. Before using secondary data, it is important to evaluate them on these factors. These factors are discussed in more detail in the following section.
Rating the Television Ratings Methodology
WTVJ·TV, an NBC affiliate in Miami, uses the syndicated services of Nielsen Media Research which provides television ratings and audience estimates. The television station feels that the data provided by Nielsen Media Research have been skewed because the methodology used was flawed. Specifically, they claim that Nielsen Media Research is putting too many meters into the homes of families who speak only Spanish, which is underestimating their ratings. The problem is that the station is English speaking, and while 46 percent of its viewers are Hispanic, they all speak English. By placing more Nielsen meters in homes that do not speak English, the information is not representative of the Miami community or the station’s viewers. Also, since many decisions are based on the information provided by Nielsen, such as programming, advertising, and ‘media buys, it is important that the station have accurate and reliable information about the market
Just the reverse has been argued in other areas. On July 8,2004, the company introduced Nielsen’s local people meters (LPMs) in Los Angeles. The LPM rating system was gradually installed in other major markets and went live in Cleveland on August 28, 2008. The meters electronically record what programs are being watched-and who is watching them. Some networks and a coalition of cormnunity groups, called Don’t Count Us Out, complained that the Nielsen sample audience under represents Latinos and African Americans, producing faulty results
Although many support the actions of Nielsen Media Research and feel that the data do represent the community, the complaint still raises a very important question: Can a company be confident that the information it receives is generated using appropriate methodology
Detailing E-Tailing Revenues
In order to determine e-commerce sales, many research firms such as Forrester Research, ComScore, Nielsen Online, and the U.S. Commerce Department conduct studies. All four organizations have distinct methodologies of collecting and analyzing data to report results. The Forrester Research firm polls 5,000 online consumers every month during the first nine working days o’f each month. Responses from those polled consumers are adjusted to represent the U.S. population. Differing from Forrester Research, Nielsen Online’s EcommercePulse polls a larger sample of 36,000 Internet users monthly and tracks how much money those consumers spend online. Differing once again is the U.S. Commerce Department, which randomly chooses 11,000 merchants to fill out survey forms about online sales. Finally, ComScore uses a
passive response system that collects data from 15 million Internet users, allowing ComScore to track their Internet traffic through the company’s servers
For the calendar year 2007, Forester Research reported $175 billion in online sales, the Commerce Department reported $127 billion, and ComScore reported $122.8 billion. Unlike Forrester. the Commerce Department and ComScore exclude sales of travel services event tickets. and auctions. Such huge differences in online sales create problems for e-commerce companies. and even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has addressed this issue as a major problem. Comparing e-tail sales figures available from different sources can give marketing researchers an idea of the degree of error that may be present in the data. According to a study by Forrester Research. the e-commerce transactions are expected to reach $335 billion annually by 2012. The forecasts from the other sources vary considerably with Commerce Department forecasting e-commerce sales of only 218.4 billion by 2012.