TNS Global conducted a research project to measure the relative effectiveness of television, print, and radio as advertising media for a client firm. In addition, the effectiveness of 10 TV commercials. radio commercials, and print ads was assessed. Given the nature of the project, the oral presentation of the report was particularly important in communicating the findings. A laptop computer and computer projector were used for showing the PowerPoint slides, and playing TV and radio commercials. A storyboard was used for showing the print ads. The presentation was made to the client’s top corporate officers, consisting of the president, all vice presidents, and all assistant vice presidents, at one of their monthly meetings
After the presentation, key executives in the client firm should be given time to read the report in detail. Some guidelines are available for report reading
Reading the Research Report
Guidelines for reading the report and evaluating the marketing research project have been developed by the Advertising Research Foundation
Address the Problem
The reader should focus on the problem being addressed to determine if it has been clearly defined and that the relevant background information has been provided. The organization sponsoring the research, as well as the one conducting the research, should be clearly identified. The report should not assume that the reader has prior knowledge of the problem situation, but should give all the relevant information. A report that does not provide such information has missed the mark, as well as the readers
If readers in the target audience of the report cannot understand the research design procedure, the fault lies with the researcher. The research design should be clearly described in nontechnical terms. The report should include a discussion of the information needs, data-collection methods, scaling techniques, questionnaire design and pretesting, sampling techniques, and fieldwork: Justification should be provided for the specific methods used. Reports that do not contain, or otherwise make available, methodological details should be viewed with caution.
Execution of the Research Procedures
The reader should pay special attention to the manner in which the research procedures were executed. The people working on the project should be well qualified and properly trained. Proper supervision and control procedures should be followed. This is particularly important with respect to data collection, data preparation, and statistical analysis.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to provide evidence regarding the reliability, validity, and generalizability of the findings. The report should clearly identify the target population to which the findings apply. Factors that limit the generalizability of the findings, such as the nature and representatives of the sample, mode and time of data collection, and various sources of error should be clearly identified. The reader should not attempt to generalize the findings of the report without explicit consideration of these factors.
Finally, the reader should carefully examine whether the spirit in which the report was written indicates an honest and complete disclosure of the research procedures and results. It is particularly important that procedures- for example, those used for the treatment of missing values, weighting, and so on-that call for subjective judgment on the part of the researcher be made known. If any negative or unexpected findings were obtained, they should be reported. The reader should feel free to ask for any relevant information that is not contained in the report
A careful reading of the report using these will help 10 effectively participate in research follow-up.
In the department store project. the formal report was prepared for-the client’s vice president of marketing. The writing of the report was influenced the style preferences of the vice president for marketing and other key executives. The first volume, the main body of the report, had a title page, table of contents, executive summary, and details of problem definition, approach, research design, methodology used to analyze the data, results, limitations of the project, and conclusions and recommendations. Volume I had a nontechnical orientation and was easy to follow. Volume” contained a title page, list of figures, and all the figures and graphs. Finally, all the statistical details, including all the tables, were given in Volume III. In addition to the written report, an oral presentation of the entire project was made to the top management. Several of the recommendations made to management in the report were eventually implemented.
Assisting the Client
After the client has read the report in detail, several questions may arise. Parts of the report, particularly those dealing with technical matters, may not be understood and the researcher should provide the help needed. Sometimes the researcher helps implement the findings. Often, the client retains the researcher to help with the selection of a new product or advertising agency, development of a pricing policy, market segmentation, or other marketing actions. An important reason for client follow-up is to discuss further research projects. For example, the researcher and management may agree to repeat the study after two years. Finally, the researcher should help the client firm make the information generated in the marketing research project a part of the firm’s marketing (management) information system (MIS) or decision support system (DSS), as discussed
Evaluation of the Research Project
Although marketing research is scientific, it also involves creativity, intuition, and expertise. Hence, every marketing research project provides an opportunity for learning, and the researcher should critically evaluate the entire project to obtain new insights and knowledge. The key question to ask is, “Could this project have been conducted more effectively or efficiently?” This question, of course, raises several more specific questions. Could the problem have been defined differently so as to enhance the value of the project to the client or reduce the costs? Could a different approach have yielded better results? Was the best research design
used? How about the mode of data collection? Should mall intercepts have been used instead of telephone interviews? Was the sampling plan employed the most appropriate? Were the sources of possible research design error correctly anticipated and kept under control, at least in a qualitative sense? If not, what changes could have been made? How could the selection, training, and supervision of field workers be altered to improve data collection? Was the data analysis strategy effective in yielding information useful for decision making? Were the conclusions and recommendations appropriate and useful to the client? Was the report adequately written and presented? Was the project completed within the time and budget allocated? If not.what went wrong? The insights gained from such an evaluation will benefit the researcher and the subsequent projects conducted
Brevity in Report Writing and Presentation
Ipsos Group SA is a leading global marketing research company. Go to review the list of press releases in the archives. and choose a pre” release with data that can be rendered into a brief report. Use Excel to create a set of charts for your report and import the charts into PowerPoint. Some of the press releases already include PowerPoint slides; others include charts that can be readily imported into PowerPoint.
Can you make a compelling business presentation in 3 minutes? Select a topic from Ipsos press release archive. Then. develop a 3-minute presentation using no more than five PowerPoint slides to explain (I) why this research finding matters to a firm in an industry of your choosing and (2) what this firm can do to take advantage of this finding.
Alternatively. you can create your report and presentation by using your analysis skills and the SPSS program.
1. What was the most challenging part of preparing. rehearsing, and making this presentation?
2. What will you do differently in your next presentation as a result of what you have learned in this experientialleaming exercise
The guidelines presented earlier in the chapter apply to international marketing research as well, although report preparation may be complicated by the need to prepare reports for management in different countries and in different languages. In such a case. the researcher should prepare different versions of the report. each geared to specific readers. The different reports should be comparable. although the formats may d.Ter. The guidelines for oral presentation are also similar to those given earlier. with the added proviso that the presenter should be sensitive to cultural norms. For example, making jokes, which is frequently done in the United States, is not appropriate in all cultures. Most marketing decisions are made from facts and figures arising out of marketing research. But these figures have to pass the test and limits of logic, subjective experience, and gut feelings of decision makers. The subjective experience and gut feelings of managers could vary widely across countries, necessitating that different recommendations be made for implementing the research findings in different countries. This is particularly important when making innovative or creative recommendations such as those pertaining to advertising campaigns.
Camry Chicken Fries Ford
In 2008. Toyota announced it would build a hybrid version of its Camry sedan in Australia. The ad campaign designed for Toyota Carnry in Australia was very different from the one used in Japan. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Toyota asks in a continuing series ofTV commercials aired recently in Australia. The answer:
“To sell more Toyota Carnrys, of course.” The spots, showing an animated chicken trying to cross the road and getting its feathers blown off by a passing Camry, were created by Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.When Bob Miller, Toyota’s general manager for marketing, tried to explain the ad to their counterpart in Japan. they thought he was insane. Maybe so, but the commercial did unbelievably well. Hoary old joke that it was. the gag helped Toyota topple Ford’s dominance in Australia.As a continuing series. the next ad showed the featherless chicken sitting on a pile of eggs in the middle of the road and hatching chicks as the Camry speeds past.
Whereas such use of humor was offensive to the Japanese, it solicited a favorable response from the Australians.By customizing its advertising and marketing efforts in each culture. the Toyota company remained the biggest auto seller in Australia as of 2009, with some of the best-selling cars, such as the Camry
Ethics in Marketing Research
Report preparation and presentation involves many issues pertaining to research integrity. These issues include defining the marketing research problem to suit hidden agendas. compromising
the research design. deliberately statistics. figures, altering research results. the results a personal or corporate point of view
and withholding information.!? A survey of 254 marketing researchers revealed that 33 percent of the respondents considered that the most difficult ethical problems they face encompass issues of research integrity. The researcher must address these issues when preparing the report and presenting the findings. The dissemination of the marketing research results to the client. and other stakeholders as may be appropriate, should be honest, accurate, and complete.
Likewise, clients also have the responsibility for complete accurate disclosure of the research findings and are obligated to use the research results in an ethical manner. For example, the public can be disadvantaged by a client who distorts the research findings to develop a biased advertising campaign that makes brand claims that have not been substantiated by marketing research. Such activities are condemned by the code of ethics of the American Marketing Association and other professional research associations 18 Ethical issues also arise when client firms, such as tobacco companies, use marketing research findings to formulate questionable marketing programs.