Waterpik Picks a Winning Product Marketing Research Help

Water pik Technologies  leading developer. manufacturer, and marketer of health care products for the entire family. Water pik wants to retain its market position by introducing innovative products thai satisfy the needs of its customers. In 2003. based on initial research and evaluation of trends, Waterpik made the deeision to concentrate en developing new showerhead product platform concepts that provide !he best showerinl experience and valu

The company hired Innovation Feces an internationally recognized consulting firm driven to help clients develop and implement profitable ideas for growth. By using a unique mix of creative and analytical marketing researca. Innovation Focus helped Waterpik to find the right answers to their questions and finally ceme: up wi1ha successful product

The exploratory research phase was kicked off with a trends meeting with Waterpik marketing professionals to list and prioritize key consumer wants and needs. This was followed by a technology session with Waterpik engineers to uncover applicable technologies and the company’s internal competencies. These meetings set the foundation for conducting detailed marketing research. To get a variety of perspectives and to speed up the process, Innovation Focus decided to conduct what was named an
innovation session. The session had 21 participants. including consumers. external designers and marketers. and Waterpik specialists. More than 140 concepts were generated. This was followed by validation and concept refinement sessions with more consumers using a descriptive survey. And the winner (the final product) emerged throu,h this process.

Two years after the first session. Waterpik was ready to introduce its new product. thundershower had seven unique and adjustable settings that addressed consumers’ interest in being able to adjust the coverage. force. and shape of the shower spray. Mist and pressure control features were also incorporated to allow the users to “turn their shower into a s,.:’ Powered by marketing research. Waterpik was able to hit the ground running with its new preduct

Note that Waterpik did not rely exclusively on exploratory research. Once n~w product concepts were identified, they were further tested by descriptive research in the form of consumer surveys. This example points to the importance of descriptive research in obtaining more conclusive findings

Descriptive Research

As the name implies, the major objective of descriptive research is to describe some thing usually market characteristics or functions (see Table 32). Descriptive research is conducted for the following reasons

1. To describe the characteristics of relevant groups, such as consumers, salespeople  or market areas. For example, we could develop a profile of the “heavy users” (frequent shoppers) of prestigious department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
2. To estimate the percentage of units in a specified population exhibiting a certain behavior. For example, we might be interested in estimating the percentage of heavy users of prestigious department stores who also patronize discount department stores.
3. To determine the perceptions of product characteristics. For example, how do households perceive the various department stores in terms of salient factors of the choice criteria?
4. To determine the degree to which marketing variables are associated. For example, to what extent is shopping at department stores related to eating out?
5. To make specific predictions. For example, what will be the retail sales of Neiman Marcus (specific store) for fashion clothing (specific product category) in the Dallas area (specific region)?

The example at the beginning of the chapter employed ‘descriptive research in the form of a survey undertaken to quantify the salience of the different social causes for businesses. As this example shows, descriptive research assumes that the researcher has much prior knowledge about the problem situation.f In the opening example, the relevant social causes had already been identified through exploratory research before the descriptive survey was conducted. In fact, a major difference between exploratory and descriptive research is that descriptive research is characterized by the prior formulation of specific hypotheses. Thus, the information needed is clearly defined. As a result, descriptive research is preplanned and structured. It is typically .A based on large representative samples. A formal research design specifies the methods for selecting the sources of information and for collecting data from those sources. A descriptive design requires a clear specification of the who, what, when, where, why, and way (the six Ws) of the research. (It is interesting to note that news reporters use similar criteria for describing a situation.) We illustrate this in the context of the department store patronage project

The Six Ws

1. Who-Who should be considered a patron of a particular department store? Some of the possibilities are:

a. Anyone who enters the department store, whether or not she or he purchases anything
b. Anyone who purchases anything from the store
c. Anyone who makes purchases at the department store at least once a month
d. The person in the household most responsible for department store shopping

2. What-What information should be obtained from the respondents? A wide variety of information could he obtained. including:

a. Frequency with which different department stores are patronized for specific product categories
b. Evaluation of the various department stores in terms of the salient choice criteria
c. Information pertaining to specific hypotheses to be tested
d. Psycho graphics and lifestyles, media consumption habits, and demographics

3. When – When should the information be obtained from the respondents? The available options include:

a. Before shopping
b. While shopping
c. Immediately after shopping
d. Some time after shopping to allow time for evaluation of their shopping experience

4. Where-Where should the respondents he contacted to obhin the required information? Possibilities include contacting the respondents:

a. In the store
b. Outside the store but in the shopping mall
c. In the parking lot
d. At home

5. Why-Why are we obtaining information from the respondents? Why is the marketing research project being conducted? Possible reasons could be to:

a. Improve the image of the sponsoring store
b. Improve patronage and market share
c. Change the product mix
d. Develop a suitable promotional campaign
e. Decide on the location of a new store

6. Way-In what way are we going to obtain information from the respondents? The possible ways could be:

a. Observation of respondents’ behavior
b. Personal interviews
c. Telephone interviews
d. Mail interviews
e. Electronic (e-mail or Internet) interviews

• Market studies. which describe the size of the market. buying power of the consumers. availability of distributors. and consumer profiles
• Market share studies. which determine the proportion of total sales received by a company and its competitors
• Sales “nalysis studies. which describe sales by geographic region. product line. type and size of the account
• Image studies. which determine consumer perceptions of the firm and its products
• Product usage studies. which describe consumption patterns
• Distribution studies. which determine traffic flow patterns and the number and location of distributors
• Pricing studies. which describe the range and frequency of price changes and probable consumer response to proposed price changes
• Advertising studies. which describe media consumption habits and audience profiles for specific television programs and magazines

In the opening example. descriptive research in the form of a survey was undertaken to quantify the relative salience of various social causes to American businesses: child care. drug abuse. public education. hunger. crime. the environment. medical research. and poverty.

All these examples demonstrate the range and diversity of descriptive research studies. A vast majority of marketing research studies involve descriptive research. which incorporates the following major methods

• Secondary data analyzed in a quantitative as opposed to a qualitative manner (discussed )
• Surveys
• Panels
• Observational and other data

Although the methods shown in Table 32 are typical. it should be noted that the researcher is not limited to these methods. For example. surveys can involve the use of exploratory (openended) questions. or causal studies (experiments) are sometimes administered by surveys. Descriptive research using the methods of Table 32 can be further classified into cross-sectional
and longitudinal research (Figure 3.1)

Posted on November 30, 2015 in RESEARCH DESIGN FORMULATION

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