Interviewing in M.R
The Welcomgroup owns a chain of 20 hotels located in different parts of the country. In recent years, it has been expanding the chain by setting up new hotels.
When there were only a few hotels, the Managing Director of the Welcomgroup used to personally visit them with a view to ensuring that they provided high quality of food and service to their patrons. But now he finds that with so many hotels it is extremely difficult to personally visit each and every hotel. At the same time, he needs some mechanism to ensure that hotels of the chain continue to provide high quality service.
The Managing Director has discussed this problem with some Senior Officials of the company. As a result of this discussion, he finds that:
Option 1: A suitable questionnaire may be designed and the same may be given to guests during their stay in the hotels. They may be requested to return the filled-in questionnaire at the reception counter while leaving the hotels.
Option 2: A suitable questionnaire may be designed and the same may be posted to their homes soon after they have reached there with the request that these be returned, duly filled in, by post.
Option 3: A trained interviewer may be appointed on a temporary basis. He could visit different hotels without giving any prior intimation of his visits. In each hotel he visits, he may personally interview selected guests and seek their opinion on the quality of food arid service in that hotel and their suggestions, if any, for improvement.
Option 4: The services of a marketing research firm may be hired. It may be asked to conduct a suitable study based on, say, telephone interviews of a random sample of guests from each hotel and to submit its report to the Managing Director.
Discuss the relative merits of these options, indicating which one you would adopt if you were the Managing Director?
Attitude Towards Advertising
You have been asked to ascertain the attitude of people towards advertising, whether favourable or unfavourable, in the medium-sized city where you live. The study should indicate whether heterogeneous groups differ significantly or otherwise in their attitudes towards advertising.
The proposed study has to be carried out in two parts. Part I will involve the construction of a suitable scale for measuring attitudes of people. Part II will examine some hypotheses and conclude whether they are accepted or rejected. The hypotheses will concern the differences in attitude of the two groups towards advertising. For this purpose, you may think of groups in terms of male and female, young and old, educated and uneducated, rich and poor.
1. What type of study is this?
2. How would you develop a suitable scale for the proposed study?
3. Which scale would be most appropriate and why?
4. What would be the limitations of such a study?
Consumer Medical Attitudes
A study was undertaken sometime back to assess attitudes of consumers concerning health care. The study was conducted using a structured questionnaire which was administered to 1000 persons living in Baroda.
Some of the questions contained in the questionnaire are given below (the original numbers of these questions were different).
1. What type of attitude scale is used in each of these questions?
2. Would you like to change any of these attitude scales? If so, indicate the change/s that you would like to make?
Selected questions which were contained in a questionnaire on C.M.A.
I. Given below are some characteristics that people look for in a doctor of their choice. You should rate each characteristic on a scale of 1 to 5 in order of importance. The characteristic most important to you, should be rated 1, and the least important should be rated 5.
- The doctor’s clinic is close to your residence. 1 2 3 4 5
- The doctor has long experience. 1 2 3 4 5
- The doctor’s fee is moderate. 1 2 3 4 5
- The doctor is known for his diagnosis. 1 2 3 4 5
- The doctor is recommended by your friends. 1 2 3 4 5
- The doctor is cordial and sympathetic to every patient. 1 2 3 4 5
- The doctor is available for consultation without much waiting. 1 2 3 4 5
II Would you say that the quality of health care given by your doctor is:
- Very poor
III What do you feel about the charges you pay to your doctor? Are they:
- Somewhat high
IV Some statements are given below. Please indicate whether you agree with these statements. If you strongly agree with a statement, rate it 1; if you agree, rate it 2; if you are neutral, rate it 3; if you somewhat disagree rate it 4; and if you strongly disagree, rate it 5.
- 1 have full confidence in my doctor. 1 2 3 4 5
- My doctor explains my medical problems to me. 1 2 3 4 5
- Generally doctors are overpaid. 1 2 3 4 5
- I generally have a thorough physical check-up once a year. 1 2 3 4 5
- I often watch TV programmes which discuss health problems. 1 2 3 4 5
- Most doctors are responsible persons. 1 2 3 4 5
- Doctors should not go on strike for any reason. 1 2 3 4 5
- If a patient cannot recover from illness, he should be allowed to die. 1 2 3 4 5
- I am very particular about my food. 1 2 3 4 5
- In case I have a terminal illness, I would not like my doctor to tell me. 1 2 3 4 5
(A Case on Advertising Research)
Future Demand for Formulations
Formulation manufacturing is an important segment of the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, bulk drugs are pure chemical compounds. Normally, they are not used in their crude form. What a patient requires is sometimes a mixture of various bulk drugs, or a mixture of a bulk drug with certain additives which work as excipients, diluents, stabilizers or preservatives, or for the purposes of adding taste and flavour. Any mixtures or additives used in bulk drugs to increase their utility are known as formulation.
As far as the consumer is concerned, formulation is the final product. With the increasing emphasis on health standards, the importance of formulation is increasing.
Formulations are available in various forms, which can be classified in three groups:
2. Tablets and pills
Most of the drugs are available in all the three forms. However, some are used only in liquid or tablet form like insulin. Some formulations which are used only for external applications are available in liquid form like benzene and spirit. The selection of form depends upon the severity of the disease it intends to cure, the age of the patient, taste and odour and many such factors.
Formulations are directly used by patients. Demand for formulations depends upon various factors like the standard of health, occurrence of disease, population, income, awareness of people about their health and government health programme. These data are not easily available. However, two variables have been chosen for estimating future demand.
The level of public health, government health programmes and medical facilities are, by and large, reflected in the data on expenditure on health programmes by government whereas factors like population and income may be reflected in data on current consumption. So data on public expenditure on health and per capita consumption of formulations are used to estimate demand.
It is very difficult to separate demand for each form of formulations like tablets, capsules and pills because data on production, export and import in terms of such forms are not available—nor is their market mutually exclusive. In fact, to a large extent, it is mutually inclusive. So the demand for all formulations is estimated together on the basis of the data given in Table A.
Consumption of formulation is considered to be a dependent variable “Y” which is dependent on two independent variables, ‘X1’, the government expenditure on health and ‘X2’, the index number of per capita consumption of formulation. The multiple regression line is estimated as under:
Index Number of Per Capita Consumption of Formulation, Consumption of Formulation and Health Facility Provided by Government
|Index No. of Per
|Index No. of
|Index No. of Health Facility
Note:* 1. Estimated
- Index Number of health facility provided by Government will increase by 5% upto 1991—92. 3. Index Number of per capita consumption of formulation is estimated to increase at 9% p.a. for 1984—85 to 1991—92.
Y = a + B1X1 + B2X2
where, Y = Index number of consumption of formulation
X1 = Index number of health facility provided by Government
X2 = Index number of per capita consumption of formulation
Solving the above equation, the following values are found, namely,
a = -139.02, B1 = 0.62 and B2 = 1.80
Thus, the demand equation would be
Y = -139.02 + 0.62X1 + 1.80X2
The future value of X1 and X2 is projected with the help of their past trend rate of growth which is found to be 5 per cent and 9 per cent respectively during 1970—71 to 1983—84.
Accordingly, the estimated subsequent value of X1 and X2 is substituted in the above equation and the future demand for formulation is obtained. This is given in Table B.
Future Demand for Formulation
Besides this indigenous demand, export demand exists. At present, 3.5 per cent of production is being exported. If adequate efforts are made, this may easily increase to 5 per cent in the coming years. On this assumption, the projections of export demand have been made.
1) Critically examine the method used in this case for making projections of demand for formulations. What additional data would you need for making demand projections more realistic?
Ethical Issues in Marketing Research
Below are given some of the situations/cases wherein ethical issues are involved. Identify the ethical issue in each situation/case and indicate what you would do.
1. A marketing research firm assured its sample respondents that it would conduct an anonymous survey. As such their identity would remain undisclosed. However, it used an ultraviolet ink on each questionnaire as a result of which every respondent could be identified though the identity mark was invisible. Later on when it came to the notice of someone, the firm justified the use of an ultraviolet ink on the ground that it wanted to identify defaulting respondents so that it could send them reminders. Some people sharply reacted to this and said that such a practice was a clear deception as the firm acted against its explicit assurance to respondents.
2. A marketing research firm has recently taken up a study of some department stores. It has asked one of its members to visit these stores and pose as a customer and observe the buying behaviour of customers. No one knows that he or she is being observed by some one.
3. A large manufacturing company dealing in some cosmetic products has its own marketing research cell. However, it generally uses marketing research as a sales ploy. Its investigators try to push up the sale of its products to households when they visit them while conducting a field survey’.
4. A marketing research firm does not bother about ethical problems. It uses such data and research techniques as would produce the findings acceptable to its clients or to justify a particular decision.
5. A study is undertaken by a team of marketing researchers. A survey is planned but it has been decided that the purpose of research, as also its sponsorship, should not be disclosed to the respondents. This is because the team of marketing researchers feels that such a disclosure would influence the respondents to such an extent that the proposed research would be of no use.
6. An interviewer has been assigned the job of contacting some specific households chosen in the sample. He visits some households and in respect of others, fills in fictitious data, which are passed off as genuine. Nobody except the interviewer knows that some data are fictitious.
7. A marketing research firm accepts an assignment from on of its clients even though it knows that it would not be possible to submit the report within the stipulated time.
8. A business firm is interested in sponsoring a study with a research firm. It invites research proposals from four different consultants. It then incorporates the ideas included in different proposals in one single proposal submitted by the lowest bidder and assigns him this research study.
9. A project director seeks the permission of the Marketing Research Director to use ultraviolet ink in pre-coding questionnaires in a mail survey. He points out that although the letter refers to an anonymous survey where the identity of the respondent would be undisclosed, he needs the identification of the respondent so that cross tabulation of data can be undertaken. The Marketing Research Director gives him the permission to use ultraviolet ink.
10. An interviewer adopts an unusual practice with a view to getting the cooperation of the respondent. He assures the respondent that as soon as the survey report is ready, he will send him a copy of the same. While making such a promise to the respondent, the interviewer has no intention whatsoever to follow it up.
11. A research firm sometimes uses such devices as giving huge statistical data in appendices and drafting a report full of technical jargon to give an impression that it is a perfect study or that the team engaged in the research is very competent.
(A case in scientific Method and Research design in H.R)
Management and Marketing Research
Given below is a part of the dialogue between the General Manager and the Marketing Research Manager of a large industrial enterprise.
G.M. I think we have been unnecessarily attaching too much importance to marketing research. I don’t think marketing research can solve all our problems. There is after all a limit to its usefulness and this fact is often not recognised.
M.R.M. Nobody says that marketing research can solve all our problems. However, it can reduce uncertainty and enable us to get useful information on the basis of which better decisions can be made. It is this role of marketing research which people overlook.
G.M. While I concede your point that marketing research can help reduce uncertainty, I still feel that its importance these days is blown out of proportion. Apart from this, I do not like the use of extremely advanced statistical techniques even when there seems to be no justification for their use.
M.R.M. Well, I don’t think that such techniques are always used. In fact, many researchers may not be proficient in such techniques though they can certainly hire experts to do this job. At the same time, I must say that there is a general trend in favour of sophisticated techniques perhaps on account of increasing realisation that marketing problems are rather multi-dimensional and simple statistical tools are hardly useful in such cases.
G.M. I personally feel that there is not enough interaction between the doers of research and users of research. It is because of this ‘distance’ that each side sees the other with a certain degree of suspicion. Don’t you think that several of our problems can be solved more effectively if both the research people and management have a better understanding of each other’s role? But how can it be achieved?
M.R.M. Yes. I agree with you. This is what is required. This is possible if communications between management and research personnel are more frequent. Further, both the parties should shirk off their prejudices and have an open mind. If any good comes out of research, management should accept it without any reservation. Likewise, if management makes some suggestions because of its practical insight into business problems, researchers should not ignore them but examine them with an open mind and, if useful, incorporate them in their research. However, I would emphasise one point here. Researchers should not blindly follow the suggestions given by management. If they do so merely to please their authorities, there will hardly be any research worth its name.
1. Discuss the idea containing the foregoing dialogue?
2. Identify more other areas/situations which may give rise to conflict between Management and Marketing research?
3. What suggestions would you offer to minimize such conflicts?