Critique Marketing Research Crescent Pure Case Study

Critique Marketing Research: Crescent Pure Case Study

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Critique Marketing Research: Crescent Pure Case Study

Introduction

Marketing research is all about a business organization’s attempt to understand and learn more about the target consumers. Iacobucci, Petrescu, Krishen, and Bendixen (2019) point out that the importance of business marketing research includes spotting business opportunities, lowering business risks, creating relevant content for promotional intentions, understanding where and when to advertise, outselling the competition, and be able to set better objectives and goals. With marketing research, an organization is able to determine specific directions and align these goals to other business-specific intentions. In the case study, Portland Drake Beverages (PDB) has a new product acquisition, Crescent Pure, that requires a product positioning strategy. In this report, the approaches taken by the organization, including the research problem formulation will be evaluated. The research process will be scrutinized for purposes of identifying whether the market research was a success or otherwise. There will also be a thorough evaluation of the overall design of the research undertaken and the implementation each of the primary data collection methods used. The overall intention will be to consider whether the design and methods used were appropriate to generate the information required to address the research problem as well as aspects such as the use of secondary data research, triangulation of the data, and the sampling approaches utilised for the different primary data collection methods. Finally, a recommendation will be made relating to whether the research conducted is sufficient to proceed with developing a product positioning strategy for Crescent or whether further marketing research is required. Overall, the PDB case study sheds light on the need to define a problem clearly, manage the strategies around creating a research methodology, and finally ensuring that objectives stemming from research problems are well articulated to ensure success of a marketing research endeavor.

Evaluation of the Research Problem

A research problem essentially helps in creating a plan for marketers. According to Zaefarian, Kadile, Henneberg, and Leischnig (2017), research problems are important in helping to formulate research sequences and to avoid unnecessary or irrelevant steps in the research process. With a well-crafted research problem, marketers are able to identify research processes including the design of a study, research instruments, research analysis, and the sampling strategy. In the case, the research problem was not clearly formulated. However, the requirements making up the research problem were very clear. PDB wanted to understand which between the two viable positioning strategies (energy-drink positioning and sports-drink positioning) would maximize the revenues of the new acquisition. Reading through the case study, it is evident that this question informed the entire research process, including the involvement of various marketing experts such as Sarah Ryan and Matt Levor. It is not entirely clear or thoroughly stated what the question was, and there is a clear lack of a section that primarily focuses on defining the research problem. However, the introduction of the case study provides a theme, relating to a need to come up with a product-positioning strategy.

The case mentions how the two aforementioned strategies are expected to yield results and also notes a need to maximize Crescent’s revenues through focusing only on one approach. On the one hand, the energizing ingredients of the product are viewed to support an energy-drink product positioning strategy. On the other hand, the hydrating features of the new product requires a sports-drink product positioning. Therefore, the research problem is not correctly defined in the case, but the alternatives and the need for research come out quite clearly. It needs to be more focused and specific, including an entire section dedicated to defining the problem and explaining why it is an issue that requires research. That said, the brief mention of the need to focus on one strategy emerges as the main research problem. The research that was conducted actually addressed the research problem and adequately used various research tools and designs to inform the entire process. Overall, the research is well conducted, despite starting with an inadequate research problem formulation.

Critique of the Overall Research Design

A research design refers to the overall approach that is chosen towards the integration of different components of a study in a manner that is both logical and coherent. Rahi (2017) mentions that a research design must ensure that it effectively addresses the research problem through its constitution of the approaches in data collection, measurement, and analysis. The advantages of having an effective research design include providing marketers with an easier route when studying and interpreting data. An effective research design helps in ensuring that the research process remains true to the research problem, and therefore is aimed at creating a path to solutions and practical recommendations (Wedel and Pieters, 2017). A research design is not necessarily a rigid framework. Instead, it should be specially tailored to the needs of a research study that stems from the formulation of the problem. Bearing this in mind, an effective research design must help marketing researchers to ensure that the project meets time schedules and related time constraints. The system that a research design creates is important in the documentation of the key activities relevant to a study. Overall, a research design operates like a study planner, ensuring that the research is relevant, time sensitive, and works with the available resources to achieve the objectives.

The research design used in the case followed a mixed methods approach where both primary and secondary data were collected for purposes of analysis and to inform the decision on which positioning strategy to use. The first primary data collection method used in the case was an online survey that asked basic demographic information. It collected data relating to age, gender, education level, and basic income bracket. The online survey used an already established group of online consumers. Additionally, an online survey was sent out to the same group of consumers targeting to understand the various descriptors that customers would use to describe Crescent. The benefit of using online surveys is that the respondents were not under any influence from the interviewer and therefore bias is avoided. However, in the case study, respondents who sent back their surveys in less than four days would receive a case of their favorite Crescent. This eliminated the idea of impartiality and also reduced the amount of time given to consumers to receive responses. The method also had a very high rate of non-response which may have created a biased interpretation of results. Ultimately, the use of surveys and questionnaires was an appropriate approach aimed at generating information required to address the research problem.

Focus groups were also used applying three customer segments. There were groups comprised of women aged between 25 and 33, men in the 18 and 24 years of age category, and another category of men in the 25- and 35-years old group. The sessions were made of eight participants who were completely unaware of the product. This data collection exercise was very important because it tested and clarified pre-conceived feelings and notions about the product. It also led to understanding met as well as unmet needs. It was also a very good opportunity for the researchers to hear customer feedback directly in their individual voices and words. Lastly, the case was able to uncover issues and ideas that were initially unconsidered, yet very important to the consumer such as taste and the thoughts on price. Nonetheless, the results were biased from the consumers’ point of view and may not be fully representative of the target group. Despite this issue, the use of focus groups was an appropriate approach aimed at generating information required to address the research problem.

In a more detailed primary data collection exercise, the case collected information from retailers regarding the rate of consumption of the Crescent energy/hydrating drink. From the ten retailers contacted via interviews, the case found that the product moved significantly fast, even where prices were adjusted upwards by store owners. Telephonic interviews were specifically used to ask questions relevant to the case. The advantage in using the interview approach to collect information was that it provided in-depth information, including the issue of price hiking and a fast-moving product regardless of the price. The sample was also very easy to control and response and non-response biased were avoided. However, it is likely that the interviewer was biased due to the time constraint and in the choice of retailers he chose to focus his interviews on. The sampling process used to pick the ten retailers for the interviews was not adequately recorded, analyzed, and documented. The effect is that the entire sampling process may have been flawed. Even so, the data collected was very insightful towards the overall intention. Similarly, because of how focused the information collection exercise was, it is also likely that the interview was influenced by other sources such as market research and so on. Overall, this was a very effective method of collecting data and was appropriate in generating information required to address the research problem.

Secondary data were also used to reinforce the decision-making process. The case used public records, historical documents, statistical data, business documents, trade and technical studies from journals, and business publications. As opposed to data that is collected firsthand, the secondary data gathered for the case was from other sources previously documented by various entities for other purposes including research and reporting. From the case, it is evident that secondary data was very easy to access and interpret with reference to the research problem. The ease of access also meant that the cost associated with collection and interpretation of the information were significantly low. A lot of time was saved and the researchers were allowed to generate new insights from previously recorded analysis. Malhotra (2018) found that secondary data is available in plenty giving a marketing researcher more freedom and a variety of sources to chose from. However, as noted by Sarah Ryan in the case, secondary data may not be specific to the needs of a researcher simply because the reason for its collection in the first place may not be aligned to the current requirements, research problem, or need. Additionally, the secondary data used in the case had a major problem relating to the lack of control over its quality. There is always the likelihood of biasness and timelessness, and the fact that the research must appropriately and adequately mention the source and investigate the credibility to avoid flawed interpretation. Despite these concerns, the secondary data gathered for the research were appropriate to the entire process of research. The combination of a primary and secondary research approaches meant that the research covered the drawbacks of one method with the strengths of the other. Overall, the analysis shows that the design and methods used in the case were appropriate to generate the information required to address the research problem.

Recommendation on the Sufficiency of the Research Conducted

From the analysis of the process of research highlighted above, it is clear that the research conducted is sufficient to proceed with developing a product positioning strategy for Crescent. The presentation and analysis of data, including both from primary and secondary sources, give the case sufficient grounds to make an informed decision. Data relating to demographics, price sensitivity, taste preferences, descriptors used by different consumer groups, age group specification, product features, customer profiles, competitor analysis, and a variety of in-depth information achieved would be enough for the case to make a decision on the right positioning strategy. However, even with the sufficient data collected, the bias-potential of the data collection approaches highlighted above would be an area of concern. It is recommended that before a final decision is made, the market researchers should carry out a completely bias free data collection exercise to see if the analysis matches what was achieved earlier. Ultimately, PDB is ready to make a decision.

References

Iacobucci, D., Petrescu, M., Krishen, A. and Bendixen, M., 2019, ‘The state of marketing analytics in research and practice,’ Journal of Marketing Analytics, vol. 7, no. 3, pp.152-181.

Malhotra, N.K., 2018, ‘Marketing research: current state and next steps,’ Brazilian Journal of Marketing-BJMkt Revista Brasileira de Marketing–ReMark Special Issue, Vol. 17, pp.18-41.

Rahi, S., 2017, R’esearch design and methods: A systematic review of research paradigms, sampling issues and instruments development,’ International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences, vol. 6, no. 2, pp.1-5.

Wedel, M. and Pieters, R., 2017. A review of eye-tracking research in marketing. Review of marketing research, pp.123-147.

Zaefarian, G., Kadile, V., Henneberg, S.C. and Leischnig, A., 2017, ‘Endogeneity bias in marketing research: Problem, causes and remedies,’ Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 65, pp.39-46.