This sample essay on Market Research Tutor2u provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Tesco, the gigantic supermarket chain, has decided on conquering the United States’ market with ‘Fresh and Easy’ strategy since 2007; however, is undergoing huge losses approximately to 300 million dollars the previous year. ‘Fresh and Easy’ strategy claimed to target at supplying a rising proportion of shoppers who prefer frequent trips to local convenience stores rather than traditional American weekly drive to hypermarkets. Furthermore, it might contain penetration pricing method and certain promotions in order to increase sales.
The strategy is claimed to be faulty as the marketing research that it based upon is less accurate. This essay will critically examine whether market research is the key factor that determines the success of a business in terms of Tesco’s marketing strategy using ‘Fresh and Easy’. Initially, the nature of market research will be analysed, followed by discussions of the probable existence of other factors and eventually a conclusion would be drawn. Marketing strategies are ‘carefully evaluated plans for future marketing activity that balance company objectives, available resources and market opportunities’ (Marcouse, 2008, p461).
Tesco might have use, in Ansoff’s terminology, market development or diversification as their marketing strategy when opened up outlets in United States. Market development strategy is about selling existing products to new markets, for instance, new geographical areas. It could be risky unless the company has spotted clear marketing opportunities; whereas diversification strategy is about selling new products to new markets, which is a very risky strategy as the company operates utterly outside its range of knowledge and experience. To undertake marketing effectively, businesses need information.
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Thus market research is needed to gather ‘information about consumers, competitors and distributors within a firm’s target market’ and subsequently being analysed and evaluated, which is a way of ‘identifying consumers’ buying habits and attitudes to current and future products’. (Marcouse, 2008, p143) There are two main types of market research, which are field research and desk research. Field research gathers primary data directly from people within the target market. If Tesco conducted field research, it could collect data through various resources.
As through retailer research, retailers are likely to know all crucial information as they serve customer directly. It is vital to have observation as a resource due to location is an important factor to Tesco as it has expanded business in a new market. If Tesco done experiments such as test markets and pilot trials of new products before launch, it could ‘measure and evaluate customers’ reactions to changes in the marketing mix’. (Tutor2u, n. d. , p9) It might also have used customer interviews or questionnaires, focus or user groups, surveys or panels as one of the sources in order to have a general consumers’ overview.
There are several advantages associated with field research. Tesco could aim questions directly at research objectives, derive latest information from the marketplace and assess the psychology of the customers. Moreover, the relevant data could be a competitive advantage as other rivals will not have had access to it. As for the drawbacks, it can be costly, time-consuming and at the same time Tesco taking risk of bias questionnaires and interviewer. In additions, the research findings may only be usable if comparable backdata exists (Marcouse, 2008, p144). On the contrary, desk research uses secondary data that already exists.
If Tesco carried out desk research, it could collect data via internal and external resources. Internal resources may consisted of company accounts, internal reports and analysis, retail data (e. g. loyalty cards) and stock analysis (Biz/ed, n. d. ); whereas external resources may comprised rivals’ marketing literature, government-produced data, trade press and the internet (Marcouse, 2008, p143-144). Desk research often obtained a wide range of data without high cost, and usually based on actual sales figures or research on large samples which increase accuracy of the data.
A further advantage is allowing Tesco to have a good overview of the market. However, the data may not be updated regularly and not tailor-made to company’s need. Similarly, the reports may be expensive to buy on various marketplaces (ibid, p144). Market research data could be ‘numerical or psychological’, namely, quantitative or qualitative (Marcouse, 2008, p143). If Tesco used quantitative research, it concerns with gathering hard data on large sample of people and presenting information on statistical basis, such as diagrams that could be used to analyse the information.
It usually interrelated with data on the market size, shares and growth. Three key perspectives to be considered by Tesco, that are sampling, writing an unbiased questionnaire that meet the research objectives, and assessing the validity of the results (ibid, p146). If Tesco used qualitative research, they could understand consumers’ behaviour, attitudes and perceptions in some depth but not statistics data. It usually conducted by psychologists and takes two main forms which are focus groups and depth interviews.
Focus groups conducted with psychologists and a group of consumers; whereas depth interviews only between a psychologist and a consumer, which is better as to avoid risk that group opinions will be swayed by certain influential person (ibid, p145). It is at best if Tesco combined both research types as one because if only one research type being conducted, Tesco would not get a whole picture of consumers’ behaviour, attitudes and perceptions. Sampling means selecting people as representative of the whole of a population which their view will be taken as representative of all first-time buyers.
There are three main sampling techniques that Tesco might have used. If Tesco used random samples, it ensures everyone in the population has an equal chance of being selected. It would be effective, but costly and time-consuming, and may have chosen those not in the right group. If Tesco chosen quota sampling, it selecting ‘interviewees in proportion to the consumer profile within the target market’ (ibid, p146). It aims at obtaining a sample that represents the overall population (tutor2u, n. d. ). It is relatively cheap, effective and most commonly used. However, it is not random thus enduring some risk of bias.
If Tesco opted stratified sampling, it only involved interviewees with key characteristic required for the sample. Within this stratum of population, individuals could be found indiscriminately or by setting quotas based on factors such as region (Marcouse, 2008, p143). Although it still random, it is more focussed, relevant and may be more cost effective. It is important for Tesco to consider the sample size and response rate as these could lead to serious issues such as launch of product flopped. Generally, a sample of 100 respondents is far more meaningful if the results are clear-cut.
A sample of 1000 respondents is possible but costly. Survey methods may have influence in response rate and built-in bias rate. Database-driven research, for instance, may be the most accurate and reliable resource as it information bases upon current or ex-customers. ‘Market research helps firms to plan ahead rather than to guess ahead’ (The Times 100). Large established companies such as Tesco have huge advantages over new smaller companies as their knowledge of consumer attitudes and behaviour constructed from years of market research conducted. However, it may not be the only factor that determines the success of a business.
Test marketing, for instance, could provide more accurate data than marketing research, thus allows more accurate sales’ forecasts and identify a weak link; howsoever, it is far costly, acquire large-scale of production and allows rivals to foreseen. Besides, innovation enables company to distinguish themselves from rivals and even interrupt the product life cycle by extend the product maturity. Furthermore, external factors such as economic and environment could be the main issues. As an example, global recession is claimed by Tim Mason to be one of the factors that caused Tesco’s losses in US stores (Finch, 2009).
Taking everything into consideration, certain conclusion can be drawn. Tesco which has strong home branding and in a very good financial health, that ‘Fresh and Easy’ strategy would be far more effective and accurate if Tesco conducted both primary and secondary marketing research which combining both qualitative and quantitative research in specific locality of their United State’ stores. It appears probable that marketing research may be fairly important as one of the factors that determine the success of a business but may not be the only crucial factor.