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Market research is important since it enables the company management to make informed decisions that maximize their profit, increase sales, minimize risk and determine the strategic positioning of the company and its products. It involves gathering, recording and analyzing primary and secondary data in order to find correlations with the needs and wants of the target audience and how the company can fulfill these. It helps to create a link between the consumers or customers and the marketer of the product through information. The information collected is then used to identify and define the marketing opportunities that exist as well as the problems that may be encountered in marketing the product. Before the company's marketing department goes ahead in its activities, it is important to understand the complexities and costs involved in marketing the products. This involves undertaking research to understand the market, market trends, performance and needs Webb, 2002()
Market research serves several purposes. First is that it helps in making marketing decisions. This means that it helps the marketers to make decisions about the marketing strategy and positioning of the company's products and services. Research shows the marketer whether or not the product is meeting the needs of the target audience and how the competition is fairing on in meeting these needs. The marketer will then be able to evaluate options for the successful marketing of their products and services. Marketers also need to decide what their target market is. This involves providing detailed information about the target market such as age, location, buying habits, gender, etc. Market research also helps to determine the market trends which are the movements taking place in the market. These market trends indicate changes in competitor product positioning, potential customers, customer segments and much more. Market research is thus an important tool in the marketer's decision-making process since it creates a better understanding of the market and helps the marketer to understand the different roles within the decision-making unit Mayer, 1970()
The research to be conducted will serve the purpose of determining the market trends since the target audience is already known. This will help largely in the generation, refining and evaluation of marketing while creating a platform to monitor market performance. The research will also have the objective of evaluating the current marketing strategies for their effectiveness in order to address any shortcomings in the current strategies.
Research methodologies to use
There are two major types of research designs that can be used in market research. The first is quantitative research whereby a statistical analysis of both primary and secondary data is conducted. This involves the collection of numerically measurable data which is usually related to the size of the market, growth in the market share and other numerical measures of market trends. In this research design, sampling plays and key role since it helps to create validity and reliability of the study findings as well as ensure that the sample is representative of the target audience. Random sampling is the best method which helps to ensure the sample is representative of the whole population being studied. Data is usually obtained through surveys and questionnaires. The second design is the qualitative design which is subjective and personal. It involves finding out any soft information such as attitude and emotions which the consumers bear to the company's products or the competition. The main purpose of this research is to understand the behavior, attitude and perceptions of the consumers. Interviews and focus groups are the most common method of collecting qualitative information since they are designed to collect detailed responses from consumers Ferrell and Hartline, 2010.
This research will involve quantitative research since it is concerned with collecting numerical data on the market trends.
There are several methods of collecting data which can be used in conducting market research. The first is desk research which involves collecting and analyzing secondary data while field research involves collection of original data which does not already exist. There are several sources of secondary data that can be used in this market research. These can be divided into internal and external sources of secondary data. Internal sources include sales reports which show sales performance of the company's products. These sales reports will also show sales trends of the company's products. There are also customer reports which detail customer satisfaction, complaints, suggestions and queries. These can help to explain the trends in the market. Other company reports such as marketing reports and budgetary reports will also be important since they show the expenditure on marketing and how this influences sales. External sources of secondary data include information posted by competitors which helps to create an evaluation of the performance of competitors. Government publications and other commercial publications can also help to identify trends in the market. Data posted by trade associations and market researchers may also be helpful.
Reliability of market research
For marketing success, any market research done should be accurate and reliable. Reliable marketing research involves ensuring balance in the sample which enables the sample to infer the population. This means that the subset of the population that is interviewed in case of primary data and the data that is analyzed from secondary sources should represent the total population. In this case, the secondary data chosen should represent the target audience. In the data extraction, the data should be extracted as is and where possible semantic scales ranging from excellent, very good, good, fair or poor should be used. Numerical data may also be analyzed on numerical scales. Lastly, the data analysis should be as accurate and detailed as possible to capture all aspects of the research.
A competitor analysis involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of current and future competitors in order to identify opportunities and threats to Clinex Ltd. It helps to develop a corporate strategy which takes advantage of the opportunities foreseen and minimizes the threats. A SWOT analysis is one of the competitor analysis tools. The strengths are the characteristics of Clinex which give them an advantage over the competitors while weaknesses are the characteristics that place them at a disadvantage against the competition. Opportunities are the elements which the team can exploit to their advantage while threats are the elements that may lead to trouble.
For Clinex Ltd., there are several competitive strategies that will help the company strengthen their competitive advantage. The first is to set objectives which define what the company plans to do. Environmental scanning is also an important strategy that will help the company assess its present situation and its products or services. An analysis of the existing strategies will also help to determine the performance of the organization so far. Clinex will also need to define any strategic issues it may face. This involves defining the key factors that need to be included in the creation of a corporate plan for the organization. Developing new or revised strategies also helps to ensure the business takes into consideration the information collected in the environmental scan, analysis of existing strategies and definition of strategic issues. The company will also need to establish critical factors for success upon which results will be monitored.
Variables that would contribute towards a SWOT analysis for Clinex and Son's
The four major items in a SWOT analysis are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business. In Clinex's SWOT analysis, one of the variables that needs to be included is the company's marketplace reputation. This involves looking at the competitive positioning of the company's products against those of their competitors in order to understand how they contribute to the company's bottom line. The product differentiation of Clinex against the products of competitors will also help to create an evaluation of how this creates advantages or disadvantages for Clinex. The degree of vertical integration existing between Clinex and its suppliers and competitors is also an important variable. This creates a source of competitive advantage since it creates a cost advantage for Clinex through lower transaction costs and lower uncertainty of supply. Organizational costs are also an important variable since they influence the structure of the company in the market place and ability of Clinex to monopolize the market. Monopolization is also an important variable since it creates advantages for Clinex which benefit greatly from lack of competition.
Techniques for assessing level of customer satisfaction
One method that can be used to assess the level of customer satisfaction is the direct method whereby the company directly contacts customers and gets their feedback on various issues regarding the company. This can be done in various ways such as using third party research companies or through direct marketing whereby the company contacts customers directly through in-house call centers. Feedback conducted through complaints and appreciation…