Developing services through market research

by Business Case Studies on Monday 7th March, 2011

Research recently carried out into TV viewing times has found that on average in the UK we watch 30 hours of television per week. The ICM poll, carried out with 2,066 adults for TV Licensing, also found that 9.5 million television sets were sold in the UK in 2010, a 100% increase on the number sold in 2002. It was discovered that only 3% of households do not have a television and that the average number of sets per household has also increased in the past 10 years from 1.9 to 2.4. (BBC, 5th March 2011)

Businesses can use this sort of data to inform their marketing activity. The internet is the fastest growing advertising medium; however, this recent research shows that TV advertising is still hugely important. By knowing how many people are likely to see television adverts and at what time of day viewers are watching television, companies are able to plan the extent and timing of any future television advertising campaigns. Further research would assess the impact of changing TV viewing habits because of the use of hard disk drive recorders and internet channels such as BBC iPlayer and ITVPlayer.

Organisations carry out market research for a variety of purposes. Barclays carried out both primary and secondary research to help it to improve its banking services for students. As new students may well be choosing a bank for the first time it is important that Barclays offers the right services in order to retain these customers in the future. From the findings of research methods such as questionnaires and opinion panels and by reviewing competitors' marketing literature, Barclays was able to develop and implement a new student proposition which included incentives that students valued, including, for example, no monthly fee and an interest free overdraft. As tuition costs for students rise, incentives that offer savings or extra value for money are likely to be much sought after.

Questions
1.Explain the difference between primary and secondary research.
2.From the Barclays case study, give examples of the primary and secondary research that the company carried out.
3.Barclays used a mix of primary and secondary research when developing its new student offer. Analyse the advantages of using a combination of both methods.

Answers
1.Explain the difference between primary and secondary research.

  • Primary research finds new data. Examples of primary research methods include observation, focus groups and questionnaires.
  • Secondary research uses existing data. Secondary data can be found from competitors' financial records, industry journals and government statistics, for example.

2.From the Barclays case study, give examples of primary and secondary research that was carried out.

Primary research carried out by Barclays included:

  • An online questionnaire
  • Testing out ideas with a sample of 100 students

Secondary research carried out by Barclays included:

  • Finding out what percentage of the market were taken up by student accounts.

3.Barclays used a mix of primary and secondary research when developing its new student offer. Analyse the advantages of using a combination of both methods.

Answers may include:

  • Primary research is up-to-date, reliable and specifically relevant to the needs of the organisation. In Barclays' case, it found specific information about what students wanted from their bank.
  • Primary research is useful for finding out about what existing or potential customers actually think.
  • Primary research can be designed in a way that collects both quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Secondary research can be much quicker and cheaper than primary research (although good quality published secondary research may be costly).
  • Secondary research can be useful for finding out about competitors and the industry.

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