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Marketing Research

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Marketing research is the definite research activity providing marketing needs. The market research involves the collection and analysis of data that are required for marketing. Marketing research is the beginning and the logical conclusion of any cycle marketing company. Market research is used to reduce the uncertainty that always accompanies the marketing decision making.

1. Discuss the role that marketing research can play in helping Marriott formulate sound marketing strategies.

Marketing research is indispensable in any kind of business. After all, success in business is possible only if reliable information necessary for the effective organization of this activity is sufficient. Before planning to enter new markets or expand existing markets, it is necessary to know the demand, the target audience, competition policy, capacity and dynamics of markets, macroeconomic and political situation in the country. All risks should be assessed and ways to minimize them should be identified. Marriott International has already occupied a niche in the market: it has won a certain authority and fully defined their consumers. Market research can prompt ways for further expansion of the market. In particular, using marketing research can be identified if consumers are willing to buy a new, alternative product, calculate the efficiency to market for new goods (works, services), trade marks, and their potential as a result of the popularity and make the right management decisions and maximize profits. Marriott International has successfully withstood all the competitive challenges and become the market leader. Market research can prompt, except the further strategy of action in the main market, additional areas in which they can invest and generate more revenue.

2. Marriott would like to further penetrate the non-business-travelers segment in the United States. Define the management-decision problem.

Management decision problem relates to a problem that management or decision maker faces. It inquires what decision maker needs to do. There are many problems that the Marriott International company can face during the entering the new market. The first one can be identified as the unknown of the target segment and the area where this segment is represented. Thus, primarily the region where the hotels for new segment of customers would be represented should be identified. The next stage is to understand who your customers are and why they should come to the place where hotel is situated. Potential clients may come to the certain place for a vacation or the excursions, some holidays or events such as fashion week, some awards events etc.: they may also come to visit friends or relatives. They have different purposes, so they have different demand for the service, place, and price. Summing up, the main management-decision problem for Marriott International concerning penetration the non-business-travellers segment in the United States would be to analyze and decide what kind of customers it wants to serve.

3. Define an appropriate marketing research problem based on the management decision problem you have identified.

The main management decision problem of Marriott International Company is to decide what kind of customers company wants to cope with. In other words, they should define appropriate audience that would use the services company offers. The target audience is described by different socio-demographic indicators. It is important to know the lifestyle, habits, and the hobbies of the target audience. It comes in handy when the company has to come up with how to advertise the product, where to advertise, and so on. Knowing about the target audience of the service would help to understand their needs, so would help to provide the best service and adherent clients.

4. What type of research design should be adopted? Justify your recommendation.

There are different types of research design of target audience. Firstly, we need to know who our potential customers are. Secondly, we should find out their habits. Thus, the best way to find the answer is to use the descriptive design method of marketing researchers (Cravens, 2009). The aim of this method coincides with the goals of the marketing research purposes of the Marriott International Company. Identification of the target audience consists of three phases: determination of the percentage of people who use the product in the context of gender, age, and income; deciding who would be the main consumers of the service: men, women, families etc.; determining the frequency of the group consumption of the product (once a week, once a month, one a year etc.).

5. Use the Internet to determine the market shares of the major hotel chains for the last calendar year.

There are 8 major hotels’ brands that are performing in the U.S. market. They are: Marriott, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Sheraton (top 4), Hyatt, Hilton, Courtyard, and Radisson.

6. What type of internal secondary data will be useful to Marriott?

Secondary data is additional information. Internal secondary data is the information that current company held. It can be a firm’s historical record of sales, a public service association’s list of awarded persons, or public opinion polls conducted in the past. Such types of internal secondary data can be used in Marriott: sales/patronage results (outcomes), marketing activity (inputs), cost information, distributor reports and feedback, and customers’ feedback. For instance, Marriott company’s internal secondary data can be used in invoices, orders, P&L a/c, customer data bases, customer complaints, past reports, sales figures, staff, epos, till receipts etc.

7. What type of syndicated data will be useful to Marriott?

Syndicated or standardized data is a form of external secondary data that is taken from the common database for a service fee. This type of information is commonly detailed information that is valuable to the company in the related industry and cannot be taken from libraries (Crawford, 1997). For the Marriott International company would be useful to utilize marketing results, survey results, common usage patterns, and forecasting information. This kind of information can be taken from special firms which are giving such marketing amenities. They can give important information that would help to minimize risks and maximize effectiveness of the business, especially if it is a new target audience where errors are easily made.

8. Discuss the role of qualitative research in helping Marriott further penetrate the non-business-travelers segment in the United States.

The main distinction of qualitative marketing research is the absence of measurable results at the end of the study. The main purpose is to provide detailed consumers’ views on the subject that is developing. Before the penetration to the non-business-travelers segment in the United States, the Marriott Company should determine, evaluate, and analyze potential customers to organize the best system of the qualitative service providing. The most important role in helping Marriott to organize a new business would be to use depth interviews and focus groups. Depth interviews would help to understand the habits of the potential customers. Such research should be conducted in form of personal interview using special techniques in order to obtain the respondent's detailed answers. Researches in focus groups would help company to understand the audience tendency and average needs of the clients.

9. Marriott has developed a new hotel package for families on a vacation. It would like to determine consumers’ response to this package before introducing it in the marketplace. If a survey is to be conducted to determine consumer preferences, which survey method should be used and why?

The most important aspect in consumer behavior studying is to find out what primarily affects their behavior. In addition, the modern market dictates its requirements. Therefore, it is necessary to predict and calculate the movement in consumer preferences. It allows changing something in the product, improving sales channels, and changing the advertising policy. In other words, all of these activities allow optimization of the entire marketing strategy in the complex. It would be better to organize the focus group meeting within five to seven families in order to determine consumer preferences. Such type of survey would be the best because it would help to understand the needs, habits, hobbies, and preferences of all members of the families. All members of the family should be amused of the services that hotel provides. It would be helpful in satisfaction of the whole family and give positive memories of the vacation.

10. In what way could Marriott make use of experimentation? What specific experimental design would you recommend?

An experiment involves the creation of a contrived situation in which the researcher can manipulate one or more variables whilst controlling the others and measuring the effects. Experimentation is very important issue that should be realized before the service launching to the audience. This research would help to minimize risks and control service acceptances of the clients. After finishing the research, detected inconsistencies would be eliminated, which would help to exclude bad experience and negative mood of the customers after launching the service. In the hotel business, the best variant to hold such an experiment is to invite some families to spend their short vacation in the Marriott hotel. After the experiment families should talk with hotel employees about their dislikes, preferences, and suggestions concerning service improvement.

11. Illustrate the use of the primary scales for measuring consumer preferences for hotel chains.

Primary information is data that has never been used before. Manufacturers and carriers of information are the primary consumers. The primary data for marketing include demographic, psychological (lifestyle), and psychographic aspects. As the carrier of the primary information is consumer, so they should be interviewed just after the experiment has finished. Primary data is the result of specially conducted research. It includes observation, surveys, and sampling.

12. Develop Likert, semantic differential, and Stapel scales for measuring consumer preferences for hotel chains.

Itemized rating scales are the form of measuring the multiple category questions. The most common are Likert’s scale, semantic differential scale, and Staple’s scale. In Likert’s scale type, the respondents are asked to indicate a degree of agreement and disagreement in series of statements. Each scale item has 5 response categories ranging from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. In hotel chains this scale can be used to determine the level of satisfaction of clients: from ‘fully satisfied’ to ‘fully unsatisfied’ by hotel service. Semantic differential scale is a point type of measurement; the end points of the scale are associated with bipolar labels. In hotels, it can be used as the rate from +3 to -3 with notes unpleasant/submissive. Stapel’s scale has some distinctive features: one item has only one word/phrase indicating the dimension it represents, one item has ten categories, and one item has an even number of categories. In this type of scale in rating, the zero number is absent, which means that there is no neutral attitude to the asked questions.

13. Develop a questionnaire for assessing consumer preferences for hotels when on vacation.

The questionnaire of the family being on the vacation in the Marriot International company’s hotel should not contain many questions.

14. What sampling plan should be adopted for the survey of question 9?

In the 9th question, the survey for pre-launching of the service to organize the focus group meeting within five to seven families was discussed. Thus, 5-7 typical families that will stay in the hotel should be defined. They should stay in the hotel for 2-3 days. While staying in the hotel they should be asked about the service, likes, dislikes, and their suggestions. In the end of survey, they should be questioned one by one to determine their personal needs and group suggestions.

15. How should the sample size be determined for the survey of question 9?

The focus group should be asked about service, staff, cuisine, their rooms, and entertainment. Special questionnaires should be developed for each topic, and each of them should contain no more than 7-10 questions. At the end of survey, there should be the summarizing questionnaire with no more than 15 questions. This survey would help to understand the client’s needs, problems, and desires.

Conclusion

To some extent, every company is involved in research of the market in which it operates. Gathering information on the status and prospects of the market and its competitors including range, prices, marketing policies, as well as consumers’ behavior and preferences are made almost by all market participants in a simple intuitive form. There is no need to prove that the completeness and relevance of marketing information are essential to the success of the company.

Effective decisions cannot be based on intuition or simple reasoning. Without planning, marketing companies cannot achieve sustainable advantage in their markets. Without market research it is impossible to make effective strategic decisions in marketing.

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