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Market Research Case Studies

Read about the different ways that real businesses carry out market research to help you get started with your own coursework.

First Direct

First Direct was a pioneer telephone bank that extended into an online bank as home computing grew. As other banks also developed the technology then First Direct faced more competition and needed to use market research to discover how it could compete more effectively. Primary market research showed that First Direct’s reputation for customer service had suffered so they commissioned more market research to look into their products and how to improve their customer service. Having found out customer’s perception of its current range of products, it test marketed new products on a limited range of customers. It then undertook qualitative research into how the customers felt about the changes by using focus groups and in-depth interviews. It also undertook quantitative research so that they had facts and figures showing perception of the bank. The market research allowed First Direct to reposition its brand and look particularly at the product (customer service is part of the product) and promotion so that they were emphasising the things that customers valued in a bank.

Greggs

A common way to test a new food product is to carry out taste tests. In this, random consumers are given an item of food or drink and then give their immediate reaction to it. They may have more than one and be asked to make a comparison. Greggs include taste testing as part of their market research activity. They start by conducting small scale test on 30 consumers. These consumers, although picked at random, will be selected as being of the same demographic groups as the main purchasers of the product. If it is successful, then Greggs will conduct larger scale consumer taste tests. The consumers will also complete a questionnaire which provides Greggs with further useful information on their preferences and the likely success of the product. The taste tests must be carried out as accurately as possible so rules must be set out e.g. respondents must be on their own so that there is no group pressure, they must have access to water if more than one product is being tested and the questions must be fair and free from bias.

McDonald's

Although it is a successful brand, McDonald’s have to continue researching to ensure that their marketing mix reflects changing buying patterns which evolve as a result of changing economic and social attitudes. They need to know which products are well received what prices customers will pay, which advertising media are most likely to be used by these customers and which locations are most successful. It needs to know whether the target market is increasing or shrinking and likely buying habits in the future. To McDonald’s, understanding how customers feel about the product is as important as the product itself as these psychological factors affect the buying decision. Market research has enabled McDonald’s to identify particular groups of customers and the particular reason each goes to McDonald’s. This allows them to tailor their marketing mix to these particular groups.