In this assessment you are required to establish guidelines for researching and gathering information and work with your staff to gather and evaluate the data.
You need to review existing policy and procedure documents (in the appendices of your Student Workbook) and develop guidelines for managing the process of gathering research information. You also need to identify and plan to acquire all resources necessary for supporting the project.
From the case study provided you are required to complete the following steps: 1. Develop guidelines reflecting organisational policy and procedures to be used for conducting research. These guidelines for research must provide information and guidance under the following headings:
Quality of data.
2. Meet with and commission a staff member (your assessor) to develop detailed work plans for how research will be undertaken, using the guidelines you have established. Make sure you agree on the format of the materials (print/electronic/oral, etc.) and a date for the provision of these materials. When the staff member returns the plans to you, you will need to review the plans to identify the following and providing a written Work Plan Summary (document) – the steps below should be the main sections of your summary:
1. Resources: Identify all required resources to support the implementation of the plans by:
a. creating a list of all required resources
b. completing the Resource requisition/acquisition form provided for each resource.
2. Consultants: Identify preferred consultants by:
a. describing requirements for external consultants within the project plan b. detailing selection criteria for selection of external consultants c. identifying which consultant/s from the preapproved list is/are suitable.
3. Providers and suppliers: Identify preferred providers and suppliers by: describing requirements for goods and services within the project plan detailing selection criteria for selection of providers and suppliers identifying which providers and suppliers from the preapproved list is/are suitable. Adjustment for distance-based learners:
No variation of the task is required.
You must provide:
A written Organisational Guidelines for Conducting Research (Step 1) A brief written summary of your meeting with the staff member you commissioned for research (Step 2) A written Work Plan Summary (Steps 3-5) with completed acquisition forms. Your assessor will be looking for:
Evidence that you have examined the case study and reviewed organisational requirements to develop market research plans. Distance-based learners:
Complete assessment as per instructions, except the meeting with your staff member (the assessor) will be via phone or Skype or other live telephone or video medium.
Your are the marketing manager for a 15 store chain of homeware stores in Brisbane called Houzit. The stores specialise in bathroom fittings, bedroom fittings, mirrors and decorative items. As part of the strategic plans of the business, the board want to broaden the store offer by including lighting fixtures in the assortment mix. The board identified the need to carry out market research to determine the market feasibility of adding the lighting fixtures category to Houzit’s assortment. The board have requested that this work be undertaken by a specialist market research firm with extensive knowledge of the target market and who can undertake a wide variety of research methods and complete the process in a timely manner.
The CEO has asked you to manage the entire market research process for the board. You are asked to liaise with the general manager of store operations and the group buying manager. Initially you are required to develop the guidelines for conducting the market research which must adhere with Houzit’s policy and procedures. The scope of research to be undertaken encompasses the greater Brisbane area. The CEO explained that the market research report together with your summary must be ready to be presented to the board in 8 weeks time. You have been allocated a budget for the project of $15,000 to cover external consultants and associated external material costs. You are required to stay within this budget. Houzit’s policy and procedures requires that you submit a Resource Usage application for all resources required in the project both internal and external.
Your marketing team consists of Tony (search engine optimisation and website maintenance), Marie (advertising and public relations) and Joanne an administration officer. You have asked Tony to take responsibility for the operational aspects of the project and estimate that it will take up 50% of his time over the next 11 weeks. Joanne will also be involved for about 20% of her time in attending to administration matters. You estimate that you will need to allocate 30% of your time to manage the overall project. According to Houzit’s policy and procedures the following detailed Work Plan Summary needs to be undertaken:
Define research objectives
Define research requirements
Determine in-house resource
Compile a list of preferred consultants/suppliers.
Consultant/supplier selection phase
Define consultant/supplier selection criteria
Develop consultant/supplier selection questionnaire
Develop Statement of Work
Monitor milestone achievements
Consultant/supplier performance management.
Review Market Research report with stakeholders
Prepare summary report.
The CEO meets with you and you and Tony to discuss the plans. The CEO explained that it is Houzit’s policy to always engage external consultants when deciding on major category changes because it provided some objectivity to the decision making process. The three preferred consultants are:
1. Acworth Accounting: 27 Pitt Street, Hawthorne QLD, who prepared the business plan for Houzit but who don’t have specialist market research staff 2. Lombard Consulting: 78 Queen Street, Brisbane QLD, who are a local specialist market research firm based in Brisbane specializing in home accessory products and markets. 3. Holt & Burrows: 58 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Vic, a national marketing firm based in Melbourne who consult on all issues relating to branding and marketing for all industries. They specialise in fashion, cosmetics and consumables.
The CEO explained that there was extensive information available in the company archives concerning customer feedback and surveys that has been collected by the stores over the past few years. This could prove useful in the research. The CEO also explained that you would need to have a member from head office do the information extraction work and could take up to 20 hours to complete. The CEO would like to see a report that covered five main areas:
1. industry overview
2. target category and market
3. business environment
Tony prepared a list of preferred suppliers together with the products and services that they supplied to help determine the materials needed in accordance with the CEO’s directive that it be a credible source, within the budget and easily accessible. These materials could be included in the project if required and it is within budget: Homeware Trade association has an Australian wide industry report for $1,000 Australian Bureau of Statistics has Census data for the target area the is mostly free but will costs about $250 in search fees IBIS market report covers each major market in Australia including the greater Brisbane area – $1,200 Australian Chamber of Commerce has Australia wide surveys on industries $1,450 Homeware Magazines and Publications is an international magazine covering innovations in home wares $250 per quarter Newspaper subscriptions covering local issues $100 per quarter.
Resource usage application
Internal or external
External resource costs
You and Tony meet with each of the consultants identified by the CEO and explain to the need to meet the time frame set by the board. You know that the Definition/Scope Phase together with the Consultant/Supplier Selection Phase will take 2 weeks. You also realise that you will need a week at the end to prepare your reports. Tony explains that there is an expectation that they will be able to complete the following tasks in the time frame allowed: Develop market research information needs questionnaire
Document information needs
Identify information to be gathered in research
Identify source of information
Identify research participant
Identify research technique
Identify timing requirements and budget
Primary Market Research including customer surveys, focus groups and interviews with Houzit staff/managers and customers. Secondary Market Research including the materials provided by Houzit.
Document research findings
Develop research report.
A week and a half into the project you receive the following responses from the preferred consultants. Acworth Accounting quote: $11,500. Will need to engage external research staff. Will need ten weeks to complete the report. Cannot do focus groups. Lombards quote: $12,000. Have specialist staff available in the home-wares field. Can complete the work within eight weeks. Can apply all methods of research. Holt & Burrows quote: $14,500. Will send research staff from Melbourne. Can complete the work within eight weeks. Can apply all methods of research.
In this assessment you are required to contract and manage an external consultant to complete research for your organisation, and monitor work activities in regard to the research project.
You need to meet with a consultant and complete a contract to secure their services for the required research activities. You also need to monitor, manage and report on work activities, to ensure that the research project remains in alignment with the research plan.
From the case study provided you are required to complete the following steps: 3. With the supplied generic external consultants contract, you need to meet with the identified consultant (your assessor) from the case study and revise the contract to suit your requirements as the manager of the market research. 4. Using the supplied work activity information, develop weekly monitoring reports that: Progress of project: describes the progress of the market research project Adherence to plan: describes the adherence of work activities to the research plan Contractor performance: describes whether performance of external contractors is in line with expectations and contractual requirements.
You must provide:
A revised signed contract for the identified consultant (Step 1) A series of written Weekly Monitoring Reports (Step 2)
Your assessor will be looking for:
Evidence that you have examined the case study and have understood the requirements of contract research consultants for the organisation.
Complete assessment as per instructions, except the meeting with the consultant (the assessor) will be via phone or Skype or other live telephone or video medium.
The CEO has decided to use Lombards Consulting to carry out the market research work in relation to Houzit’s plan to add the lighting fittings category to the assortment offer. Working from head office as 12 Clarence street Hendra Queensland, you organise to have a contract drawn up that covers all the areas of agreement in relation to the work including milestones. The following activities occurred during the market research project.
The phases Definition/Scope and Consultant/Supplier Selection were completed by the 2nd week of the project. 5% complete Develop market research information needs questionnaire – on time Document information needs – one week late – 10% complete Identify information to be gathered in research – one week late Identify source of information – one week late – 15% complete Consultant requests Houzit purchase all research materials – You approve everything except for the Australian Chambers of Commerce, Australia wide surveys costing $1,450 Identify research participant – on time
Identify research technique – one week late
Identify timing requirements and budget – two week late – 30% complete Consultant requests more time – You do not grant it.
Primary Market Research including customer surveys, focus groups and interviews with Houzit staff/managers and customers. – Completed on time except for interviews with all Houzit managers and group buyer – 50% complete Consultant report difficulty working with store managers
Secondary Market Research including the materials provided by Houzit.- Consultant requested internal customer data be taken off-site – You do not grant it – Completed on time – 70% complete Document research findings – on time
Develop research report – two days late – 100% complete.
Research project evaluation
This assessment task requires you to review the market research project and evaluate the findings that have been presented, as well as evaluating and recommending improvements to the research approaches and processes used.
You need to develop a report describing and evaluating the research undertaken and the findings presented. As part of this report you need to review the project performance against the initial research project plan, and review the process for future improvements.
From the case study provided you are required to prepare a final report on the market research process including information under the following headings:
1. Findings: A review of the research report provided to you by the consultant including: a brief summary of the report findings a description of how you confirmed the validity of information and data included in the report a statement assessing the relevance and usefulness of findings against research objectives.
2. Performance: assess the project performance against the research plan.
3. Review: A review of the feedback provided to you from various stakeholders, and any changes to the process required by this feedback. Also review all of the monitoring reports and monitoring activities completed throughout the project (in AT2) and make recommendations for changes or improvements to the research process. With your completed report you also need to submit a revised set of research guidelines (from Assessment Task 1) incorporating the changes noted in your report for use in the next market research project. Adjustment for distance-based learners:
No variation of the task is required.
You must provide:
A written Final Report (Steps 1-3)
Written revised Research Guidelines for the organisation.
Your assessor will be looking for:
Evidence that you have examined the case study and have reviewed the market research process for the organisation. Distance-based learners:
Complete assessment as per instructions.
You receive a market research report from Lombards Consulting (see following pages). You sent out the market research report as well as your variance summary of the marketing activities taken to key stakeholders and asked them to reply by email. Later, in discussion with the principals of Lombards Consulting, you are made aware of the location and availability of source data on which the report was based. These include the original responses to the customer surveys, taped interviews and focus groups (with signed participant consent forms) and notes taken during conversations with staff, with Houzit staff/managers and customers. Copies of secondary data was also available, crossed referenced and physically identified in the report and source document.
Where possible Lombards Consulting used the scientific method of careful observation, formulation of hypotheses, prediction, and testing in their research. They also spoke of using multiple methods to ensure greater confidence in the findings. When asked about the lack of time spent with the Houzit managers, Lombards consulting spoke about the healthy scepticism they have built toward assumptions made by managers about how the markets work. They also said that the intellectual divergences between the mental styles of line managers and marketing researchers often got in the way of productive relationships. The marketing researcher’s report may seem abstract, complicated, and tentative, while the line manager wants concreteness, simplicity, and certainty. Lombards suggested they be involved in the earliest part of the planning process, in fact why not make them permanent feature in the marketing strategy team.
Emails from stakeholders
The general manager said in an email “I was disappointed that Lombards did not speak to the store managers more. They have real ‘day to day’ contact with customers and have much knowledge about what customers want. Perhaps next time they could be involved formally in the process” The group buying manager said in an email “The report confirms what we thought about the new category. I would have liked to see more opinion from the consultants describing what they believed that the business environment data meant in terms of the business opportunity.” The CEO said that the “feedback from the board was to pass on their congratulations to you on a job well done given the short time frame.” You replied that a research of that magnitude would normally require a 12-14 week turn around. The CEO agreed.