The parties undertaking market research and management for any particular case must first decide on the decision problem for the study. The decision problem refers simply to the statement of circumstances which require analysis and a specific course of action or series of actions to rectify a problem, improve upon a situation, or even retain the status quo. There are certain aspects which must be ascertained before undertaking a research project.
These are guidelines to understand the scope and nature of the decision problem and management aims/goals, identify quantifiable variables, and identify the unit of analysis for the decision problem under scrutiny. For the case study in question, the decision problem arises in the form of declining tourism in New Zealand prior to 1999. New Zealand is roughly the size of Colorado, and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) wanted to make people learn of and care about the “dot in the Pacific”1.
In my opinion, the decision problem can be stated as; * “How can New Zealand be branded and marketed internationally as a tourist destination in a better way? ” One of the research questions which can be derived from this decision problem is therefore; A) “What qualities do potential tourists look for when searching for a destination? ” It is important to identify and measure the qualities that make for a “good” destination for tourists.
These qualities could be tangible, such as overall financial cost of a trip, or intangible, such as a scenic country. Another question then arises; B) “What is the psychographic profile of tourists that choose New Zealand as a destination? ” It is necessary to understand the type of tourists that visit New Zealand in order to tailor a marketing campaign for the proper target audience for the maximum ROI. These insights can allow marketers to increase tourism in New Zealand by speaking directly to those potential travelers who would be more receptive.
The research objectives for A) then become; i. To identify the qualities which tourists look for in any given destination (e. g. financially viable, scenic location, cultural experience) ii. To determine how tourists rate New Zealand as a travel destination based on these criterion Understanding the qualities which make for a good tourist destination will also allow TNZ to measure how well New Zealand scores in the minds of potential tourists based on their own evaluation criterion.
This in turn can be used to develop a branding/marketing strategy which will attract more tourists. And the research objectives for B) could be; i. To determine what percentage of tourists in New Zealand are not first time travelers in a given year ii. What is the average total budget for a trip to New Zealand allocated by tourists (e. g. how much they expect to spend) Whether people choose New Zealand as a repeat destination for travelling is information that can be used to create bundle deals or loyalty discounts to attract tourists.
Are tourists in New Zealand thrifty about their budget or not? Again, this information can be used to tailor specific deals and marketing campaigns for a certain ‘type’ of tourist, for e. g. New Zealand can become the destination for an independent traveler who enjoys a rich cultural and natural experience, regardless of finances. Using market research, Tourism New Zealand took it upon itself to brand the country in a cohesive campaign which started in 1999 and continues today.
There has since criticism associated with the campaign claims of “100% Pure NZ” as the slogan came to be associated with not only a high quality and rich experience for tourists, but also a an eco-friendly system; while the country ranked low on climate change performance2. However, TNZ the campaign was a success for the most part, increasing tourism by about 50% between 1999 and 2008. It is today still an example of how market research can be used to create and market a brand identity for a country on an international scale.