First and foremost for any case study, the reader must first understand what they are researching and why. Penton Media, a publisher of business trade magazines such as Industry Week, Machine Design, and Restaurant Hospitality, was the subject of this particular case study. Upon reading the case study on Penton Media, the reader learns that Penton Media has made great progress in the growth of their company through a six year period, 1992-1998, based on the research results provided. Ken Long, Penton Media’s Director, stated in 1998 that there was a growing belief that Penton Media was generating fewer services than in the past.
In 1992, Penton Media was reaching out to their readers by having them request product information through mail, which back then, that form of communication was acceptable. However, as time elapsed, technology and communication advanced. By 1998, Penton Media was providing information requests through e-mail and websites. In this case study, the research results provided two different years, 1992 and 1997. The years that elapsed from 1992 to 1997 proved that there was a growth in response and response selections to the advertisements Penton Media provided, in the business magazines they publicized for.
From reading the case study the reader can build the management-research question hierarchy. The first thing to identify is the management dilemma, which in this case is: Will Penton Media experience lower advertising revenues, if alternate methods of inquiry stimulation are sought, since companies do not track the source of their leads? Secondly, defining the management question, which is: Are there publications or magazines that are generating fewer leads now as opposed to the past years? Next, the reader must ask the research question(s), which is: Should Penton Media continue to include reader service cards in the magazines they advertise for, for readers to request additional information on companies, which in turn enhances advertisement and business for the companies listed? If not, what are the alternative advertising methods that are more technologically advanced that could be applied to boost advertising revenues? Upon defining the research question(s), the investigative questions need to be identified throughout the case study.
For this case, the investigative questions are: What are the percentages of readers/subscribers using the reader service cards currently in comparison to the years past? If there is a decline detected in the usage of reader cards, what are the alternative methods that they are using to contact businesses and companies? Is there any way to implement different strategic means of these methods to enhance advertising revenue? After identifying the investigative questions, the management questions are the next step on the management-research question hierarchy. The management questions for this case include: Will Penton Media experience a decline in revenue due to the alternate methods of advanced advertising technology of customer inquiry stimulation? Penton Media will need to make a management decision is the last step for the hierarchy.
In this case, Penton Media will need to decide whether to terminate the use of reader service cards in the magazines they advertise and replace the advertisements with alternate methods of advanced technology advertising. If they do decide to implement a more strategic technologically advanced method of advertisement, the readers and subscribers will be able to directly contact businesses and companies they are interested in on a present and current time schedule.
After reading this case study, there are some ethical issues that are relevant to it. The most vital ethical issue that is presented in this case is the right to privacy, or confidentiality. Upon reading the case and the forms that are included to be sent to the readers and subscribers questioned and polled, it is read within the cover letter for the survey that “All individual responses will remain completely confidential, with answers combined and presented in statistical form only.” At the end of the cover letter Penton Media asks the selected person for the survey to correct or make any necessary changes to their mailing address, to ensure they would be in the random drawing for the handheld color television. Having that information in the survey is proof that Penton Media is aware of who is responding to which questions, regardless of privacy and confidentiality.
Based upon the results they received, out of 710 participants, Penton Media only analyzed 676 surveys. Penton claims the reasoning behind only analyzing 676 surveys was due to the fact that those participants were purchase decision makers for their organization. From there, Penton Media stated that the standard deviation of the survey results they received was four, with a ninety-five percent level of confidence. Out of the 676 surveys analyzed, Penton Media did an in depth follow-up with only forty participants. Given the information of how Penton Media conducted the entire survey process, it is possible there was more room for error than Penton anticipated. Penton Media’s research team runs the risk of their data results and information being inaccurate since all of the participants that responded didn’t have their answers considered for the research.
Cooper, D., Schindler, P. (2001). Business Research Methods: Cases: Inquiring Minds Want to Know – – Now!.