The changing market environment has given rise to the needs of update information more than ever in the past. The markets have transformed to international from local. With the increase in the exposure to masses and increased geographical market coverage, the need of quick and up to date information has also increased. With the changing business environment the buyers are also changing. With the increasing incomes the buyers have become more selective. For a company to launch a new product it has become important to have the information from the buyer needs to buyer wants. On the other hand it is also important to have the knowledge of how to present the product in effective manner in order to reach the customer in an effective manner. With the changing business needs the new marketing techniques such as product differentiation, branding and advertising are also gaining immense importance.
The successful product positioning and promotion is only possible if all the required information in this lieu is gathered and used in the right direction. In order to fulfil modern information needs, new information technologies have also been evolved. The information regarding the buyer preferences and behaviour plays an important part in helping the management to take important decisions regarding the product such as pricing, promotion, competition etc. It is important for the company to establish a system in order to acquire a large amount of information for the marketing managers.
“Competitive companies study their managers’ information needs and design marketing information systems (MIS) to meets these needs. A marketing information system (MIS) consists of people, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyse, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision markers.
To carry out their analysis, planning, implementation, and control responsibilities marketing managers need information about developments in the marketing environment. The role of the MIS is to assess the manager’s information needs, develop the needed information, and distribute that information in a timely fashion, the information is developed through internal company records, marketing intelligence activities, marketing research, and marketing decision support analysis.” (Kotler, 2000)
An effective MIS will also help in enhancing the exposure level of the company from local market to national market. It is important for the company to design the MIS system in an effective manner. In most of the cases the companies lack information sophistication. Some of them collect a large amount of information but the data is not stored in a proper way to be handled easily. The MIS will help the company in understanding the customer’s perception, taste, needs and desires regarding the new product. Without the proper MIS the investment in the production and innovation will not be of any use.
“The MIS represent a cross between what managers think they need, what managers really need, and what is economically feasible.” (Kotler, 2000)
The MIS will provide support to the management in the areas of reduction of price risks, planning for an effective and cheap marketing strategy with technology assessment and development, particularly in evolving and popularising food product offered by the company. An effective Marketing information system can help in the company in motivating distributors, retailers, and other intermediaries to pass along important intelligence. Through the components of MIS the Company will able to collect information regarding order-to-payment cycle and sales reporting system.
The mangers will be able to get the information about the developments in the marketing environment. The MIS will also assist the managers in collecting, analysing and reporting data relevant to the market situation. The decision support system will help the managers to take important marketing decisions by interpreting the gathered information. Hence MIS is the most important instrument without which the Company cannot market its product successfully in market.
The main objective of the study is to find out the role of marketing information system in the effective and successful promotion of product of a company.
- Research Design:
Research is a fact finding activity (Dominowski, 1980). The aim of primary research is to make known something previously unknown and to advance human knowledge by making it more certain or better fitting; the aim is discovery (Elias and Dunning, 1986). In this case it is required to find out the perceptions of the customers regarding the desert the Company is going to launch nation wide. The primary research design will provide a structure for the collection and analysis of data. A preference of research design reflects decisions about precedence will be given to a scope of dimension of the research process (Bryman, 2001).
Easterby-Smith et al (1997) identify three reasons why the exploration of philosophy may be significant with particular reference to research methodology: Firstly, it can help the researcher to refine and specify the research methods to be used in a study, that is, to clarify the overall research strategy to be used. This would include the type of evidence gathered and its origin, the way in which such evidence is interpreted, and how it helps to answer the research questions posed.
Secondly, knowledge of research philosophy will enable and assist the researcher to evaluate different methodologies and methods and avoid inappropriate use and unnecessary work by identifying the limitations of particular approaches at an early stage. Thirdly, it may help the researcher to be creative and innovative in either selection or adaptation of methods that were previously outside his or her experience.
Two views about the research process dominate the literature: positivism and phenomenology which have an important part to play in business and management research (Saunders, 2000). Positivism is founded on the belief that study of human behaviour should be conducted in the same way that as studies conducted in the natural sciences. On the other hand phenomenology is concerned with the understanding human behaviour from the participant’s own frame of reference (Hussey and Collis, 2003).
|Positivistic paradigm||Phenomenological paradigm|
|Tends to produce quantitative data||Tends to produce qualitative data|
|Uses large samples||Uses small samples|
|Concerned with hypothesis testing||Concerned with generating theories|
|Data is highly specific and precise||Data is rich and subjective|
|The location is artificial||The location is natural|
|Reliability is high||Reliability is low|
|Validity is low||Validity is high|
|Generalises from sample to population||Generalises from one setting to another|
Figure 1: Features of the two main paradigms (Hussey and Collis, 2003)
The design to be used for this research would be the utilisation of the survey and interview questions in an electronic form which were sent to the respondents a couple of days before the formal computation of the results. We will conduct cross-sectional design which “entails the collection of data on more than one case and at a single point in time in order to collect a body of quantitative or quantifiable data in connection with two or more variables”(Bryman & Bell 2003:48). The said design of research is indeed applicable for this study and would be able to provide the necessary details for the completion of the research. The reason behind this is the fact that the respondents themselves are capable of giving the necessary answer for the needed data in this case. Hence, the results of the study are expected to give accurate details for the research procedure.
- Data Collection – methodology:
It is better to use effective and authentic ways of research so that the investment of the management can prove fruitful. We will consider two research methods
Interviewing is a data collection method in which the researcher asks for information verbally from the respondents (Jennings, 2001). It is the way to access people’s perceptions, definitions, meaning, situation and construction of reality, where it involves discussing or questioning issues with people to collect data unlikely to be accessible using techniques such as questionnaires or observation (Punch, 1998). The interviewing research method can be successfully followed in this project.
Generally speaking, an interview is a social interaction between two people, with one person gathering information from the other. The interaction is what differentiates the interview from the questionnaire, even when the questions posed are identical. Thus structured interviews give the researcher specific answers as opposed to narrative response to questions gathered from semi-structured in-depth interviews (Gubrium and Holstein, 2002). Structured interviews enable the interviewer to ask each respondent the same questions in the same way. A tightly control structured schedule of questions and format is used, very much like a questionnaire.
Interviews must be well prepared and must have clear objectives for each interview. Interviews can be conducted after the team has established the topical areas to be covered in the interviews and after the lead investigator has reviewed with the board the objectives of the interviews and strategies for obtaining useful information. In many research situation permission requests should be received before the interview takes place. The interviewer should consider the length of the interview to cover his aims, normally between 15 minutes to an hour. Provide contact information of the interviewer and it must be determined who to interview, in what order, what interviewing techniques to employ and what method of record to use (Denscombe, 2003).
The following aspects should be considered when defining a strategy for the interview (Mason, 1996):
- The questions should make sense and be meaningful to the interviewee.
- The questions should be related to the interviewee experiences based on what is already known about them.
- The interviewer must take care to be sensitive to the needs of the interviewee.
- The interviewer should be aware of the flow of the interview interaction by attempting to move seamlessly between topics and questions.
- The interviewer needs to focus on issues and topics that are relevant to the research problem and questions.
Choosing interviews for this stage of this part of the research was in order to get as much information as possible from the few people that will be interviewed. Interview questions will be compiled from the existing literature and detailed in relation to the research topic, aim and objectives
In the questionnaires method of data collection the researcher can precisely obtain the information that he asks for and these information can be analysed in an easier way than if choosing another method. In addition to that questionnaires are not an expensive method of data collection, and they don’t take long time to fill in. On the other hand questionnaires have some disadvantages such as: they do not have a high response rate, the wording of the questions can cause bias to the client’s responses, and the questions might not be designed correctly, which will result in collecting unneeded answers (McNamara, 1999).
Choosing questionnaires for this step was due to the relatively large sample size that the researcher intends to include in his research, and for the cheap cost of this method comparing with other data collection methods.
- Effective sampling design:
Sample is a subset or subgroup of the population, while the sample size is the actual number of subjects chosen as a sample to represent the population characteristics. Sampling is the process of selecting items from the population so that the sample characteristics can be generalised to the population (Jennings, 2001).
Simple Random Sampling Design:
In case of simple random sampling there is a higher expectation of each and every element of being selected from all the target population. Most of the surveys are aimed to get information about the inferences of target population. In the case of dairy products limited simple random sampling can serve the purpose well. Since it is the case of desert, which can be liked by all the customers from different social, economical, and age groups. There are not any specifications regarding age, sex, social and ethical point of view.
It has been found that Probability sampling, for instance simple random sampling can provide more is more competent results than that of non-probability sampling designs.
The simple random sampling has also some drawbacks attached to it. In case of random sampling if the population does not reflect the correct representation of the target population the results will not serve the purpose of survey. It is possible to select the non-representing population because as we know that in the case of random sampling design each and every sample has an equal chance of being selected.
So it can be stated that probability sampling is more effective in presenting more accurate results than that of non-probability sampling. Although in some situations simple random sampling is not also feasible. Additional survey sampling designs are also required to find the most correct results.
To guarantee the representativeness of the sample, the researcher must make sure that it is random. In random sampling all members of the population have an equal chance of being included in the sample (Veal, 1997).
In qualitative research sample size are in general small, thus probability theory and notions of statistical representativeness do not apply. The sample might choose to encapsulate a range of characteristics relevant to the subject under study, or provide a detailed view of behaviour, events or experiences that are seen in the wider population (McGivern, 2003). Another way of sampling the population is to use stratified random sampling design in order to avoid the complications regarding the large-scale sampling. In the case of stratified sampling the samples are chosen as the representatives of different subgroups from the target population.
It should be kept in mind that all the participants are chosen in a way that they effectively represent the subgroups. If the stratified sampling is effectively undertaken it can find out more competent inferences than that of simple random sampling. In order to get a deeper insight of the population subgroups within a target population that are likely to have similarities –attitudes or tastes– within a stratum but differences among strata, stratified sampling is the best choice. (Brightman, Schneider, 1994) In the case of surveying customers needs for Dairy products Limited to introduce new product focus group samples can be divided into different strata regarding their age, tastes, income and class.
Selecting Stratified Random Sample:
The first step in the process of selecting a stratified random sample is to determine the total size of sample population. In case of Dairy products limited the sample size will be larger. In order to achieve the inferences about the tastes, choice and economic inferences focus groups should be undertaken at all the local outlets of Dairy products limited. The large sample size will decrease the margin of error although costly. In this lieu it is the decision of management to keep a balance in precision and cost.
Secondly, the sample size with in a stratum is determined.
There are several factors, which determine the sample size in each stratum. These factors also effect the results acquired by the allocation of sample population in different strata. The factors are as follows:
- Total sample size in each stratum;
- The degree of variability in different stratums.
- The cost of obtaining observations from each stratum.
“Use proportional allocation sampling when sampling costs are the same for all strata and when all strata exhibit the same variability.” (Brightman & Schneider, 1996)
As discussed above stratified random sampling is effective in providing the accurate precise estimates than simple random sampling regarding the population but the case can be reverse if the target population is not correctly stratified.
“Stratifying works best when the variability of the variable of interest is low within each stratum and high between different strata.” (Brightman & Schneider, 1996)
For the purpose of this survey we will use stratified random sampling in order to gain knowledge about the different factors effecting the tastes of the customers.
This way the author is able to narrow down the results easier than handling the sample population from a bigger scope of computations. The results are merely based upon the journals done by other researchers and their comparison with the results of this study’s completion.
The questionnaires shall be expected to give exact results regarding the satisfaction that the consumers or the clients receive from the provided services. This way, the variable which includes the satisfaction level of the client and the performance capabilities of the company providing the services are to be evaluated through the questionnaire and interview results.
- Data Analysis:
On their own, data are rarely used in their original form. Through the process of data analysis, value is added to the data to turn them into information. It is information rather than data which users especially policy and decision-makers are interested in (Uganda bureau of statistics, 2005). However this will be a very sensitive and critical stage in my research process as misinterpretation or over-interpretation is always a potential risk.
The process of data analysis in this research will include the following steps:
- Indicate the date of the questionnaires. Who completed them, and the number of returns?
- Categorise the data collected. This can be done according to gender, origin, age… etc.
- Reading through the questionnaires and interviews carefully and coding them after the event in relation to the types of answers, themes and issues, and then categorising of response (keeping a note of what the codes refer to).
- Then by asking some questions like what are the answers that keep repeating, what are the deviations from these answers, and Are there themes emerging? Contradictions? Then it would be possible to draw some relative generalisations.
- Timetable and Budget
The research will be finished in three months starting on 1st April and ending on 1st July. In the following month, I would carry out the plan and I hope that some improvement would be made in holiday in particular. We think that the earlier the research finishes the better, so that one could take action earlier.
|1||Project start meeting , identification of research problem|
|5||Interview in process|
|6||design and agree questionnaires|
|7||Identify respondents email addresses and send questionnaires|
|8-9||Analysis of interview data and write up|
|12-13||Prepare final report, informal discussion of findings|
|13-14||Delivery of summary report and presentation, Follow-up queries|
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