The topic of marketing research is an excellent place to start learning about marketing. A marketing campaign is only as good as the research that backs it up.
Consider the case of Coca Cola introducing “New Coke”, replacing their traditional formula. The product caused such a sensation that television programs were interrupted to tell consumers.

My question to you all is this? Why did New Coke fail so miserably? What was wrong with the research that Coke did before they introduced the product ?

Focus groups are still very popular today when doing initial marketing research. I have run focus groups and participated in many.

I remember when my marketing professor in my MBA program did some consulting for the name for a new drink. The two names that he did focus group research on were “Rattlesnake Cooler” and “Cactus Cooler.” I am sure you all know Cactus Cooler now, and it is a very successful product.

anayansi gamboa Cactus Cooler

I think one of the things researchers did was a focus group. The results of the focus group were much more negative than expected so the researchers did a different survey. The results of that survey were negative, but not as much as the focus group. They already knew what they were going to end up doing and they didn’t listen to what the surveys said. With such a common product as Coke, you have to be careful with changes. They didn’t listen to what their consumers were telling them.

Think that when a mega-company like Coca Coke disregards focus group results, it shows that they really care about the profits they’re after and not keeping loyal customers. Part of the marketing department’s job is not to create the thirst for Coke, but to create the desire for Coke over another soft drink. The whole point of using a focus group should be to get a handle on what the public wants, not what the company wants the public to drink.

According to the text, “companies can conduct their own marketing research or hire other companies to do it for them. Good marketing research is characterized by the scientific method, creativity, multiple research methods, accurate model building, cost-benefit analysis, healthy skepticism, and an ethical focus.” A perfect example of this is to remember the part in the movie “Daddy Day Care” where Eddie Murphy’s character is responsible for marketing cereal to kids. What he does is holds a focus group for the kids to see if they like the cereal. Focus groups are great if researchers are willing to listen to the people they are tying to sell to.

That is an excellent point. If the people who hired the focus group professionals, they need to be prepared to listen to the results. Too often, company executives or others in the company have “pet projects” that they want to see succeed no matter what the cost. There are many cases where marketers or other high level people did not listen to what data the focus group produced.

This is a fatal mistake.

This is one reason why companies are outsourcing a lot of marketing functions because everything is so specialized. Rather than having a large internal marketing force, companies will often outsource focus groups or other research to ensure that the results are unbiased. Of course, if the company execs don’t listen, the research is wasted.

What did the focus group concentrate on?

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