Industrial Market Research (business to business)

Course overview:

If “Marketing is a dialogue over time with a specific Group of Customers . . . 1.” and Marketing Promotion is us talking to our customers, then Marketing Research is the listening side of that „Dialogue‟. When a few years ago, top performing companies were asked to rate their marketing activities in terms of their importance and contribu-tion to the market success they had achieved, Marketing Research came top of this list.

Yet over the whole of business, the average expenditure by firms on their Marketing Research is somewhat less that 10% of what they spend on promotion. The reason for this discrepancy is that Marketing Research is little understood both in terms of what it can do, how it does it, how the client can evaluate the reliability of the research findings, and how best to buy research from an agency.

This “Introduction to Marketing Research” is a course programme designed by a re-search professional2 to overcome those problems and enable Marketers to buy research more professionally, and thus put their marketing on a more firm foundation of fact.

Who should attend?

Anyone within the Sales and Marketing disciplines who will have to participate in marketing decision making on behalf of their company – especially where those decisions involve putting an investment at risk.

Marketing Research, as it is actually conducted, does not feature large on most Business School Curriculum’s so this course applies as much to those who have got where they are by experience as those who have a recognized professional Marketing qualification.

Course Outcomes:

By the conclusion of the “Introduction to Marketing Research” course participants will be able to:

• Professionally brief an agency to conduct research on their behalf ,

• Professionally evaluate their proposals, – and

• Critically evaluate the research conducted, from Questionnaire design, to analysis of the qualitative and/or quantitative data, its findings and recommendations,

• Interpret research data more meaningfully,

• Evaluate the reliability of the data produced by Marketing Research, be it Primary or Secondary, Qualitative or Quantitative data.

• In short, ensure the provision of cost effective information into the Marketing Decision process.


At the conclusion of the course, each participant will complete a course assessment. For in-company work – these will be analyzed and be incorporated in a short course report, which will be forwarded to the local manager concerned with a copy to senior people if and when required.

Learning Aims and Objectives:

Research Design:

• Understand the relevance and uses of Market vs, Marketing Research, and the differences in approach and uses of these vs. Market / Customer Information Systems (MIS / CIS);

• Understand the basic research paradigms of „Experimental‟ vs. „Observational‟ and also „Longitudinal‟ vs. „Cross Sectional‟ approaches; their relative uses, advantages and disadvantages;

• Understand, define and discriminate between the: Types of data, Secondary vs. Primary – Qualitative vs. Quantitative – and the methods used to obtain them; The inter-relationship matrix of these four aspects of data – and; The ideal research project sequence; and the appropriate research tools & techniques for each quadrant of the above matrix.

Research Tools

• Evaluate current „at-hand‟ information in the light of an outline of the research used to obtain it;

• State how they would uncover appropriate sources of secondary data – and evalu-ate each source (and thus the information) for: validity, reliability, impartiality and currency;

• Outline the epistemology of the various approaches to Research per se, and how this applies to MR – especially including the various experimental formats;

• State and differentiate between the basic tools that can be used for Qualitative Re-search;

• State the basic range of data capture tools for Quantitative Research, their pro’s and con’s, and when they would, and would not be used;

Questionnaire Design

• Outline a basic „Topics List‟ for capturing data in a given project of Qualitative Research;

• State and differentiate between the basic forms of questions used in a Questionnaire – their pro’s and con’s and when they would, and would not be used;

• Define the FLUES acronym, what it stands for, and how this is used in the wording of Questions to be used in a Questionnaire;

• Critique the design of a simple Questionnaire based data capture instrument such as a Self completed Questionnaire [SCQ], Diary etc.


• State and explain the forms of (simple) Sample, and distinguish between them their uses and the pro’s and con’s.

• Explain the relationship between Target Group [TG] selection and sample size, and the reliability of the information obtained;

• Calculate – using the basic STEP3 formulae – either the standard error for a given result from a given size of sample, AND/OR – define the sample size necessary to produce a required level of reliability;

• Sketch in the basic parameters and requirements for a MIS / CIS to gather the required data via a low cost, low intensity, continuous methodology.

NB: All the above learning aims and objectives are CRITICAL to the professional Marketer’s ability to evaluate and interpret Primary and Secondary / Published data which has been obtained – from whatever source, including off the „Net‟.

Course Agenda

Overview of the Discipline:

• The different approaches to Market vs. Marketing Research; The relationship between Research, data, and Information

• An Overview of the Marketing research process;

• The role of Research when forming corporate strategy;

What we Research:

• The nature of markets and the differences between researching B2B vs B2C Markets.

• Competitor Analysis

• An overview of the Sources of Marketing information;

• Marketing & Customer Information

• Systems (MIS vs CIS) introduced.

The Theory of Research:

• Introducing the philosophy of research

• Descriptive vs. Causal studies

• Cross-Sectional vs. Longitudinal / Causal Studies

• Survey research vocabulary introduced

When to research vs. when not to do Research;

• Defining the need. EXE: Apply the day’s learning to the course case & report back..


• Experimentation vs. Observational approaches

• Qualitative versus Quantitative

• Secondary versus Primary approaches

Obtaining & assessing Secondary Data

The internal and external sources of Secondary Information and the vital tests to assess the data’s validity and usefulness

EXE: apply the day’s learning to the course case.

• Report back on the exercise;

Qualitative Research, an Introduction:

• The need for qualitative research and the role it plays in the process.

• The principals of Qualitative Research

• The tools for and the types of Qualitative studies.

The Tools:

• An overview of the various qualitative tools available

• Focus Groups plus the 3 levels of technique required,

• Video: of groups being conducted;

• Overview re ‘in-depth’ vs. ‘semi-depth’ interviews.

The Process and the tools of Qualitative / Focus

• Groups – Recruitment through to the ‘Topics List’.

• The process of conducting a focus group + videos from the MRS series.

Administration and Logistics:

• Managing the qualitative research process to reporting the research findings.

• EXE: Apply this Qualitative session to the course case.

Quantitative Research:

• Introduce ‘Quantitative Research’ theory and practice:

• The range of quantitative approaches available, from Ad-Hoc, through syndicated /Joint Studies, to Omnibus services

The Tools:

• Quantitative tools, when to use them and when not plus the characteristics of the data yielded.

• Introducing the Market / Customer

• Information System [MIS or CIS]

• The relationship between MIS / CIS and the quantitative techniques available.

• The main benefits obtained by each.

EXE: Apply today’s learning’s to the course case.

• Data Capture EXE: appraise a collection of questionnaires:

• Questionnaire design; the range of data capture methods available, and the types of questionnaire suitable for each.

The wording and structure of questions in Questionnaires.

• The Types of question and when and where to use them.

• Best practice in any language.

• EXE: design a sequence of questions to obtain target data in the course case.


• The pro’s and con’s of quantitative research.

• The sources of Survey error

• The basic principles of sampling and the various Sample Types and their uses, the pro’s and cons etc

The laws of sampling:

• The principles of statistical reliability,

• The basic types of Samples used:-what used for and how to construct same,

• Calculating the size of the sample for a given level of statistical reliability.


• Calculating the reliability of data via the STEP formulae;

• EXE: Calculate the significance of data for a given sample and methodology

• Interpreting the data in depth

• Hiring a Market Research Agency

• The Briefing, proposal, and on which basis to decide the one to accept;

• The Ideal Market research report – outline and content.

• EXE: Interpret a given data set and report on the findings and conclusions;

Conclusion of the course:

• Sum up the main issues and consolidate.

• Course wash-up and complete assessments