—observing consumers in a natural context on the Internet. Survey research: Gathering primary data by asking people questions about their knowledge, attitudes, preferences, and buying behavior (most used method) Experimental research: Gathering primary data by selecting matched groups of subjects, giving them different treatments, controlling related factors, and checking for differences in group responses. Information can be collected by mail, telephone, personal interview, or online. Individual personal interviews may cost three to four times as much as telephone interviews. Focus group interviewing: Personal interviewing that involves inviting 6 to 10 people to gather for a few hours with a trained interviewer to talk about a product, service, or organization. The interviewer “focuses” the group discussion on important issues.
To help consumers relax and to elicit more authentic responses, they use settings that are more comfortable and more relevant to the products being researched. For example, Lexus recently hosted a series of “An Evening with Lexus” dinners with groups of customers in customers’ homes:14 Increasingly, researchers are collecting primary data through online marketing research: Internet surveys, online focus groups, web-based experiments, or tracking consumers’ online behaviour. Online marketing research: Collecting primary data online through Internet surveys, online focus groups, web-based experiments, or tracking consumers’ online behaviour. The Internet is especially well suited to quantitative research—conducting marketing surveys and collecting data. Online research now accounts for about 50% of all survey research done in the United States Most obvious advantages are speed and low costs. By going online, researchers can quickly and easily distribute Internet surveys to thousands of respondents simultaneously via email or by posting them on selected websites A primary qualitative Internet-based research approach is online focus groups. Online focus groups: Gathering a small group of people online with a trained moderator to chat about a product, service, or organization and gain qualitative insights about consumer attitudes and behaviour. Sample: A segment of the population selected for marketing research to represent the population as a whole. In collecting primary data, marketing researchers have a choice of two main research instruments: the questionnaire and mechanical instruments. Companies ranging from Hyundai and PepsiCo to Google and Microsoft now hire neuromarketing research companies such as NeuroFocus and EmSense to help figure out what people are really thinking. Although neuromarketing techniques can measure consumer involvement and emotional responses second by second, such brain responses can be difficult to interpret. Thus, neuromarketing is usually used in combination with other research approaches to gain a more complete picture of what goes on inside consumers’ heads.
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