My own research practice has made me realize how difficult it could be to find a common, understandable language with the client not only in the stage of commissioning the research survey but also in the presentation and communication of findings, results and interpretation of the established data and suggestions on its transformation into practical managerial actions for the run of the organization.
Therefore, a greater involvement of practitioners – researchers in the creation of books, which to a larger extent than usual accentuate the user aspect of the thing is more than welcome. And one of such publications – written by a collective of 10 practitioners – has just been released under the title: Marketingový výzkum – postupy, metody, trendy – Marketing research – procedures, methods, trends (GfK, Nielsen Admosphere, SIMAR, g82, STEM/MARK, AISA, Millward Brown, Kantar – to name, at least, some agencies where the writers of the book were working).
The topic of marketing research is divided into 15 chapters to take the reader, step by step, from the first impulses to commissioning the research survey to the underlying questions of the ethics of research work.
The authors come out of the basic structure of MIS – marketing information system, where marketing research market plays the role of one of three key pillars of company information analytics (internal data, marketing intelligence and marketing research). The first chapter pays attention to work with the client in the stage when the client is formulating the brief for the research survey and points out the possible main elements of the dialogue between the client and the research organization which can result in later misunderstandings, disappointment with findings, feeling that the research was examining something else than the client imagined, etc. It shows some practical examples to document how to come – together and in an educated dialogue – to the adequate formulation of the research problem the marketing agency can correctly work with in the following stages of the research. The authors explain the brief and the debrief – i.e., the process of specifying the research topic together with the client.
The second chapter is focused on the basic structure of marketing research, clarifying the main terms used regarding the data to be established, methods, observation, questioning and experiment and the basic typology of research. The authors explain how the data is collected in the qualitative and quantitative research, what characteristics and possibilities the panel provides, how the collected data is analysed, what statistical methods are used, what software is available for work with data. They generally characterize the main principles of the segmentation of the target audience in the Czech population, pay attention to the ABCDE classification and possibilities of its application in the circumstances of the Czech Republic. The authors specifically concentrate on the possibilities of interpretation of the qualitative research and structure of the research report – which, in fact, are the main documents for the client to receive as the outcome or take-away from the commissioned survey. In my opinion, the team of authors should have paid much more attention to these two chapters – 10 and 11 – as not always would the client be able to correctly interpret the established data, not always would understand all professional terms and many a time not able to see what to do with the resulting data in practice – i.e., what decisions to take in their practical managerial work, in the formulation of a new communication, product or pricing strategy.
Chapters 12 and 13 make a very valuable contribution to the discussion and are an inspiration for clients. They present the characteristics of new modern research methods, describe their characteristics and potential for client benefits and point out their possibilities and limitations. They also demonstrate how to use these typological patterns in practice.
The penultimate chapter is dealing with the key questions associated with the choice of the research agency and the process of individual selection steps, construction of the research team and choice of the type of the research agency. The last – relatively short chapter is focused on the main ethical questions in marketing research. To publish the Ethical Code ESOMAR would definitely contribute to the importance and seriousness of the topic.
Overall, the reviewed publication in its strong accent on research marketing practice, with examples of practical solutions for research briefs, ability to put the topic of marketing research in a broader context, represents a good aid for the specialists from marketing departments of manufacturing and trading companies. It provides many practical findings that can help achieve a higher quality of the dialogue between the client and the researcher not only in the stage of commissioning the research survey but also when interpreting the established empirical data. The publication can play an important role in university study – it is an excellent source of information for students of marketing and marketing communication as regards application of theoretical findings to the practical research reality.