Market research

Market research is finding out as much information about your market as you can, from as many sources as possible.

To a firm market research is: –

* Collecting information from its own records.

* Collecting information about competitor firms.

* Collecting information about the market in general.

* Collecting information about consumers.

Bringing all this information together in order to make marketing decisions. This data can be divided into two sections primary and secondary data. Primary data is data, which is gathered freshly by you or o9ne of your employees. There are several ways to collect primary data, Face to face: – this is the oldest but still most widely used form of collecting data. An interviewer, with a printed sheet of prepared questions, approaches a member of public in order to carry out a street interview. This is generally used to collect quantitative data.

One on one: -these differ from face to face interviews in that the interviewer is not using a questionnaire, instead a series of questions is asked in order to obtain in depth reactions to a product or service. Instead of in the street, these interviews will take place in the comfortable surroundings of an office or home environment, because of the time taken and the inconvenience of the respondent it is likely they will be rewarded in some way, they maybe directly paid for their time or offered discounts or vouchers.

Telephone: – this involves telephoning people and asking them a series of questions. This is not as effective as many of the other methods as people are less likely to want to answer. Section 5 Chocolate and the marketing mix A brand name is sometimes the name of a firm, such as mars, but is usually an invented name, such as Kit Kat or Twix. More and more goods are now being sold under brand names. Big manufacturers have found that a brand name helps to sell their products. Instead of asking for chocolate people will ask for Mars.

Instead of asking for dark chocolate people will ask for Bournville this differentiation helps manufacturers to keep or increase their share of the market, or to break into a new one. There are many other advantages for manufacturers * They can advertise their goods nationally, knowing that they are promoting only their own products; Mars Snickers, for instance, and not some other makes. * They receive larger orders from retailers, as a big advertising campaign increases consumer demand for the product. * The name helps to create brand loyalty among consumers who will go on buying the same brand of goods year after year.

Retailers also benefit because national advertising creates a big demand for the goods. Goods, which are all the same size and packed in the same way, are easy to handle and display. On the other hand, a retailer may have to stock a large range of brands if he is to please all his customers-that is, other makes of chocolate, not just Cadbury’s. Another feature of the product is its name. The chocolate could be named after the firm but that may seem dull like Mars’s Mars Bar. So it might be given a name of its own which has more appeal.

Packaging is also an important feature, However it is packaged it is essential that it appeals to the chosen market segment. The price is one of the most important factors, but how much should the firm charge? Should it have a high price to increase profits or charge at a lower price to seem cheaper than other company’s? They need to decide whether there will be a promotion at the start of the sales, such as freebies or special offers, or should they be kept secret incase the brand doesn’t work out as well as planned. Advertising is one of the most important means of promotion, but its expensive.

Questions that need to be answered include where should it be advertised? How should it be advertised? Should the message shown be the same in all press advertisements or should it vary to appeal to different types of readers? All advertisements have to have something to do with the product and try to stay aimed at the audience it’s aimed at. Distribution has become such a highly skilled and expensive business that it is now a major industry in its own right. Huge warehouses are stocked with products from computers to chocolate of all makes.

The big high street retailers have now become so powerful (Cadburys) they can make the rules, some such as Hershey’s and Mars have decided to set up their own regional distribution centres to serve all their stores in each area, each store could then be supplied with all it needed for a particular day. Packaging is referred to as the 5th P of the marketing mix Price, Product, Promotion, Place and Packaging. It is essential for it can be the difference between success and failure. Some colours and styles for example do not work.

The colours that are mainly used are whites yellows greens and blues all of them are bright and in light shades. The packaging gives the product an image and so it is essential that the right image is given for the right product. Mint Munchies and after 8 mints are essentially the same things, a soft green mint filling inside a dark chocolate case. The packaging of the product however is entirely different. After 8s are aimed at the upper end of the market and as an after dinner mint; Mint Munchies are a middle range chocolate. The packaging is the only difference between most chocolates.

Consumer protection laws consist of Telling the truth about goods and services Not attempting to deceive the consumer Complying with the law relating to what they sell Complying with any voluntary codes relating to what they sell. Protecting the consumer is making sure that the customer is getting goods and services that do what they are supposed to do as described, are fit for use and are not dangerous. The consumer should not be put at a disadvantage by sales techniques or misleading information. A firm will try to meet high standards of both product and service.

The law enforces many of these standards. Marketing is important to the chocolate manufacturers because of the 4 p, s Product – This includes branding and packaging which allows people to recognise the wrapper for example if they want a Mars Bar they think ‘ohh black wrapper’ and as soon as they see it they pick up the Mars Bar. Price – this gives a recognition on how much a product usually is such as a mars bar is usually 30 – 40 pence this lets people know what they can afford if they have some small change floating around in their back pockets.

Promotion – this also included such things as advertising so people can distinguish between different types of chocolate bars how they are advertised such as Twix had break away from the norm with an advert always featuring a grey geek. Place – this is distribution it is how things get to the final consumer through channels of distribution and how they will be sold once they get there. For chocolates it could be posh chocolates like Belgian are sold in places like Bramhall and ordinary chocolate like kitkats aren’t very posh and resulting in being sold anywhere.

Marketing to chocolate manufacturers is so important and they have to use a number of strategies because it is no good just getting one factor right. It would be a waste of time to produce a perfect product if no one had ever heard of it each of the four p, s are essential to success and they must be firmly linked together so that the whole package appeals to the target customers. The mixing process does not occur only when a product is launched it continues throughout the whole life of the product if sales start to fall a new sales promotion or changes in the design of the product may help to increase sales again.

Section 6 Chocolate and the product life cycle All goods and services have a product life cycle, which describes the way in which sales rise and eventually fall. The life cycle is divided into four stages. Introduction The product is developed and launched on the market sales will be low and large amounts will be spent on advertising and promotion. Profits may be low, or the product may make no profit at all. Many products fail at this stage. Growth Sales and profits increase steadily. Maturity This is usually the longest stage. Sales and profits may still be rising, but at a slower rate.

Eventually the product will reach the saturation point, when sales are at their highest level. A high proportion of sales may represent replacement by existing customers. The business may try to maintain sales by price cutting, heavy advertising or launch improved versions. Producers who do not do this will be forced out of the market. This is the stage in which new products or markets should be developed before the decline stage is breached. For example some chocolate manufacturers have bought over other companies because the market for that type of brand is growing faster than the other brand.

Decline Eventually sales and profits will start to fall. The business may accept this, or abandon the product all together e. g. Cadburys Astros. Even if profits are still being made, the product may be taking up a capital or management time, which could be used more profitably, on other products. The length of a product life cycle and its different stages varies considerably between products. Citizens Band Radio and Skateboards had very rapid growth for a couple of years followed by an almost instant decline. The maturity stage was very short.

But at the other extreme basic goods such as salt and coal have had life cycles lasting hundreds of years. Branding Many products have brand names such as Mars or Nestle. Branded products are usually advertised heavily to persuade people to buy them rather than another product of the same type. Sometimes, as in the case of petrol and washing powder, there is little or no difference between the products of different firms, apart from the brand name. By advertising, a business hopes to encourage loyalty to its product.