Planning a Marketing Research Project
Planning a marketing research project
This research project aims at identifying the various segmentation markets used by David Jones. It will answer the research question, “How has market segmentation worked at making David Jones more effective?” The research will begin by introducing the company, and giving a brief description of its background. It will look at the company’s history, the brands it deals with, and the challenges and growth over the years. David Jones is the oldest department store in Australia, which was started in 1838. The company has grown significantly and has stores all around the country dealing with different products and merchandise. The products include beauty and cosmetics products, clothing and accessories for women and men, women’s footwear, children’s toys and other baby products, and home accessories and appliances. The company deals with many different brands, making it a favorite for many people who want to have diversified options. The company has different services, which include interior decorations, personal shopping, style advisors, gift registry, online shopping, and corporate services among others (David Jones). With such diversified products and services, it is important for the company to segment its market, to ensure maximum profitability
The next section is literature review. The research will introduce the concept of market segmentation, and note why it is important for companies. Market segmentation is the act of dividing the market into different groups of potential customers, who have similar needs and characteristics, and who exhibit the same purchase behavior (Weinstein 2004 p. 4). Companies can use the multisegment of the market concentration approaches in market segmentation. Market concentration refers to the company’s efforts to focus on one market segment. Multisegment approach enables companies to attract customers in more than one market segment (Ferrell & Hartline, 2010 p.169-170). This approach encourages the company to have different product varieties, which will appeal to the different groups. The success of this approach depends on the company’s efforts to offer products and services that are relevant to the market, and the customers’ ability to purchase the products. It is the most widely used segmentation approach. David Jones Company uses this approach as it provides a wide variety of services, and products from different brands.
Segmentation is important for companies since by analyzing the markets, companies are able to identify existing and potential opportunities, and this creates a competitive advantage. Segmentation recognizes the changing customer preferences, and encourages the company to define the customers needs more clearly (Lamb et al. 2011 p.260). The will examine the extent to which David Jones has segmented its markets, and how this affected its operations. Information technology has enabled marketers to improve their development of market segments, since they are able to understand the customers’ behavior more clearly by observing the buyer patterns. For instance, companies are able to determine the best selling brands in a specific region, using computerized checkouts (Lamb et al. 2011 p. 263).
In determining the effectiveness of a market strategy such as segmentation, it is important to consider how that strategy has enhanced availability and responsiveness. Marketers use different segmentation bases, which include demographics, psychographics, geographic, and behavioral. Geographic segmentation involves partitioning the market into the climate, size, and population density. Demographic segmentation involves partitioning the market into age, gender, education, occupation and income. Psychographic segmentation includes social class, personality, and lifestyle. Behavioral segmentation includes taking advantage of different holidays, segmenting the market based on the benefits received, and using the customers’ loyalty (Pride et al., 2011). These segments have different limitations because they may not capture the exact needs of the consumers. For segmentation to be effective, it has to identify the consumers that are worth pursuing (Yankelovich & Meer, 2006).
Companies understand the value of market segmentation. Market segmentation indicates that the company understands its customers, and it knows what they want. The increasing competition between different brands and the level of high quality is a necessity for market segmentation. This project will identify the necessity and importance of market segmentation. Department stores such as David Jones cannot afford to be loyal to one brand because they risk losing customers. As part of its vision, the company emphasizes on the need to understand and deliver the customers need. Once marketers have identified the market segments, they use the same promotional strategies for the identified markets. Market segmentation enables companies to serve their customers better, by meeting their needs and this increases customer satisfaction. Successful segmentation results to increased sales, enhanced company image, and improved market share. Segmentation increases the company’s efficiency and effectiveness. By segmenting the market, the company is able to identify the relevant promotional tools to use. Different segments require different promotional strategies, and they respond differently to the company’s promotional efforts. For instance, the company will be able to reach a youthful age group by using the social media as a promotional tool, rather than using newspapers. Such decisions make a company more effective, and it enables it to save money. This strategy ensures that the businesses are in touch with the customers, enhancing more resource allocation (Dibb & Simkin 2009, pp.378).
Market segmentation enables companies to develop products that respond to the market demands. By segmenting the market, the company is able to determine the kind of products that will be suited for that particular market, and will create such a product. This is far from mass-producing the product for general use, as this might only appeal to a few customers. This makes segmentation generally more expensive. The company has to be committed to the process. It has to commit the resources needed, so that it can conduct the necessary research needed, and implement the strategy once the research is completed. Be segmenting the markets, companies often choose to serve a particular group of customers. This means that it might neglect serving a particular group as it concentrates its efforts on the selected segment (Blythe & Zimmerman, 2005 p. 84). Companies have limited resources, and most of them cannot afford to satisfy all the customers in the same manner. Therefore, they need to examine the most profitable markets, and concentrate their efforts there, so that they can ensure maximum returns.
The next section is the methodology. This section will identify the methods used to conduct research. Most of the information used in the research will come from secondary sources, such as company documents and policies, and other forms of documented research. Using secondary sources is cheaper and less time consuming. It is easier to acquire information from secondary sources. In addition, secondary data enables the researchers to define their areas of research and finding out areas of possible investigation. This eliminates the possibility of conducting unnecessary research. One is able to do this by examining what other people have done in the past concerning the specific topic. It also enables the researcher to compare the results of different analyses (Collins, 2010, pp.121). A lot of information will also come from the company’s databases. This information includes the company’s performance data, and information about the company’s history and products. This information is relevant to determine the extent at which the company segments the products to suit its needs. The sources will indicate the attempts of the company to segment the market in the past. It will indicate the failure or success of this undertaking market segmentation. The research will include identifying various articles from critics, showing the effectiveness, or lack of it, for the company’s efforts at market segmentation. This is necessary in determining the success or failure of the company’s segmentation efforts.
The research will also use primary data, collected in form of questionnaires and interviews from the company’s personnel. Information from primary data sources is important for validating the previous information collected from secondary data sources. Collecting primary data is more time consuming and expensive, but it is important as it gives the researcher the flexibility and freedom of designing research in the way that he or she intends (Lancaster, 2012). This information will include the employee’s view regarding segmentation. The employees are important sources of information because they relate with the clients daily. They are more aware of the customers’ demands, needs, and complaints since they receive the most feedback and response from the customers. The interviews and questionnaires will include questions regarding their perception of the company’s efforts of segmentation. The provision of anonymity in the research will encourage the employees to contribute more information towards the research.
Some possible errors might arise when collecting data from both primary and secondary sources. Tendency to rely on only one view, such as information favoring the company, will lead to biased results, and will not assist in the research process. The design of the questionnaire can determine the success or failure of the research. Questionnaires should be designed in such a way that they will encourage the informants to provide as much information as possible. It may not be possible to collect data from employees by interviewing them. The interview process will depend upon the management and the employees. If the employees feel threatened that their jobs are not secure because of participating in the interview, it is likely that they will chose not to participate. These are challenging problems to the research, and they will determine the success of the research.
This research will deliver valid and reliable results because it looks at the research question from all possible angles. It will examine different sources of data, not only from the company sources, but also from external sources. The research will involve collecting data from different sources, both primary and secondary. The contribution from the employees is especially important because it will ensure the collection of data that is more reliable. This will be enhanced by the condition of anonymity provided when answering the questions. The research will enhance the decisions made by the management concerning market segmentation. From the results of the research, the management will be able to determine whether it needs to conduct more research concerning its segmentation efforts. It will identify the non-performing areas of the company, based on the strategy of segmentation. The research will identify the most profitable market segments, and the management will decide the strategies to use to make this segment even more profitable. It will be possible to identify the least productive market segments from the research, and this will enable the company to determine whether it should allocate its resources elsewhere. These measures will enhance the company’s profitability.
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Collins, H, 2010, Creative research: the theory and practice of research for the creative industries, AVA Publishing
David Jones, 2012. Services. [online] Available at: < http://www.davidjones.com.au/services> [Accessed 9 September 2012]
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Ferrell, OC, & Hartline, M, 2010, marketing strategy, Cengage Learning, New York
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Simkin, L, 2008, Achieving market segmentation from B2B sectorisation, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 23 (7), pp.464-474
Weinstein, A 2004, Handbook of market segmentation: strategic marketing for business and technology firms, 3rd edn. Routledge, New York
Yankelovich, D, & Meer, D, 2006, Rediscovering market segmentation, Harvard Business Review