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Improving Validity of Market Research

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Make justified recommendations for improving the validity of the marketing research used to contribute to the market development on a selected organisation’s marketing plans

The organisation I have chosen to look at is Nike. The market research methods that they use are; street surveys, questionnaires and focus groups. When gathering market research, it is important to make sure that the data you get is valid, meaning it is trustworthy and reliable. By ensuring that the information is valid, it also ensures that it will be useful as well as valuable. The first research method we are going to look at is the street surveys. There are many things to take into consideration when conducting these surveys; who you are asking, where are you going to ask and how big a sample are you going to use.

The reason all these factors contribute to the overall validity of the research is that if you just stop random people in the middle of town, at any time of the day, your sample won’t be useful to the questions you’re trying to answer. For example, if Nike was trying to answer questions that related to their interests in sport in relation to their occupations, and they used people from the middle of a weekday, then they may find that their sample consists of the unemployed, the retired and mothers with young children. To avoid having invalid results, Nike would have to conduct their market research during a more useful period of the day/week, such as a Saturday possibly near a sports centre. This would create a more useful and valuable sample, and while this ‘specific’ sampling may provide more useful data, you can’t always guarantee that controlling these variables will generate the correct sampling needed for the questions to be answered.

The second market research method is questionnaires. These are usually straight forwards however there are certain factors that have to be taken into consideration. These are things such as not making the questions too complicated, making sure the questions relate to the issue at hand and also ensuring that the answers to the questions aren’t too limited. Another major factor that Nike would have to take into consideration is to make sure that the questions aren’t biased or leading in any way. For example, this is all to do with the wording of the question. A question that would persuade participants answer would be worded such as “Don’t you agree that the new Nike logo has an impact?” This would be subconsciously making them think that they already agree with the new logo and will end up answering the questionnaire with an untruthful and invalid answer.

Whereas an unbiased question would be worded such as “Does the new Nike logo have an impact?” This leaves the participants with a lot of room for a more open and honest opinion, which in turn creates more useful and valid answers. Another way that an unbiased question could be used to gather even more information from the participants would be to have a very open question such as “What do you think about the new Nike logo?” This leaves no room for persuasion and a totally honest and valid answer. However, if all questions within the questionnaire were of this nature, it will make the task of analysing the data very time consuming as they would have to filter through all the opinions and pick out which ones are the most useful to the research they are conducting. This is why it is important to have a balance of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

A way that Nike would attain this balance would be to use focus groups as well as surveys and questionnaires. Focus groups are a group of people selected from a target audience discussing specific elements of a company as well as the customer experience. Through focus groups, Nike would be able to find out more accurate data from their consumers. This method of market research collects mainly qualitative data. This includes things such as the group’s opinions, ideas and beliefs and also their attitudes towards a product. This method of research would be particularly useful to Nike when revamping an old product. For example, during the discussion, the group will be encouraged to write what their favourite aspects and their least favourite aspects of the product are. This provides useful research that will help Nike to plan improvements on the product for the future. The reason this would be used to gather qualitative data as well as using questionnaires with open questions is to compare the results. If both techniques gather similar results, then the final results will be more valid as they will have overall, mutual results.

Overall, any marketing research techniques can be easily validated by following these guidelines and considering all these factors when creating surveys, questionnaires and focus groups.

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