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Exploratory Marketing Research
Exploratory research can be effectively used to develop insights and understanding about a marketing problem or issue. While exploratory research is applicable in numerous situations, it is extremely useful for understanding a problem, screening alternative solutions, and discovering new ideas. We will discuss these three applications in this section.

You can download excellent powerpoint slides on Marketing Strategy and Marketing Management HERE. Exploratory Research for Understanding a Problem
Managers are often faced with situations that are so poorly understood that neither the real problem nor the available decision options are clear. For example, the marketing manager for Cheetos brand snacks may only know that sales are down. Not knowing the reason for the lower sales, the manager has no idea what to do to correct the situation. Sales could be down because of competitive activity, difficulties in the distribution of the product (perhaps stores have stopped carrying it or are out of stock), ineffective advertising, or any of a host of other reasons. A great deal of money can be wasted researching irrelevant issues if large-scale research projects are undertaken without a clear understanding of the nature of the problem.

Exploratory Research for Screening Alternatives
A manager faces a decision problem when two or more alternative courses of action exist and the manager is uncertain about which alternative to choose. When faced with a decision problem, exploratory research can help the marketing manager remove some alternatives from further consideration. For example, exploratory research is often used to eliminate some of the possible names being considered for a new product or service. The intent is not to select the most appropriate name but to shorten the list quickly and inexpensively so that fewer options need to be researched in detail.

Exploratory Research for Discovering New Ideas
Sometimes managers are unable to come up with a solution to a problem situation. Perhaps the problem is that the brand dominates the sales in a category, such as Jello brand gelatin, and new uses need to be found for the brand to increase sales. Maybe the problem is finding the best way to communicate a product benefit, like the moistness of Duncan Hines cake mixes. Whatever the specific situation, managers often turn to exploratory research to generate new ideas that might solve the problem.

Source of Reference:
Melvin Crask, Richard J. Fox, Roy G. Stout, and R. Gene Stout, Marketing Research, Prentice Hall. You can obtain this fine book here

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You can download excellent powerpoint slides on Marketing Strategy and Marketing Management HERE.