Monday, November 16, 2009


The task of marketing research is to provide management with relevant, accurate, reliable, valid, and current information. Competitive marketing environment and the ever-increasing costs attributed to poor decision making require that marketing research provide sound information. Sound decisions are not based on gut feeling, intuition, or even pure judgment.
Marketing managers make numerous strategic and tactical decisions in the process of identifying and satisfying customer needs. They make decisions about potential opportunities, target market selection, market segmentation, planning and implementing marketing programs, marketing performance, and control. These decisions are complicated by interactions between the controllable marketing variables of product, pricing, promotion, and distribution. Further complications are added by uncontrollable environmental factors such as general economic conditions, technology, public policies and laws, political environment, competition, and social and cultural changes. Another factor in this mix is the complexity of consumers. Marketing research helps the marketing manager link the marketing variables with the environment and the consumers. It helps remove some of the uncertainty by providing relevant information about the marketing variables, environment, and consumers. In the absence of relevant information, consumers' response to marketing programs cannot be predicted reliably or accurately. Ongoing marketing research programs provide information on controllable and non-controllable factors and consumers; this information enhances the effectiveness of decisions made by marketing managers.
Traditionally, marketing researchers were responsible for providing the relevant information and marketing decisions were made by the managers. However, the roles are changing and marketing researchers are becoming more involved in decision making, whereas marketing managers are becoming more involved with research. The role of marketing research in managerial decision making is explained further using the framework of the "DECIDE" model:
Define the marketing problem
Enumerate the controllable and uncontrollable decision factors
Collect relevant information
Identify the best alternative
Develop and implement a marketing plan
Evaluate the decision and the decision process
The DECIDE model conceptualizes managerial decision making as a series of six steps. The decision process begins by precisely defining the problem or opportunity, along with the objectives and constraints. Next, the possible decision factors that make up the alternative courses of action (controllable factors) and uncertainties (uncontrollable factors) are enumerated. Then, relevant information on the alternatives and possible outcomes is collected. The next step is to select the best alternative based on chosen criteria or measures of success. Then a detailed plan to implement the alternative selected is developed and put into effect. Last, the outcome of the decision and the decision process itself are evaluated.