Formulating quantified objectives and evaluating progress without profit or sales data

Date of publication: June 15, 1969


This paper contains a critical examination of a market research programme designed to guide and assess the marketing activities of the International Wool Secretariat. The paper examines problems that arose when implementing this programme and demonstrates the solutions that were found. In particular, the paper concentrates on areas where market research either failed or was inadequate. In order to put the paper in perspective, it is necessary to give a brief background to the marketing plan. The International Wool Secretariat is a promotional organisation supported by wool growers in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. A marketing programme backed by a substantial expenditure over a five-year period was launched to establish a mark identifying merchandise containing Pure Virgin Wool and reaching certain standards. This mark, 'The Woolmark', was established in a phased operation in twenty-one countries. The Secretariat has no direct control over the product (wool) that it is promoting and this implies that there are no profit or sales data available to assess the progress of the promotional campaign in any particular country. This paper, therefore, gives a rare insight into the use of market research in a situation where management has virtually no alternative information on which to base decisions. This places a degree of importance on the research that is usually attached to profits and sales data, and it is believed that there are several lessons with wider implications which can be learnt from this project.

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