Out of the darkroom into the daylight

Date of publication: September 1, 1987


The paper is a case history about research in the European market for contacting and duplicating film, which is widely used in the graphic arts industry (i.e. among commercial printers, reprographic specialists, typesetters and platemakers). Having dispelled doubts about whether the market was worth researching at all, a large-scale survey was commissioned, with the specific purpose of detailed market sizing, assessment of user behaviour and attitudes and evaluation of the likely effects of new technology. A pilot stage involving both quantitative and qualitative techniques was used to check on data collection methods and identify the more subjective, as opposed to technical, criteria influencing users' behaviour. Main stage fieldwork consisted of 1,7 face-to-face interviews across eight European countries. The practical difficulties of sample design, sample sources, data collection and grossing up are discussed. The paper concludes by discussing the wide range of marketing information that such a comprehensive survey provides, the actual marketing decisions that were based on it, and the marketing results that followed.

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