The value of research

Date of publication: September 1, 1994


Technological developments and market factors have caused or stimulated strong growth in most Western economies in recent times. Over the years, the level of market research activity in different directions has also increased considerably. With strong growth in activities and turnover - both at the demand and supply levels - the entire research business system has also undergone major changes. This has also affected the significance of research. What does research contribute to marketing? What is the added value of market research in organisations? The purpose of this paper is to give a broad outline of MR dynamics over the course of time from the user's perspective. The emphasis here lies on the presumed place and contribution of market research. We shall first discuss recent developments; then the significant trends and issues are dealt with, with the possible consequences for the profession. It is not our intention to give a total overview of all the driving forces and phenomena, but rather to stimulate further discussion on the scope, identity and changes in market research. When we refer to the user’s perspective, we mean the experiences within: AHOLD: an internationally operating retail company (particularly in food = non- durable goods); the organisation has been in existence for more than 100 years and has, among other assets, 1500 outlets in the Netherlands, ca. 600 supermarkets in the USA and 130 stores in the rest of Europe; quality and turnover speed are key managerial concepts maintained by the management. Philips Consumer Electronics: operates world-wide as manufacturer and seller of high-quality durables (= consumer goods); through technology and business characteristics, there are clear differences with the retail trade, such as longer lead times in development, production and marketing. In both sectors, however, the importance of information management is becoming ever greater under pressure from the better-informed customer and the intense competition. To what extent does market research help the user in obtaining "the right knowledge to take effective action?"

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