Inside Information: Making Sense of Marketing Data

Inside Information: Making Sense of Marketing Data

Inside Information: Making Sense of Marketing Data

Inside Information: Making Sense of Marketing Data


The marketing information available to us doubles every five years. Increasingly, not only will marketing organizations have more access to data, but a lot of this information will be its own internal data, rather than information being supplied by an external market research agency.
In the future the successful marketing executives will be those who can quickly assimilate the plethora of incoming information about their markets and their customers, and from this information see the "big picture" and then take intelligent action. In the new Millennium, those who survive and flourish in marketing will be those who can quickly identify the 'messages' that are often hidden deep in their market and customer information. People who can see 'shapes and patterns' in data will be the ones who will successfully change and improve their organizations. The successful will be those who can quickly reject extraneous information and identify the overarching trends and themes that can be detected from different combinations of marketing evidence. Those who fail will be those who are overwhelmed with the minutia of information and are unable to get on top of what this growing mountain of marketing information is really telling them.
This book provides the way forward for all marketers faced with the above challenges. It highlights the basic principles about information, acknowledging the fact that we are entering a new era that is well away from the old fashioned model of a market research agency supplying survey type data. Increasingly, this process will be replaced with a much more instantaneous process where data from different sources - internal and external - are quickly fired at the marketer, with he/she being expected to make immediate sense of it. Inside Information is one of the first to respond to this new information era for understanding information. The book is a user friendly, very accessible book for the marketing manager who needs to process mountains of marketing information, but who will not have the time, or inclination to read detailed texts.



Everybody knows how to distrust statistical information – ‘lies, damn lies, and statistics’. And a few people even know how misleading popular conceptions of probability are, to the extent that some can give the counter-intuitive, but correct, answer to the question ‘what is the probability that two children in a class of 30 will share a birthday?’ – a much higher probability than most people think.

But how many of the hundreds of thousands of people who use survey data in their work or lives, let alone how many who read survey findings in the media, have had any serious training in their analysis or interpretation? It is precisely because there is much more to the understanding and use of survey research than statistical formulae, that this book is necessary.

A very public example in recent years has been the debate on the use of focus groups by political parties in the formulation and presentation of policy. This raises two kinds of issue, each addressed by Smith and Fletcher in this challenging book.

First, the issue addressed by Chapter three of how qualitative research is carried out, when it is appropriate (and when not), and what precautions should be taken in the interpretation of qualitative evidence. Historically, most qualitative research has been widely – even mainly – used as part of the problem definition stage of a research project. Focus groups, or as they used to be called, discussion groups, were used to test how comprehensible ideas, language, or images, would be if used in a quantitative survey. Even motivation research, originally conducted by psychologists seeking to explore unexpressed motivation rather than conscious attitudes or behaviour, would commonly be reported as part of a study embracing both qualitative and quantitative data.

But the public image of focus groups, mainly triggered by political parties and their spin-doctors, has been as a short-cut to understanding of . . .

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