Academic journal article Journal of Business and Behavior Sciences

Do Mars and Venus Significantly Affect Rating Scales in Market Research?

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Behavior Sciences

Do Mars and Venus Significantly Affect Rating Scales in Market Research?

Article excerpt


Customer evaluations in marketing research often utilize questionnaires consisting of scaling questions but respondents are provided with little or no training regarding the construct of the scales or explanations about how points along the rating sequence differ. Yet, market researchers continually provide their clients with the resulting demographic segmentation data as if every subgroup approaches the scale with the same ratings skill sets and are, therefore, easily comparable. For instance, if two subgroups consistently differ in how they approach scaled questionnaires and define the points along the rating scale differently, one group may seemingly rate products or services higher than the other, which would result in a misinterpretation by the researchers and could result in an ineffective advertising, etc. The truth may be that these seemingly higher ratings and lower ratings are not significantly different.

One common segmented demographic marker is gender. Because companies do a great deal of targeting by gender, any input regarding gender bias in ratings would prove to be very rewarding to these organizations. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine any consistent pattem among consumer ratings by gender. It is not intended to provide any psychological, cognitive, or cultural understanding regarding gender differences in evaluations, if any such difference is determined. In order to address the issue, the authors first conducted a review of the existing literature, which will be presented first. Based upon the information uncovered, existing research articles were examined to test the hypothesis based on the Schmidt, et. al. study (2012) that women consistently tend to rate products and services more positively than men. These research articles presented are referred to in this document as "cases." These cases were then compared and contrasted in order to uncover any gender-based evaluative patterns.


The use of demographics in social science research is important in understanding how different segments of the population behave in certain circumstances. When applied to consumer behavior research in particular, this nuanced understanding of demographic-based behavior is especially helpful during product and service evaluations, which assist businesses in improving and better positioning products and services for consumer consumption:

Demographic segmentation consists of dividing the market into groups on the basis of demographic variables such as age, sex, family size, family life cycle, income, occupation, education, religion, race, and nationality. Demographic variables are the most popular bases for distinguishing customer groups. One reason is that customer wants, preferences, and usage rates are often highly associated with demographic variables. Another is that demographic variables are easier to measure than most other types of variables. (Kotier, 1984, p. 255)

In order to be considered an effective unit of segmentation, a demographic must conform to four conditions: measurability, accessibility, substantiality, and actionability:

o Measurability, the degree to which the size and purchasing power of the segments can be measured.

o Accessibility, the degree to which the segments can be effectively reached and served.

o Substantiality, the degree to which the segments are large and/or profitable enough.

o Actionability, the degree to which effective programs can be formulated for attracting and serving the segments. (Kotier, 1984, pp. 264-265)

Interestingly, some demographics appear to be more popular with researchers than others. For instance, the influence of national origin onproduct/service evaluation has been a robust topic of study and evidence of its impact has been widely reported in the literature (Crotts & Erdman, 2000; Hsieh & Tsai, 2009; Seock & Lin, 2011; Tsang & Ap, 2007; Winsted, 1997). …

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