Step 3: Collect the Data

The data collection phase of marketing research is generally the most expensive and error-prone. Some respondents will be away from home, offline, or otherwise inaccessible; they must be contacted again or replaced. Others will refuse to cooperate or will give biased or dishonest answers.

Step 4: Analyze the Information

The next step in the process is to extract findings by tabulating the data and developing summary measures. The researchers now compute averages and measures of dispersion for the major variables and apply some advanced statistical techniques and decision models to try to discover additional findings. They may test different hypotheses and theories, applying sensitivity analysis to test assumptions and the strength of the conclusions.

Step 5: Present the Findings

Now the researcher presents the findings. Researchers are increasingly asked to play a proactive, consulting role in translating data and information into insights and recommendations. They’re also considering ways to make the findings understandable and compelling. In the American Airlines situation, management learns that about 5 of 10 first-class passengers would use Wi-Fi service during a flight if priced at $25; at $15, about 6 would. Thus, a fee of $15 would produce less revenue ($90 = 6 X $15) than $25 ($125 = 5 X $25). Assuming the same flight takes place 365 days a year, American could collect $45,625 (= $125 X 365) annually. Given an investment of $90,000 per plane, it would take two years for each to break even. Offering ultra high-speed Wi-Fi service would also strengthen American Airlines’ image as an innovative carrier and earn it some new passengers and customer goodwill.

Step 6: Make the Decision

The American Airlines managers who commissioned the research need to weigh the evidence. If they have little confidence in the findings, they may decide against introducing the new Wi-Fi service. If they are predisposed to launching it, the findings support their inclination. They may even decide to study the issue further. The decision is theirs, but the research has provided them with insight into the problem.

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