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With the passage of time, advents in technology have given new meanings to almost everything around us. Every preconceived notion and idea has been forced to go through a metamorphosis to keep in line with the growing pace of change. This tidal wave of change has surely altered communication drastically. The new advances have led to addition of many new forms which came about as a revolution. The communicative revolution that concerns us is actually the third wave, according to which information can now be transmitted through electronic signals and controlled waves present in the air around us.
A mobile phone is an electronic device which is used in two way communication. To make use of a mobile phone, connection to a cellular network is required which is an interconnection of base stations through which signals are transmitted, hence the mobile uses those signals to forge and maintain connection.
A user using a mobile phone can make or receive telephone calls to and from other cellular networks and also fixed line phones worldwide. Each mobile phone holds a subscription with a cellular network which then connects it to a mobile network operator and thus let’s communication to flow freely.
Mobile phones are not used for calls only, especially modern mobile phones. They offer a wide variety of communicative services such as:
- text messaging
- sending and receiving emails
- voicemails accessible through voicemail inbox
- access to internet
- MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service)
- interactive games
- connectivity through Bluetooth and/or USB, infrared
- music player
- GPS (Global Positioning System)
With the influx of countless models of mobiles in the UK market, with minor or significant differences in features, generally they are categorized into two groups. We have feature phones, which are normally characterized as low end mobile phones having less functions, whereas at the other extreme we have Smartphone which are high end phones with sophisticated, computing capabilities.
Hence the focus of this report is to discuss a Market Research Study with the aim of providing readers with a comprehensive insight into the factors that influence the consumer behavior when it comes to choosing mobile phones, particularly for UK market. Once the factors have been determined, this report will further shed light on the market research objectives as well as the main purpose and procedure for this proposed market research study. In addition to the aforementioned topics in this report you will also find ample information regarding how to conduct a qualitative and quantitative market research study explaining the finer points in detail. Also a proposed reporting research schedule and timing, fees and credentials will be a part of this report.
The report’s prime focus will be on the consumer influences because it is these factors that aid the consumer in making a rational choice when given several alternatives to choose from. The consumer would first have to have a need or a problem for the satisfaction of which a product would be required. In this case we have the purchase of a mobile phone. Hence factors influencing consumer behavior in choosing a mobile phone from the different brands will be considered.
As the main research objective of this study is to identify the factors that influence consumer behavior at the time of choosing a mobile phone brand; hence, the primary research objectives are stated below which have been further subdivided into sub objectives to illustrate the point further. Primary objectives are:
- Demographic factors
- Psychographic factors
- Behavioral factors
Following are the sub objectives providing explanation for each of the research study’s objectives:
Demographic factors: are those factors influencing consumer behavior which are the consumer’s factors comprising of age, gender, income, occupation, education, religion and nationality. Demographic factors are important as consumers belonging to similar demographics have alike buying patterns. Based on the research study result, researchers would know what brands are favored by the male or female consumers, also depending on the income and occupation which brands would be the choice for consumers.
Psychographic factors: comprise of factors that are based on consumer’s social class, lifestyle and personality traits. A point to be noted is that same demographics may have very different preferences when it comes to psychographic structures. Some brands are chosen over others if they are better at portraying an image which truly reflects the consumer’s psychographics.
Behavioral factors: are specifically related to the buyers’ habits and their attitudes towards different brands. Basically it comprises of components that tell about the consumer’s knowledge, attitudes and responses to a product. If the marketer has ample knowledge about these behavioral variables then it makes the research very informative.
PURPOSE AND PROCEDURE OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH METHOD AND DESIGN
The prime focus of this proposed marketing research method and design is to be able to identify the significant factors that play an important role in influencing consumer behaviour in respect to choosing between different mobile brands, specifically in the UK market. In order to be able to collect genuine and authentic data this research design will incorporate both primary and secondary research study.
Elements of the said primary research study will be utilised in the form of both qualitative and quantitative research. The purpose being the determination of various factors that play a key role in influencing consumer behaviour in relation to choosing mobile phone brands. The factors under discussion will be from the broad categories of demographics, psychographics and behavioural.
Furthermore, to complement the marketing research study results, a literature review relating to the importance of proper knowledge regarding different consumer influences, consumer’s preferences and choices, prices and availability of different features such as camera, games, Wi-Fi, and also the notion of brand loyalty. In addition to it, evaluation methods explaining how best to gauge consumer responses will also be augmented in the study.
As told earlier, secondary research will be also be implemented, its aim would be to augment information about the patterns of consumer behaviour in the past and also the changes that have taken place recently. All of this information gained will then be considered and used in forming the main purpose and objectives of the proposed research study.
For the designing of a questionnaire judging the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the research study, the following questions will be a part of it. The questions are:
- Which mobile phone brand are you currently using?
- Would you buy the same brand when buying a new phone in the future?
- Which mobile phone brand would have been your next choice?
- How much are you willing to pay for a mobile phone of your choice?
- What are your preferences in choosing a mobile phone?
- What features are the most important in a mobile phone?
- What features are the least important in a mobile phone?
- In your opinion, which brand is the UK market leader in mobile phones?
RATIONALE BEHIND THE QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN
Initially there is a need to recognize what is the kind of relationship shared between the variables and hypothesis. The two broad categories of such relationships are cause and effect relationship and non cause effect relationship. The one under consideration belongs to the former group as we have identified different factors as cause, bringing about effect in the form of consumer behaviour when opting for a certain mobile phone brand.
It is widely believed that quantitative research methods which are based on scientific mode of study are the most effective in delivering a credible research hypothesis. Though there are other methods too, but they do have their shortcomings as well. If a pure statistical quantitative research method is implemented the results would not be comprehensive enough. They would only depict the general evaluation of the research and not the finer details that went into forming this conclusion.
Another method for that matter is pure observational approach; again this mode is not favourable as it is primarily based on the researcher’s supposition of the hypothesis. Therefore this approach is greatly endangered by distortion of the final conclusion and lacks credibility as a result of it. Phenomenological method is another approach that can be taken as it asks the researchers to better understand the idea or hypothesis in relation to all its aspects and then form an evaluation based on the experiences felt by the person under its influence.
In the end to sum up, its best suggested that statistical method be used for quantitative purpose and qualitative approach be taken to research the factors. As this combination of methods incorporates both the pros and cons of the respective approaches so it will, in most probability, helpful in delivering a credible and unbiased evaluation at the end of the research study.
ABOUT THE PROPOSED RESEARCH QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN
The questionnaire was formulated for the key purpose of identifying the different factors that influence consumer behaviour when choosing between different mobile phone brands in the UK market. Therefore each question was designed with the aim of extracting some information that would be insightful in understanding the complex buying behaviour of the consumers.
Question 1 will find out which brand is most used by the consumers. If there are a major proportion of the participants choosing a particular brand that would mean that brand may be the market leader. Questions 2 and 3 will assess whether they wish to change the phone. If they do then what is the reason behind it, if a shortcoming in the current brand is recognized then the marketer can capitalize on it and add this feature in its own product if feasible.
Question 4 will judge the brand loyalty in the participants as part of the behavioural factors influencing consumer behaviour. Whereas, question 5 will aim to find out what the customer’s next favoured option is in mobile phone brands. This would give an idea as to which brand has the potential of becoming the market leader.
Question 6 will evaluate what is the technological literacy in the participants so that a need for introduction of complex technology can be considered. While question 7 will review what are the activities that the users mostly indulge in when using their phones. This will also be helpful in finding out what areas can be improved as are mostly used by the consumers.
Question 8 will aim to discover the power friends have on consumer preferences as part of the psychographic factors. Generally it is believed that family, friends and peer pressure play a vital role in this area, this question will be finding out whether there is any truth to this notion or not.
Question 9’s purpose is to obtain information regarding how much consumers are willing to spend on the purchase of a mobile phone. Price is in relation to income which is a component of demographic factors. Also if a trend in low spending is observed then this would mean that there is a need for lowering the prices.
Question 10 will ask the participants to make a choice between two of the most coveted mobile phone features. In addition to the usual ones features available, preference for camera and Wi-Fi will be asked for. Question 11 is in extension to the earlier asked question, asking what are the features that they most want in their mobile phones. It is expected that the answers will greatly depend on the age of the participants.
Question 12, the last question, will actually provide additional information about the consumer’s assessment of the available brands. This will also show which brand the consumers think is the market leader, the response to this question will be interesting as it may be in contrast to what the marketers’ expectations are.
IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGIC QUESTIONING, INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES AND EVALUATION
In order to be certain that the questions prepared are honest and not misleading, it is necessary that the questions being asked as part of the research are credible. If not then the results may be deceptive. For this purpose it is also necessary that strategic questioning is such that asks questions that are actually informative and insightful, helping in forming strategies.
Therefore it of the utmost importance that the questionnaire designed should be clear in stating what its purpose is. The understanding of the responses should be such which would be able to serve its purpose of finding out the factors most influencing consumer behaviour in choosing mobile phone brands, particularly for the UK market. The researcher should incorporate all such plausible and relevant questions that will be helpful in achieving this aim.
While conducting an interview, researchers are at an advantage of extracting much more out of the respondent than from a questionnaire. It is because of the nature of the method that gives the freedom to the researcher to pay attention to the gestures and body language of the participant in addition to obtaining a response.
When evaluating and getting ready to present the data, the researcher should not forget what the purpose has been all along. Also a general code of conduct and ethics should not be breached at any stage of the research as that would deem the study false.
PROPOSED RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND REPORTING
As the research has to kept bias free so it is important that the respondents are chosen at random from the targeted segment. The researcher should thus aim to distribute the questionnaires to people who can be counted on for providing the best possible response. For our study, prime focus would be UK residents. It will be this collected data which will be analysed and evaluated.
Since our study encompasses the whole UK market, so the researcher will aim to get 100 survey questionnaires by the residents of four main countries of the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). Each participant will be at complete liberty to refuse to participate in this survey, only after their consent would they be given a questionnaire to fill. Correct purpose of the study will be explained to them.
After all the data has been collected, it will then be analyzed and interpreted with the use of computing aids in order to be certain about the veracity of the study. These results will be compiled as a report in addition to study results, recommendations and conclusions. For the meeting this report will be presented along with a PowerPoint presentation.
PROPOSED RESEARCH SCHEDULE AND TIMING
This research will be conducted within an expected time duration of 7 weeks. In the initial weeks, the market research proposal will be composed. This step will involve the preliminary identification of factors influencing consumer behaviour namely, demographic, psychographic and behavioural factors, which will then be taken as the basis for the whole study.
Literature review will be a key component for this area as this will evaluate what needs to be researched. It will be during this literature review that the factors will be further sub divided into smaller facets to cover every aspect of consumer behaviour. During the 3rd week, quantitative and qualitative research study questionnaire will be designed. For this purpose first the merits and demerits of each form of study will have to be taken into consideration.
Then after the questionnaires are prepared, they will be distributed to the targeted segment of the population based on country wise division for UK market. It will be during the 4th and 5th week that the questionnaires will be filled and collected. Two week time is being allotted as the questionnaires will be divided over a large area so shipping to and forth will have to be accounted for.
In the 6th week the researcher will have to get down to the task of the evaluating the results. For this a systematic procedure of first entering the data into computing software and then retrieving the end result will be initiated. Computers are being used of this purpose to guarantee no or very insignificant discrepancies. Once the results are obtained they will be included in the study for the expert’s review and analysis.
As told earlier, informal interviews will also be conducted so that gain even better insight into the workings of consumer influences. These responses along with formal interview data collected will be also be added into the survey.
At the completion of all these steps, final evaluation will be carried out. This evaluation will incorporate elements from all the parts of the whole research proposal study, the purpose for this detailed study will be to avoid all forms of prejudice that might have seeped into the study at any step of the process. In the final 7th week, after the study is completed, final review will take place.
COST FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS AND BREAKDOWN
As the participants selected belong to four different countries therefore questionnaire filling will in itself be a long process. Mostly it takes a couple of days for the questionnaires to be filled but as the participants are over an extended area so for that we have projected a longer time duration.
During all this time various expenses will be incurred which have to be accounted from. Apart from the obvious transportation and telecommunications costs which are a part of every research schedule, other expenses are also to be considered. These other expenses can be listed under sundry expenses, comprising of paper and printing cost, food expenses. Also the volunteers will be given allowances for the services being offered.
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