The Marketing Research Practices And Performance Of Fast Moving Consumer Goods Manufacturers In Kenya
Njagi Christopher, Njagi Christopher
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Not all attempts at measuring markets or consumers constitute marketing research. For such an attempt to qualify as marketing research, one must follow the scientific process and in this regard, marketing research is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about markets using scientific methods of data collection, analysis and insights generation for decision making. It is defined by the American Marketing Association as the function that links the consumer, customer and public to the marketer through information. As such, it involves specifying the problem, gathering data, the analyzing and interpreting those data to facilitate decision making. The origins of consumer research can be traced to the post world war 2 American economy and the need to understand buyer wants and needs. Currently, marketing research can be viewed from two philosophical angles; positivists and post-positivist views. It can also be broken down into problem finding and problem solving research. Any research that investigates the marketing research practices in Kenya will build into the body of knowledge in research. The objective of this study was to investigate the marketing research practices and performance of FMCGs in Kenya. It being a descriptive study, it utilized descriptive statistics to show correlation between certain FMCG characteristics and certain aspects of marketing research practices and organizational performance and therefore not to prove causation of performance by certain marketing research practices. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire, transcribed and coded into SPSS for analysis. The sample was selected purposively with an equal number of 20 MNCs and 20 Local companies totaling to a sample of 40 companies. The study found out that all FMCGs practiced at least one form of marketing research and that all FMCGs hold marketing research as a key determinant of organizational performance. However, FMCGs in different sub-industries prefer different research methods and different research providers because their sub-industries‟ characteristics demand different sets of KPIs. There was very little uptake of revolutionary research methods; online and mobile research, big data mining and open source research kits. However, traditional research methods have seen significantly greater uptake than in 1975 and 1996. Existing challenges have not prohibited the growth of marketing research and most FMCGs are of the view that there is no area in business which marketing research has no solutions for. Firms however need to diversify their research practices, and expand internal research capabilities by hiring more researchers to be in charge of research modeling, development and execution and work in tandem with marketers in implementing research insights. Academic institutions must adapt to the rapidly changing research landscape by training more students in new and upcoming research tools but most importantly, training more students in the ability to correctly generate actionable insights from any research tool in use. Research providers also need to be well aware of the realities, needs and trends of the clients businesses and by so doing come up with better models that will in a better way create solutions for their research problems. They must also be well aware that a majority of clients deem researchers as un-ethical and all in the field of research must work to transform this ignoble notion about research before any trust can be placed by clients to any creative solutions.
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