Intercontinental Marketing Investigations, Inc.
Research Methods

Primary Consumer - Primary Industrial Research Primary Consumer & Industrial Research

Qualitative Research encompasses a variety of different research techniques, and usually involves smaller sample sizes than quantitative investigations. Qualitative research is used at several levels:
  • Consumer level = to develop hypotheses about target populations at which products and services are aimed.
  • Trade level = to understand possible attitudinal and behavioral trends among manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and others involved in the marketing chain.
  • Corporate level = for example, among employees to investigate the client's own systems, resources, operational efficiencies, internal policies, etc.
A few examples of qualitative research are:
  • Focus Groups: Discussion sessions comprised of 8 to 12 participants, lead by an experienced and trained (consumer/industrial psychologist) moderator. The moderator follows an outline jointly prepared by the moderator and the client, to cover the broadest potential scope of the problem area. As topics are presented, spontaneous comments are allowed to occur. Then the moderator probes with direct questions as necessary. Sessions last from one to two hours on average. At least two sessions are conducted on a given problem, because of small samples included in this technique.
  • One-on-One Interviews: Interviews involve one interviewer and one respondent in an isolated environment. They may be more tightly structured than focus groups and make use of a questionnaire rather than an outline, but not necessarily so. This approach facilitates gathering individually processed information from respondents, avoiding group effects present in discussion sessions.
Quantitative Research
As with qualitative research, there are many techniques involved in quantitative studies. However, the difference is that with the quantitative approach, one has the ability to draw conclusions projectable to the marketplace, and to test for significant differences between market segments or competing products and services.

Examples of quantitative studies include awareness, image, and usage projects, market segmentation studies, problem detection, market opportunities exploration, continuous tracking, customer satisfaction surveys, concept and product viability testing, corporate imagery, etc.

The general approach to quantitative studies involve the steps indicated in the following chart:

Steps in the Research Process

Establishing a baseline Secondary / Desk Research

Secondary or desk research involves acquisition of existing and published information on a given subject, which is gathered by database search, library search, contact with the government, trade associations, private industry, special interest groups, and any other relevant sources. Typically this information is fairly general, and not always current. However, it often provides a good foundation for approaching the market and developing primary research strategies in a more informed fashion than would otherwise be possible.

Gaging the mood of the consumer market Marketing Consulting

With broad based experience in consumer, commercial, industrial, and socioeconomic markets, IMI Inc. has worked extensively in the following industries: automotive, beverage, children's products, chemicals, clothing, computer, energy, entertainment, financial services, foods, health care, health/beauty/hygiene, law/legal issues, manufacturing, medical hardware, pharmaceutical, publications, real estate, restaurant/fast food/supermarket, politics, retail/chain/franchise merchandising, sports, telecommunications, zoological and others.

Our extensive knowledge and experience in these areas often enables us to avoid the need to do research, or to limit the amount of required research, by working with our clients to apply both common sense and existing marketing expertise in developing future marketing and communications strategies.

Conducting Social Research
Social Research

Social research involves government and private interest group sponsorship to explore the dynamics of various aspects of a perceptions, attitudes/values and behavior which relate to man's interaction with man, rather than directly with products or services. However, the latter may be involved in understanding the social dynamics of a given community.

Examples of social research in clude Community Redevelopment Programs, Public and Political Opinion Polls, Ballot Proposition Pre-testing, Community Outreach Planning Studies, Tourism and others.

Marketing - Political Research Political Research

Political studies are completed for government agencies, candidates running for office, and private special interest groups at all levels - federal, state, city and community. They generally involve representative samples of registered voters, and are completed within a very tight time frame, usually by telephone or Internet. They can be both qualitative quantitative in nature.

Individual in-depth interviews or focus groups are used to isolate the range of possible viewpoints which might exist in the voter population, determine the language used to discuss them, and understand the "hot buttons" or motivating factors which drive opinions and behavior. They also permit exploration of alternative or modified communications about the poltical candidates and issues to determine potential impact.

Quantitative work then tests they hypotheses formed in the prevous stage of research, to determine reliably the extent to which specific communications or concepts will be accepted or rejected, as well as the reason for their appeal or lack of same.

Examples of studies include predicting and understanding voter trends for candidates and ballot propositions (polling), public service and paid political announcement/proporition testing in the various media and establishing the hierarchy of relevant values in the voting population which may be involved in current issues.

Marketing - Sports and Entertainment Research Sports & Entertainment Research

Our history with entertainment research dates back to the early 1960's with early development of techniques involving in-theater testing of movies, television shows and commercials, as well as laboratory testing of printed material using eye cameras and tachistoscopes, and eventually on-air studies.

In more recent years, we have focused heavily on the studies relating to Infomercials, applying qualitative techniques to aid in their development and quantitative techniques to tracking their penetration and effectiveness.

With the onset of the Internet age, we became involved with Web Site development and testing in both the entertainment and commercial product areas.

International Research

International capabilities of I.M.I. Inc. mirror those involved in its domestic activities. We are unique in having first-hand experience in more than 50 countries where we have completed both primary and secondary research programs. The President of IMI Inc. has personally traveled to these countries to meet and work with our foreign counterparts.

Most areas of the world do have existing reputable marketing research field operations which are used as an extension of I.M.I.'s resources. It is essential to utilize the service of these foreign nationals in isolating legal requirements for marketing products and services abroad, and to understand the unique sociological, psychological and physical components of other cultures.

Our first-hand knowledge and experience in dealing with hundreds of international research suppliers and active participation in world-wide professional research organizations such as E.S.O.M.A.R., The World Trade Association and others establish our company's uncommon worldwide capabilities.

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