AVCE Marketing

As part of our marketing assignment we looked into the market of bottled water. We chose this market as the school has started a healthy living campaign and have introduced water vending machines. The school is trying to promote the drinking of bottled water as there are many health benefits in doing so. Yet how did bottled water become such a phenomenon?After all, it appears to be little more than glorified tap water, daintily repackaged to fit the needs of disgruntled dieters everywhere, mislead by twenty-first century media scare tactics like ‘your breath will stink if you don’t chew Extra’ for example, or ‘your dieting is in vain if you don’t drink bottled water’ – the Atkins diet could be to blame for the sudden explosion in tap water. Companies have capitalised on this increased interest, and to ensure maximum profit, Market Research is essential.Market research is the collecting of data, the aim of which is to understand better what is happening in the marketing place, as the marketing department of a firm needs to know about consumer’s views and economic trends.

It could also include information about rival companies’ products. If businesses didn’t use it, introducing new products would be in vain. Take for instance if a company brought out a line of contemporary moustache combs.

There would be little or no market for them nowadays, compared to the 1970’s/80’s at least. So to keep in line, many businesses aspire to the ‘four P’s’ method:> Product> Price> Place> Promotion- Getting the mix right is essential to the possible success of a new product.Primary data is data that you have gathered yourself, whereas secondary data is somebody else’s data that you use.

Field, or primary research is when new data is obtained for a specific purpose, this can be provided by the marketing department of a firm. Data is usually gathered by surveys, (face-to-face, telephone, or by post.) An advantage of field research is that the firm can have control over the whole process, and it can be more effective, but it does take longer and will cost the firm more. The method of research I will be using will be by giving out questionnaires, as it is a quicker and easier method than the alternatives.

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However, when working in a school, the main focus will be sampling. With survey targets being in classrooms/age groups, it makes sampling a lot easier.Two main types of data are collected by market research; these are quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative is generally numerical data such as statistics whereas qualitative data is people’s ideas and opinions. Qualitative research is often used to investigate reasons why people buy a certain product. Group discussions (also known as focus groups) are the main way of collecting qualitative data whereas quantitative data is collected in simple questionnaires / surveys.It would be impossible for a company to ask every single person in a specific market or even all of its customers so instead a sample is chosen. The purpose of a sample is to represent a large group of people with a smaller group of people, there are many advantages of using a sample: Saves time, labour and money.

Below are the types of samples:Random: Everyone has an equal chance of being picked.Systematic: Every Nth person within a group is chosen.Cluster: People are chosen from a specific area.Quota: Sample is selected on the basis of the characteristics of customer profile.Stratified: Choosing people from a specific group in the population.It is important with sampling that enough people are chosen to give confidence in the result. A sample size can be as low as 100 but obviously the more people asked, the more accurate the result obtained is.

Errors that may occur due to incorrect sampling may be caused by using the wrong type of sample or out of date statistics. Other errors may be due to questionnaire design or data analysis.It is important that a questionnaire is carefully thought about and designed properly to obtain accurate data. Below are some rules for creating questionnaires:Clarify the purpose of the enquiry.The questions should be clear and easy to understand.

Avoid leading questions.The questionnaire should follow a sequence and have a clear structure.The questionnaire is going to be made up of around 8 or 9 questions, and in it, it will include questions such as,”Where do you buy your water?””How much do you spend on water per week?””Is water your preferred drink now?””Is drinking water really healthy?”Of course these are only example questions and I would expect to have varied them a little in my final questionnaire.To start of compiling my questionnaire I firstly drew up a rough page of ideas then begun work on Microsoft Pin point. Here I was able to lay down a question, and provide boxes for the reader to tick. I decided that a basic lay out was needed, so I ended up having a page with a border around, inset was the text of questions asking pupils about bottled water. The questionnaire had various different changes to be made, mostly because of the amount of space to provide for pupils to give their own ideas. Also the font was changed quite a bit from the original.

After all the nit picking my questionnaire was finally ready, the next stage was the sampling. I decided that random selection was the fairest method so I randomly picked out two boys, and two girls from each class and stopped when I had reached a desired total. I handed them out to the selected people. Each of them filled out the questionnaire and gave it back to me. I then programmed all of my results into the computer.In order to get a clear view of each opinion I decided that graphs, pie charts would be the fastest and easiest way to access the information. All graphs and a copy of the questionnaire are printed on separate pages.

There are 3 graphs in total, the first graph is outlining the most popular flavour of water, graph two is outlining the most popular brand of water and the final graph is showing the results for how often water is drunk/purchased by the pupils of Castlederg high school. Overall there were no surprising results.From my graphs the results are as follows:Top 3 most popular brands: Riverrock, Ballygowan, and Classic. The inclusion of Classic, a third-party brand, would usually be of surprise but this is merely due to the fact that it is the most readily available brand of water in the school, along with tap. The fact that other inexpensive brands like supermarket brand water don’t rate highly further backs this claim.

So it appears that the brand name water is the most popular, either because of taste or promotional muscle behind them. Probably the latter.Where students buy their water: tuck shop (6), canteen (5), shop (4), tap (1).

These results surprised me, because considering there is drinkable tap water in school, only 1 opted for it, people favouring the nearest shop instead! The tuck shop and canteen are quite even, because they are the most accessible places to find water. The tuck shop won, however, because of a larger selection of flavoured water too.How much water is consumed per week: as expected, no pupil drinks 7 bottles of water per week, yet I was surprised to find that so many drink water during every school day! The majority drank 1-3 bottles per week, however.Secondary Research is the use of existing, already collected data. This could be anything from Department of Trade and Industry reports to a company’s sale statistics. Also company reports, government statistics, and surveys published by research organisations can be used as secondary sources of information. Desk research is quicker and less expensive than field research, but findings are not necessarily accurate or always relevant to your product. It can be obtained from both internal and external sources:Internal – information that is already held within the organisation such as> Databases of computers> Sales invoices> Complaint letters> Sales information> Financial informationExternal – internal needs to be put into context, since on its own it simply provides a snapshot of an organisation – nothing about how effective its performance is relative to that of its competitors, nor how the business could be threatened by these competitors.

External information is by far the most popular source of marketing information, and in many instances it is sufficient to find the answer to market research questions. The different forms of external research are> Government statistics> Media> The internet> Market research companies such as key note, retail business> Market surveysThe method of secondary research I have used is generally external. After seeing the performance and popularity of third-party brands like Classic succeeding in school, I wanted to find what the most popular bottled water was on an international scale, and did so using the internet and different company’s websites. While being joint fourth on my research, Evian (a subsidiary of Danone) is the leading bottled water worldwide.

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