Market research entangles one of the essential activities that organisations conduct to garner information pertaining to their brand loyalties. In this research, marketing research is considered as “a systematic gathering, recording, and analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data about issues relating to marketing products and services” (Kotler & Armstrong 2007, p.56).
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The principal aim of executing these tasks is to ensure that a firm is able to note and evaluate them coupled with appraising the manner in which the various elements affiliated to market mix affect the conduct of the users. In the context of Deakin University, consumers are the service users who are largely the students.
However, the contexts to which the terms marketing research and market research are deployed in this paper are distinctive. Although more commonly used interchangeably, market research is related to markets. On the other hand, marketing research is related to marketing processes. According to Bradley (2007), marketing research is “the function that links the consumers, customers, and public to the marketer through information” (p.13).
Bradley (2007) further informs that these “ information is used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process” (p.13).
Consequently, marketing research is dedicated to delimitating a myriad of information that is vital for dealing with these enumerated issues, contriving various methods of garnering information, handling, and effecting of the data garnering processes coupled with conducting a thorough analysis of the results without negating communication of finding and implication of these findings.
Central to these concerns of marketing research, an immense need for determining the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns exists. In this end, the main objective of this paper is to provide a research proposal related to the effectiveness of the latest advertising campaign undertaken by Deakin University with regard to the new Deakin’s ‘worldly’ brand. The research is engineered to unveil the manner in which such a campaign is shifting the altitude of potential and the already existing students of Deakin University.
Purpose of the research
On 10 June 2012, Deakin University launched the inclusion of the word ‘worldly’ in its brand. This initiative is directly articulated to the university’s strategic plan of ‘live the future’. According to this plan, the university aims at remaining focused on two main guiding principles.
With regard to Deakin University Australia Worldly (2012) in the web page titled Building on Our Success, these are “to develop lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with rural and regional communities, in particular those in Geelong and Western Victoria and to offer an educational experience which will widen participation and support students from diverse backgrounds” (Para.1).
This infers that the university endeavours to enhance its reputation in a world of rapidly evolving technological sophistication via its visions of being distinctive and incredibly relevant institution of higher learning within the Australian landscape characterised by the competiveness desired for a higher learning institution in the wake of 21st century economy. Directly congruent with this argument, the university has been undergoing intensive change management.
Therefore, it is crucial that the institution determines the impacts produced by these changes, which are also reflected in its brand changes.
Any organisational change rests on the need to enhance and better success of the organisation in the uncertain future. If such changes are detrimental to this endeavour, then its better doing without them. In this extent, in an attempt to seek more success and recognition of the Deakin university capacity to deliver professionals who meet the market demand, the university includes the word ‘worldly’ in its brand.
The university’s executive director of marketing further explains this purpose. With regard to University Australia Worldly (2102), in the article what in the world is worldly, the director argues the need to integrate the world ‘worldly’ to brand of the university. “Although Deakin has always aspired to facilitate students to be open minded and world-ready when they leave the university, a time that the university showcases the skills to the world” (p.1).
Arguably, this means that the university endeavours to ensure that the potential employers become aware of the skills that the graduates of the university would bring to their organisations even before the graduates join the organisations.
What this would mean to the university is that it would gain more recognition among the potential clients in that it would be placing many students to employment opportunities. Nevertheless, it still remains questionable how probable would inclusion of the world ‘worldly’ in the university’s brand help in painting the new strategic plans in the minds of the existing and potential clients.
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In the attempt to provide a response to the above question, a research on the effectiveness of the campaigns launched by the university to create awareness and meaning of the brand changes is necessary. The focus of these campaigns is not only to the students but also to other stakeholders of the university.
This is evident based on the Deakin University Australia Worldly (2102) in the article What in the world is worldly which informs that, “a new advertising campaign was designed and launched to inform all Deakin’s stakeholders about the new worldly brand” (p.1). Should such campaigns be effective in orienting the focus of all parties involved in the management of the university and all other interest groups both the potential and the existing ones.
Then, it is likely that the institution would implement the changes in the management and remain compliant to its mission, aim, and objective statements. Thus, the chief purpose of this research is to provide information on the effectiveness of the new campaigns in shifting the attitude of both potential and existing students of the Deakin University to the Deakin executive director.
Type of study
Research methodology is accomplished in four main approaches. These are qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods (pragmatic approach), and emancipator approach (participatory or advocacy approach).
In this research, pragmatic approach is utilised. In the words of Freshwater, Sherwood, and Drury (2006), “pragmatic researchers grant themselves the freedom to use any of the methods, techniques and procedures typically associated with quantitative or qualitative research” (p.295). The freedom of choice of method depends on the researcher’s perception and evaluation of the methods that best suit the particular kind of research he or she is conducting.
Quantitative research is associated with paradigms of post-positivists or positivist. According to Eisner, “it involves collecting and converting data into numerical forms so that statistical calculations can be made and conclusions drawn” (1981, p.6). The process of accomplishing this research begins with laying out hypothesis. A methodology is then devised for garnering the information that is utilised in justifying the hypothesis.
To arrive at the conclusions, statistical analysis is required to reveal the differences, relationships, and associations between the variables utilised in the study. On the other hand, qualitative research is “usually associated with the social constructivist paradigm, which emphasises the socially constructed nature of reality” (Creswell 2008, p.45).
This type of research revolves around recording coupled with analysing and conducting an attempt to unveil the actual meaning and relevance of certain deeply ingrained human experiences and behaviours.
In this context, Rocco, Hatcher, and Creswell (2011) further inform that qualitative research is interested in “gaining a rich and complex understanding of people’s experience and not in obtaining information which can be generalised to other larger groups” (p.87). The focus of qualitative research is to come up with theories and or seek to look out for meaning patterns associated with the generated data in the research.
Definition of the target population
Any research is conducted for the benefit of some particular groups of people referred to as the target population. The target population of this research is the Deakin university students.
However, it is critical to note that due to resource disadvantages associated with a large population sizes “researches often cannot test every individual in the population because it is too expensive and time consuming” (Castillo 2009, Para.2). For this reason, this research relies incredibly on sampling in the attempt to make conclusions, which are then generalised to the entire population.
Sampling is conducted in research to mitigate the challenges associated with the need of conducting a census study in which every member of the population is studied. These challenges include money, effort for conducting research, and time. However, as Gauch (2003) notes, “every researcher must keep in mind that the ideal scenario is to test all individuals to obtain reliable, valid, and accurate results” (p.9).
Since the errors introduced by sampling techniques truncate to misleading data, it is essential to perform sampling properly. There are two main sampling techniques. These are probabilistic and non-probabilistic techniques. In probabilistic techniques, every member of the population has equal likelihood of being selected in the sample. Consequently, “this method guarantees that the selection process is completely randomised and without bias” (Bradley 2007, p.65).
One of the fundamental approaches of conducting a probability sampling is compiling the list of all identities of individuals, in a given population, in different papers followed by removing these papers one at a time until the desired sample size is obtained. Although, such an approach has the merit that the statistical method that would be adopted could end up being accurate for a study, in this research, it is found inappropriate.
This is because the university has a big population and hence compiling the lists of names of all students in every faculty would be time constraining. Additionally, the approach would exceed the available monetary resources available for conducting research. The alternative is to conduct a non-probability sampling.
In non-probabilistic sampling techniques, every member of the population has no equal opportunity or chance of being selected to comprise the sample utilised in the research. Stemming from this, Schwab (2009) argues, “it is not safe to assume that the sample fully represents the target population” (p.233).
Consequently, probability exists that people conducting research can deliberately make a choice of the members of the population that they want included in the sample. In the current research, these techniques are particularly significant since they are “usually employed in studies that are not interested in the parameters of the entire population” (Kotler & Armstrong 2007, p.34). They are also cheap, easy, and quick.
Consequently, they can fit well in the allocated financial resources since it can be funded within the limitations of the budget provided by the Deakin University. Precisely, convenient sampling is used in the current research (Black 1999, p.9). This decision is inspired by the fact that “if a researcher has plenty of time, funds, and workforce, he can opt to conduct the study using a completely randomised sample.
However, if the time, money, and workforce is limited, the research can opt to use convenience sampling” (Gauch 2003, p.12). Coincidentally, the current research happens to be constrained by time and financial resources. Although the work force may be recruited and readily available, financial resources available limit the number of people who can be recruited to conduct the research by deploying the total randomised approach.
The paper has established that the sampling technique that best suits this research is non-probabilistic and that the research will follow pragmatic methodology of research. Therefore, it becomes essential to determine the sample size required to obtain 0.95 confidence levels.
According to Black (1999), “0.95 confidence level is the industry standard” (p.99). Confidence level explains how precisely the sample size selected is a representation of the entire population. In this context, the sample size is selected such that the error margin is such that it is +/- 3 % at a 95% confidence level. For this level of confidence, the required sample size is 1000. Most important to note is that even though the sample size may be hiked to 2000, the resulting margin of error would decrease to 2%.
This means that doubling the human resource required in conducting the research would translate into a reduction in the margin of error to levels that are as acceptable as in the case of using 1000 as the sample size. On the other hand, reducing the confidence level to 0.90 implies that the sample size would reduce to 750. This is indeed a significant reduction in the level of confidence. Hence, the sample size of 1000 is a possible option.
The following budget is proposed for the study
|Item no.||Item name||Cost in U.S.D|
|1.||Students and staff refreshments during interviews||2000|
|3.||Staff transport allowance||7,000|
|4.||Staff wages and salaries||15, 000|
|10.||Data processing software||8000|
|TOTAL COST||73, 000|
Potential managerial benefits of the proposed study
The proposed study presents a myriad of benefits to the Deakin University. These benefits include.
- The research provides an immense opportunity for Deakin University to develop market for its new brand. Consequently, the university would make a subtle decision for the incorporation of the word ‘worldly’ in every aspect of students’ affairs. This is crucial in case the research reveals that such an inclusion can induce the capacity of students to adopt a similar view of the enrichment of the university’s strategic plans that the word produces in the eyes of the management.
- The research results would facilitate Deakin University to profile services and products it produces with the existing and potential students needs. This is particularly significant since in any organisation, the management has a noble role to orient all its resources to meet the needs and demands of its service and products consumers, in this case being the students. Apparently, without the students, Deakin University would cease to exist.
- The results of the study would also be immensely vital in ensuring that the campaign to market Deakin’s new strategic plans to woe more enrolment advances more effectively. This is because “Research enables advertising to be tested during a campaigns development or prior to launch to ensure its effectiveness, and after launch to measure the success of the media used” (Kinnear & Root 1988, p.12). In this context, the university would save incurring costs of spending on campaigns that may turn out detrimental to its success. Therefore, the research proposal would facilitate testing of the new product ideas before full launch to the market.
- Conducting a market research on the capacity of the alteration of the brand of Deakin University is critical in enhancing and “providing objective explanation for success and failure of the market” (Kinnear & Root 1988, p.14). Deakin University aims at ensuring that it provides competitive products to market, which meets the demands of the existing technological sophistication. What this means is that the organisation also needs to paint a differing image that is in turn constructed in the minds of students whenever they see an advertisement running concerning the programs offered at the university. In a dynamic environment, it is desired that the potential student community see in its mind a dynamic institution, which changes its policies and programs to suit the emerging needs of the market. For the university to be satisfied that the new branding is capable of helping it to achieve this endeavour, it is necessary that the research be conducted on the existing students so that the results can be projected in the future.
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