THE RESEARCH PROCESS
conduct market research?
research plays an important part in the success of the most effective
stations. Just guessing what listeners are thinking or how they perceive
the strengths and weaknesses of your programming and fund raising
can lead to missed opportunities and costly mistakes. Research from
a professional, impartial company translates listener opinions and
market realities into actionable data for your station. The result
is increased audience service and greater financial stability.
Arbitron and AudiGraphics only tell part of the story
and AudiGraphics are valuable research tools that every station should
utilize. But they primarily provide answers about how
listening has changed - they reveal relatively little about why
listening has changed.
example, if a station experiences consistent tune out at the beginning
of a locally-produced music program, it could be caused by a number
Is hearing from listeners enough?
only on incidental contact with listeners can be misleading. Letters,
phone calls, and e-mail from listeners are wonderful - but they
are not research! Usually, the listeners who contact your station
are polarized - either they love or hate something about your programming.
In reality, most listener's opinions are somewhere between these
than the limited, anecdotal perspective that these contacts can provide,
market research accurately reveals the thoughts and motivations of
your target listeners on neutral ground, where you set the agenda.
Research leads to better understanding of listener [or potential listener]
behavior and perceptions. Research helps eliminate risk, increases
the likelihood of success, and identifies actionable opportunities
that may otherwise have gone uncovered.
How do you get started on a research project?
most basic step in the research process is deciding what you need
to know. This is sometimes not as easy as it sounds. Market Trends
Research recommends beginning with individual and/or group brainstorming
sessions. Suspending judgment for a moment, write down everything,
no matter how large and small, that would help in achieving your objectives.
Sometimes this is easier to do in several sessions a few days apart.
If your station finds that an outside facilitator would be helpful
in this process, Market Trends Research is available to lead these
individual and group brainstorming activities.
second step is selecting the target audience(s) for the research.
Depending on the topic and methodology, the target could be defined
by gender, age, geography, core or fringe audience, occupation, or
any number of other factors.
Trends Research will be pleased to discuss the various options in
selecting the target audience(s) for your research project.
Deciding on the Research Methods
most direct way to determine the appropriate research methods is to
first think about the conclusion of the study. When the research has
been completed, will it be imperative to have:
results that are statistically valid, [i.e. "67% of core
listeners and 41% of fringe listeners approve of our recent weekend
in-depth knowledge about how and why listeners believe and behave
as they do equally or more important [i.e. "The main reasons
that some heavy listeners do not support the station is because they
think the university provides most of the operating budget, or they
are turned off by long pledge breaks."]
ARE BOTH EQUALLY IMPORTANT?
numerical results are critical, a survey is the recommended research
method. Surveys are quantitative research, excellent at determining
how many and what percentage of persons feel a certain way. They are
not as adept at determining why those attitudes, feelings, and behaviors
exist, and how to change them.
a deep understanding of attitudes, feelings, and behavior is crucial,
qualitative research [such as focus groups or individual interviews]
is recommended. It highlights the human dimension or beliefs and decision-making.
While surveys more accurately reflect the rational mind, focus groups
bring out the emotions and the thought process involved in forming
attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
stations find that they benefit from both types of information and choose
to include both quantitative and qualitative research in their plans.
course it is not necessary for your station to select the kind of
research it requires. Market Trends will work closely with you to
help determine your objectives and select the research methods that
are most appropriate for your requirements and budget.
Trends Research Incorporated
© 2000-2009 Market Trends Research Inc.