Pitfalls in Marketing Research


Abstract: Marketing research may sometimes collect invalid data, especially when interpreting the work of focus groups,
assessing consumers’ preferences or predicting consumers’ future behavior. In such cases, caution is needed to use appropriate
research methods and to carefully interpret the data.

Challenges of Market Research

Research in the shopping-center field usually falls into three major categories: (1) real estate investment, (2) site location and (3) marketing. By far, the vast majority of research projects are about marketing: studies designed to collect data about consumers—both customers and non-customers—in their day-to-day interactions with the mall.

Marketing directors usually face tough issues: correctly positioning the shopping center in the Market space, keeping customers satisfied, putting the right focus on advertising efforts and many other importante challenges that are vital to the success of the center. Where as many consumer characteristics–such as frequency of mall visits, total spending and demographic profiles–are easily assessable, many other characteristics of interest are intangible constructs involving complex measurements. Some of the most important aspects of consumer behavior cannot be directly measured. Direct, clear-cut questions may not yield valid answers in all situations.

Despite the high risk of invalidity, managers may accept any information at face value simply because it was obtained through marketing research that they commissioned. The purpose of this article is to identify a few pitfalls in marketing research projects. It focuses on
three validity-threatening factors that are often overlooked: (1) the illusion of seeing consumers’ “reality” through research; (2) the belief that consumers are able to accurately tell what they want; and (3) the belief that consumers are able to accurately predict their future behavior...

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