Even if a company spends millions of dollars in conducting a marketing research, it does not guarantee that consumers will be attracted to the product being marketed. Marketing research should be conducted in a reliable manner. In the case of Coca-Cola Company, it carried out a market research involving 200, 000 respondents. From the quantitative market research, the company concluded that the sweeter tasting Coke was more preferred by consumers than the old brand. Contrary to the results obtained from the market research, there was a significant consumer backlash of the new product because they did not like it. Consumer interest in the new Coke declined remarkably. It is important to mention that the company spent 2 years and $4 million to conduct the quantitative market research. It is believed that taste tests did not follow appropriate methodologies. The brand loyalty and the sociological aspects of the new formula of Coke were also not taken into account by the company. These are some of the elements that an ordinary market research cannot gauge easily.
In terms of the research design, three different formulations were used by the Coke Company in order to taste the new Coke formula. Both Pepsi and the conventional Coke were related with the new Coke formula. However, only about 30,000-40,000 of the 200,000 respondents who participated in the survey tasted the new product. This was the main shortcoming of the data used. Worse still, respondents were not aware of what they tasted since nobody informed them. They were not aware that they tasted a new Coke formula that the company was planning to roll out into the market. As a result, the company made its judgment based on the 53% of consumers who preferred the new formula to the old one.
Another research design conducted by the company was a simple yes or no response to a set of questions. Hence, the deep-seated feelings of consumers were not obtained from the simple survey. This was yet another shortcoming in the quantitative research method.
Quantitative research should be the best marketing research method especially if conducted appropriately. For instance, it is capable of accommodating both small and large-scale surveys (Kotler & Keller, 2012). In addition, quantitative research method provides a lot of information. This can assist in making relevant and more accurate conclusions. The data obtained from the field can also be compiled into graphs or charts quite easily. On the other hand, a qualitative research method can significantly limit the researcher bearing in mind that the sample scope cannot permit external assumptions. Moreover, this research method accommodates surveys with small samples (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Worse still, qualitative research method does not allow statistical interpretation of data. Therefore, it is expected to be less accurate than quantitative research method. Needless to say, there may be particular situations when one approach is preferable to another. For instance, large scale surveys prefer quantitative method to qualitative approach.
In terms of advantages, a qualitative research method gives a clear picture of the market being targeted. The use of straightforward questions (such as how, why, which, when) allow the researcher to assess the nature of the market at a glance. In addition, a qualitative research method is relatively cheap compared to quantitative research (Greenley, Hooley & Saunders, 2004). In contrast, a quantitative market research is expensive and time consuming. The latter also requires expertise skills and knowledge in analyzing and interpreting large volumes of statistics. For example, a survey involving 200,000 respondents like the one carried out by the Coca Cola Company consumed a lot of time and financial resources.
Greenley, G., Hooley, G., & Saunders, J. (2004). Management processes in marketing planning. European Journal of Marketing, 38(8), 933-955.
Kotler, P., & Keller, K. (2012). Marketing management. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.