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The Importance of Market Research for Opal Aged Care

Market research can be referred to as efforts dedicated towards collecting information on target markets and competitors, initiated by an organization. There are some very important beliefs in regard to market research and these beliefs happen to drive the core marketing research process on the basis of sequential steps. It is generally believed that market research is based on three fundamental processes namely gathering information, recording the gathered information and analyzing the same. The main objectives of the above mentioned three processes are recognition of opportunities and threats, measurement of consumer attitudes and behaviors and benchmarking (YouTube, 2014). These marketing research beliefs can be used by Opal Aged Care for assessing the future demands of aged care services in context to impacts of population aging, increasing diversity of older generations and status of availability of aged health care services in the industry.

Primary research technique involves collection of information via surveys conducted through telephone, email, post mail, fax or direct interview with the industry specific interest groups. In Opal Aged Care, primary research aids in gaining information regarding the changing needs and requirements of the aged clients so as to make suitable alternations in the products and services delivered.

Secondary research involves collection of information from sources like internet, books, journals or articles. Secondary research aids in getting information regarding recent developments in Aged Care Services that are capable of altering and increasing the demands of the clients. Opal Aged Care can use this information to bring relevant modifications in services and promoting the same in the form of a new version (YouTube, 2013).

At Opal Aged Care, critical information is provided by market research and this information aid in formulation and implementation of market strategy. It also aids in understanding the opportunities that the company can capitalize upon to attain, retain and satisfy the target market. The uses of marketing research at Opal Aged care takes increases to a great extent when the company uses the theory of SWOT analysis in market research (YouTube, 2014).

  Strengths

  Weaknesses

  Dependency rate is increasing

  Reduction in accommodation costs has increased the demands for the services.

  Good competitive advantage in form of superior service quality at

  reasonable prices.

  Complexities due to involvement of multiple agencies and governmental  

   departments.

  The existing programs are not sufficiently capable of considering the

   changing needs and preferences.

  Opportunities

  Threats

  Large and well diverse client base.

  Government subsidies have increased.

  Increasing support from different non government organizations.

  Increasing support from various government bodies.

  Frequent changes in funding and regulatory mechanisms.

  Frequent changes in needs and preferences of clients.

  Control policies of the government in the form of competition control and

  customer choice control.

The above stated SWOT analysis fulfils the fundamental reasons of conducting market research. Opal Aged Care can confirm long term market sustainability by understanding its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats so that proper initiatives can be taken to ensure efficiency and long term service provision ability.

The marketing research process of Opal Aged Care consists of five important steps. In the first step, collection of data on the dynamics of target market and competitor activities are collected through primary and secondary research. The second step is data processing that involves, scanning through the data, retraining relevant data, cancelling out useless data and systematically arranging the same to convert it into relevant information. The third step involves analysis of the data so as to understand the implications of the same (Whatismarketresearch.com, 2014). Data analysis aids in coming to verdict about whether or not the aims and objectives of the research have been fulfilled. The fourth step is called information evaluation in which the results of the research are crossed checked so as to ensure that they are correct and effective.

Primary Research Methods for Opal Aged Care

Aged care is associated with delicate quality and cost effective services. Formulations of questions needs to consider the fact that the demand side of the aged care market is facing emerging challenges and the companies like Opal Aged care that are operating in this industry should know the ways to overcome these challenges (Whatismarketresearch.com, 2013). Therefore, the market research question of Oval Aged Care tries to find out answers to

  • Who the target audiences are?
  • What are the needs and wants of the market?
  • Which are the potential areas?
  • What type of distribution channel is suitable?
  • What are the reasons for which the products or services will be sold?
  • Who are the competitors?
  • How to increase attractiveness of the services?
  • What can be the best strategy for competitive advantage?

Three cases have been identified where market research can be used so as to understand the probability of getting success in that specific context. Firstly, Oval aged care can use market research to find out the viability of its business in case it wants to geographically expand in a foreign country. Secondly, if the company perceives that its services are superior than that of the its competitors, then it can conduct a market research to know whether the customers perceptions are similar or different (Whatismarketresearch.com, 2012). The third condition is where the company estimates that launching a new service is viable only when the same increase profit by 12% and thus the company wants a market survey to know whether the new service can actually increase the profits by 12%.

Opal Aged Care knows the fact that improved medical technology has increased human longevity to a great extent and there is a huge demand for aged care services due to this increased longevity. To respond to this increasing trend, the company focuses on future to improve upon its marketing research techniques. It has been realized on the part of the company that it has to build up its future market research on the pillars of planning, designing, formulation, user experience, strategy, innovation and marketing (YouTube, 2014). This will aid the company to understand opportunities of market expansion in terms of services, geographical existence, changing requirements and changing challenges.

With increasing pressure on the supply side to be more responsive, flexible and efficient, the company has decided to add many important elements in the process of market research to be executed in future. These additional features are market tracking, brand equity research, eye tracking, name testing, decision process assessment, concept testing, demand estimation and copy testing (Emanuel and Fruchey, 2007). The company anticipates that aged people will be in high need to access a lot of services to stay independent in the community. Moreover, the rate of quick shifting from one service to the other will also be more prevalent. As a result of this the future marketing researches of Opal Aged Care will include the concepts of customer SAT, marketing effectiveness, internet strategic intelligence, positioning, research, mystery shopping, online panel research, viral marketing, segmentation and crowd sourcing (YouTube, 2014).

In this section, market survey and sampling method of Opal Aged care have been highlighted in details so as to understand the methods or techniques that are applied by the company to fulfill the aims and objectives of the marketing researches.

The aged population of UK is large and dispersed. Therefore, a small but relevant portion of the aged population is approached to conduct the survey and get the results quickly. In general, 1/10th of the total aged population of UK is used as a sample (YouTube, 2014). The reasons behind choosing such a proportion of the entire population as sample are that sampling error comes down below the acceptable limit and reasonable numbers of subsets are available. Moreover, time and resources available for conduction of a market research are limited most of the times and a small sample aids in coping up with such sort of limitations.

Secondary Research Methods for Opal Aged Care

Opal aged care uses both probability and non probability sampling for conducting different marketing surveys as per specific requirements. Probability sampling uses statistical methods. The chances of involvement in the survey are equal for each member of the population.

Mainly two types of probability sampling is used but the company namely, simple random sampling and stratified sampling. In simple random sampling, sample is selected from manual or computer generated list of random numbers and every member of the list have equal chances of selection (YouTube, 2014). In stratified sampling, the population is divided in to strata mainly as per age group. For example, 40% of the total sample may contain people belonging to the age group of 60 to 75 years and the rest 60% 75 to 90 years. The criteria of division are taken in such a way that they are internally homogeneous and easily distinguishable from other strata. Criteria based division aids in framing the sample and aids in relating to the major topics of the sample. Moreover, stratification aids in increasing the efficiency of representation thereby reducing sampling error.

On the other hand, in non probability sampling, selection of sample is done with the aid of non random techniques and human judgment. The company uses non probability sampling in the form of quota sampling. In quota sampling, the interviewer chooses people who pass a particular criterion such as a particular age group or sex. The quotas are often linked such as women belonging to the age group of 60 to 75 or men belonging to the age group of 75 to 90. Quota samples are good representatives of population but estimation of sampling error is very difficult.

A questionnaire can be referred to as a research tool or instrument that comprises of a number of questions and used for the purpose of information collection from respondents (Converse and Presser, 1986). There are mainly two types of questionnaires namely descriptive questionnaire and analytical questionnaire. Descriptive questionnaire is used to collect detailed and in-depth information from the respondents in light to their, views, experiences and perceptions. On the other hand, analytical questionnaire is used to find out relationship between two variables.

As far as Opal Aged Care under consideration is concerned, there are a lot of factors that are taken into account in the process of formation of the survey questionnaire. The company keeps this mind that the respondents are mainly aged people and thus tries to keep the questionnaire framework easy and sample (Cook, 1983). The factors considered by the company are questionnaire administration, questionnaire design, type of response and questionnaire lay out.

Opal Aged Care uses mainly descriptive questionnaire for conducting its market survey (Suskie, 1996). In addition to this, the company’s self administered questionnaire involves online questionnaire and interview type questionnaire involves telephone interviews and face to face interviews. In the process of designing the questionnaires, the factors that are kept in mind on the part of the company are attributes, experiences, behaviors, respondent knowledge and opinions (YouTube, 2014). The questions are designed in such a way that both open and closed ended answers can be obtained. This is because open ended answers are helpful in gaining detailed information and closed ended answers aids in reducing wastage of time where detailed information is not required. As far as layout of the questionnaire is concerned, it consists of clear instructions, meaningful sequence and transitional statements so that it becomes easier for the respondents to understand and interpret what has been asked to them and how they should proceed to answer the questions (YouTube, 2014).

References

Brace, I. (2008). Questionnaire design. 1st ed. London: Kogan Page.

Converse, J. and Presser, S. (1986). Survey questions. 1st ed. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

Cook, J. (1983). Survey of marketing programs in long-term care/residential homes for the aged, Greater Cincinnati, Ohio Area. 1st ed.

Emanuel, P. and Fruchey, I. (2007). Biological detectors. 1st ed. [Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.]: Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.

Suskie, L. (1996). Questionnaire survey research. 1st ed. Tallahassee, Fla.: Association for Institutional Research.

Whatismarketresearch.com, (2014). What is Market Research | An Informative Knowledge Base.

YouTube, (2014). Future of Marketing Research.mp4.

YouTube, (2014). Marketing Briefs: What is Market Research?.

YouTube, (2014). Sampling. Part 2 of 2 on Surveys and Sampling.

YouTube, (2014). What is a Questionnaire?.

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