Currently, the importance of marketing and its solutions in the daily activities of companies is beyond doubt. Marketing departments in organizations of various sizes and fields of activity are beginning to play a crucial role along with production and financial departments. Enterprises spend enormous resources on promoting goods and services, attracting new customers, and conquering new market segments. In this regard, the management inevitably faces the question of evaluating the effectiveness of marketing decisions made. During the heyday of marketing, many different methods were formed in science that allows evaluating the effectiveness of marketing decisions made. These paths form two large groups: the first includes quantitative methods, the second – qualitative methods.
Research Philosophies and its Relation to Deductive and Inductive Methods
Among the general logical methods of cognition, the most common are deductive and inductive methods. It is known that deduction and induction are the essential types of inferences that play a massive role in the process of obtaining new knowledge based on deduction from previously obtained ones. In the article under study, the authors resort to a deductive approach. This method involves a study in which a conceptual or theoretical structure is developed and then tested by empirical observation. Thus, from general conclusions come specific cases (Woiceshyn & Daellenbach, p. 5). In their paper, Le et al. (2018) borrow the SIP concept as a theoretical basis for the development of a four-stage structure in which determinants determine the perception of comments on sWOM products using an intermediate mechanism, thereby achieving and increasing the effectiveness of marketing in social networks (Le et al., 2018). Thus, this work tests the applicability of the SIP theory in the social word of mouth (sWOM).
The disadvantages of using a deductive approach in research may be that it is often difficult to bring each case under one rule. In addition, it is not used for the discovery of new laws and phenomena and the formulation of hypotheses. It should be added that the use of one method increases the risk of making false conclusions. Deductive approach can also be beneficial in qualitative researches (Pearse, 2019, p. 268). Therefore, when conducting research, in order to obtain more effective results, it is still necessary to use both inductive and deductive methods.
Use of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
Quantitative research is generally defined as carrying different surveys established on the implementation of organized closed-type surveys, where answers are given by a large amount if participants. The characteristic features of such studies are: the distinctly set layout of the gathered information and the sources of their reception, the handling of the gained data is realized using prescribed procedures, mostly quantitative. The purpose of quantitative research is to obtain and analyze reliable data subject to comprehensive statistical processing. Quantitative studies allow verifying the reliability of consumer opinions identified in the course of qualitative studies. They are conducted using surveys using statistical sampling methods, observations, and experiments.
Quantitative methods are often used to assess the expected effectiveness of marketing decisions since they are more accurate and are based on specific quantitative indicators. In order to quantify the effectiveness of a planned marketing event, it is necessary, first of all, to formulate the goals correctly. For this purpose, the SMART goal setting technique is used, according to which goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and defined in time. If the goal is formulated quantitatively, it is easy to check its achievement level by correlating the profit from implementing a marketing solution with the costs of this event – this is efficiency.
However, the result of a marketing decision cannot always be described by quantitative indicators. Often, the actual results of the event give an effect that goes beyond the cause-and-effect patterns. In such cases, the use of quantitative methods may be limited by the following reasons:
- marketing processes are not linear;
- the presence of threshold effects (for example, the minimum level of sales promotion);
- interaction and mutual influence of variables and factors of marketing activity, marketing relationships change over time (changing tastes, habits of customers);
- the complexity of a direct, unambiguous assessment of a marketing problem.
All these shortcomings are designed to eliminate qualitative methods for evaluating the future effectiveness of marketing solutions. These methods are aimed at obtaining the most complete and detailed information about the object of study. The difference between qualitative and quantitative methods is that they do not focus on statistical estimates and measurements but are based on the understanding, interpretation, and interpretation of empirical data. These research methods include in-depth interviews, focus groups, projection methods. Each method has both advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into account when choosing a qualitative research method. Nevertheless, it is necessary not to ignore the interviewers, who should have a high level of professional skills. Applying these methods in practice will allow the company to draw a conclusion about the ways of distributing its own and competing goods, checking how the market accepts new products, and how effectively the sales service works.
Comparing quantitative and qualitative methods, it is worth noting a specific pattern. The overall effectiveness of marketing activities is more often described qualitatively – as a combination of all the activities of the marketing complex. On the other hand, it is possible to quantify the effectiveness of individual components of marketing actions: customer loyalty, consumer behavior characteristics, the effectiveness of an advertising campaign, and internal marketing.
In the article under study, the authors make an attempt to study the factors of predicting the perception of information about products through social networks from a person to another person. The main aspect was chosen by the method of field research, and a survey was conducted with the participation of 408 people. The advantages of the survey methods are standardization, due to the fact that all respondents are asked the same questions with the same answers to them and simplicity since it is not necessary to visit the respondents, there is the possibility of conducting an online survey, there is no need to use technical means and attract highly qualified professionals. In addition, it is possible to conduct in-depth analysis due to the use of consecutive clarifying questions and the possibility of tabulating and conducting statistical analysis using mathematical statistics methods and corresponding statistical packages for personal computers.
The survey for the study was conducted in an online format on the Facebook platform. It is the largest and the most influential social media platform around the globe, and more than half of respondents access this site each day (Le et al., 2018, p. 6). Moreover, students involved in the study were invited to take part in the survey. This was done because young students make up most Facebook users, and they are an important e‐shopping segment.
One of the difficulties that a researcher who uses survey methods faces is ensuring the reliability of the data obtained. Besides, the vital danger to data quality in online surveys is careless response (Ward and Meade, 2018, p.231). The information that the interviewee receives is subjective since it depends on the degree of sincerity of the respondent, his ability to adequately assess his actions and personal qualities, and other people’s current events. Therefore, it is better to compare the data obtained as a result of the survey with the data obtained by other methods, such as experiment, observation, analysis of documentation.
The qualitative research methods used in this article include the collection and analysis, interpretation of data by observing what people say and do. Azungah mentioned that “the qualitative approach highlights “contextual understanding” with an emphasis that researchers usually seek to understand the “behavior, values, beliefs, and so on in terms of the context in which the research is conducted” (2018, p.383). The advantages of this method are lower costs for conducting, assistance in identifying hidden motives for purchases and people’s behavior and deducing some characteristics that may be hidden during quantitative analysis.
Research design is a structure that was created to find answers to research questions. The chosen method will affect the results and how the results will be made. It is almost impossible to start a research project without a proper research design. The primary function of the research plan is to make sure that the information collected during the study clearly answers the initial question and is an essential aspect regarding bias (Bloomfield and Fisher, 2019, p. 27). In other words, the final results and conclusions of the study should correspond to the research objectives selected at the beginning of the study.
In contradistinction to general research, descriptive type is also directed at determining not only common but standard marketing features. This type of study looks at the characteristics of a population; identifies problems that exist within a unit or a population (Siedlecki, 2020, p. 8). Descriptive research is a more complex type of sociological analysis that allows making a relatively holistic view of the phenomenon under study, its structural elements; that is, it determines whether there is a connection between the characteristics of the phenomenon under study.
Online research has its strengths and weaknesses, which allow assessing the feasibility of its application in research practice. Often, researchers highlight their efficiency and the ability to save research resources and finances compared to traditional methods as their advantages (Toepoel, 2017, p. 184). As for efficiency, it is noted that the time and speed of filling out questionnaires is one and a half times higher than by e-mail. Online questionnaires also give the opportunity to researchers to gather a larger, diverse and more motivated number of potential participants (Dewaele, 2018, p. 269). However, it is obvious that these indicators are specific to a particular region, so it is likely that the general culture of surveys, as well as the level of internalization of the country, affects the speed.
This study has several limitations that may affect further work on the chosen topic. First, the study touches on a rarely discussed problem and serves as a groundbreaking attempt in the social word of mouth. It can be defined as “informal communications directed at other consumers about the usage or characteristics of particular goods and services, and their sellers” (Consiglio et al., 2018, p. 515). Furthermore, this type of message is very persuasive due to the trustworthiness and higher perceived credibility (Prasad et al., 2017, p.135). Despite the fact that sWOM is considered the most effective marketing tool in social networks, lack of knowledge can become an obstacle to its complete study.
One of the limitations of the research is that the field study is conducted in Taiwan in the context of Facebook. In addition, a student sample was used without taking into account specific product offers (Le et al., 2018, p. 402). The disadvantages of conducting such a study are the limited nature of social presence, that is, the inability to track non-verbal reactions of participants, reducing the spontaneity of responses, since participants have a long period of time to think about the answer.
In addition, there are several other problems associated with online surveys. They consist of the sample, the frequency of responses, the characteristics of respondents, confidentiality, and ethical issues (Nayak and Narayan, 2019, p. 31). Furthermore, Ball notes that online surveys are useful for questionnaire design and delivery; they can also introduce sources of bias (2019, p. 413). In addition, even though data on participating students were used in online research, it would be more effective if data could be collected using other tools so that participants have the same opportunities to be selected.
Marketing research is necessary for effective business management. Research provides information, and this is the principal value of the business. In general, marketing research combines various methods of studying market phenomena and processes: both formal, based on quantitative estimates and economic and statistical calculations, and informal, using qualitative methods of analysis and attribute estimates. The information obtained during the work allows the company to understand its consumer and, on this basis, develop products and their advertising.
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