The marketing research proposal is a starting point that revealed the need to design a questionnaire with an aim to examine customer’s attitudes to new product line. Subsequent conversations between TSI and a marketing agency have clarified a scope of questions and the following questionnaire has been designed as a result a written proposal.
An objective of this stage is to identify customers and non-customers’ attitudes towards to new line of Optical Particle Counters (OPCs).
Attitudes of customers/non-customers will be quantified by interviewing a target audience in three key segments: environmental monitoring, basic and applied aerosol research, and filter testing. Respondents can be divided into three main focus groups: 1) Distributors, 2) OEM’s and 3) End users. In percentage representation it will be as follows: 50% of business goes through 260 distributors globally, 40% to end users and 10% to OEM’s. Non-customers are divided as agency or independent experts.
A series of surveys through the use of questionnaires will be carried out to collect information on attitudes towards to OPC product. Both standardized and structured questions will be asked to reduce bias caused by questionnaire design. The questions will be pre-tested with few respondents to validate quality of the design. Data analysis and test of significance (p < ?) will be conducted to validate the results.
Population and Sampling
Selecting respondents for questionnaire is conducted amongst three focus groups identified at the earlier stage. This part of research is to be conducted in two phases.
i) 12-20 external customers from the three niches (table 3 in Annex)
ii) 6-10 non-customers (experts, channel partners)
iii) 10-15 internal TSI Sales & Engineering personnel
Phase 2: Validate quantitative information
A list of respondents should be created and their background (position, age etc.) be verified in order to ensure a quality of population and sampling. Filtering unwanted respondents is required to exclude competitors’ users from this research, as they may give inaccurate and/or irrelevant data.
Questionnaire with a cover letter and stamped reply, if sent by post, should be distributed to selected respondents in each target group. Telephone reminders and follow-up letters are required to boost a response rate of less known/unknown respondents with TSI. In addition, University of Minnesota is well-known institution to target audience and thus it is selected as a sponsor to the marketing research. As an incentive, TSI also proposes to use a method of sending a gift once returned a questionnaire.
Face-to-face interview with randomly 3-5 selected respondents in each group should be conducted by qualified staff, which is familiar with specific application. The interviewer can influence the response elicited through comments made or by stressing certain words in a question itself.
All fieldworks should meet the industry standards laid down by professional bodies, the ESOMAR, MRS and CIM.
Thank you for taking time to meet with me (TSI Inc) to discuss your attitudes to OPC product and particle measurement requirements. The purpose of this visit is to solicit your input towards the opportunity to enter a market with this product as well as potential design improvements of this products so as to meet your current or future needs in this area. Your input will be kept CONFIDENTIAL, but pooled with that of others and used by TSI to assist us to understand your attitude and needs.
Section I: Market ; Customer Segmentation
1. What is your job description? (Or, identify all who are attending the meeting — circle all that apply):
* Technical Buyer
* Economic Buyer
* Other non-user (specify)
2. What are your reasons for saying that you will buy less in the future?
3. What do you like about the particle sizing application(s)? (or, identify the areas you are involved in – circle all that apply) 1:
* Basic aerosol research
* Filter testing (QC/R;D/Both)
* Environmental monitoring
* Air pollution research
* Bioaerosol research
* Toxicology/health effects studies
* Other (please specify): _________________
Section II: Specifications ; Features
4. What are standard(s) for each selected application above, please indicate it is any? And are there any particular specifications of particle sizing in those standard(s)?
a. What particle counters are currently used to comply with the standard(s)? What do you like (dislike) about these counters?
b. Do you see any major foreseeable changes in standard(s) identified above that may change particle counter specifications?
5. Please rate the importance of following accessories for your application2.
a) Please identify any other accessory not listed here that is important.
Removable Filter Assembly
Section III: Competition/Pricing
6. Do you own and use any of the OPCs listed above?
a. If no (don’t own or use), do you know anyone else that uses an OPC?
b. If yes (uses or owns),
i. What do you like about this product?3 Write/describe all.
ii. What do you dislike about this product?4 Write/describe all.
iii. Do you self calibrate or send to vendor for calibration? How often?
iv. Does the vendor offer any service plan? If so, what kind of a plan is it? How much does it cost?
7. What are the major factors that you consider during the purchase decision of an OPC?5 (To rank in terms of importance from #1, #2…)
a. Why did you ranked “xxxx” (above) as your most important consideration for buying an OPC?
Section IV: Service
8. Is down-time an issue for you?
a. If yes,
i. What do you foresee as the main cause for down-time?
ii. How much down-time is acceptable per week, bi-weekly, monthly?
9. If TSI met your needs, would you consider purchasing service/maintenance contracts?
Section V: Other6
10. I like to keep up with new OPC technology
Agree strongly ?
Agree a little ?
Neither Agree nor Disagree ?
Disagree a little ?
Disagree a lot ?
11. How many people work for your company in the UK, including the head office and any regional depots?
Just me/self employed ?
Over 1000 ?
12. What is the geographic scope of your company?
Multinational, HQ in UK ?
Multinational, HQ overseas ?
UK nationwide ?
Local/Regionally based ?
13. Is there any other information related to the products that would be helpful for us to improve our products/services that we haven’t already covered?
The word count in this assignment is 1520.
Brace, I. (2004) Questionnaire Design. New York, Kogan.
1 Notes for the interviewer: If more than one application is selected, record information related to each set of applications separately.
2 Note for interviewer: Probe into reasons or ask follow up qs related to their choice.
3 Note for interviewer: probe and document why each is important to the customer.
4 Note for interviewer: probe and document why each is important to the customer.
5 Note for interviewer: Probe providing examples of factors such as ease of use, performance, price, vendor reputation, service/support etc.
6 Here are a number of statements that people have made. For each one please, say how much you agree or disagree with the statement.