Please post your Unit 8 task responses here.
Unit 8: Organising market research
La Paz-Bus marketing and communications unit has been conceived as a unit that is in charge of among others developing marketing and communication strategies. Among its main sub-units is SAC which stands for Client Assistance Service which has 3 attention channels: a) Personal; b) Call Center; and c) Virtual (currently being upgraded). Then, the survey that I have proposed o unit 7 could be perfectly done by this unit. However, as understood by reviewing concepts and recommendations at this course, what is subject to be outsourced would be the design and planning of the questionnaires, then the hiring of consultancy firms would be useful to give us an assessment during the making of the reports but also at the stage of data analysis. If we reflect about current capacity within the personnel to carry on a marketing research, it is clear that even though we have high qualify individuals, the mass of employees should acquire knowledge about research methodologies. In this sense, capacity building about statistics would be desirable, since these activities are being performed mainly by system engineers.
Another outsourcing subject would be having an external view of surveys conducted and the overall research; the idea is having an audit made by an external consultancy firm.
I think that preparation of the questionnaire should be initially an activity of your staff. It should be then coordinated with external company(ies) from marketing research business.
Collecting data is often time and human resources consuming activity. In Poland majority of cities are subcontracting it. Recently BKK Budapest (a big transport authority of Hungarian capital city) confirmed that they also subcontracted data collection in huge research needed for development of their advanced traffic model.
I think it also depends on scale and purpose of your research. If you want to make easy observation on few bus stops, there might be no neccessity to subcontract external company. Also if you need quick research on opinions according to particular bus line you may not need a subcontractor. In many cases a cooperation with academic resources brings good results (i.e. Bologna in Italy).
Thank you for the feedback.
I agree when you say that it depends o the scale of the marketing researh. In our case (with the 3 operating lines) we surveyed 72 bus stops which means the 100%. I think that the experience of Bolognia is relevant and replicable in our case. Until now we have not worked with the universities in marketing research, just in engineering and Fleet maintenance.
Dear Alan Octavio,
cooperation with academic resources is profitable for both sides. For authority/operator, it provides human resources as well as some scientific support in case of methodology of research and data processing. For academia,at least students and scientists might be interested in publication of results.
In Gdynia (Poland) there is a long tradition of cooperation between public transport authority and University of Gdansk, according to marketing research.
As an Economic Regeneration service within the City Council, marketing research can be dealt internally with our own statistics skills. However, the department is currently understaffed, which means that collecting data would not be possible within our workforce. The council has however other services which are used to conduct interviews and surveys as part of their jobs, such as the Community department and the Communication offices. Therefore, if we were to keep the research making within the City Council, the Economic Regeneration service could design and plan the questionnaire and then devolve data collection to the Community department. When the surveys are done, they would send us back raw data so we can process to data analysis. If we consider that this task is too much time consuming, why not involve academic resources (professors and/or students) to deal with it, in order to keep the whole research process public and transparent. The students can even participate to the earlier step of research that is conducting surveys.
We would finally draft the research report with our own skills on economic and transport issues. We would also request the Communication department help for the formal presentation of the document, to make sure our message is clear and delivered in an attractive way.
If however the measures needed in the research are too complex that requires special skills, we would outsource data collection and data analysis to a private consultancy company but with specific requests and conditions on what results we want to find out. But in the case the report I have suggested on unit 7, our interest is not to spend too much money and resources on this as the final objective is only to make a proposal to the County Council which has the decision making power on the matter.