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Current Issue

Vol. 57 No. 6, 2015

Peter Mouncey pp. 807–814 [PDF]
In his Editorial, Peter Mouncey discusses the role and future of qualitative research in an era where commoditisation has taken root and many managers and clients find comfort in numbers. Without understanding the consumer mindset there is a danger that Big Data never becomes 'Smart Data' and so is of limited value to marketers. An appreciation of the underlying assumptions within the data and of the motivations behind consumer actions is likely to improve the way findings are understood and communicated within a strategic context.
Published 20 November 2015

Authors and authenticity
Rebecca Wynberg pp. 815–818 [PDF]
This Viewpoint argues that increased use of technology-enabled approaches in research is not solving the problem of poor standards in qualitative research. Technology enables us to get information more quickly and to access behaviour or impressions about brands that was previously difficult to access. However worrying trends are becoming apparent in qualitative research such as increased reportage, declining analytical thinking and method commodification. The need for a more personalised, involved authorship and for placing value on authenticity is urgent.
Published 20 November 2015

Measuring the efficiency of community engagement: an ecological analogy
John May pp. 819–836 [PDF]
Evaluation of community engagement has historically avoided or ignored the question of the efficiency of the processes used. This paper suggests a way of measuring efficiency that is robust, quantifiable, straightforward to calculate and intelligible. Curiosity about a striking feature of two case studies led to the realisation that there are significant parallels between community engagement and theoretical ecology. Some of these parallels are briefly explored before the ecology analogy is used to construct a numerical measure of the efficiency of community engagement. Possible applications of the new measure are then discussed. An illustration of the method by which the new efficiency measure is computed is given in an appendix.
Published 20 November 2015

Quantitative and qualitative research: perceptual foundations
Chris Barnham pp. 837–854 [PDF]
The way in which quantitative research and qualitative research are conventionally contrasted with each other runs along familiar lines – the former is seen as offering ‘hard’, ‘factual’ data, while the latter is depicted as softer, as providing deeper insight, but at the expense of being necessarily more ‘interpretivist’ and ‘subjective’ in its approach. Seldom is it recognised that this way of distinguishing the two methodologies is, in fact, rooted in our quantitatively determined beliefs about human experience. This paper aims to uncover these assumptions and to identify how they are rooted in our underlying preconceptions about the perceptual process itself. It outlines a new platform upon which the distinction between quantitative and qualitative research can be established and which links the latter with semiotics.
Published 20 November 2015

In researching emerging markets, anthropology often trumps statistics
Christopher Hylton Fitzroy Nailer, Bruce William Stening and Marina Yue Zhang pp. 855–876 [PDF]
For reasons primarily associated with the reliability of the data it generates, the timeliness with which it can be produced (and hence its relevance) and its limitations in handling context-sensitive issues, market research in emerging markets that relies too heavily on quantitative methodologies has considerable limitations. For this reason, there has been an increasing realisation that qualitative methods, emphasising data richness and a deep understanding of consumers – ‘why’ as well as ‘what’ and ‘how much’ – are a critical component of research in emerging markets. This paper proposes an approach that integrates quantitative and qualitative methods. It argues that a thorough understanding of emerging markets requires a mind-set and set of skills akin to those of an anthropologist, and sets out how these can be acquired.
Published 2 March 2015

Why Chinese elites buy what they buy: The signalling value of conspicuous consumption in China
Xiaotong Jin, Hefeng Wang, Tianxin Wang, Yang Li and Shengliang Deng pp. 877–908 [PDF]
In 1899, Thorstein Veblen introduced socially contingent consumption into the economic literature. However, it was not until recent years that empirical studies of his theory begin to appear in mainstream economic literature with diversified conclusions. This article complements the scarce empirical literature by testing his conjecture on consumers in China's transitional economic context. Three sets of hypotheses were tested with a sample of 1,021 Chinese consumers. The findings of the study support Veblen's contention, especially the argument advanced by Leibenstein (1950) that the primary motivation for conspicuous consumption rests on social status seeking and position enhancement. With a rising per capita income in China and the birth of an elite social class, conspicuous consumption has to some extent replaced the traditional Chinese values of modesty and frugality in search of social recognition and self-realisation.
Published 1 June 2015

Forecasting financial products acquisition via dynamic segmentation: an application to the Italian market
Francesca Bassi pp. 909–930 [PDF]
The topic of market segmentation is still one of the most pervasive in marketing. Among clustering techniques, finite mixture models have gained recognition as a method of segmentation with several advantages over traditional methods; one variant of finite mixture models – the latent class (LC) model – is probably the most popular. The LC approach is innovative and flexible, and can provide suitable solutions to several problems regarding the definition and development of marketing strategies, because it takes into account specific features of the collected data, such as their scale of measure (often ordinal or categorical, rather than continuous), their hierarchical structure and their longitudinal component. Dynamic segmentation is of key importance in many markets where it is unrealistic to assume stationary segments due to the dynamics in consumers’ needs and product choices. In this paper, a mixture latent class Markov model is proposed to dynamically segment Italian households with reference to financial products ownership. The mixture approach is compared with the standard one in terms of its ability to forecast customers’ behaviour in the reference market.
Published 20 November 2015

Would you snap up the deal? A study of consumer behaviour under flash sales
Savannah Wei Shi and Ming Chen pp. 931–958 [PDF]
Flash sales refer to an emerging e-commerce practice in which a firm offers one or more products/service at a substantial discount within limited time. Macro-economic environment (residential areas), demographic (age, income and occupation) and ad media decision may collectively affect purchase behaviour on flash-sale websites. This study investigates the unique characteristics of consumer behaviour under flash sales in developing countries, based on large-scale survey data from a major flash-sale website in China. We find that purchase behaviour differs substantially across regions and, within each region, purchase propensity is moderated by income. Regional marketing strategy is therefore of great importance. Contrary to our expectations, flash-sale websites are less likely to attract impulse purchase. Rather, consumers who make more purchases exhibit higher levels of cautiousness. TV commercials and social media are currently the major ad media, yet shopping engines and search engines should not be overlooked.
Published 20 November 2015

Book review: A tale of two cultures: Qualitative and quantitative research in the social sciences, by Gary Goertz and James Mahoney
Ray Poynter pp. 959–961 [PDF]
This book review examines 'A tale of two cultures: Qualitative and quantitative research in the social sciences', which focuses on the different ways in which causal relationships are investigated by qualitative and quantitative researchers. The book is an illuminating read for anybody interested in bridging the gap between academic and commercial research, and anybody interested in understanding some of the key differences that underpin qualitative and quantitative research.
Published 20 November 2015

Book review: Misbehaving: the making of behavioral economics, by Richard H. Thaler
Omar Mahmoud pp. 961–963 [PDF]
This book review examines 'Misbehaving: the making of behavioral economics', which observes the discrepancy between actual human behaviour and economic theory, discussing the various irrationalities and biases in people's behaviour, particularly in the area of finance and spending. However, the power of behavioural economics is not limited to its ability to explain human irrationalities; it also opens new possibilities to do something about them. Behavioural economics offers more opportunities for public policy interventions because it takes into account many factors that traditional economics considers to be irrelevant. The book has practical value for a wide variety of professions, from marketers and advertisers to fundraisers and policy makers.
Published 20 November 2015

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MRS News

Call for 2016 election of MRS Main Board Members

24.11.15 Read more

MRS President's Medal 2015

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The IJMR is published for MRS by Warc, the global provider of ideas and evidence for marketing people.