Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Research Methodology

In this methodology, I have chosen to take a qualitative strategy in order to have more in-depth answers to questions. Focus shall be particularly made on three methods of collecting data namely; email interviews, one-to-one interviews and observations. As so-called, qualitative research shall focus on gathering relevant data for a specific use rather than collecting mere figures or a 'yes/no' answer.

This collected data shall be verified and transformed into information that shall be subsequently answered and argued if alternative methods of automobile advertisement are more effective and/or viable than traditional channels of advertisement.

The first qualitative phase of this study will focus on the outcome of recent alternative campaigns that international automobile companies have set up. Through the email interviews I intend to compare the traditional marketing strategies and how such advertisement methods have evolved into sophisticated and interactive advertisements, to see their effectiveness on their target markets and the impact that such promotional strategies have left on people. This phase will address the following research questions:

1. What is the customer response to interactive advertisements, as opposed to traditional?
2. To what extent do your interactive advertisements affect your sales?

The limitation for this method of research stands whether such automobile companies would reply to any of the emails. A study by Lokman I. Meho (2006) concludes that while a diverse mode interviewing strategy should be considered when possible, e-mail interviewing can be in many cases a feasible alternative to face-to-face and telephone interviewing.

The second qualitative phase whill emphasis on one-to-one interviews with local automobile marketing managers, Ivan Grech for Mercedes Benz, Symira Bianchi for BMW, Jonathan Cremona for Toyota and managing director Carolyn Zammit for Gasan Zammit Ltd. According to Peter Woods (2006) an excessive distribution of qualitative material derives from talking with people whether it is through formal interviews or casual conversations. Furthermore, Peter Woods emphasises that it is essential for the researchers to develop empathy with interviewees and win their confidence and also to be unobtrusive, in order not to impose one's own influence on the interviewee. There are also a number of techniques researchers uses in the natural course of the discussion to aid clarity, depth and validity, such as searching for opinions, asking for clarifications and explanations while also presenting alternatives, seeking comparisons and also aiming for comprehensiveness. These, amongst many others are procedures that will result in a successful interview. Through the interviews I will gather the relevant information regarding traditional strategies versus alternative methods of automobile advertisement in Malta. I shall also address how the psychology of automobile consumer buying behaviour works. The research questions will vary from one section to another, starting with the automobile consumer buying behaviour, followed by discussing traditional advertising. In order to explain what is meant by alternative methods, recent automobile campaign videos will be shown to the interviewee. Questions regarding alternative methods will then be discussed. The outcome will determine how the aforementioned issues are treated in Malta. Furthermore, this research method together with the final project will define a certain aspect towards the thesis questions.

The third and final phase of the research methodology will be the case study that will consist of an observation strategy between two methods of advertising to promote a motorcycle company in Malta called SYM. The company is at a very early stage; therefore this method will determine which advertising method is most effective. The first advertising method will be a traditional flyer while the second advertising method will be an interactive motorcycle installation. Both methods shall be presented during a 4-day period and through observations I will conclude which method will attract most people.
Marshall and Rossman (1989) describe observation as "The systematic description of events, behaviours and artefacts in the social setting chosen for study" (p.79). In addition, observation enables the researcher to describe existing situations and to learn about the activities of the people under study in the natural setting through observing and participating in those activities. Schmuch (1997) explains that obseration methods are useful since they provide researchers with ways to check for nonverbal expressions of feelings.

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