Playful time’s toys are one of the most popular toys making company which were founded 50 years ago. It manufactures a wide variety of toys with high educational value. These toys are for pre-school age children who love funny and bright colored toys. Toys of playful time’s are considered to be of high quality and creative which augments the intelligence course of the children. The company exports its toys to Europe and Australia and is one of the most successful brands in all these countries also. The company saw many ups and downs in its life cycle because of the downturn in the toy industry in British economy during the 60s and 70s (Malhotra and Birks 2007).
Toys are considered to be the best friend of Childs from age 1-3 years. The ultimate consumers are children but the main decision makers in the buying process of toys are parents. So the company has to target parents and influence them successfully.
The report presented by Hatfield Market Research Consultants is for playful time’s toys which are expected to launch a toy in the market (Chisnell 2005). The main objective of the research project is to recommend the client about the priorities and requirements of the target segment. But there are some discrepancies which were found in the report which is hindering to give a clear and unbiased result (Huff 2006). So this report will focus all such issues in depth where the company failed to point and the managing director of Playful Time’s toys will benefit from the report.
2.0 Market Definition
Target segment of the client is not properly defined by the agency. They have described the target segment as all age people of UK which can buy a toy and play with it. This target market definition is very much vague. They haven’t said anything about the age group of children or adult which they are targeting or the preferences of them (McGivern 2006). Thus, this misunderstanding of target segment will lead to the useless result which will not provide any concrete solution.
The main target segments of the playful time’s toys are children of pre-school age who are majorly interested in children toys like puzzles, soft toys and action heroes. This is the main target segment who generally does not buy the toys but they are the ultimate consumers of those toys. Also, the requirement of the client is to launch a product for this consumer group only (Proctor 2005).
3.0 Problem Statement
The need of the research arises when the client side faces any ambiguity in taking decisions. Playful times toys also suffered such ambiguity while deciding for the product to be launched. They wanted to know the consumer preference and the features which can be included in their toys to make it readily acceptable by children. As the company wanted to hedge the risk of product failure thus their decision to carry a market research was very appropriate.
4.0 Objective of the Research
The main problem or objective of the research undertaken is;
- Analysis of the toy market of UK.
- Identification of the priorities and preferences of the children regarding toys.
- Perfect sampling and primary data collection.
- Feasible recommendations for Playful Times toys and describing the possible course of action for them.
These are the objectives of the research which is clearly defining the milestones. The research presented by Hatfield Market Research Consultants has no objective but the only frame of reference which shows that the research was lacking its focus and thus results may be biased and not up to the requirement of Playful times toys (Butler 1994).
Research methodology is the system to collect data for the research projects. Data is collected through practical approach or theoretical approach (Bryman and Bell 2007). Research methodology is a broad and crucial field which comprises of the decision of sampling method, sampling population, research design and data collection method. Research methodology decides the factors and parameters which have to be kept in mind while doing research and accomplishing its objectives. Thus, research methodology can be divided as:
5.1 Sampling Design
Sampling is done to represent a sample of respondents to represent the whole population. The main criteria for the selection of sample are to get the unbiased result of the selected target segment. In this research probability sampling was utilized as it is based on some form of random selection (Sarndal, Swenson and Wretman 1992). It is known as probability sampling as different units of sample is chosen at random will have equal chance to get selected out of the whole homogeneous population. Steps in sampling design are (Barker, Nancarrow and Spackman 2001):
5.1.1 Target population: Sampling target population for this survey are not the ultimate customers but the parents or guardians of those consumers i.e. Children. Generally, the target populations are mothers of the kids with children at school and parents who leave their child at crèche at the company location. Thus, the Hatfield Market Research Consultants have very appropriately selected their target population for data collection.
5.1.2 Sampling frame: Sampling frame is the number of the units which has to be included in the sample i.e. sample size. They have an equal probability of getting selected if any random selection occurs. The sample size for quantitative data was 1250 face to face interviews. Also, many focus group discussions were organized to assess the qualitative data (Cresswell 2003).
5.2 Research Design
The research design outlines the environment and development under which the data collection method takes place instruments are used or created, an organization of the data and analysis of the information is done.
As the research is carried out to know the product features which have to be attributed to the product thus the study which is being carried out is descriptive study. The ex-post facto design was utilized in the study because the researcher had no control over the external environment. The method of the data collection is based on communication study.
5.3 Data Collection Method
In general, there are two ways of data collection:
- Quantitative data collection method
- Qualitative data collection method
The data collection method which is being utilized by Hatfield Market Research Consultants is perfect with respect to the designed survey (Gillham 2008). For primary data collection, the agency interviewed 1250 persons and that to mothers who were waiting to collect their children. The data was collected according to the prescribed questionnaires.
To collect qualitative data, the agency was dependent upon the focus group discussions and personal interviews of the parents who left their children at crèche on company location (Leung 2001).
Observational study was also carried out at nurseries which were at distance from Playful Times company location. The observers were assisted by the staff of the nurseries. They gathered the data of children regarding their behavior towards toys and features of the toys (Mellenbergh 2008). To get unbiased result, staff did not know that they were researchers.
The data collection method covered every touch point of child behavior. Thus conducting a perfect blend of qualitative analysis as well as quantitative analysis projects the best findings for the clients.
6.1 Secondary Data Analysis
The secondary data provided by the Hatfield Market Research Consultants is very old i.e. presently the year is 2010 and the data is off till 2004 describing the percentage change in the market of the toys (Joubish 2009). Also, the other data which provides information on disposable income of the household is also up to 2005 which is also an old analysis. Thus, these data does not give any useful insight into the research. Secondary data should be updated and present the clear background information of the problem.
6.2 Questionnaire Analysis
The questionnaire is very well organized and structured as it firstly captures the present essence of the company’s offerings and then moves to the preferences of the customers and target population of the sampling frame (Brace 2004). It helps in categorizing the respondents on the basis of similar characteristics like same living area or same age group.
To know the past purchases of the respondents, question 4 has several choices given among which user has to choose one option (Oppenheim 2000). This question tells the successful acceptance of which type of toys was more in past. Clubbing question 6 and 7 presents the price set which can be chosen for the new product.
As the time passes customer behavior and preferences also changes and thus question 8 asks the future preferences of the type of toys they would be buying for their children. To get the unbiased result from the above questions, researcher never told them about Playful times toys. Now the agency also wanted to know the present awareness and liking of the playful times toys brand so they measured the awareness level of the company. Then the researcher asked about the qualities of playful times which are preferred by the buyers. This helps to maintain the tradeoff between various parameters liked by the consumers (Mellenbergh 2008).
The main negative part of the questionnaire was the focus of survey towards electronic teddy. This shows that the agency was completely inclined towards the inclusion of electronic teddy in the toys list. The new type of product and features can be finalized by giving a rating to individual parameters.
The questionnaire can be criticized on following parameters:
- Consistency: Questionnaire is very much consistent and structured to assess the requirement of the decision-making group.
- Completeness: the questionnaire was incomplete in capitalizing some aspects of consumers (kids) like questionnaire answered the type of toy which was purchased but it has no question which can answer that the children were satisfied with that toy or not.
- Appropriateness: The questionnaire is buyer-centric irrespective of children-centric. The questions are not able to answer the liking of children but are completely focused towards external features like pricing and quality.
- Accuracy: the questionnaire cannot be judged to be accurate. It has to incorporate some questions to be more focused and accurate.
6.3 Primary Data Analysis
The primary data analysis and data mining plays a very crucial part in deciding the future course of action for clients. Thus, findings of the agency can be criticized on following parameters:
- Consistency: As we have discussed that the questionnaire was consistent and also the findings are consistent as it is using frequency analysis throughout.
- Completeness: the finding is complete as the every question has been analyzed by the researcher (Foddy 1994).
- Appropriateness: the analyzed data is not perfectly appropriate as no clubbing of data has been done. Also, no method has been to prioritize the parameters to influence the customers.
- Accuracy: The finding is not much accurate as it is unclear about the about the objective as well as the requirement of the client and thus the presented primary data analysis is useful for only basic level decision.
The conclusion was drawn by the agency very biased as it is based on the response of 36% of respondents who have heard of Playful toys. Out of this, 60% were in the favor of buying electronic teddy. This constitutes data of just 270 respondents on which the conclusion was drawn. Also, the perception of playful toys was observed by the response of those 270 respondents also. The agency has declined the response of 980 other respondents while deciding the product launch. Thus, we can say that the conclusion was not appropriate.
From the report and findings, it can be concluded that the awareness level of playful toys is very low among target group (Munn & Drever 2004). The segment considers no differentiating point while choosing a toy of playful. The important parameter which impacts the selection of toys is safety and quality. The buyers are not much price sensitive. The research is very silent in producing the preferences of children.
Agency has rightly pointed out that Playful Times has to increase their spending on marketing and branding. Playful Times toys are recommended to have a massive awareness program before the launch of any product as the brand knowledge is very less among the target group. The marketing research and effort should be carried out to influence the buyers and showcasing the positive aspects of playful toys like good quality, safety and design (Creswell 1998).
Also, the company has to know the preferences of the children regarding toys which depend upon the age group. Every age group member is not going to play with electronic teddy so the client has to set a target segment of its market.
9.0 Presentation of Report
The report presented by the agency is not structured according to the general formal. Because of no clear understanding of the problem and company, the agency was not able to prepare a formal report. It also shows that the agency is incompetent to fulfill the requirement of the clients because of inaccuracy of the data collection method and analysis of that data (Patton 2002).
10.0 Recommendation to Fred Foster
Fred Foster is recommended not to completely depend upon the findings of this report. The primary and secondary information provided is partially valuable for company’s decision. The result is biased and doesn’t take whole sample size into consideration.
The main area of concern is about the priorities of children. Kids have different perception towards toys compared to a child compared to adults. Thus, some more questions should be included in the questionnaire to assess this issue (McGivern 2006). Also, more observational studies in nursery schools and crèche should be conducted to examine the behavior of the child. Also, the conjoint analysis should be done to give ratings to the parameters which will help in decision making during a product launch.
Some more decisions have to be taken regarding the marketing campaign and the type of media which has to be used depending upon its effectiveness on the target segment (Malhotra & Birks 2007).
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