Working Paper

The Use of Market Research: An Exploratory Study of Manager and Researcher Perspectives

Gerald Zaltman, 1980, 80-115

Use of research by marketing management.

Type of Report
Presents findings of an exploratory survey.

To identify factors which are likely to influence the use of market research results.

Data are based on responses of 86 marketing managers from large consumer-oriented companies and 90 market researchers from commercial research firms to a mail questionnaire. Variables explored were research purpose, organizational structure of the firm, attributes of the research report, life cycle stage of the product involved in the research project, and interaction between managers and researchers on the project.


  • Managers and researchers have different perceptions about what factors influence use of research results and in what ways.
  • In the case of managers, the most important variables explaining low research use were high degree of formalizaffon and centralization in the firm and exploratory research purpose. Variables accounting for high research use were quality of the report content, interaction between researchers and managers, and political acceptability of results.
  • In the case of researchers, the most important explanatory variables were interaction, poliffcal acceptability, exploratory research purpose, and quality of report content and form, all of which were thought to enhance research use.

Some implications of the study are that researchers who favor exploratory research should be sensitive to managers' tendencies to want confirmatory research containing little surprise. Personal interaction is very important in creating trust and favorable perceptions of research quality. Managers should try to provide researchers with more information and feedback about research use, while researchers should be aware of managers"'comfort zones."

Target Audience/Applicability Primarily academic and business researchers. Key findings may be of interest to line managers.

Related MSI Research
Myers, Greyser, and Massy, "The Effectiveness of Marketing's 'R&D' for Marketing Management." Forthcoming is Luck and Krum, "Conditions Conducive to the Effective Use of Marketing Research in the Corporation."

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