In this week’s blog, I am going to talk about ethical practices within marketing research. I am going to take analyze an article called “avoiding unethical market research decisions” posted by Caitlin Stewart. The article states that all business have their own ethical obligations, and market researchers as well. Ethical guidelines you need to keep in mind when preparing to conduct research or start looking for secondary data. To help us understand business ethics, the author gives us an “ethics checklist”.
He has taken the following concepts from the article “Ethical Codes Are Not Enough” by Michael Hyman, Robert Skipper, and Richard Tansey, which outlines some of the most common causes of unethical decisions.
  1. Does my decision treat me, or my company, as an exception to the rule?
  2. Would my decision lose profits if customers were aware?
  3. Would I repel qualified job applicants by telling them about my decision?
  4. Does my decision meet other employee’s opinions?
    1. Is my decision partial or biased?
    2. Does it divide the goals of the company?
    3. Will I have to pull rank to make others follow it?
  5. Would I prefer avoiding the consequences of this decision?
  6. Did I avoid any of the questions by telling myself that I can get away with it?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, I suggest that you should change your decision.
The author also provides us with the four things he believes to be the biggest ethical concerns in Market Research.
          Conducting unnecessary research: The purpose of research is to answer a question or solve an issue for a company, so if you are aware that the research you are conducting is not going to be beneficial nor the study won’t be able to succeed, you should pull the plug.
          Performing the wrong research: Conducting a research about something that is not really a problem would count as unnecessary research, something that will waste time and money. Even if what you are doing is purchasing secondary data, you have to consider if it is what you really need.
          Ignoring ongoing studies: Marketing research is constantly evolving so you should look for the most recent data. If you know there is more recent data or current studies that could provide you with the information you need, you should not turn to old or outdated reports.
          Misusing research according to licensing agreements: One of the most common ethical dilemmas businesses face comes from misusing reports according to the requirements of their license. Sometimes, this occurs because the user does not fully understand the limitations of the different license types. But, other times, companies simply step beyond a license’s boundaries.

After reading this article, I can tel. That taking a step back and considering your actions is a great way to make sur you are making ethical decisiones.

Sample size

This week with in the Marketing Research & Strategy class and the help of “the Market research toolbox” book, we have learned how to determine a sample size, something that we are going to apply to our final project. The book I just mentioned gives us an efficient way to be able to calculate the size of our sample. The process that we need to do in order to find a sample size is divided into 3 steps. The first step is to square the Z value (that we are going to find in the tables showing the area under the curve for normally distributed data) associated with the desired confidence interval. The second step is to multiply the previous number by the population variance. And the last step is to divide by the square of the desired precision.

In page 303 exercise 4, we are presented with 3 different problems that can be solved using these three steps in order to obtain the sample size. Problem d) is about a firm that wants to track satisfaction on a quarterly basis using a 10-point scale. They would like a precision of ±0.05 – that is to be able to interpret a change in average satisfaction from 8.90 to 8.95 as a true increase in customer satisfaction (95 percent confidence). So in order to find the sample size our first step is to use the confidence interval of 95% to find the Z. We know that a confidence interval of 95 has a Z value of 2. Once we have figured out the Z value, we need to square it, which is going to be equal to 4. Our second step is to multiply 4 by the population variance. The population variance is the only number that is not given to us, so in order to find it we need to check the table 13.1 in page 298 (estimated variance for rating scales). We can see that the variance is going to be 3 because we are dealing with a normal distribution. And our last step should be to divide the result of the previous multiplication by the square of the desired precision, which in this case is (0.05)2 = 0.0025.

This is the way it should be:

22 x 3 / 0.0025 = 48000 customers

Even though this precision works for this specific problem, I think it would have been better to go with a higher number so it doesn’t limit study. In the book Edwar McQaurrie suggests that going lower than 5 percentage point is not a smart move. “a desire for high precision combined with use of high variance scale (10 points rather than 4 points) is going to drive sample size and costs considerably higher”. That being said, there is no reason to conduct a market research for such a narrow precision when you can provably conduct something closer to it with a lower cost. More precision doesn’t mean that you are going to get rid of all the uncertainty, it is always going to be there.  

Evaluative survey

Since we started the Marketing and Strategy class in January, we have learned a lot of different way to get information from our clients. In chapter nine we studied a different way to gather information from our customers, through evaluative surveys. The evaluative surveys are considered to be more efficient and precise than a regular survey because it describes a customer’s stance toward the brand, or positive and negative experiences with product ownership. While on the other hand a regular survey focuses more on simply describing customer’s characteristics and behaviors.

When companies or someone who is doing a research creates a survey, it is usually with the objective of gathering the biggest amount of information possible. It is a simple and complex enough system to get information that can be important for your company. This means that if I am taking a survey for a big company, I might be the person 40 out of 30,000 surveys they gathered. That is one of the reasons why I have never been a fan of taking surveys, because I don’t’ see how my survey is going to influence on anything.

From my point of view, I usually give more importance to a survey if I know that it is a smaller one, or not open to everyone. For instance, every semester we are asked to do a course evaluation that is basically about the class and how the we think the professor has taught it. I usually take it serious because most of the professors personally ask us to do it and they use it as a guide for improvement. A personal favor is another reason why I answer surveys, like a for friend doing a survey for a project. And finally, one of the biggest reasons why I would answer a survey is if there is an incentive. For example, there are a lot of companies like fast food chains that ask you to answer a survey and in exchange they take a % off of your next purchase or maybe they give you something for free.

From the point of view of the marketer conducting the research on what you are trying to obtain after the survey. If your goal is to market a product, use the customer behavior and characteristics to influence them on buying your product the best option would be to go for the second survey. But if your objective as a marketer is to get to know the opinion of your customers about your product and how you can make it more appealing to theme, than you should have to go with the evaluative surveys.

Overall surveys are very useful to gather a lot of information about ideas that you would like to clarify about your product or service. But that is only going to give you an overall idea about the situation, something that you can later on use as a guide for a deeper study of your product image in the market.

Focus Groups

In this post, I am going to talk about a video I recently watched called “How to moderate a focus group”. A focus group is basically a demographically diverse group of people assembled to participate in a guided discussion about a particular product or service. So we can say that focus groups is a great way to get to know what our clients think about our product or service. This way companies are able to detect possible areas that need changes or improvements for the company to succeed.

The first step to create a focus group would be to identify the relevant participants for the focus group, to recruit the participants to come, arrange the logistics and developed the questions that the moderator is going to ask to the participants. Once all this has been done we can start with the Focus Group. It is important to have the room set up before everybody arrives (having their sits assigned, cameras and microphones ready and even some food and drinks for the participants). During the Focus Group, the moderator has the most important role. He is not only the one making the questions, he also needs to know how to make people who don’t talk a lot to get involved with the debate, and people who talk too much to make it shorter.

Once all the question have been asked, the next step is to conclude the focus group. We do it asking the participants what were the most important things that we talked about during the focus group. The moderator can also ask to the assistant if there is anything he/she thinks is one of the important points that they may need to discuss it in more detail. From this point on, we can consider the Focus Group to be over. Now is time for us to do the analisis and prepare the report for the focus group.

Some of the tips he provided to get ready for a focus group are to feel comfortable to each other and comfortable talking about it. It is essential to arrive early to make sure that everything is in place, get yourself mentally prepared focus on the experience and think about the kind of things that are going to take place, prove and ask for additional information and finally enjoy yourself with this experience. Some of the techniques que likes to use like “pause” to help everyone getting comfortable. Another one is the use of lists ( in this case he passed a card to every participant, than the moderator writes downs a large list with all the items, with this he can identify the most important ones), rating sheets (Writing words in a piece of paper is a quick way to get rapid feedback from the participants and the Thumps up or not. Another technique he mentioned is the Projection (identifying the company with an animal and explaining why).

Overall I think that the Focus group is a great way to get to know what your clients think about your company or product. It is very direct and people are usually honest about it. So I would say that a company can get a lot of meaningful information out of a focus group, but I wouldn’t relay only on that. I would use a Focus group as a complement, because the amount of information that you are going to get is going to be very limited. On the other hand if you do an online survey, you might get the same answers you are looking for but from a lot more people. And here is when we have to decide between quality over quantity. I do believe that the some of the outcomes that you are going to get in a focus group, you can’t get them through an online survey.


Ferran Berga


This week, we had the chance two watch a documentary about big data. Something that influences us more than what we think. My knowledge about big data before watching this documentary, was very basic. Even more, I wasn’t even aware of the 30% of the big data’s power. Every single thing that we do leaves a digital trace that can be later used. Big data is like footprints that we can collect and read. The biggest problem is that we have too much information, meaning that we have to be able to analyze and interpret all the amount of information that we have. Which at the same time is going to help us to solve more problems.

I would have never guessed that someone would use big data to figure out how a child learn new words. It was amazing how they figured out that it’s not about repetition, either it is about how many times a word is used in different contexts and places. This would be a great reason to change the way we study new languages or even new materials.

How a company can use big data to predict two days before that you are going to get depressed. That with a pattern behavior that they collect as big data and is later analyzed. They can even see how a change in your sleep, your meals, etc (your pattern) can influence if you are going to be depressed. They can even see patterns to figure out when someone is going to commit a crime.

We are going to get to a point where because of big data, someone is going to be able to anticipate where we are going or what we need. This is going to take big part in our decision making in the future. Boston has created a smart app that helps to make the traffic flow, thanks to all the users it can analyze how the roads are.

This video made me realize how important big data is and going to be in the future. The opportunity to be able to use all this information is going to change everything. Is going to make some companies stand out over other to become best in class. Is going to help create new growth opportunities. Companies will be able to analyze their consumers and identify their needs way before they even know. A great example is when target identified if a client was pregnant just because of her shopping list. Target used it to send them promotion codes and propaganda.

One of my favorite examples for big data is Mercedes. They just created “Mercedes me”, allowing their customers to have their own ID. With this they are creating a direct connection between their car and their smartphone, and between Mercedes and their clients at the same time. Through the collection of data they can know when a car needs service even before the customer does. This way they are giving their customers a high quality service.

Image result for mercedes big data

A little bit about me

blog-fptpBefore I start telling you about my personal experiences traveling and playing sport, let me introduce myself. My name is Ferran Berga, I am from Spain even though sometimes I pretend to be Italian (I love Italy). I am currently studying in the United States, getting a double major in Business Administration and Economics. Currently playing with the West Virginia Wesleyan’s tennis team and I plan on graduating in May 2018. One of my biggest passions are cars, that’s why when I graduate, my goal is to get a job in a car company.


Even though I consider myself to be an independent person, leaving Spain along with all my family and friends wasn’t an easy decision to make. Three years later, I can firmly say that it was one of the best decisions of my life. It helped me to learn new languages, to grow as a person and even to travel to amazing places. Some of the travels I am going to write about happened during the first three years of studying in USA. Joining the Wesleyan’s tennis team has had a bigger impact in my life than what I expected .Being part of the tennis team showed me the real spirit of team work, feeling fire going through my bones before every match because I wanted to do my best for the team and learning to work hard to achieve our goals. That is why I am going to write about the travels and competitions with the team as well. I am hoping to be able to transmit all the amazing experiences I have lived so you can feel like they were yours.



If you still want to get to know me better and start taking a look at the places I have been, check my other accounts. Instagram is where I post most of my trip’s pictures. I like to use twitter and Facebook more as a contact platform.

Stanford Prison Experiment

This week’s blog post I am going to be talking about a classmate’s blog post from last week. My choice is the Stanford Prison Experiment post from Sydney Pineault. In my last post, I talked about how ethical practices take part in a marketing research and common causes of unethical decisions. This time I am going to be talking about how people behave, depending on their roles.

The Stanford prison experiment aim was to investigate how readily people would conform to the roles of guard and prisoner in a role-playing exercise that simulated prison life. They were interested in finding out whether the brutality reported among guards in America prisons was due to the sadistic personalities of the guards or had more to do with the prison environment. So if the prisoners and guards behaved in a non-aggressive manner this would support the dispositional hypothesis, or if they behave the same way as people do in real prisons this would support the situational explanation.

They converted the basement of the Stanford University psychology building into a mock prison. The study comprised 24 male college students who were paid 15$ per day to take part in the experiment. Subjects were randomly assigned to either the role of prisoner or guard in a simulated prison environment. Those assigned to play the role of guard were given sticks and sunglasses; those assigned to play the prisoner role were arrested by the Palo Alto police department, deloused, forced to wear chains and prison garments, and transported to the basement of the Stanford psychology department.

At this point they saw how everyone was into their role. Several of the guards became progressively more sadistic, particularly at night when they thought the cameras were off, despite being picked by chance out of the same pool as the prisoners. The overall experiment went out of hand. There was a riot on day two, and after six days of experiment, it was shut down for fear that one of the prisoners would be seriously hurt. Although the intent of the experiment was to examine captivity, its result has been used to demonstrate the impressionability and obedience of people when provided with a legitimizing ideology and social and institutional support. It is also used to illustrate cognitive dissonance theory and the power of seniority/authority. Related image

We should know that the apparel for the guards and prisoners was given to them. For example, the sunglasses were not spontaneously chosen as apparel by the students, they were given to them. The students “guards” were also issued batons which may have predisposed them to consider physical force as an acceptable means of running the prison.