Tag: Mintel

# Calculating Sample Sizes

Throughout this week’s lectures in our Marketing Research & Strategy class, we’ve been taking a closer look at how to determine a sample size for a research project. McQuarrie (2016) provides a relatively easy way to calculate how big your sample size should be in his book The Market Research Toolbox: A Concise Guide for Beginners. In his book, he describes a three-step process that will help you calculate the sample size based on the preferred confidence level and margin of error (precision) that is proposed by management judgement:

1. Square the Z value associated with the desired confidence interval.
2. Multiply it by the population variance.
3. Divide by the square of the desired precision.

To find the population variance, you have to use the following formula:

Variance = proportion #1 x [1 – proportion #1]

Now we know how to theoretically calculate the sample size, we can apply this to a problem. One of the problems that was presented by McQuarrie (2016) stated: “To determine the effectiveness of an ad campaign for a new DVD player, management would like to know what percentage of the market has been made aware of the new product. The ad agency thinks this figure could be as high as 70 percent. In estimating the percent aware, management has specified a 95 percent confidence interval, and a precision of ±2 percent. What sample size is needed?”

Following the method presented by McQuarrie for calculating the sample size, the first thing we need to do is to square the Z value associated with the confidence interval. The problem states that management decided on a confidence interval of 95 percent which means that our Z value equals 2. In the next step, we have to multiply our squared Z value with the population variance, which can be calculated through the formula shown above for variance. In this case the variance equals 0.21 [0.70 x (1-0.70)]. Once, we’ve established this, we have to divide our nominator (Z2 x variance) through our denominator, which equals the square of the desired precision. This means that our final formula will look like this:

[22 x 0.21] / 0.022
= 2100

I think a margin of error (precision) of ±2 percent is a reasonable confidence interval. At first, it seemed really tight but after taking a closer look at an article by Billy Hulkower, a Senior Technology Analyst for Mintel, on the market for Movie Sales and Rentals in the US in 2014, we can conclude that the market for movie sales and rentals is declining rapidly. The tables show that movie sales in the US, when adjusted for inflation will decline from \$17.5 billion in 2014 to \$14.6 in 2019. Based on this information, it is extremely important for a company, that is about to introduce a new DVD player into the market, to know how effective their ad campaign will be.

Another reason why it is so important for companies in the DVD player market to know how effective their ad campaign will be, is the increasing competition of digital movies provided by for example Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Google Play which is also discussed in Hulkower’s article. Technology is constantly evolving and helps us make our lives easier. Customers now have the option between buying movies at home from their computers or running to the store to physically buy the movie. I think we can all agree that it is a lot more attractive to stay at home and buy a movie online without having to leave your couch instead of driving all the way to the store for that same movie.

Due to these two reasons, a ±2 percent precision level in this problem seems a very reasonable estimate, because as a company in a declining market with a lot of competition wants to get an accurate reflection of the percentage of the market that is aware of the new DVD player that you are to introduce into the market.

# Wesleyan’s Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, more than just a library

The Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library at West Virginia Wesleyan College is WVWC’s greatest sources of resources, ranging from books to movies, newspapers, databases, and more.
Their mission, as stated on their website, says: “We are committed to providing high quality resources and services that empower students for advanced learning. We affirm the American Library Association Code of Ethics as the model for high standards in professional librarianship, and we seek to encourage the appropriate and ethical use of information resources and intellectual property in teaching and learning.” They definitely manage to stick by their mission statement through the many resources they provide to all students that attend West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library is built up in two different floors. The first floor is more of a social floor, where students have access to computers to do online research and have the opportunity to sit in group and work on group projects. This is also where the staff members of the library are located.
An interesting fact about the mural that can be found on the main floor on the wall in the back is that this was part of some art students’ final project as they tried to create a visual map of the library that allows students to find certain sections in the library back. For example, on the mural you can see Albert Einstein in the top right corner. This means that the physics section is located on the second floor in the right corner of the library. The second floor of the library is also called the silent floor. Student who like to do their homework or studying in silence can go up here to get their work done.

For our Marketing Research and Strategy’s class on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, we got to meet with one of the staff members, Beth Rogers, who is a Reference, Instruction, and Outreach Librarian for WVWC. She introduced us to the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library’s website and focused on the online databases that are particularly interesting when studying Marketing Research and Strategy or doing research projects that revolve around marketing. These databases included academic research databases (Communication Source or Sage Premier Journals) and commercial databases (Mintel, Statista, and BrowZine).

Of these five databases, Communication Source (which directs you to the EBSCO database) is probably my favorite one, because I’ve been using this one for other business and economics classes in the past. Although, it is a smaller database, it always allowed me to find the information that I needed in order to complete my research projects by making very accurate searches through the filters that they provide. My second favorite one, which is one of the databases that has only recently been added to the list of our library’s databases, is Mintel. This was initially a database primarily used by businesses in order to conduct business research, but has now been made available to all Wesleyan students. This database holds tons of research done by various analysts about topics that are trending in today’s society as well as topics that were trending in the past. This database also allows you to filter your results until you get the information you really need for your own research.

Throughout my college career here at WVWC, I have been using the library’s online database almost every semester in order to complete research projects for different classes. Therefore, I’ve had attended more than one of Beth’s classes before. But even though most of the databases are pretty similar to use, attending these sessions have always helped me to not only getting to know new databases that could be very helpful for me to use in a course that I’m taking that semester, but also to make it easier and faster for me to access the right articles or research reports. I’m not losing lots of time anymore trying to find articles or research reports that are relevant to my own research compared to the beginning of my college career here at WVWC. If you’re conducting research yourself, for school or the business you’re working for, I definitely advise you to take a look at Mintel as it has helped me a lot throughout a couple of courses I took in the past.