MARKETING RESEARCH AS A TOOL FOR PROFITABILITY IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY
A CASE STUDY OF AIICO INSURANCE COMPANY OPERATIONS IN ENUGU METROPOLIS
Marketing research is the systematic design, collection, analysis and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation facing the company. (Koller P 2003).
This study focused on marketing research as a tool for profitability in the service industry, a case study of AIICO insurance company operation in Enugu metropolis.
In order to carryout the study, the following objectives amongst others were states;
- To ascertain the proportion of marketing bodget allocated to the marketing research activities in a given period in AIICO Insurance Company.
- To ascertain, if the marketing research activities increase the number of policy holders in AIICO insurance company.
- To ascertain whether marketing research contributes to increase in profit in AIICO insurance company.
- To ascertain whether marketing research creates awareness of AIICO insurance company and its services.
Based on the stated objectives, three hypotheses were formulated, they are:-
Ho: Marketing research does not create awareness of AIICO insurance company.
HI1 Marketing research creates awareness of AIICO insurance company.
Ho2 marketing research does not increases the number of policy holders
HI2 Marketing research increases the number of policy holders
Ho3 Marketing research does not increase profit of AIICO Insurance Company.
HI3 Marketing research increase profit of AIICO insurance company.
Extensive literature review of textbooks, newspapers, magazines business journals and some past projects of graduated students who studied related topic of the study was carried out to source secondary data. Primary data were source from respondents comprising policy holders, management and relevant staff of AIICO insurance company in Enugu.
The sample size was determined using Topman’s formular for the policy holders of AIICO Insurance company while a census was conducted for management and relevant staff of AIICO insurance company in Enugu.
The researcher used chi-square (x2) statistical method to test the hypotheses which were earlier formulated for the study. The data collected were presented on statistical tables using frequencies and percentages for analysis.
In the process of the study, the following finding were revealed.
- That AIICO insurance company at one time or the other engaged in marketing research activities.
- That the company has a marketing research department at the headquarters only but not at the zonal offices.
- That marketing research activities increase the number of policy holders.
- That marketing research activities increase the profit level of the company.
In view of the releasing findings, recommendations on how to apply marketing research for the success of the company were offered.
In conclusion, the ultimate aim of using marketing research is geared towards customers satisfaction at a profit to the company, so AIICO Insurance Company is advised to continue putting marketing research into effective use.
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Objectives of the study
1.4 Formulation of hypotheses
1.5 Significance of the study
1.6 Scope of the study
1.7 Definition of terms
2.0 Literature review
2.1 What is marketing research?
2.2 Scope of marketing research
2.3 The place of marketing research in marketing
2.4 Marketing research problem facing Nigerian manufacturer
2.5 The future of marketing research in Nigeria
2.6 Role of marketing research in the service industry
2.7 Role of marketing research in the profitability of AIICO insurance company.
3.0 Research methodology
3.1 Sources of data
3.2 Population of the study
3.3 Sample size determination
3.4 Sampling technique
3.5 Research instruments used
3.6 Method of data treatment and analysis
3.7 Limitations of the study
4.0 Data presentation and analysis
4.1 Test of hypotheses
5.0 Summary of findings recommendations and conclusion
5.1 Summary of findings
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Organizations uses many types of resources to function. One of the most valuable, often the least understood, is their knowledge base. Management is unable to take formed decisions without knowledge and the quality of that organization knowledge, skills, resides primarily in employees but can also be collected in data bases, reports patents, plans, budgets, memoranda and a variety of other documents. The knowledge base covers all aspects of the organizations activities products, technology, human resources, finance, sales and marketing and is a wasting asset requiring constant dating, improvement and extension to keep abreast with changes in the operational environment.
Nowhere is the need for detailed, accurate and up to date knowledge more evident than in the marketing function. The markets have two characteristics, which distinguished them from the other environments in which companies operate. They are:
1. In variable dynamic and are tending to become more so in response to increasing pace of technical development, competitive pressure and a continual uplift n customers’ expectations.
2. Change is caused by a wide diversity of factors most of which are beyond the control of any single supplier.
Marketing therefore operate in an inherently unstable environment and it is all too easy for companies to lose touch with conditions in the market they service.
Furthermore, in the quest for growth or even to defend existing market positions, the problem tends to be exacerbated by the fact that companies continually need to do something new. They develop new strategies launch new product, target new market and initiate new service packages – all of which push them into increasingly unfamiliar marketing territory.
Marketing knowledge is created from a number of inputs experience and expertise are critical, as are experimentation and analysis, but the key dynamic ingredient marketing information derived from sources within the market place itself, notably customers, competitors and distributors.
Marketing research is the marketing information. It is defined by the American marketing association as the systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of about problems relating to marketing of goods and services. Marketing research can also be defined Kolter (20003:129) as the systematic design, collection, analysis and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation facing the company.
Marketing research is very important to any organization or company because it is through it that we know the feelings, wants, needs, perceptions and preference of customers/consumers knowing that consumer/customer is the focal point of marketing and every organization or company will always want to satisfy their customers/clients in other to continue in the business. It is a link between the customer and the general public to the individual, organization of the business firm and also identify and define marketing opportunities, trends, threats and measurements.
Therefore, this study try to find out how marketing research is carried out in the service industry – people always believe that marketing research is more suitable in product/goods offering company and it is not well practice in the service industry due to its certain characteristics.
Service can be defined as any act or performance that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership anything. (Kotter 2003) services have four major characteristics that greatly affect the design of marketing programs: intangibility, inseparability, variability and perishability. Services also vary as to whether they are equipment based or people based. It requires the client’s presence and differs as to whether they meet a personal need or business need. Services provided differ in their objectives (i.e. profit or non profit) and ownership (as to private or public).
These have made people believe that marketing research in the service industry – insurance company, has resulted from the growth of marketing management and marketing concept. The basic purpose of applying marketing research is to reduce marketing management risks and consequently embrace higher marketing efficiency. Marketing research is also used in situation of disagreement or uncertainty amongst the marketing decision or where the available marketing research techniques will increase the amount or reliability of marketing information decision in service industry.
There are certain factors in service industry especially in insurance companies that affect the profitability of the firm such as the impact of legislation and tax concession, size and distribution of population, national income, competition, inflation, use f mass merchandising, packaging policy approach etc it is through marketing research that these problems will be solved and thus bring profit to the company. The success of any business firm depends to a great extent on the efficiency and aggressiveness of the entire marketing organization operations, and the effectiveness of the management, working together as a team, towards the accomplishment of the specific and broad corporate goals and objectives.
AIICO insurance company a service industry was established in 1963 as a collection centre, and incorporated in 1970, converted to a public liability company in 1989 and was listed on the Nigeria stock exchange with effect from 3rd December, 1990. To date, AIICO has become the highest life insurance in Nigeria and a major underwriter for general insurance business. The company’s success has been the result of its ability to evaluate its potential set realistic goals and take necessary action to achieve them. They have a separate marketing department and a research department that undertake the marketing research work. These activities have to a large extent influenced the overall performance of AIICO insurance company Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Despite the large market potentials in service industry and its competitive nature in Enugu State, many companies and business still find it difficult to develop an appropriate offering that will serve the market satisfactorily.
ALLCO insurance company faced very stiff opposition from other insurance companies especially other foreign owned insurance brokers and agents at its on set due to fear of the uncertain effects that its entry into the industry might cast on their business prospects, thus were reluctant to assist the company.
Also, the level of insurance awareness in the country is still very low, at present about 10-15 percent of the Nigerian population are insured, unlike developed countries this resulting in low productivity and profitability.
Consequently, there have been allegation of AIICO insurance company not compensating the unfortunate policy holders, all these have resulted in negative attitude towards their services, thus have resulted to loss in profit. This research takes an in-depth look at this allegation and other pro problems in other to proffer an amenable attitude towards AIICO insurance company.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are to ascertain,
1. What type of marketing research activities are available to companies especially those activities that AIICO insurance company is interested in conducting?
2. What proportion of marketing budget is allocated to the marketing activities in a given period in AIICO insurance company?
3. Whether the company has its own established marketing research department or if they hire the services of marketing research consultants.
4. The source of their marketing data and the method used in analysis such data from which information is derived.
5. Whether marketing research creates awareness in AIICO insurance company.
6. If marketing research increases the policy holders in AIICO insurance company
7. Whether marketing research contributes to increase profit in AIICO insurance company.
1.4 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested.
Ho: Marketing research does not create awareness of AIICO insurance company
HI: Marketing research creates awareness of AIICO Insurance Company.
Ho2: Marketing research does not increase the number of policy holders.
HI2: Marketing research increases the number of policy holders.
Ho3: Marketing research does not increase profit of AIICO Insurance Company.
HI3: Marketing research increases profit of AIICO Insurance Company.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Olakunori (1997:20) defined marketing research as the planned and systematic investigation and collection of relevant facts, the analysis and interpretation of those facts through objective and verifiable methods, for the purpose of arriving at solution of problems or deducing broad principles or laws”. Putting it another way, the research is a planned process of conducting investigations in other to achieve a determined objectives.
The objective is usually a solution to one or more problem or an addition to current knowledge in particular field. It is against this background that the researcher believes that the study f this nature is necessary. The outcome of this study will provide an adequate understanding on the application of then various marketing research to service business/industry.
Also this research work will help to ensure an improvement in the quality of service rendered to customers and the public by AIICO insurance company and could as well help the management design strategies and programmes which will enable them to remain competitive.
The research work also helps other service firms to understand more correctly the basic principles of marketing research and its place in the service business/industry so as to influence future marketing operations.
Finally, the researcher will benefit immensely in this study because he will learn a lot through the stages of study by passing through all the critical and difficult tasks required in gathering necessary information and the subsequent analysis, interpretation and presentation of the research findings.
1.6 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study takes a look into the marketing research activities of insurance firms in service industry. Because of time and other factors involved, the researcher was limited to the study of particular insurance firm known as AIICO insurance company operating at Enugu metropolis. It examines the conduct/operations of marketing research activities in the industry.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Marketing: this is the process of planing and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals. Peter D. Bennett (1988).
Service Marketing: The marketing process involving organization that buy in other to provide services or these marketing activities or processes which involve the provision of services to customers through exchange process. Hart N.A and Stapleton, J (1986)
Services: they are activities or benefits that one party can offer to another that is intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything. Kotter P. (2003).
Insurance: This is one of the social sciences designed essentially for taking risk and risk taking involves uncertainty of loss. Benaeth C. (1980)
Insurance: This is the party who agrees in turn for a premium to pay money to another party known as the insured or the assured on the happening of a stated event. Benneth C. (1980).
Insured: is the other patty to the insurance contract who is entitled to be indemnified or compensated in monetary turns on the happening of event or contingency insured against. Brandmaire M. (1986).
Policy: is the written or typewritten document which evidence the terms of insurance contract between the parties. Itukwu, J.O (1988).
Premium: This is the financial consideration a paid by the insured to the insurer in return for the promise of the insurer. Itukwu J.O. (1988)
Insurance Market: Refers to all the facilities available for the placing of insurer and the different kinds of professional risk beers (insures) available. (Ayankoyi R. (1988).
Marketing Research: The systematic and objective design, collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of data (information) to enable managers deal with specific problems facing any organization. Adirika, E.O. (1996:332).
Market research: is the process of making investigation into the characteristics of a given market Baker. J. Michael (1991).
Marketing services: is the term sometimes used to cover all marketing activities in a company other than the sales function of marketing research, advertising etc. Hart, N.A. and Stapleton J. (1986).
Marketing function:- This is all embracing term overing every contributory factor in the process or consideration to be the responsibility of marketing management. Hart N.A. and Stapleton (1986).
Marketing information: the data and news relevant to marketing operations. Ifezue A.N. (1990).
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