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Statistical Software for Marketing Research

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  • 0:03 Customer Behavior
  • 1:02 SPSS & Excel
  • 1:55 Which to Choose?
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

In many cases, market research requires advanced statistical calculations in order to accurately analyze and respond to trends. This lesson explores some of the commercial software packages that perform these functions.

Customer Behavior

Imagine for a moment that you are the district general manager of a major fast food chain. In your quest to make great business decisions, you have decided to analyze consumer buying habits using data from your cash registers. You might opt to collect some raw data in an Excel spreadsheet and run calculations to look for correlations. When your calculations are done, you discover three interesting patterns:

  1. More people buy breakfast on Saturday and Sunday than on all other days combined
  2. The restaurant loses as many as 137 customers per day because we do not offer free Wi-Fi
  3. People buy more hamburgers on days that start with a 'T'

In this exaggerated example, it is easy to spot which is the invalid conclusion. In real life, it's rarely this easy to identify the invalid hypothesis, but statistical market research software can help business leaders draw accurate conclusions about their market using data that is properly collected and analyzed.

SPSS and Excel

Although there are many products on the market, two of the most powerful and popular platforms are IBM's SPSS and Microsoft Excel, which features third-party add-ons like MegaStat or XLStat. For market research, entering data into Excel and SPSS is a fairly similar process. However, the analysis and reporting features of the two systems are not identical.

Many market researchers who prefer Excel cite its reporting and chart capabilities. People who prefer SPSS often feel that its interface makes calling a function much easier. There are also people who prefer another option like MATLAB or R. These two packages have more power and flexibility than Excel or SPSS, but they also require at least some degree of scripting or programming to unlock the full potential of their features.

Which to Choose?

Coupled with an appropriate add-in, Excel is a great choice for an organization that needs relatively basic descriptive and parametric statistical calculations. It is also an excellent choice for a user that needs to be up and running quickly without a steep learning curve. Its primary limitation is its inability to perform deep calculations unless the appropriate add-ins are purchased.

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