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The Historic Use of Computerized Tools for Marketing and Market Research: A Brief Survey

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000006359D
Publication Date: 2001-Dec-27
Document File: 19 page(s) / 99K

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The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Jeff Lindsay: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

Electronic tools such as computer-generated graphics and interactive survey systems have been used for many years for market research. While this is well known among marketers and most consumer products companies, there has apparently been some confusion about the historic availability of electronic market research tools. Some tools that have been long used and are widely known among market research professionals have been "reinvented" in attempts to gain patent protection for technologies that actually are well known. To foster better appreciation of past efforts, we will cover a small but diverse sampling of topics in this paper. In addition to discussing prior practices, we will also discuss a number of directions that we expect to be adopted by the industry in the future, if not already in practice at the moment.

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The Historic Use of Computerized Tools for Marketing
and Market Research: A Brief Survey

by Jeff Lindsay, James Schuh, Walter Reade, Karin Peterson, and Christopher McKinney

Kimberly-Clark Corporation, 2100 Winchester Road, Neenah, WI 54956

Introduction

Electronic tools have been used for many years to pursue traditional marketing techniques. While this is well known among marketers and most consumer products companies, there has apparently been some confusion about the historic availability of market research tools. Some tools that have been long used and are widely known among market research professionals have been “reinvented” in attempts to gain patent protection for technologies that actually are well known. To foster better appreciation of past efforts, we will cover a small but diverse sampling of topics in this paper. A comprehensive compilation of the prior art for any topic touched upon herein is outside the scope of this article.

In addition to discussing prior practices, we will also discuss a number of directions that we expect to be adopted by the industry in the future, if not already in practice at the moment.

Computerized Tools

Computers have long been an important part of marketing and of marketing research. Some early forms of computer-assisted marketing research included research interviews conducted in shopping malls or by telephone with a computerized tool. Initially called cathode ray tube (CRT) interviews, computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI), or computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI), the concept involved obtaining information from a user based on questions generated on a cathode ray tube screen by a computer, and entering the response into the computer by a keyboard or other means. In this manner, questions could be posed based on the input to previous questions, allowing for accurate completion of a survey and accurate entry of answers. An interviewer initially conducted such surveys, but later systems provided self-administered surveys.

Examples of such computer-assisted marketing research systems are described by M. Crask, R.J. Fox, and R.G. Stout, Marketing Research, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1994, p. 161:

“One example of a CAPI system for self-administered surveys is MAX. MAX is a microcomputer-based software package developed by POPULUS, a Connecticut research firm. The company  has used MAX extensively for mall-intercept interviews.

“The J.C. Penney Company also used CAPI in combination with direct broadcast technology. Consumers view merchandise items on a television monitor and indicate on a CAPI system how likely they are to purchase each item. The information collected by Penney’s aids their merchandise buyers in determining what products target consumers are most likely to buy.”

Thus, prior to 1994, J.C. Penney and perhaps others used electronic displays of merchandise items coupled with a computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI) system to obtain and record a consumer...