This research proposal had been developed on behalf of the Boots Plc. MRC2 proposes a research to investigate the market chances of a Boots Dentistry chain. Under investigation are the future consumers, the dentists and market developments.
1.2. Background of Consultations
The marketing department of Boots Plc Headquarters in London had approached MRC2 four weeks ago. Since then a number of meetings between MRC2 and Boots have taken place. In this meeting the research objectives have been developed together. Boots provided MRC2 with the necessary organisational information and the data of Boots internal research about the British dentist market. MRC2 decided that further desk research was needed to develop a suitable strategy for Boots situation. This desk research had been necessary to develop this proposal in the extent and detail that MRC2 is able to give precise estimates about the research methodology needed to reach a valid conclusion for Boots.
2.1. Business Marketing Strategic Objective
The main aim of this research is to evaluate Boost chances in the growing £ 2 billion dentists market. The question is if Boots can generate enough turnover with private patients in order to operate profitable. The now proposed research would also help to design the product ”Boots the Dentist”. It will furthermore help the management of Boots Plc to evaluate the financial risk taken by entering into the dentists markets. The increased understanding of the industry as well as the customers will support the development of a suitable marketing strategy to ensure business success.
Similar to the Boots Plc optician chain should a dentistry chain provide health service for the large customer base. Boots Plc might be able to build on two unique selling positions. The Boots Health care brand is the one with the highest recognition for quality and service and the existing customer base, e.g. Advantage card holder, can be the starting point for the marketing of the new service.
2.2. Research objectives
To judge the chances of Boots Plc in the Brit. dentistry market research is need since the available data is not suffiencent. The following research objective have been developed in discussion with the management and have been formulated during four weeks of preliminary desk research. The areas of interests to decide on the business objectives are listed below.
What do customers demand?
Are they willing to go to Boots dentists?
Who should Boots the dentist focus on as its customer base? How can customer be segmented to support marketing? How many customers are privately insured?
2.2.2. Boots Brand
Are the any profits to be made in the market?
How should Boots the Dentist position itself in the market?
What implications does Boots image have on a possible market entry?What are the implications for Boots health care brand?
What do the industry analyst’think?
Will the government introduce measures to halt the decline in NHS treatment? How the public and private sector will grow and shape the Dental care industry? Is the private insurance industry prepared to work together will Boots?
What do the dentists think?
Are they likely to go private and work for Boots?Will they continue to accept NHS patients?
2.3. Research Plan
Previous research carried by MRC2 out for the Health industry showed that various methods have to be applied to gain the information needed. The answers to the research objectives can be found in qualitative and quantitative research, which are described below.
3.1. Qualitative Research
The qualitative research will be carried out using two different methods. Long interviews will be undertaken with industry analysts (insurance as well as dentistry), researchers, customers and dentists. Focus groups on the other hand will help to understand more only about the customers and the dentists.
3.2. Long interviews
With the help of long interviews it is possible to probe into the mind of person being interviewed. Open questions and especially trained interviews will find rationale behind particular reasoning. A much higher response rate is expected as each interview is scheduled beforehand. For each kind of interview an extra questionnaire will be developed.
The interviews be conducted one-to-one and will be open-ended questions to check attitudes/opinions. Each of the interviews will be around 45-60 minutes long. Each interview partner will be offered a number of Boots vouchers as a complementary gift. The dentists will be randomly chosen out of the British dental association (BDA) register. The customers will be found using the Boots Advantage card database as well as the CACI Lifestyle register. Industry experts will be found using the MRC2 expert database and with the associations operating in the Dental market.
The questions will include all areas of research objectives. The questions are very flexible, in the sense that the research can develop a point further is he or she sees the need to do so.
3.3. Application of Results (Long Interviews)
About 10 long interviews with possible customers will help to understand their perception of the service offered at the moment by the NHS. The results of these interviews will feed into the focus groups as well as the design of the main survey. Furthermore will questions ask about the likelihood of a change to Boots dentists, private insurance and demands from dentists. Reason behind the opinions will be found. Questions about costs of treatment and the willingness to pay for better service can be evaluated. In a long interview it is possible to carefully find out about private health related matters, which would not be appropriate to talk about in a focus group or in a standardised mail survey.
In a similar way about 10 dentists will be interviewed to find rather private information about their work experience and pay. The interview results will help Boots Plc to decide how to ensure the staffing of its new densities. As the Boots healthcare image can not be put at risk, at the beginning only high qualified and experienced dentists should work under the name “Boots the Dentists”. The long interviews will give the management of Boots Plc some guides, how to attract the best dentists for their new densities. The information need are subjects like working environment and pay.
3.3.3. Industry analysts
The questions to industry analysts will provide useful information about the market in general, actual trends and future developments. It is important for the management to know, weather the NHS decline will as expected in the future, or if the government will decide to increase founding for the NHS. As it can be seen did the satisfaction with the NHS decline over the last few years. This might be the chance of Boots to will customers. Other areas of interest for this research are new forms of treatment as laser operations, trends in the insurance sector and their impact on the market. Their result will feed into the focus group interviews with the dentists and in the estimates of Boots Plc turnover in the first years.
3.4. Focus Groups
To understand the customers and dentists better Focus groups will take place in the Greater London area. This effective method helps to study exchange of ideas among group members. Isolate variables of interest can be found.
The focus groups will be conducted with Dentists, who mainly serve private patients, mainly NHS patient and newly graduated. The customers will be again a mixture of existing Boots customers as well as non Boots customers.
Loosely structured moderated interviews will conducted according to geographical location of the participants. MRC2 has special contract with leading Hotels with will provide the rooms. The focus groups will be stratified by the different groups of interest.
3.5. Application of Results (Focus Groups)
A rough picture of how much money people are willing/able to pay for various treatments will be drawn. Ideas on what the consumers actually want those small private dentists cannot afford to provide. The open exchange of ideas might discover areas of concern left untouched in the interview before. For example the acceptability of Boots is providing dental care. The focus groups can furthermore be used to research possible advertising campaigns for the market entry. Especially finding about the selection process of the dentists and the payment schemes will feed into the main survey design.
The exchange of ideas between dentists will help the management with the recruitment of personal. Strategies to buy densities might be developed. The focus groups might in the same way as customers groups discover untouched areas of interest. The result of this qualitative research will be a list of possible incentives and pay structure required for dentists to join Boots. Market developments and trend as well as variables of interest will also be discussed.
4. Quantitative Research
During and after the qualitative research questions for the main survey will be developed. The questionnaire design and the wording of the questions will be discussed with Boots and Experts of the Health industry.
After intensive qualitative research MRC2 regards a survey on a larger scale for essential to gain data about the customer, possible location of new dentistry’s, insurance cover and other fields of interest for a market entry strategy. The qualitative research will have disclosed more fields of interest and helped to develop the questionnaire. Prior experience of MRC2 has shown that a mail survey is appropriate in this context to explore the options past and future behaviour. A mail survey allows contacting a widely scattered population. A mail survey is also appropriate because as the desk research has show that the target population is very likely a high income working one. And therefore difficult to meet because of professional commitments. A mail survey is the cheapest way to conduct this kind of interviews.
To ensure the highest quality and usability of the returned answered a pilot or test survey is sent out to a sample of the proposed target population. However intense the qualitative research has been, there are some data on the survey design, which cannot be found in this way. MRC2 uses pilot survey to ensure the highest quality of the data collected. The increase in quality and reliably offsets the costs and time involved.
The technique and the target population will most likely be the same of the main survey, although alterations will be made to the mail survey if changes seem to necessary. Variations of the questionnaire design will be made to find optimal solutions for example in the height of the Boots voucher, which will be offered as an incentive.
In the same way as the main survey two stage cluster sampling will be used. The cluster will be chosen out of a number of richer areas with of the target population. Within this are there will be random samples taken, matching the existing advantage cardholders in the area. The pilot survey will be send to 300 households in highincome areas, like Kensington and Knightsbridge in London. 100 households will be chosen out of the Advantage card database. 200 similar households will be randomly chosen out of the CACI database .
4.2. Application of results of the pilot survey
The feedback of the pilot survey will allow the refinement of main survey. The wording of the questionnaire might be altered in parts. Any bias or errors with arose can be dealt with before the much higher costs for the main survey occur. The influence of the gift voucher on the response rate will be calculated in order to minimise costs at a high enough return rates. The pilot survey will also help to determine if the sampling frame is appropriate in this context. Preliminary data analysis will help to verify survey fulfils our requirements
4.3. Ways to ensure a high response rate
MRC2 has develops various techniques to ensure a high response rate of mail surveys. These techniques include Teaser on the envelope to raise interest, prepaid return envelopes and follow-ups. MRC2 is closely working together with a design agency, which specialised in design surveys to attract interest e.g. the structure, layout and colours. The high quality up-to-date sampling frame form CACI Acorn Lifestyles Profile also helps to ensure that the surveys reaches the persons intended. The persons will receive a Boots gift voucher if they return the questionnaire.
Mail survey to Boots AC-holders and same area residents
The main survey will approx. contain about 30 question related to the research objectives and personal data. The latter ones are need for the segmentation of the customers. Within the whole survey mainly multiple choice questions will be used. The completing time will be between 15 and 20 minutes. This is about the maximum length a customer willing to spend filling out a questionnaire.
4.6. Areas of the questions:
Questions will try to discover what the person had for dental treatment in the past and which treatment will probably be needed in the future. A list of possible changes to the current system will disclose the wishes and demand of the customer. If the person had not visit a dentist for a longer period the questionnaire tries to find the reasoning behind this decision. It will also try to find out about the relationship of the respondent to Boots and the likelihood of a visit to a Boots dentist. Furthermore will the survey ask question about private insurance and private payment plans of the respondent. For Boots to succeed in this new market it is important to tailor the product close to the demands of the private patients. The final report of this research will contain a list of essential and important improved services Boots should offer to fulfil this aim. Of interest are also the views of people on one-stop” health care centres. In the last part of the questionnaires asks for some personal details.
4.7. Application of
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Results (Main Survey)
4.7.1. Target population:
The results determine the main target population for the new service offered by Boots. At the present moment are 30% as they are privately paying of particular interest. This number is will grow over the next years as dental insurance is the best selling insurance polices . Following the CACI Acorn classification and the information gained from the Boots Advantage Card ownership as well as the residential area, age and spendiable income marketing target populations will be found.
One result might be that the Boots Advantage card customer base are more likely to change over to a Boots dentists because of positive past experience with services provided by Boots. In this case a mailing to the chosen group of advantage holders will a suitable tool in the marketing mix.
The most profitable customers will have to be privately insured or pay for their service themselves. The data collected will determine their profile and what their demands are. Boots marketing department will be given a clear description of this customer group in order to optimise future marketing activities.
Different age groups are likely to demand different services and products from a dentist. Marketing and product design can the tailored for such special demands. One example would be if high-income employees demand a one stop Health centre, where the can turn up without making an appointment long in advance. Another important aspect is the location of the new dentists. This survey will determine which kind of geographical cluster would inhabit the best socio-economic group for the services offered by Boots the dentists. If the customers are likely to choose difficult new forms of treatment, Boots should incorporate this in the product advertised. On the other hand should Boots be aware, that children of private insured parents are likely to be still NHS patients. Boots should in such cases offer treatment to all of the customers arriving.
5. The Final Report
Boots will have access to all data during the research. Mixed teams, Boots and MRC2, to ensure highest quality and usability of the research will discuss a number of areas. After the completion of the main survey Boots will be provided with a detailed analysis and report of all the findings. A presentation will brief the management. Furthermore will MRC2 provide Boots with the databases of all interviews and the written versions of the Focus groups. MRC2 experts will be available to assist the different departments of Boots involved in the market entry decision. Workshops were in the past an appropriate methods to communicate the finding to the lower levels of management and in-house experts.
6. Timetable and Costing
Project manager will provide direct supervision on deadlines and costs; bonus incentives and promotional prospects shall be used.
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7. Procedures for quality control
Recruitment is based on experience and credentials. We employ strategic management and technique in order to monitor the achievement of goals. Research executive directors will oversee department managers who will continuously monitor their specialist staff. The returned questionnaires will be scanable through precoding. This ensures a minimum of errors, once the data is collected.
8. Statement of confidentiality
Working material, preliminary and main results in this project will be treated as highly confidential. All employees take extra precautions to ensure that non-of the data can reach a third party.