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(5×5 Research, aka 5 C’s Research)


This project is designed to give students hands-on experience researching a company from a marketing research perspective. Students will look find five key data points from five marketing perspectives of a company/brand’s business and activities. The goal of the research is to gain a rapid understanding of factors affecting the business’s marketing performance.


Students will study a well-known company of their choosing (approved by the instructor). They will research it, finding five important data points or statistics about five different areas of focus: 1) the company, 2) its customers, 3) its competitors, and 4) its community (market). Once the basic research is done, the student identifies and lists the five most pressing issues (“concerns”) from all these data points with a brief reason for each.

From this data they will identify, select and articulate the most significant marketing “decision problem” affecting the company. This should be in the form of question a marketing manager needs to answer. Once determined/stated, students will identify if it caused by a “planned change/event” or an “unplanned change/event”.

Next, explain whether it is a “discovery-oriented decision problem” or a “strategy-oriented decision problem”. From the decision problem, students will choose one and then identify three research problems (things marketing research can help to drive a marketing action). And lastly, student will select one research problem and find primary or secondary research addressing the research problem.

Here is the project in a step-by-step format:

Step One – Select a major U.S. company and product or service. Post your selection on the class Facebook page. Once a company is selected, no one else may do the same company/product. The instructor will “Like” it as your signal to move forward. Write one paragraph of background information on the company (ex: when founded, where headquartered, mission and vision, etc.)

Step Two – Compile research on the a) company, b) its customers, c) its competitors, and the d) community (its market area). This should be at least five important marketing-related datapoints or statistics for each area. This research is to be “sourced” (who did the research and where you found it).

Step Three – Identify five of the most critical concerns from the research data about the company, customers, competitors, and community research. This becomes your fifth list (hence the name “5×5”).

Step Four – From the list of concerns, formulate (write out) a Decision Problem. There could be many, but you are to choose the one you feel most important from a marketing perspective. Look for something a marketing action could affect. This should be in the form of a question. Identify it as “discovery-oriented” decision problem or a “strategy-oriented decision problem”. The former asks questions beginning with “Why” or What” (See page 18 of the text), whereas the latter asks a “How” question.

Step Five – Once you have determined and written a manager’s Decision Problem, write three “Research Problems” that would include marketing research to help a manager take action. See Exhibit 2.3 in the text to see this process in action and examples. Research Problems are often written in the form of research actions.

Step Six – Selection one Research Problem, and finish by finding primary or secondary research that addresses the research problem and might drive action. This can be brief.

Suggested length: no less than 6 -7 pages (one page for each of the C’s, and approximately 2 pages of summarizing, analysis, and discovery)

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