Inquiring Minds Want to Know—Now!
The focus of this case study is to find out if reader service cards are efficient in bringing in advertising revenues for Penton Media. The management-research question hierarchy is listed below: The Management Dilemma: Will switching to more technology-based advertisement requests help bring in more advertisement revenue? The Management question: Are organizations inclined to use technology-based communication techniques to inquire about advertising options rather than reader service cards? The Research Questions: Should Penton Media switch to offering different forms of advertisement using more technology? Which types of technology are the more widely used method? The Investigative Questions: How many customers currently use the reader service cards on a regular basis? Is time the reason why current subscribers do not utilize the reader service card? The Measurement Questions: Do you currently utilize the reader service card? If so, how often? What form of communication would you rather use to inquire about advertising?
An ethical issue I noticed was at the end of the survey, they ask for general demographic information of the participant. How does gender, age, and length of employment relate to the topic of the case? This information is irrelevant to the issue at hand which is to find out if reader service cards are being utilized and how to increase advertising revenue.
The sampling plan consisted of targeting managers and purchasing employees that were randomly selected in the Penton Media database by being current subscribers. They sent out 4000 surveys and only received 710 back from participants. The parameters of interest were centered around who makes the purchasing decisions in their company or organization. This is the reason why they chose to only use 676 of the completed surveys. The sampling frame was the list of current subscribers in the Penton Media database. The appropriate sampling method used was simple random testing from the database of current customers. The size sample was very small considering the they have 1.7 million subscribers. The strength of this plan is they targeted participants that can control the advertisement purchasing. The weakness is they did not send out enough surveys to adequately receive enough data.
The research design Penton Media used was a formal study that gave them answers to their questions of the study. A communication study was preformed, and they used the survey that was sent to 4000 participants. Ex post facto was used because the unchangeable variables could not be altered. They had to use the data that was provided by the survey. The purpose of the study was to report the data collected and to use it to decide if they should eliminate the reader service cards. The time dimension consisted of the study being cross sectional because they conducted the experiment one time instead of several. The scope was a statistical study because they showed percentages based on what was provided by the data on the surveys. The research environment was a field study because it was not necessary for the participants to be present to conduct the research. The perception of the participants was actual routine because Penton Media wanted to know if subscribers used the cards in their professional work routines. A strength of this research design was the researchers reported the data exactly how they received it which was the results of the survey. A weakness might have been not receiving enough data to adequately report the finings due to the low number of surveys received back.
Regarding the survey used for this study, I did not like how the survey was split into 2 different groupings. Personally, it made the survey too busy to focus on one area. However, I understand why they used this process because they needed to know if these participants planned on using certain methods of communication in the future. I did not agree with the portion of the survey inquiring about gender and age. I felt this information was irrelevant to the purpose of the study.
I would present the statistical data by using graphs comparing how many use the reader service card to other forms of communication methods such as email, phone, website, etc. As I present the graphs I would give an oral presentation explaining the results as the viewers look through the graph slides on a big presentation screen.
The limitation of this study is Penton Media did not offer the survey to company’s that were not current subscribers to their magazines. Maybe if they made this survey available to other participants, they could view results on a grander scale, so they can draw in a higher customer database. I would recommend conducting a separate study including other companies that could be of interest to advertising services.
Given the results of the survey, I believe IndustryWeek would need to conduct another survey including more participants since 71.4% reported they had in fact mailed a reader service card in the past year. However, when they did mail the card in, it was for a nonimmediate need. I think it would be beneficial to Penton Media, to exclude the nonimmediate need portion of the survey so they have the data solely concentrating on immediate needs of their customers. The case stated, “They want information more quickly and they want more information” which means customers need answers provided to them quicker than a reader service card through mail.