A Marketing Research Tool for Conducting Online Experiments in University Industry Relationships
Seiler, Roger; Miesler, Linda; Hari, Jürg J. (2014). A Marketing Research Tool for Conducting Online Experiments in University Industry Relationships. 13th Science-to-Business Marketing Conference , Zurich, 03. July Peer reviewed.
The rapid advances of information technology as well as its outcomes, such as as of the Web 2.0, have undoubtedly put a wide range of topics on the research agenda of marketing researchers. The attention of marketing researchers has been drawn to web experiments, which can be used to conduct online field experiments in online environments, because conducting such experiments has become not only more affordable and therefore increasingly popular but more relevant as well. The turn overs in e-commerce exceeding those of offline stores in some countries are just one example for the web experiment’s relevance.
The goal of this paper is to present and describe a research method for conducting such online experi-ments in a fashion that enables the use of existing, live web content, thus leading to a real world context within the experiment. Further the paper describes advantages this research method can have. This is done by compairing it to traditional methods as well as existing software and by highlighting the method’s advantages within the context of university-industry relationships.
The method or tool called Silent Surfer, drawn from theory as well as research methods of marketing and information science, has an interdisciplinary character leading to a unique way of conducting online ex-periments. The uniqueness lies in the integrated process of conducting the experiment as well as the “real world” online surrounding this method can offer. The Silent Surfer enables web experiments to be con-ducted in an integrated manner, by integrating e-mail, information pages, web experiment artifact with live web content as well as a concluding online questionnaire into a seamless process.
The Silent Surfer provides realistic “real world” context for conducting online experiments, whilst simultaneously reducing costs for conducting such experiments. By building on existing web content, the method enables quick and easy testing of ideas online. The Silent Surfer’s approach allows for the pro-ductive environment, such as the systems of an onlineshop, to be left untouched. Whereas by using traditional methods security issues prohibiting cooperation may arise, the Silent Surfer enables cooperation without raising such issues. The relevance of this advantage applies mainly to large enterprises, where productive systems and security issues are quite a delicate matter and typically not negotiable in favor of a university-industry cooperation.
The use of the Silent Surfer method can typically result in reducing costs, saving time and enhancing the quality of communication and therefore being beneficial to university-industry relationships relationships. Further, the tool provides a good example for the applicability of tools developed by scientific communities to solve problems of practitioners.