Lahore School of Economics

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The importance, interpretation and presentation of marketing data

Chairman Hafiz Aftab Ahmad and Chief Executive Sarah Aftab of Aftab Associates, one of the oldest and largest market research service providers in Pakistan, visited the Lahore School of Economics on 8th November 2018. Ms. Sarah Aftab delivered a sterling session on the importance, interpretation and presentation of marketing data to the MBA cohort of 2018.


From the outset, Ms. Sarah emphasized that the most important element for success in designing and implementing a research project for a client was whether the client was clear about what he or she wanted from the results of the research. In other words, how the client would use this data in furthering their marketing objectives. A problem well-defined, she told the audience, was a problem half-solved.

Market research data allowed a company to know where it was lacking. Take FMCG products. The research company, for example, could collect data on awareness, consideration, purchase intentions, trials, repurchase and so on. From this data, one could see whether the consideration, trial or repurchase rates were the problem. One could also juxtapose this data against marketing interventions such as TVCs, samplings, outdoor advertising or digital marketing and then again see the impact of these interventions.

Ms. Sarah laid special emphasis on the presentation of the data. The client might not be interested in all of the variables and thus the service provider must be careful as to what the client wants to see and which form would be the most useful for this purpose. With the help of data, she showed the class how to make very effective presentations from the data. But, she advised the class repeatedly, for all of this “One needs to know his or her data very well”. She also gave a lot of examples to illustrate how market research could solve a client’s problems.

In response to the skills needed to research, she opined that in general one needed to have some sense of how to collect and interpret data. However, these skills were different for different kinds of research. For quantitative research, one needed to sit down with focus and do analysis. For qualitative, one needed to mingle with everyone, from the CEO to the peon. Of course technology was evolving and so were the research providing agencies in their use of various tools and techniques. The trend was now towards online data collection because clients want faster research.


The session, which was attended by Chairman Hafiz Aftab himself, was very well-received. The MBA candidates asked a wide range of questions which Ms. Sarah answered with both poise and deep expertise. The Lahore School is especially proud of its honored guest Ms. Sarah Aftab because she is an alumna of the School. Both Hafiz Aftab and Sarah Aftab are long-term guests and old friends of the Lahore School.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11/12/2018 04:20:00 PM,

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