To be competitive in the same industry
when launching a new product, market research needs to be conducted to
determine customers’ needs and what the competition is currently
offering.  Market research is a methodology used to
collect data about potential customers and target market segments (Reh,
2016).  The change in consumer markets, advances in technology, and the
increase of social media has changed how market research is performed
(Patino, Pitta, & Quinones, 2012).  The key
to reaching a larger audience to strengthen your product’s credibility
and value is to partner with a subject matter expert (Brumitt, 2015).  A
subject matter expert (SME) is an individual with extensive experience
and knowledge in their particular field. 
They have developed their expertise over an extensive period of time
and are often involved in writing about or speaking about their area of
expertise. (Reh, 2016).
How did you find your Subject Matter Expert (SME)?  Discuss any difficulties and how you overcame them.
My subject matter expert (SME) was found
by a friend who retired from Domtar.  Domtar is a company located in my
area that is a leading producer of fiber based products such as
packaging papers and absorbent hygiene products such
as diapers.  My interview was with Paul Pritchard, Vice President of
Marketing of Personal Care Products.  Mr. Pritchard provided insight on
how Domtar uses internal sources to market their products since they
have been in business for a long time.  His marketing
team uses existing data from sales figures, inventory records, and
balance sheets, which is usually enough information to develop new
products and enhance current products.  The marketing team also monitors
what the competition is doing so that they can develop
strategies to keep their customers buying their products instead of the
competitor’s products.  Fortunately, I did not have any difficulties
finding a subject matter expert.
As you asked your SME questions about the areas
that you wanted to learn more about, what were the important points or
areas of greatest learning for you?  Were there any surprises?
I was surprised to learn from Mr.
Pritchard that market analysts are beginning to use social media, such
as Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms to perform market
research.  There has been an increase in consumers
embracing the internet and social media to discuss their needs and
concerns with certain products (Patino, Pitta, & Quinones, 2012). 
Also, social media allows for multiple communication between consumers
instead of one-on-one communication via telephone and
emails as seen in the past.  I am interested in learning more about
companies hiring internet and social media experts to perform market
research since consumers are spending more time online.
Did the interview results provide any new ideas for you to explore?
The interview enlightened me to explore
market research via social media and the internet since this seems to be
the wave of future marketing.  According to Patino, Pitta, &
Quinones (2012), consumers are no longer interested in
being marketed to; consumers now want to be part of the marketing
What links were you able to see between the
information you gathered and the marketing research information provided
for you in the simulation?
The links that I was able to see in the
marketing research information and the simulation are that consumer
patterns are unpredictable and are constantly changing.  In order to
launch new products and enhance existing products,
organizations will need to continue performing market research to
determine strategies to keep consumers interested in purchasing their
products instead of their competitor’s products.  They also need to
focus on performing market research through social media
and the internet while remaining transparent and they need to be able
to store data to protect consumers’ confidentiality.
Brumitt, M. (2015, July 7).  The key to growing your audience: 
Partner with subject matter experts.  Retrieved from
Patino, A., Pitta, D. A., & Quinones, R. (2012).  Social media’s emerging importance in market research. 
The Journal of Consumer Marketing, 29(3), 233-237. doi:http//
Reh, F. J. (2016).  Subject Matter Expert.  Business Management and Leadership.  Retrieved from

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