A research proposal sets the foundation for any research project and determines if the research will produce valuable insights to effectively inform on marketing and management decision makings. This assignment requires you to prepare a research proposal for the given case study included below, and demonstrate your understanding of problem definition, literature review, and research design.par
Group or individual: Individualpar
Word limit: 2000 words (+/- 10%)par
Unit Learning Outcomes:par
Appraise a variety of current theories and techniques used in the collection and analysis of marketing information drawing from academic and industry literature.par
Design appropriate research methodologies in response to a variety of local and international marketing problems and opportunities.par
Before starting this assignment, you should read all assessment materials provided on Canvas and consult with the lecturer for additional instructions and support. The given topic for the proposal will be introduced in class.par
Step 1: Read the Research Topic information below:par
Mobile phone switching and unhappy consumerspar
Since the late 1990s, Australia has witnessed an explosion in telecommunications activity, particularly through mobile phone networks. In 2011 according to Euromonitor, there were 25.5 million mobile phone subscriptions compared with 18.4 million in 2005. The extraordinary growth in mobile services has, however, been associated with an acceleration in consumer problems and complaints. In a recent series of inquiries, the Australian Communication Media Authority (ACMA) cited evidence of excessive consumer complaints and poor customer service in the Australian telecommunications industry. ACMA argues that the industryrquote s poor performance imposes real and significant costs on consumers and the industry. The ACMA (June 2011) report into the functioning of the mobile phone market identified many systemic marketing-related weaknesses, including the need for clearer pricing information in advertisements; a better and simpler and standardised approach to providing information about plans; better complaints management; tools to monitor usage and expenditure to help reduce the risk of bill shock and the ability compare service provider customer care procedures and performance. Identifying the causal impact of the drivers of switching behaviour and the contribution of the marketing practices identified previously will enable an assessment of the impact of the differences in marketing practices on firm and mobile phone market performance. This research study examines the switching attitudes and behaviours of mobile phone users in Australia.par
Step 2: Based on the background, write a research proposal for AusBargain, a mobile phone provider who provi1. Use more concise language and avoid repetition to improve the clarity and flow of the text. For example, instead of saying “The research proposal sets the foundation for any research project and determines if the research will produce valuable insights to effectively inform on marketing and management decision makings,” say “The research proposal informs marketing and management decision-making and sets the foundation for the project.”par
2. Include more specific information and examples to support the statements made in the text. For instance, instead of saying “ACMA argues that the industryrquote s poor performance imposes real and significant costs on both consumers and industry,” provide specific examples of the costs and consequences of poor performance.par
3. Provide more guidance and direction for the reader, such as outlining the steps involved in completing the assignment and providing more detailed instructions for each section of the research proposal. This will help the reader to better understand the purpose and requirements of the assignment.des, low-cost BYOD contracts with an Australian call centre.par
The research proposal should include the key elements outlined below:par
Introduction (approx. 400 words)par
Background of the research (current issues)par
Outline of the research aim and main contents in the proposalpar
Problem definition/purpose of the research (approx. 800 words)par
Review of relevant literature and secondary datapar
The aim is topar
gain further insight on the research topic, andpar
provide a direction for the research project (e.g. what to focus on in your research).par
The review should be written concisely in your own words and closely aligned with the given research topic.par
Statement of research objectives (2-4 objectives)par
Research design (approx. 800 words)par
Research methodology and methodpar
Select from the below options, and justify your choice:par
a qualitative method (e.g. depth interviews or focus groups),par
a quantitative method (e.g. an online, paper or telephone questionnaire); orpar
a mixed methodpar
Define and justify the target population, sampling technique, sample size and recruitment method.par
Data collection instrument (interview questions or a sample questionnaire)par
This section is not included in the word count.par
References (in APA style)
Research proposal for AusBargain mobile phone provider examining switching attitudes and behaviors of mobile phone users in Australia:
The mobile phone industry in Australia has experienced tremendous growth over the past two decades, transitioning from a niche market to near ubiquitous adoption (Australian Communications and Media Authority [ACMA], 2021). However, this growth has been accompanied by increasing consumer complaints regarding issues such as billing errors, poor customer service, and a lack of transparency around pricing and plans (ACMA, 2019). The ACMA (2021) has found evidence that the telecommunications industry’s poor performance in these areas has resulted in real financial and emotional costs imposed on both consumers and the industry.
Given the systemic problems that have been identified, examining the drivers of consumer switching behavior and how marketing practices may influence this is warranted. Understanding these dynamics can provide valuable insights to inform improved decision-making around marketing strategies and customer relationship management. To this end, the purpose of this research proposal is to outline a study that will examine switching attitudes and behaviors among mobile phone users in Australia, with a focus on identifying the key determinants and assessing the potential impact of differences in marketing approaches.
Specifically, this proposal will include background on the issues, a review of relevant literature, clearly defined research objectives, and a proposed methodology. The study aims to provide AusBargain, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), with empirical data to help enhance their marketing strategies and customer value proposition as they seek to capture more market share through low-cost bring your own device (BYOD) plans.
The Australian mobile phone market has been characterized by rapid growth yet also increasing consumer dissatisfaction in recent years (ACMA, 2019). While the number of subscriptions continues rising, reaching over 32 million in 2021 (Statista, 2022), the ACMA (2021) reports a sharp increase in complaints related to billing errors, poor customer service, and a lack of transparency around pricing and plan details. Specifically, the top complaints in 2021 pertained to incorrect charges (21%), service and equipment issues (19%), and contract problems (15%) (TIO, 2022).
This poor performance by network providers has real financial and emotional costs for both consumers and the industry. For consumers, billing errors and unexpected charges can result in debt, stress, and damaged credit ratings (ACMA, 2019). Emotionally, frustrations with customer service and a lack of control over expenses takes a psychological toll as well (Sweeney et al., 2014). From an industry perspective, excessive complaints are financially costly to address through compensation and regulatory penalties (ACMA, 2021). They also damage brand reputation and trust, undermining customer retention and acquisition efforts (Gremler et al., 2001).
In light of these issues, examining the drivers of consumer switching behavior is warranted, as high rates of switching indicate underlying problems with the value proposition or relationship quality being offered by providers (Gan et al., 2008). Understanding these dynamics can help identify opportunities for AusBargain to improve their marketing approach and capture dissatisfied customers seeking lower prices and better service. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine switching attitudes and behaviors among Australian mobile phone users and assess how marketing practices may influence these.
A review of academic literature reveals several key determinants of consumer switching behavior in the mobile phone industry. Pricing, specifically unexpected bill shock from unclear or hidden charges, is a primary driver (ACMA, 2019; Sweeney et al., 2014). Other cost-related factors include perceptions of the price-quality ratio and availability of cheaper alternatives (Gan et al., 2008; Lee et al., 2001).
Customer service quality, in terms of responsiveness, reliability, and empathy, also strongly impacts retention (Gremler & Brown, 1996; Gremler et al., 2001). Dissatisfaction with the level of service received, especially during critical incidents like billing errors, increases switching intentions (Colgate & Stewart, 1998; Sweeney et al., 2014).
Transparency around contract terms and pricing structures further influences switching (ACMA, 2019). Consumers desire clarity on payment obligations, penalties for early cancellation, and any usage limits or extra fees (Sweeney et al., 2014). A lack of transparency breeds mistrust and perceptions the provider is not acting in the customer’s best interests (Morgan & Hunt, 1994).
Finally, relationship investment and switching costs impact retention (Burnham et al., 2003). Strong, long-term relationships foster commitment, while high switching costs like contractual obligations, number portability fees, and loss of loyalty rewards deter mobility (Gan et al., 2008; Lee et al., 2001). However, dissatisfaction can override these constraints given sufficient motivation to change providers (Colgate & Lang, 2001).
In summary, pricing transparency, service quality, relationship strength, and switching barriers all influence consumer mobility in the mobile phone sector. Identifying their specific impacts in the Australian market will provide valuable insights for AusBargain’s marketing approach.
Based on the identified gaps in understanding Australian consumers’ switching behaviors, this study aims to address the following research objectives:
Assess the key drivers of mobile phone switching intentions among Australian consumers (Sweeney et al., 2014). This will identify the most influential factors and priorities.
Evaluate how satisfaction with pricing transparency, service quality, and relationship investment impact switching intentions (ACMA, 2019; Gremler & Brown, 1996).
Determine the effect of switching costs and barriers on actual mobility between providers (Burnham et al., 2003).
Compare attitudes and behaviors between AusBargain customers and major brand users to identify opportunities (Gan et al., 2008).
Achieving these objectives will provide a nuanced understanding of switching dynamics to inform AusBargain’s marketing approach, especially around customer relationship management strategies.
To address the stated objectives, a mixed methods sequential explanatory design will be employed. This incorporates both qualitative and quantitative data to provide complementary insights (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011).
First, in-depth interviews will be conducted with 20 mobile phone users representing AusBargain and major brands. An interview guide will explore in detail participants’ experiences, satisfaction levels, perceptions of providers, and switching considerations (see Appendix). Qualitative data from interviews will be analyzed thematically to identify key constructs.
Second, findings will inform the development of an online questionnaire measuring the identified constructs on a 7-point Likert scale. A sample of 400 Australian mobile phone users will complete the survey through a third-party panel. The target population is adults 18-65 who have switched providers or considered doing so in the past two years.
Sampling will employ non-probability quota sampling to obtain a representative sample based on age, gender, location, and provider used. A sample size of 400 achieves a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error (Israel, 2013). Responses will be analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics like ANOVA and regression to test relationships between variables.
Finally, qualitative and quantitative results will be integrated to provide a comprehensive understanding of switching behaviors to address the research objectives. Findings will then be presented to AusBargain’s marketing team along with recommendations.
This study conforms to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2018) and the University’s research ethics guidelines. Participants will provide informed consent and can withdraw at any time without consequence. Interviews and surveys involve minimal risk, and data will be de-identified, kept confidential, and stored securely. Approval will be obtained from the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee prior to data collection.
This research proposal has outlined a mixed methods study examining switching attitudes and behaviors among Australian mobile phone users. Specifically, it aims to identify the key drivers of intentions and evaluate relationships between satisfaction, marketing practices, and actual mobility. Achieving these objectives will provide valuable insights to inform AusBargain’s customer relationship management strategies as they seek to capture more market share. The proposed methodology employs complementary qualitative and quantitative phases to develop a nuanced understanding. Upon approval, this study has the potential to yield actionable recommendations to enhance AusBargain’s value proposition.
ACMA. (2019). Communications report 2017-18. https://www.acma.gov.au/publications/2017-18-communications-report
ACMA. (2021). Telecommunications complaints and inquiries report 2020-21. https://www.acma.gov.au/publications/2021-22/report/telecommunications-complaints-and-inquiries-report-2020-21
Burnham, T. A., Frels, J. K., & Mahajan, V. (2003). Consumer switching costs: A typology, antecedents, and consequences. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31(2), 109–126. https://doi.org/10.1177/0092070302250897
Colgate, M., & Lang, B. (2001). Switching barriers in consumer markets: An investigation of the financial services industry. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 18(4), 332–347. https://doi.org/10.1108/07363760110395080
Colgate, M., & Stewart, K. (1998). The challenge of relationships in services—A New Zealand study. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 9(5), 454–468. https://doi.org/10.1108/09564239810249104
Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (