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Finding Customers for a Digital Platform Startup: Case of Easy Travel

CASE STUDY, MARKETING RESEARCH
ET Cases, 22 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Chavi Asrani, Ph.D. Student of Economics, Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, and P. Vigneswara Ilavarasan, Associate Professor, Dept. of Management Studies - Indian Institute of Technology - Delhi

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Finding Customers for a Digital Platform Startup: Case of Easy Travel

During a recent startup symposium at the Department of Management Studies, IIT-Delhi, some of the new technology entrepreneurs in the online travel space in India were keen to learn about market sizing. Prof. Ganesh (Ganesh), who has expertise in market research methods briefly explained various ways by which data can be collected on the market sizing including primary survey, qualitative methods and secondary data searches.

Later, one of the aspiring entrepreneurs, Anjana Sinha (Sinha) of Easy Travel met Ganesh during the networking tea and shared that primary market research survey is expensive. Easy Travel is looking for ways by which it can identify the new markets in India, but conducting pan India market survey is ruled out due to higher costs and lack of personnel in her startup.

It was then, Ganesh recommended Sinha to explore public data sets to understand the Indian consumer market. Since Easy Travel is focusing on online travel space, Ganesh referred her the data on domestic tourism, collected by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO)1, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India in its 72nd round. Sinha accessed the questionnaire used by the NSSO to collect the data to see whether the suggested secondary data set may be a sustainable alternative to answer her questions.................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Internet Subscriber Base in India (as of September 2016)


1 The National Sample Survey Office falls under National Statistical Office (NSO), the statistics wing of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI). NSSO, headed by a Director General, is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis. Primarily data are collected through nation-wide household surveys on various socio-economic subjects, Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), etc. Besides these surveys, NSSO collects data on rural and urban prices and plays a significant role in the improvement of crop statistics through supervision of the area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State agencies. It also maintains a frame of urban area units for use in sample surveys in urban areas.

Teaching Note Preview

Finding Customers for a Digital Platform Startup: Case of Easy Travel

Synopsis

The case helps the students to understand the use of secondary data in business research or marketing research. An e-commerce startup, established by Anjana Sinha (Sinha), specializing in a hotel room and associated services aggregation is exploring new potential consumer bases in India. Rather than doing an expensive primary data collection through a survey, Sinha explores a public dataset of about 79,497 rural and 60,191 urban households on domestic tourism expenditure, for possible usage.

Pedagogical Objectives

• To learn about the use of secondary data searches and analysis in marketing research and its advantages and disadvantages.

• To learn about the large public databases and judge their quality by examining the sampling design size of the sample and the questionnaire based on which information is collected.

• To learn about the possible ways of extracting relevant information from the available data sources for own needs.

Case Positioning and Setting

The case study can be used in either business research methods course, marketing research methods or elementary statistics course. The intended audiences are senior undergraduate or first-year MBA students.

Relevant Readings

• Cooper, D. R and Schindler, P. S., Business Research Methods, “Chapter 5: Clarifying the research questions through secondary data and exploration”, McGraw Hill/Irwin, 12th Edition New York, 2013, pages 92-120 [ISBN 10: 0070620199]

• Cooper, D. R and Schindler, P. S., Business Research Methods, “Chapter 11: Questionnaires and Instruments”, McGraw Hill/Irwin, 12th Edition New York, 2013, pages 294-235 [ISBN 10: 0070620199]

• Malhotra, N.K., Marketing research: An applied orientation, “Chapter 4: Exploratory Research Design: Secondary Data”, Pearson Education Limited, 6th Edition, London, 2010, pages 130-167 [ISBN 9780136094234 ]

Assignment Questions

I. Can secondary data be used in the place of surveys? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a secondary dataset?

II. What are the other datasets that can be explored?

III..........

Exhibits

Exhibit (TN)-I: Description of Blocks

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Product code: MR-1-0025, MR-1-0025A

Abstract

The case aims to facilitate the students to understand the role and use of secondary data in business research or marketing research. Easy Travel, an e-commerce startup is looking for potential customers for its market expansion but has limited resources for primary research. The firm learns about the secondary data on domestic tourism industry released by Government of India. The secondary data offers a viable, cost-effective solution to find the potential customers. The questionnaire used for the survey tells about the nature of available data. Easy Travel needs to frame the appropriate questions and find ways to generate insights from the given data.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To learn about the use of secondary data searches and analysis in marketing research and its advantages and disadvantages
  • To learn about the large public databases and judge their quality by examining the sampling design size of the sample and the questionnaire based on which information is collected
  • To learn about the possible ways of extracting relevant information from the available data sources for own needs

Case Positioning and Setting

The case study can be used in either Business Research Methods course, Marketing Research Methods course or Elementary Statistics course. The intended audiences are senior undergraduate or first-year MBA students



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