Prospecting the market is a key step in assessing the market potential of a new product or service. It is important to know how large the market is, how many products are made locally and how many are imported, how many buyers & consumers the market serves yearly or even monthly. You also need to know which types of products and brands are best sellers and the share they have in the entire market. It answers the question whether there is a real need for the new product and/ or service and if so, whether the launch is timely/ opportune. The analysis usually involves looking at three separate dimensions:
a) assessing the potential customer base – estimate the size and the profile of your pool of customers.
b) competition analysis – estimate the number of competitors, their market shares and identify potential differentiators that could help your product stand out.
c) context – depending on the type of product or service in focus, it could require looking at the legislative framework in place, analyzing the social and economic climate or any other exogenic factors that could impact your business.
Researching the market potential before launching a new product or service can help you make an informed decision about introducing a new product or service on the market, and it can even help you identify new opportunities.
U&A/ Market share
The objective of a U&A study is to gather in-depth information/ data about consumers’ needs and attitudes related to a product category, their knowledge and use of certain brands in the category. Such studies identify patterns of consumption/ usage (occasions, places, frequency), purchasing behavior (who, what, from where, with what frequency and why) and users/ buyers’ attitudes towards the product category. Following a general assessment of users’ habits at category level, we go deeper into brand performance to cover the main KPIs – brand awareness, brand usage/ purchase, preference. Having the profile of all category users we can then understand and compare the users of competitor brands. It is the perfect tool for understanding the entire market, the opportunities it offers and spot threats to watch out for. Combined with market share knowledge (the proportion of an industry/ market total sales that is earned by a particular company over a given time period), U&A studies can help you gain a deeper understanding of the market and can identify “white spots” – markets that are underserved.
Market segmentation research is an essential tool for identifying distinct groups of consumers based on shared characteristics in order to understand who to target through marketing activities. It generates valuable insights that inform any major business strategy decisions regarding brand communication, product (re)launch, brand (re)positioning and product distribution. Market segments can be performed along different modules/ features depending on the business objectives – consolidation of brand positioning, better communication/ marketing approach or just an improvement of the sales/ distribution strategy. The mechanisms of segmentation can be classified along features such as:
a) Demographic & socioeconomic data (e.g. age, gender, education, income, etc.)
b) Psychographic (e.g. lifestyle, personality, values, attitudes)
c) Behavioral data (e.g. purchase patterns)
d) Usage & attitudes
Market segmentation studies produce substantial and actionable insights that guide your communication & targeting strategy and help you develop different tactics based on the particularities of each segment you are addressing.
Once crystalized, the market segments can be under focus in any other type of research, regardless of goal. Thus, your strategic segments will make the brand health/ satisfaction insights much richer in information and easier to translate and integrate into your overall marketing strategy.
It is a roadmap that shows how consumers move from becoming aware of the need, to then interacting with brands or products across different touchpoints and finally make the purchase (buyer status). By touchpoints we mean any point that conveys information about a brand/ product and/ or purchasing channels, both online and offline. Even though the experience from the customer’s point of view tends to be unitary, each touchpoint has a different valence and impact on the purchase decision. In this journey, there are moments of maximum influence/ weight and others that only nudge the consumer to take the next step and find out more about a product and/ or brand. A company needs to identify those critical moments in which the customer needs more support and care and provide it. In a way, it's like finding out on a journey the right place and the right time to give your customer a helping hand.
What a joy to design research tools for understanding the shoppers’ behaviour and improving the trade strategy of any company that operates in points of sales. The shopper is the actor under the looking glass in both consumer journey and shopper research. However, there are significant differences in methodology and the metrics/ indicators used between the two types of research – shopper research aims to understand the purchase path inside the store and at the shelf. Manufacturers will always be interested in finding out why shoppers decide on one specific brand over another, or why they pivot and revisit their initial choice, as well as measure the impact of in-store promotional materials over the purchase decision. The conversion rates from passing by, seeing, touching the product/ SKU to placing it in the basket are important performance indicators to measure. The composition of the shopping basket can also generate insights about the shopping missions by time of the day or working vs. weekend days. Performing in-store interviews is a good opportunity to learn who are your brand/ SKU buyers versus the competitors’ buyers and what are the attributes that make that specific store a destination for shoppers.
Catchment area analysis is part of the shopper research solution and it aims to understand the commercial potential of a specific area within the proximity of a store you intend to open or to revamp. What is your market share in the catchment area (that could be defined as maximum 30 minutes driving distance from a certain point/ store), is there another important competitor that feeds on your potential, and not latest how your store is evaluated/ perceived.
Concept/ product/ package testing
Whether it’s about introducing a new product on the market or updating/ relaunching an already existing one, concept/ product testing is an important step in the development stage of a market offering. The objective is to evaluate the product’s appeal and the extent to which it matches customers’ needs and expectations.
The best practice in concept/ product/ package testing is to approach it in two steps:
- Qualitative research – employed in the early stage and used to tease out the product’s strengths and weaknesses, thus allowing the producer to refine its features and optimize it according to the market’s needs.
- Quantitative research – introduces the new concept/ product to a wider audience and compares it against industry benchmarks.
Submitting a concept/ product/ packaging for evaluation before it hits the shelves will provide your company with valuable information about how successfully the product will actually perform and help you optimize your investment.
Pricing (BPTO, Conjoint analysis)
BPTO tool is recommended when we expect the brand to be a strong determining factor in the purchase decision, usually in a market where competing products are quite similar (offer very similar benefits) and have a simple features structure (i.e. food products). When the specific features of a product or service are critical determining factors of the purchase decision and we are working with complex products, a full conjoint modeling exercise is appropriate (for example IT&C products, telecom services, fast-food delivery/ services, vehicles, etc.). Conjoint analysis is a customization tool that simulates the market in order to find out which is the optimum selling price of your product/ service to maintain or increase your market share, which is the optimum combination of product features and how strong the impact of the brand is over the perceived value of the product. It simultaneously quantifies the importance/ weight of various product features, evaluates trade-offs customers are willing to make, calculates the price elasticity for a product, feature, or brand.
Pricing research answers questions such as:
- What is the influence of various features, price, brand when considering purchasing a product or service?
- What will be your market share with various combinations of features, at different price levels that simulate a real market context?
- What is the most suitable combination of features or maximum price that your brand can charge before losing market share?
- What sort of pricing strategy will ensure a boost in market share or an increase in revenue?
Ad testing research evaluates the performance of an ad through several key indicators:
- Effectiveness – does the ad successfully communicate the indented message? This can be measured through metrics such as likeability, ad recall, benefits recall, correct brand attribution.
- Persuasion ability – does the ad manage to shape the audience’s opinions and perceptions?
- Conversion power – does the ad drive desirable behaviors such as purchase or recommendation?
Ad testing can help you calibrate or enhance your message and message delivery to ensure your communication resonates with your target audience and ultimately helps increase your ROI. Ad testing can cover various types of communication executions – TV commercials, online ads, print/ OOH ads, radio commercials. The research approach varies depending the type of execution, the market context, but the end goals and metrics used are the same.
Brand health (awareness, performance, image, personality)
Brand related studies are highly customizable according to the specific business objectives. The goal is usually an increase in market share, but it might also refer to building a new brand identity from scrap or reposition the brand to address a wider or different audience/ customer base. Questions that are answered or raised by this pursuit are:
- What do consumers know about your brand?
- What kind of experience do customers have with your brand?
- Does your brand offer a competitive advantage? What are the assets that would drive growth if associated with my brand? / What is working and not working, and what are the opportunities to strengthen the positioning?
- Which are the steps to optimize my brand assets/ portfolio/ image/ personality?
- What is your brand goal, making the brand distinctive or making it central in the product category or both?
Brand & advertising tracking
Measurement of long-term brand performance allows you to be agile and react promptly to any changes/ fluctuations in the market. Monitoring your brand’s ups and downs also points towards the best way to grow. Tracking approaches focus on building brand success by providing a deeper understanding of how performance indicators interact and drive growth, which is particular to each market. It is a must for compassing a brand’s lifetime value.
Advertising tracking tells the story of communication in your field of activity, what works and what doesn’t. Through this type of studies, you can learn new things even from the competition. It helps you design the best communication mix, design the airing schedule, to optimize the duration of the spot, to stop communication in due time (when it does not bring value to the brand anymore). This type of study might hold valuable insights and requires researchers to grow along with it and go beyond data.
It’s about how the customers feel when looking back at their interactions with your brand; these perceptions have an impact on future purchasing behaviors and drive their loyalty. Thus, a great customer experience means more than just appreciating the quality of the product and/ or services delivered, it’s about having consistently good experiences with the brand across all interaction touchpoints.
It is a way to ensure the success of your business by knowing exactly what to improve and which experience and touchpoints have the biggest impact on loyalty and overall experience. It is also a way to know what the competitors are focusing on, a barometer or an open book of good practices in your industry.
Employee satisfaction research is a key element of an organization’s people management strategy. The goal is to measure the employees’ level of work satisfaction (role, responsibilities, environment, team) and engagement, take the pulse of the organizational culture, evaluate the degree of success of various employee training or advancement programs and assess the employees’ needs and demands. These objectives can be addressed through comprehensive employee surveys than are ran periodically to keep track of essential indicators.
Employee satisfaction surveys help to proactively identify and address any potential issues within the organization or training gaps, they show your employees that you care about their wellbeing and listen to their concerns, and they increase employee retention.
Reputation - Not another business issue, it is the business itself.
The main goal of a reputation survey is to support the development of a tactical plan for effective corporate management. It is a 360-degree research, supposed to reach all stakeholders that might have an opinion about and impact on brand reputation, starting with internal stakeholders and reaching all external groups of stakeholders. A mix of quantitative and qualitative research is required as the study’s premises rely on the CEO’s and board members' views of the corporate values and reputational risks.
The study aims to:
- Identify reputational risks of the company;
- Determine the ideal company attributes from the CEO’s and board members’ perspectives;
- Understand drivers of corporate reputation both within the field of activity and cross-industries;
- Deliver actionable insights and action plans;
- Establish a medium- and long-term communication strategy;
Why is it so important? Companies and industries with reputation problems are less likely to become a desirable dialogue partner for legislators, regulators, and the public. Consumers have a clear preference for and tend to support companies that communicate and uphold clear values, bring a positive change to the community, and show charitable end goals.