Market and consumer insights help in getting the inside track in the mind of your customer and the way the market works. These techniques read between the lines and make non-obvious connections. In India, we often equate market research with hocus-pocus or even an easy way for a marketing manager to cover potential mistakes. However, market research serves an invaluable purpose and can save the company a lot of time, effort and money. Marketing insights reveal results that represent the consumer’s deep beliefs, feelings or behaviours. This links marketers to consumers by supplying essential information to solve marketing challenges and help with marketing decisions.
NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Market research helps a company create and develop an up-to-date and relevant portfolio of products. According to Philip Kotler, “The marketer’s initial task is to identify potential long-run opportunities given the company’s market experience and core competencies. To evaluate its various opportunities, assess buyer wants and needs, and gauge market size, the ﬁrm needs a marketing research and information system.”
An example of effective market research leading to product development is that of Nivea. Market research at the time showed that only 66% of UK women used a facial cleanser, while only 27% had a face care regime (cleanse, tone and moisturise). Women were looking for an easy and convenient face care routine. Nivea’s Soft Facial Cleansing Wipes remove eye make-up, cleanse and tone in one simple step, thus meeting the customers’ known requirements. This is the basis of the product’s success. Not surprisingly, Nivea rapidly became the No.1 brand.
TEST LAUNCHING A NEW PRODUCT/SERVICE
For a test launch of a product, a sample of potential buyers is presented with the product idea through a written or oral description to determine the attitudes and initial buying intentions.
Important questions answered include:
- Would you buy the product?
- Would you replace your current brand with the new product?
- Would this product meet real needs?
MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS
Companies often test launch a product in a smaller market before launching it nationwide, to adjust their product or marketing strategy. When Ford Fiesta was launched, it conducted a consumer survey before the launch to understand its target market in Delhi. Senior Ford management, met families across Delhi to understand their lifestyles, family structure, buying behaviour etc. This research information was then relayed back and used to customise the marketing and communication strategy for the new car.
The research helps in comparative studies, as the company can track its own progress over a period of time, as well as the competition it faces in the market. A good businessman monitors his rival’s progress as much as he does his own. Social media has made market research evaluating faster, and cheaper. They may not work in every segment and market, but it is a great tool for customer feedback and can outback the zing into your marketing efforts.