Consumer research allows one to get valuable information about customers that cannot be obtained by means of an analysis of knowledge gathered within an organization. Hard data resulting from research often has a major impact on ideas presented by individuals responsible for product management within a company. Sometimes a significant modification of adopted strategy is required. If research is conducted properly, it clearly indicates how to launch a product on the market to achieve success.
Knowledge about a customer is a key to success
Customer knowledge management is sometimes hindered by a conservative approach to collecting and analysing data. Sometimes research is planned in such a way which relates to already identified customer needs. One may fall in that trap when some opinions about customers are taken for granted and product functions are limited to its basic intended purpose. This approach may prevent new products with unique functionalities from emerging on the market.
In the meantime, those producers who in the right moment capture new or changing trends and understand the true needs of their customers often gain competitive advantage. Thanks to reliably conducted consumer research and in-depth analysis of company data they may create completely new needs at the right time.
For example, one could assume that a drink should just quench one’s thirst. Yet, research shows that particular drinks are also a manifestation of belonging to a given subculture. That is why functional drinks are quickly gaining in popularity.
Below we present two case studies which show how consumer research conducted by PMR helped in product launches.
A global FMCG company was planning to launch products that were unavailable in Poland so far. The company had a concept for the brand, packaging and promotional materials as well as product prototypes in several versions. They wanted to confront their plans with authentic customer preferences.
In order to achieve that goal, PMR researchers assumed a two-stage approach. First, they used the online bulletin board (also called online focus groups) – in order to test names and packaging types. Then, the same participants were invited to focus groups when they could personally test the product, verify their initial expectations and indicate drivers that would encourage them to make a purchase.
Consumer research was designed in such a way which allowed the company to gather completely new information about customers. Based on newly obtained data the company modified its initial offer – the product itself (taste, size) as well as accompanying elements (packaging, promotion). The company could prepare a detailed strategy describing the process of product launch.
One of well-known players in the food industry wanted to boost its sales but was afraid that the current product fell short of customer expectations. The company approached PMR to gain more insight into the preferences of target customers.
In that project PMR used several techniques, among other things, taste tests and analysis of concepts prepared by the producer. Thanks to that it was possible to learn about consumer preferences concerning taste, prices and product packaging – from both directly stated opinions as well as covert ones. Additionally, researchers identified specific expectations of customers in various age groups.
The research project resulted in obtaining a lot of new information concerning target groups and developing an effective sales strategy.