This episode of Whiteboard Wednesday we go through a real example of how some of the largest brands trust market research data and listen to the consumer in order to make decisions that, on the surface, goes against common logic but allow for innovative solutions that deliver increased market share and a stronger bottom line. Click the title to be taken to the Whiteboard Wednesday content page. 

WBW: Market Research Exposes The Inconvenient Truth

Golden Crisp Follows The Golden Path The dynamics of breakfast cereals have changed dramatically. There’s plenty of reasons for it – but namely culture and technology are the main culprits. Even with that in mind, it was still jarring to see this tagline from a cereal brand that was the main tenant of my nutrition growing up: “THE ULTIMATE LATE NIGHT SNACK!” Had I missed this? Was this always there right in front of my face and I was no less the wise? Or is this a reaction to a shift in consumer behavior that Golden Crisp has adapted seamlessly? I decided to look deep into this and discovered some data as well as some stories including The Times piece put together. After going through it line by line, I felt it was interesting enough for A WBW episode.

Oh… and worth noting for comedic relief, at this stage of your journey with me through this content I’m STILL somehow standing in the cereal aisle at Kroger. Some people have hobbies like wine tasting, collecting art, board games. I just like understanding why your customers buy. So let’s take a look at the whiteboard after it was all said and done for today’s session. The reason we went with this title is because sometimes market research gives us some insight that is going to make our lives a little more inconvenient, but the data is truth without opinion. What I mean by that is you may be used to executing within your brand one way and then you receive some data that if you follow, would require you to uproot your prototypical thinking.

I will often see this situation arise where the marketing director has pressure from cross-functional counterparts and doesn’t stay faithful to the data when questioned. These pieces of insight can be scary to your broader organization and fellow executives because it challenges assumptions and optically puts risk on meeting sales objectives.

In order to seize more market share, you have to take risks.

Imagine being a breakfast cereal manufacturer and you just found out that according to your most valuable consumer segment, your product is “too inconvenient” to purchase. Do you continue doing what you’ve done for 20 years or risk developing an innovative solution to respond to the data? How difficult must it have been for Golden Crisp to trust that data? 3 Key Takeaways from the Golden Crisp’s Messaging Decision When faced with data that might challenge your current thinking or even data you are not sure how to apply, you can focus on these 3 insights pillars to determine if it’s the right choice for your brand/business: Size Of Prize In order to make the best choice for your business, you have to breakdown what defines the best choice and then how do you measure that KPI, or key performance indicator. Let’s assume that the answer is units or sales. It’s worth noting that is not always the case – it depends on the situation. If you are applying consumer insights data to a new initiative and it’s about early interest and adoption, the KPI would be conversion to sign up or input information to learn more. If you are trying to calculate the size of prize for your launch or initiative, you need to breakdown who is directly responsible for the lion share of your sales or units shipped. This sounds simple enough, but very often I see things done for such a long time on brands that they are dismissive of new data that cuts against it. Do this long enough and you’ll find yourself in a situation where you can be 5-10 years behind the consumer and competitive innovation before you wake up and realize you have some catching up to do. Hello Dollar Shave Club – the kryptonite to slow moving competitors. They are a great example of how simple conversion funnels and digital optimization can slay monster competitors. So, take your ideal consumer segment and do research on how large that pool is. You will use this number to keep your calculations honest and make sure you have guard rails set to anchor your analysis. Pain & Barriers Now that you are clear as to who the ideal consumer segment is that you are applying your market research, you now need to take a look at what their pains and barriers are as users. Why are they looking for a solution in your product? What kinds of results do they expect from your category as it relates to benefits they see in their lives? Is there anything stopping them from buying what you sell? Or what your competitors sell? Write these answers down or just rattle them off in your head. The answers to these questions will be the source of your message’s ability to convert. Naturally, the deeper you go the more powerful the results. It’s best left to trained professionals as market research is a very delicate skill. If done properly, it can save you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on wasted marketing while identifying new innovation to pursue. But, if done incorrectly it can have you chasing your tail struggling to overcome elements of bias confirmation you accidentally tucked away in research design. At DeepBridge, we can take care of this for you. But we’d rather start you off with something you can apply today and is free for you. If you are looking for some ways to get these questions answered from your consumer, check out this article made for you. High Impact Solution At this point, you should have the ideal consumer segment as well as the pains/barriers of that segment. Now, your goal is find an answer to those problems for that segment that delivers a result that is fast, effective, and noticeable. Emphasis on noticeable there because the more tangible and noticeable the result is, the less you’ll have to do in your sales cycle to maximize conversion. Use the figures we talked about in the Size Of Prize section coupled with the Pain & Barries section. 

For this exercise, work through these questions. Are there incrementally more solutions and better results available now from your market research? Are you increasing conversion more than your current messaging or less? Doing even preliminary calculations, how do incremental sales from your market research, assuming conversion metrics are fair/conservative, compare to your current messaging? Is this a solid enough opportunity worth pursuing a deeper segmentation analysis? Is this consumer segment actually different than your current messaging targets? If so, you have yourself a problem (the ideal problem, though). In order to seize more market share, you have to take risks. Market research is your best bet for discovering insights that reveal opportunities for you take risks that result in strong ROI. If you want to make sure you never miss our WBW content, let us know and we’ll give you a shout each time we drop some content and you can get the first look. What data have you been sitting on or do you get push back from that cuts against your brand’s standard operating procedure? We suggest you revisit them. On the other side of the most complex or challenging insights are the golden nuggets that lead to highly actionable marketing initiatives with big rewards. At DeepBridge Consulting we see this almost every single day. You’re just one insight away! Comment, like, or share if you found this useful. Find out how to find these opportunities and make market research/insights more actionable by reaching out today by emailing nickwilliams@deepbridgeconsulting.com. Also reach out if you have any questions about the content, we’d be happy to opine. Let us know too if there’s content you wish we were covering and we’ll be happy to develop some materials for you.