Is traditional market research dead?
You know the drill: You are bringing a new product to market. You do the surveys and run the focus groups, or pay an organization a huge sum of money to do it on your behalf. You deal with the raw data much later, and then a year or so down the line, you receive results that tell you your approach was wrong, your product is not clicking with customers, and you need to start all over again.
A year or so later, you receive results that tell you your approach was wrong, your product is not clicking with customers, and you need to start all over again.
Supplement specialist AOR uses consumer insights three ways – design upcoming products, position new launches and save failing ones. Randall Heilik, Product Category Manager at AOR had worked with Social Nature utilizing our natural consumer community on several sampling campaigns, however this time we helped her transform her research methods.
Instead of starting from scratch and using the traditional market research methods, she used 400 of Social Nature’s existing repository of natural product shoppers as her sample group and from start to finish received results in less than two weeks, and for a fraction of the investment. In her words, she received “instantaneous insights that conventional market research just can’t achieve”.
Testing the market
First, she looked at new product launches. “One set of campaign results affirmed I had the correct positioning for my then brand new product series launch. The results gave me the green light to proceed as planned, and the confidence to apply significant investment and resources to support the new series launch” she says. “One showed me that maybe we would need to modify the product or give customers other options – for example, we know that sleep is a huge issue for people because of the enormous number that wanted to trial our Ortho Sleep through Social Nature, but the in-depth research demonstrated that maybe the existing product was too strong and we may wish to develop a lighter option,” she says.
“The results gave me the green light to proceed as planned, and the confidence to apply significant investment and resources to support the new series launch.”
“Because the data comes in live and instantaneously you have the rare ability to change focus much quicker if the results aren’t what you anticipated or what you want. The ability to change your course of action midway through a campaign rather than investing time and resources only to later discover your approach was wrong is hugely counter-intuitive and now thanks to Social Nature an exercise of the past. There’s definitely potential for this kind of program to pilot products, inform upcoming trends, guide market positioning and see if they’re worthy of launching to market.”
“Because the data comes in live and instantaneously you have the rare ability to change focus much quicker if the results aren’t what you anticipated or what you want.”
Then there are the products that aren’t performing well and are at risk of being discontinued. The fear about the expense of discovering solutions to why these products are sitting on shelves often-lead companies to abandon shelf potatoes. “AOR had a series of 12 products that were not moving, not achieving sales targets, and ultimately were our ‘shelf potatoes’. In marketing discussions, companies often minimize the development costs and exceptionally high risks in a new product development,” says Heilik. “The insights we got from Social Nature allowed us to turn things around so that line now accounts for 6% of our sales this year, which, given that our full collection is 250, is significant – the products have gone from costing us, to contributing. Redeeming a shelf potato can be much less expensive, lower risk, and carries a much higher potential profit reward. And this makes it fun to work with Social Nature, some of your biggest potentials for high profit margins are already sitting on the shelf, we are thrilled we were able to remediate these products.”
Heilik is one satisfied customer. “I have been confident in this approach from the very beginning, and I’m thrilled that I took this route over traditional market research or focus groups. Social Nature is a pioneer in the digital marketing space – the way of the future.”