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Are CMO's Giving More Importance to Consumer Insights?
Recently I read several articles highlighting how Chief Marketing Officers of large CPG companies were stressing the importance of consumer insights.
Nuno Teles, CMO of Heineken USA, talked to the New York Times about how they turned lagging sales of Heineken Light around by adding Cascade hops, an ingredient mostly found in craft brews. “Everything in marketing should start with a consumer insight.” The key insight that led them to that decision, was that “40 percent of 21- to 27-year-old consumers desire a light beer with full taste.”
In some companies, this change of attitude involves some important internal reorganization. The CMO of Newell Rubbermaid, Richard Davies, explained to CMO.com that his company doubled the market research budget. "The reality is that a lot of marketers are not overly interested in understanding the consumer. They’re just playing lip service to the consumer," said Davies. But at the end of the day, it’s the depth or complete lack of consumer understanding that will determine your success or failure. That was true 40 years ago, and it will remain true 40 years from now."
Earlier this year, Advertising Age mentioned that he also doubled the market-research staff as well.
Are these two examples representative of a trend or not? Are you seeing some moves by CMO's that might hint that they they are changing their vision of consumer insights within their organization? What are your thoughts on the matter?
Consumers’ Embrace of 'Natural' Drives Product Packaging and Repositioning
In case you missed it, there was an article in Fast Company that reported how 3 brands (Lean Cuisine, Vlassic Pickles, and Dole Fruit) applied some rethinking to their product offerings in response to the increasing quest by consumers for more natural foods. Through line extensions and repackaging, the brands sought to shed the negative associations of processed and preserved foods.
This move is completely in line with BuzzBack’s recent exploratory study on ‘Natural’. Natural is an important platform for a range of categories – from foods to personal care to shoes and more! Interestingly enough, all these products fell into the areas where consumers told us that being Natural was most important: fruits/vegetables and meat/poultry. A focus on packaging was also a smart move, as participants in our study say it’s the top information source for learning about or discovering natural products. Consumers also told us that when deciding whether to buy a natural product, the most important claims center around ingredients being natural, organic, unrefined and unprocessed. For more info on consumers’ associations around Natural, click here to request our free white paper.
Best Tips to Understand the Ever-Changing Global Market
I often see clients requesting to conduct research across multiple countries. After all, understanding how products or ideas perform in different markets is crucial for corporations to compete in the fast paced and ever-changing global market. When conducting this type of research, companies need to understand that there’s more to global research than simply translating concepts/ideas and surveys.
Often, we are gathering information from unfamiliar markets where cultural backgrounds, perceptions/interpretations, as well as product usage can vary greatly. Therefore, it’s important to understand these aspects when conducting research across international markets.
As with all research, it’s very important for companies to have well defined objectives. For example, is the intention to have a single message/campaign across different countries with just minor adjustments to adapt to different cultural backgrounds? Or is it desirable to select individual messages for each country?
If companies work towards a better understanding of foreign cultural environments and the impact they can have on consumer perceptions, global research can become more insightful and actionable, leading to more successful global adoptions of messaging, products, and new ideas. Some companies are already working to better understand the impact of cultural differences, but I think there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement.