Editor’s Note: Our Consumer & Retail team is launching a blog series for the retail and FMCG industries. In the coming months, we’ll share our thoughts on recent advancements—backed by real-world examples—around the consumer journey from innovation and personalization to channel attribution/interaction and omnichannel marketing. Subscribe to FreshMR now so you don’t miss any updates.
The retail and FMCG industries face an uncertain marketplace where prior known certainties can no longer be relied upon. In that reality, there is nothing quite as exciting in product development research as helping clients discover the products of the future.
One notable example is the number of clients who have asked us to help them develop “company-specific norms.” Many clients have relied on ‘generic’ norms for their simulated market testing, but they’re now ready to move in a different direction. Why? One client responded quite clearly, “We’ve found ourselves developing concepts to ‘beat’ the testing process to move forward, rather than to actually meet consumer and market needs.” The tail was wagging the dog, and potential new products were being designed to beat the process. As a result, the process had become more important than the outcome. Changing the way they looked at normative data was just one way in which this company was trying to reassess their innovation journey to change success/failure outcomes.
One of the things I look forward to this time each year is the rebroadcasting of Christmas classics from “It’s a Wonderful Life” to “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” No matter how many times I watch these movies, I find a new way to relate to them. Recent conversations with some of my clients about segmentation studies have reminded me of another Christmas classic, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
In “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge is very negative about Christmas. As he is visited by the first of three ghosts, the ghost of Christmases past, we learn that his negativity stems from his holiday experiences as a young boy. Similarly, some marketers have been negatively impacted by their past segmentation experiences. So much so that I often ask clients to tell me their “segmentation horror stories” during the kick-off meeting. Invariably someone has a nightmarish story that caused them to lose sight of the real need for segmentation. (I should pause to clarify that any parallels drawn are limited to experiences—not personalities!) Just like the ghosts of Christmas Present and Christmases Yet to Come, we, as consultants, have to help our clients understand the true role of segmentation in addressing their business problems. It is our responsibility to show them where their past efforts have led them, and, if not corrected, where they will lead them.
Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a three-part series discussing how Big Data can be exploited to enrich market segmentations.
Special programs that motivate customer behaviors are a common component of customer experience management. Examples include loyalty rewards, medical adherence and low-income bill payment assistance programs. Big Data can be particularly helpful—as part of a larger plan—to identify target segments and define strategic actions to support special programs. The underlying idea is to use customer and/or third party data to help identify customers who are likely to benefit from and be responsive to your brand’s special program.