Market Research Case Studies

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Market Research Case Studies

Our Case Studies

B2B SEGMENTATION

One of the country’s premier kitchen manufacturers asked us to conduct a segmentation on their wholesale customer base. As profits were being driven by a small number of businesses, the Client was keen to understand how to protect the profit-making relationships, drive those with potential and spot those that were unprofitable (at a deeper level than simply cost of supply). Being a B2B segmentation, this was notably more commercially focussed than some of the more typical B2C attitudinal segmentations we often see. Our segmentation was based on several areas, such as self-assessed potential in the relationship and brand loyalty. We matched this with commercial data, as well as considering the customer’s competitive landscape/alternative suppliers. 

The end result was rolled out across the business, empowering conversations with businesses that enabled the restructuring of relationships. In many cases, this unlocked potential with existing buyers by providing a deeper understanding of what they needed from our Client and, by working with us, strategise how best to provide what was needed. 

As with most B2B segmentations, the impact of this was felt very quickly. In fact, we were informed that the project had paid for itself in a very short space of time and that it had impressed not only the group’s owner, but also their investors.

LONG TERM BRAND TRACKING

Working with one of the largest price comparison websites in the country, our brand tracking followed a media budget of around £30 million per year. This involved gathering field data, 365 days of the year. Having so much data enabled us to understand the progress of the campaign work in great detail, as well as helping create detailed picture of the wider business. 

As with any tracking work, this starts with brand awareness. Drilling down into the brand allowed us to see how it was shifting over time in a competitive context, as well as how the category as a whole was adapting. The resulting project not only helped shape the company’s marketing but was also reported at a board level. This allowed more structured decisions to be made around ongoing investment and gave the business as whole a clearer sight of how they were progressing towards their various goals.

Two things made the project very successful: 

  1. The Client recognised that brand building is a longer pay off and that having a broader share of voice over time (with well-managed creative) would deliver the progress they needed. This meant that, whilst the monthly scores mattered, it was the trend that was most important and the wider ‘shape’ of the data that was at its core.

  2. They showed a deeper curiosity at an insight level. This meant that when something quirky or unexpected emerged, they encouraged us to investigate further.

IMMERSION

Following their acquisition of a competitor, we were asked to work with the South West’s leading brewery. They were naturally keen to create synergies in the two businesses that were previously each other’s biggest threat. This took a number of steps, but, in many ways, the first step was the most important – we had to change the mindset from competitor to asset.

To achieve this, we recruited loyal drinkers of each brewery’s brand to join us on an ‘immersion’, where we experienced the brands offered at some of the flagship (and more typical) brewery-owned venues. The goal was to ascertain what similarities and synergies were seen from the ‘other side of the bar’, and how both brands were perceived. 

The process uncovered a range of significant insights. At a later point, it was acknowledged that there was a step-change in the way staff were talking about the brand and the consideration the newly acquired assets. The result led to the development of a new strategy including both brands, a range refinement and the removal of several overlapping /now non-core assets.

U&A / CATEGORY FORENSICS

Often mistaken for segmentation, a usage and attitudes study (U&A) is something different. The questionnaire will look somewhat similar, but U&As are all about understanding the usage and attitudes of the category, not dividing them up. Often, to avoid this confusion, we prefer to call this type of work ‘Category Forensics’. 

Commonly, this research is best placed for FMCG where consumers are broad and the business is not committed to segments, or often does not have the resources to invest in segmentation and then continue that investment. 

We undertook a project of this nature for a leading free-from cereal brand. The category as a whole had evolved rapidly, and there was concern that unless they were careful, they could come under threat. They wanted to understand everything from how they were perceived at point of purchase, all the way through to scratching the surface on gaps in the market that later NPD or EPD could explore. 

We started the project with a large quantitative survey, where we tested the public’s view, the room to grow and existing hypotheses that existed within the business. The goal of this stage was to give ourselves a firm and robust view of the category via a number of lenses, as well as to highlight any macro challenges or opportunities that existed within the category (or specifically to the Client brand). 

This was followed by accompanied shops, where we joined our shoppers in person and watched first-hand as they interacted with the category. This led to us uncovering notable insights around more innate aspects of shopper behaviour that they were not aware of until they are asked immediately after (the more subconscious level of thinking).

The process was completed with a Longitudinal Online Panel. We used this as an exploratory platform to help get detailed views on the core areas of interest from the previous two stages, including a number of tasks for participants. This included going in-store and blind taste tests.

Many outputs arose from the research, including a clear hierarchy of strategies to be followed in the near future, along with other things to explore in the longer term. This is why we often struggle with the term U&A, as to us, done properly, it involves more stages and much deeper insight than simply usage and attitude.

Quantitative Research Methods

Want to see the big picture? Or do you need to validate thinking before the business invests time and effort? Quantitative research allows us to take a step back and see what the world thinks. Take a look at some of the ways we approach this kind of work.

Qualitative Research Methods

Want to dig a bit deeper? Often the best way to understand something is to just ask why. This simple thought process can lead to fascinating and rich insights. Take a look at some of the ways we approach this kind of work.

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