Blog articles by Judith Suttrup
People are poor predictors of their own behavior. Context changes corrupt their intentions. A context change may be as simple as a product discount, or as complex as a severe crisis. In both situations, the question is whether behavior changes, and particularly whether it will subsequently stick. We argue that, after the current crisis only a few new routines will establish. Trend lines from before a crisis will be similar after the crisis, maybe somewhat mitigated or accelerated.
Here we reflect on past crises and share 3 pitfalls consumer brands should avoid in preparing for the recession.
The digitalization of pharma was slowly underway pre-COVID, but there’s an immediate sense of urgency to make this shift now. As face-to-face sales calls are still a no-go, pharma companies are racing to accelerate their online sales and marketing strategies.
HCPs’ habits have been radically disrupted. Their attitudes, practice behavior, decision-making processes, and prescribing habits have changed. New needs are emerging.
As a pharma marketer you know you need to revise and reshape your multichannel strategy to these behavioral shifts, but restructuring to a digital-first communications strategy is much easier said than done.
The current crisis has triggered many changes in consumer behavior. Some of these behavioral shifts are obvious, for example, the growth in online shopping. While others, such as the impact on price sensitivity, are less certain. You may be wondering:
Should I conduct pricing or portfolio research now? Can I rely on study results in this rapidly evolving market?
The ultimate answer to these questions depends on whether you have the right information to inform your decisions.
Much has been written about social distancing and the immediate impact on marketing across industries. You have likely already adjusted your short-term communication strategies. However, as you map out your long-term plans, much can be learned from the concept of psychological distance as it relates to recent events.
In this article, our Senior Vice President of Brand Communication explores how psychological distance played out during the early stages of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Reflecting on why Western countries responded differently to the crisis than certain Asian countries, helps understand how human decision-making works. Read on to learn more about the theory and how it could relate to you as a professional and as a human.
The COVID-19 crisis and the Corona crash are shaking the context for consumer decision behavior. As a result, the context for net revenue management (NRM) has also been disturbed for consumer goods companies.
Companies must adapt revenue strategies to the new situation, at the same time as consumers are adapting to “the new normal.” To be successful, you need to anticipate and influence consumer decisions in a changing environment. This holds true in times of normalcy, but especially during the recession to come.
Although the COVID-19 crisis is not yet over, learnings from previous crises and knowledge of consumer behavioral frameworks mean we can map out consequences for net revenue management strategies.
So, what should you consider in planning your next moves?
COVID-19, stay-at-home guidelines and in-store shortages triggered and forced a dramatic change in consumer habits and choices. A massive acceleration in online behavior is one of the most visible changes. Whether the choices that consumers make during the COVID-19 crisis become a new habit or not, understanding online consumer behavior will be increasingly important in the future.
We recently hosted a webinar where we explored what the new normal may look like and what eCommerce actions you should consider. or read on for three proven eCommerce strategies that can drive online engagement and conversion.
Consumer behavior is usually embedded in daily habits; sometimes consumers make more deliberate decisions. COVID-19 triggered a dramatic change in the context of consumer decision making: Many daily habits have come to an abrupt halt; more decisions are now deliberate.
Your company is probably feeling the immediate impact of these behavioral shifts and you may be charged with adapting short-term marketing strategies accordingly.
COVID-19 has radically changed the context in which we make decisions, disrupting many habits. No one can predict if the behavioral shifts will last or what the recovery period will look like.
Online shopping and media consumption will undoubtedly continue to grow (as it was pre-COVID-19) … but to what degree? Will brand-loyal consumers who switched brands due to limited stock eventually return?
FMCG revenue professionals are challenged with creating a win-win-win situation: Provide consumers with the right product at the right price, create value with retail customers in challenging times, all while delivering top and bottom line growth. And all of this while working within legal limits in countries that prohibit resale price maintenance.
Leading consumer goods companies are increasingly adopting a net revenue management (NRM) approach to tackle this challenge. By applying a structured approach to analytics and encouraging open-mindedness, companies like Unilever are maximizing their net revenue and profits.
A real-world market research case study with Big Data
The market research industry is no stranger to consumer data. However, the scale of “Big Data” generated through online behavior brings a host of challenges and opportunities for insights professionals and marketers alike. As consumers leave an endless supply of digital breadcrumbs online, how can we most effectively analyze and act on this behavior at the individual level?
Such was the challenge ArchDaily.com faced after amassing 20 terabytes of Big Data over the past three years. As the leading architectural website worldwide, interpreting this data was much more complicated than it had anticipated. With 150-200 million-page views a month, the company could see behavior volumes. However, ArchDaily.com didn’t know what was driving user behavior. It wanted to better predict architectural trends for and identify key drivers to optimize its online content strategy.
Exploring a virtual shelf approach to launching a premium brand
In 2018, Nestlé signed a $7.2 billion deal to market, sell and distribute Starbucks’ packaged products outside of the company’s cafes, providing Starbucks at home. With high brand recognition, Starbucks would clearly make an impact at the coffee shelf. However, one of Nestlé’s European insights team saw an opportunity to rethink the crowded grocery store shelf to drive even more growth – for Nestlé and its customers.
Albert van Meeteren, Nestlé’s Head of Consumer and Shopper Insights and Analytics, wanted to see how they could best launch Starbucks in a “new and innovative” way in Dutch supermarkets by focusing on in-store execution.
Exploring voice analytics in new product development research with Johnson & Johnson
Have you ever conducted early-stage innovation research and found yourself in a situation where you don’t entirely trust what consumer feedback is telling you? Many of us have had to deal with overstated interest and the need to dig deeper into unmet needs.
Uncovering both rational and emotional needs is vital for new product development (NPD) strategies – to accurately size the unmet need or opportunity for innovations. However, what is the best insights approach?
Exploring a data-fusion approach for holistic pricing decisions
Whether you’re introducing a new SKU or reacting to a market change, managing your pricing strategy can often feel like a complicated balancing act.
You know solid revenue decisions should be grounded in sound data, but that input often comes from a variety of sources and stakeholders.
From clicks to cart: making smarter use of product images
In today’s crowded online marketplace, we all face the same challenge: how do we attract and convert shoppers? While increased media spend is an almost guaranteed way of attracting more people to an online platform, getting them to actually buy is a whole different ball game. Many online retail giants aren’t forthcoming with behavioral data, so knowing how visitors think and behave from the time they land on the platform until they check out, is a blind spot for many of us.
Understanding decision-making and choice overload in crowded markets
In today’s highly competitive telecommunications market, consumers face an abundance of choices online. To thrive in this environment, your product portfolio strategy should be optimized based on how decision-making is changing. You need to know how customers identify the best carrier and plan for their needs. And that’s where the most accurate customer and market insights can help.
Exploring expert views on AI and the role of ‘stats’ in market research
Machine Learning (ML) is everywhere, from social media and virtual assistants to financial services and data security. For sales and marketing professionals, machine learning offers unprecedented analysis of big data. It holds the potential to decode increasingly layered buyer journeys. However, does machine learning truly have a role in market research, a field where we rely on analytical methods to understand nuanced and complex decision-making? Or, is statistical thinking still the essential analytical element behind the insights we deliver today?
Launching a premium product means convincing consumers to trade up, without driving them to the competition.
This is the exact challenge faced by the Global Insights Manager at a best-selling charcoal brand as she prepared to launch two new premium products.
From a single corn flake to a global presence, Kellogg’s has been fueling better days for more than a century. Today, the food-manufacturing giant markets 24 brands, in 180 countries. The sheer size of Kellogg’s, coupled with today’s changing insights environment, created a daunting challenge for the company’s global insights team last year.
How could they decrease turnaround times for claims research, standardize approaches for comparability of results, while extracting better insights and decreasing costs all at the same time?
How to unlock the numbers in niche indications by using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
If you’re in a highly specialized area, such as MedTech or rare diseases, you’ll be only too familiar with the challenges of working with small sample sizes. Qualitative insights are important but when go/no go decisions are at stake, you may need a more data-driven approach. But, how can you obtain robust market data for decision-making when your target population and treating physicians are limited?
What you missed from Quirks Brooklyn ‘BYOB (Build your online brand)’ session
“How many of you have purchased alcohol online? What about groceries?” This is how Lisa Caro, Director of Insights & Analytics for Emerging Opportunities, Constellation Brands, kicked off her remarks to a room full of insights professionals at The Quirk’s Event in Brooklyn. The responses to those two questions reflect the challenges and opportunities that alcohol brands face in eCommerce.
When inflation hits, your pricing strategy inevitably feels the pressure. On the one hand, raising product prices will protect margins. On the other, you can’t risk pricing yourself out of the market. When consumers feel this pressure, their spending habits are likely to change, especially in developing countries and high-inflation regions.
Explore a driver analysis solution for analyzing stated and unstated factors
Tracking studies provide extensive information on brand perceptions over time. They play an important role in understanding what influences consumers and professionals to make decisions. However, as these groups become more empowered and have more choices to consider, your approach to brand trackers needs to evolve as well.
Today’s subscription economy not only presents consumers with more choices, but also more personalized experiences. For telecom, tech and online brands these heightened expectations place even greater pressure on maximizing the revenue per user.
Whereas in the past you could position your products and services based on traditional demographic insights, those rules no longer apply today — especially when it comes to pricing.
Cooking up consumer insights for the creative masterminds
Consumers around the world are eating up the convenience, choice and personalization that online meal-kit delivery services offer. Today subscription boxes offer a variety of options for online shoppers and a host of challenges for brands. To stay ahead in this competitive online space, you must delight your customers with every box that hits their doorstep. But what type of consumer insights are needed to inform the creative masterminds behind what goes in that box every week or month?
We recently set out to help a leading meal-kit delivery company answer just that.
Using a subscription pricing model to lay stable foundations
Funda is the top online real estate platform in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. It’s been described as the “Amazon of houses” in its homeland, because it’s said that almost every house that’s sold in the country will have been advertised on its platform first.
The online leader generates revenue by charging realtors to promote residential and commercial inventory on its platform. When there are more homes than buyers, properties are advertised longer and funda sees revenue soar. However, when the market is booming, properties sell quickly, listings come and go on the platform, and revenues dip.
How a new view on the purchase decision spectrum can drive better market research outcomes
I recently got in a taxi cab with a few colleagues and we were so engaged in conversation that we didn’t realize we weren’t moving until the driver asked: “So, where are you headed?” As heavy Uber customers, all of us were in the habit of not specifying a destination verbally since the app conveys all the pertinent details to the driver. We assumed that upon entering the car, the driver should know where to go!
On that taxi ride, we reflected how consumer behavior, and our habits, changed so drastically in a few short years thanks to new technology. Uber disrupted consumers’ traditional routine (hailing a taxi on the street) to form a new habit (grabbing your smartphone to “call” one). What started out as a deliberate new choice to use a rideshare app, quickly turned into an automatic, or habitual, behavior.
This scenario perfectly illustrates our view of the consumer decision behavior spectrum: The Habitual-Deliberate Decision Loop. Disruption of consumer behavior seems to be happening at a faster and
With the increased adoption of voice technology, smart speakers and digital assistants, there’s no denying that Alexa, Siri and Google Home are changing consumer behavior. However, to what extent? Are consumers simply curious about these devices? Are their purchase decisions being guided by AI? Will purchase trials shift to new shopping habits?
As decision behavior experts, we set out to examine these questions by conducting research on consumer attitudes and adoption of voice technology in the U.S., U.K. and Germany (the markets the technology manufacturers have focused on). This infographic previews some of the research highlights.
Key takeaways on voice and digital assistants from ESOMAR Congress 2018
Artificial Intelligence, voice and digital assistants were all the buzz at ESOMAR Congress 2018. The promise is that when these technologies come together in digital personal assistants, they’ll make our lives easier, remove our “choice stress” and will become our trusted advisors. Sign me up! But, how will voice technology affect consumer behavior and how will brands tackle this new decision environment?
Our recent voice trends research included qualitative interviews with digital and eCommerce experts on this very topic. At ESOMAR, some of these respondents participated in our “Brands on Fire – How to adapt to the new market reality of AI platforms” panel. Danone, Wehkamp, Beiersdorf, Ericsson and SKIM had a lively discussion on the digital implications of AI for brands, marketers and insight professionals. I, along with Yasemin Ozdemir, had the honor to moderate the panel. Here’s what you missed and need to know.
Voice technology and Artificial Intelligence were all the buzz at IFA, Germany’s largest consumer electronics show in September. Established players launched new products in Europe and there were a few surprise offerings from new market entrants.
Google introduced its premium smart speaker -the Google Home Max- here in Germany, along with a bilingual voice assistant feature that responds to queries in English and German interchangeably. And telecom giant Deutsche Telekom introduced plans for its own smart speaker activated with the magic words “Hallo Magenta.” This introduction is the first smart speaker coming from a German company and includes Amazon’s voice assistant “Alexa” too.
As I was setting up our new office in the heart of Berlin, I reflected on how much technology has disrupted consumer behavior from the time I grew up here. Is Voice all hype in Germany? How and will German consumers embrace these AI technologies? What are the implications for brands?
Here I’m sharing the Germany insights, which we unveiled at ESOMAR Congress 2018 in Berlin.
Analyze patient needs to maximize your impact on treatment success
Emotions affect our behavior, what we do and how we do it. In the same way, as patients grow more influential, their emotions also affect decisions about their care and satisfaction with treatment. Yet patient research shows, particularly in the case of chronic conditions, that many of their emotional needs remain unmet. Frustration with progress, stress from the burden of taking more medication, or a sense of isolation are common, making them less likely to commit to their treatment or gain the maximum benefit. All of which could be bad news for your brand.
Originally designed for the desktop environment, conjoint research on mobile requires a more innovative approach
Ensuring your market research survey is mobile-friendly is no longer a “nice-to-have” for insights professionals. With more survey respondents opting for smartphones and tablets over computers, this requirement poses an ever greater challenge for conjoint analysis.
Conjoint is the go-to methodology for measuring customer preference for product features, to determine how pricing changes affect product demand and to forecast likely acceptance of new innovations. However, it was originally designed for desktop and doesn’t marry well with the smaller screen sizes and shorter attention spans of today’s mobile respondents.
Conventional research approaches to understanding prescribing behavior lack the insights required today
A physician’s decision – or reluctance – to prescribe your drug over the competition has long been influenced by a number of factors, such as clinical efficacy, sales rep touchpoints, marketing materials etc. However, the proliferation of online medical information, social media referrals and wellness apps have added more considerations to the mix as patients take more control over their health. Now physicians, and other healthcare professionals, are assuming more of a “listener” role during consultations vs. solely the “adviser” role.
This shift in interaction between prescriber and patient, coupled with mounting time and cost pressure from the payers, places more importance than ever on accurately understanding why and when physicians make their prescribing decisions.
Robots, tech trends and market research innovations take center stage in Rotterdam
Summer in the Netherlands not only blooms tulips, but also inspiration for marketing and market research executives at our annual SKIMspiration event. On June 21st, we opened our headquarter doors to clients and industry peers from leading companies across the Benelux region, such as Unilever, Roche, IKEA, and Aegon. Attendees, ranging from brand marketing and shopper insights managers to net revenue management and healthcare professionals, all joined us to learn how to Drive Digital Success.
“Alexa: do you remember the last consumer tech “must-have product” to hit the shelves?”
According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), it was the iPhone (2007) and iPad (2012). And now voice-controlled smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, have achieved that coveted status. CTA predicts 56.6 million smart speakers will be sold in the US next year; two years ago that number was just 7.2 million!.
Voice technology is set to fundamentally change the environment in which consumers make decisions, and who (or what) influences that decision. To stay ahead of the competition, brands will need to exhaust every opportunity to optimize their position in this new “4th sales channel” of voice commerce.
Do you know how voice searches for your product category begin?
As telecom and technology markets are continually disrupted, our approach to their specific market research challenges needs to evolve with them.
What are you to do when you’re facing intense price competition, losing volume to the competition or launching new product innovations? Today’s digital consumers have more telecom and technology product options than ever before. For marketers in these industries, historical data will only take you so far when optimizing your product portfolio.
And the challenge only becomes more complex when you consider how today’s empowered consumers make purchase decisions differently than they did just a short time ago.
Discover the approach PepsiCo Benelux took to optimize the immediate and long-term impact of its promotions.
While short-term impacts on cash flow are often front of mind for the fast-moving consumer goods industry, after-sales dips and other aspects of sales recovery can prove detrimental to a brand’s financial health in the long run. Shopper insights managers looking to develop a promotions strategy with sustainable impact on sales and revenue growth, must be equipped with market research insights that address both the short-term and long-term impact of promotions.
Getting Started with AI: Speed + Quality
From Uber’s self-driving cars to Amazon’s warehouse robots, artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be reaching human-level dexterity nearly everywhere. You might be wondering like us: how are brands actually taking advantage of next-gen automation innovation in market research today? Can artificial intelligence identify better insights cheaper? Will computers and robots render human researchers useless? As market researchers, who also happen to be human beings, we’ve been exploring many of the same questions!
Danone, one of the world’s leading food companies, recently sought to understand consumer consumption drivers for a new product category.
eCommerce success in the consumer goods category doesn’t happen overnight — it’s a journey
Defining a set of marketing guidelines that drive a measurable increase in sales is an incredible feat, never mind doing so for 2.5 billion smartphone users across the globe.
Yet that’s exactly what our client, and consumer goods giant, Unilever is tackling with the challenge of developing a consistent and cohesive set of mobile ready hero image guidelines for all brands, in all countries to follow with all retailers. When co-presenting with us at the OmniShopper International Conference, Oli Bradley, Unilever’s global e-commerce experience design director, shared details on his eCommerce journey. Here’s what we learned:
The increased adoption of voice assistants is forcing many of our clients in the consumer goods category to ask, “Alexa, how are you affecting consumer decision behavior?” From search through the path to purchase, the implications of voice-enabled technology are far reaching for brands. Now recognized as the “fourth sales channel,” voice tech represents an evolving channel, requiring new insights. You know you want to gain consumer preference in this lane, but what questions should you ask?
Remind yourself why the right customer decision journey framework matters—and which one you should be using.
Today’s consumer path to purchase has evolved a great deal. To succeed in the omnichannel world, you can’t afford to rely on outdated assumptions regarding your consumer’s decision journey.
Every customer’s decision journey is unique, especially in an omnichannel world. Customer journey mapping allows marketers to understand the different stages customers go through before, during, and after purchase. It also examines how to influence customers at the various stages of their journey.
Whether you’re a CPG brand manager or a B2B marketer, your customer’s decision journeys are complex, dynamic, and easily disrupted by new options and inputs – online and offline. Today’s omnichannel world has created a new path to purchase for consumers, business professionals, and healthcare decision makers. Their decision journey is influenced by technology and media that didn’t even exist a few years ago, but do you know how, where, and when?
Setting the right price is one of the best ways to positively impact a company’s bottom line. Yet, price-setting is not always top-of-mind nor owned by a single department within a company. This holds true across industries, whether it is consumer goods, healthcare, telecom, finance or technology. Sometimes Marketing takes responsibility for pricing, while other times Finance takes on the task. Often, we find that there exists no pricing strategy at all in companies, and thus, no clear ownership of pricing responsibility.
On October 27th, the European Parliament voted in favor of a proposal on net neutrality. As part of this proposal, it was also decided that roaming costs within EU territory will be abolished, starting June 1, 2017. This does not concern all roaming, but “roaming within the range of normal usage”. It isn’t yet quite clear how normal usage is defined, and we have to wait until the end of this year to find out.
Offering price discounts on consumer goods seems to be a quick answer to tough competition and to consumers who are more demanding and price sensitive these days. Many times our clients ask us which promotion strategy is most effective in driving share. However, the answer for short term sales boost is different from the one that maintains your brand’s financial health. Let us explain in this article what type of promotion offers the best long term effect.
In many service markets – like telecom, energy and finance – consumers do not switch providers very often and service providers are having trouble activating these potential customers. Even though some consumers might want to switch due to an interesting offer from a new provider, often they still don’t act.
During harsh economic environments, companies have to make deliberate choices on how to invest marketing budgets to optimize profits. Especially in the competitive FMCG industry promotions are often used as a tool to increase sales. However, what is the most effective type of promotion? And what are the implications of these promotions on your overall product portfolio revenues?
Have you come across the situation where many items (descriptions, statements or concepts) had to be put in preference order? Ranking and rating type questions are often used in these situations, although the last few years MaxDiff has been gaining more attention as a good alternative.
In light of increasing patent expiration rates, a switch from Rx to OTC proves to be a successful counter-strategy against generic erosion. As a result, marketers face challenges entering a new competitive environment. Our Consumer Health team has valuable experience in bridging the knowledge gap between healthcare and consumer markets to facilitate your decision making process.