Archives for July 2014

My head says OK, my budget says no way…

So you’re thinking about conducting consumer research, but you haven’t pulled the trigger.

You are not alone. As consumer research specialists, we’ve found that many clients have trouble making the leap from considering consumer research to actually doing it. Often, the stumbling block is cost. If you aren’t saying it out loud, you are probably thinking it, “How much did you say this research will cost? That’s more than the price of going to market! We can’t possibly afford that, just forget it.

While you might feel some sticker shock initially, consider the long-term value of the information you can glean about your customers by surveying them. The reality is that without making some investment to talk with and listen to your target audience, you could be missing a huge opportunity.

What can consumer research do for you?

Research sheds the kind of light on consumer behavior that can keep you from blindly taking risks that lead to failure. Customers can make or break a business, so understanding what matters to them is vital. Let their way of thinking guide you. Consumer research can help you:

  • determine market demand for a new product and confirm whether consumers have a real need for what you’re offering.
  • gain insights about a target group about whom you have little or no understanding.
  • gather feedback about new concepts that you are interested in pursuing, so that you can modify your plans or switch gears before it is too late.
  • assess the impact of marketing on product sales at the store level, before a national roll-out.

Make consumer research work for you

Consumers can’t make decisions for your business, but the insights that come from surveying them can help you make informed decisions that have a critical impact on your business.

According to Rich Thoma, vice president of sales and marketing for Yerecic Label, conducting consumer research was one of the smartest decisions his company made for their marketing programs. “Taking new products to market that are supported by consumer research not only brings validity to our products, but also increases our access to potential clients who are hungry to hear from consumers,” says Thoma.

Thoughtfully-conducted consumer research can generate real results, like increased sales. MilkPEP studied consumer reactions to the positioning concept for a new program to increase milk usage, Latte Love, which ultimately drove a 1% increase in milk volume sales. Progresso Soup used consumer research to determine its competitive advantage over other soup brands among the Hispanic population, which lead to targeted messaging that increased both dollar volume and Hispanic-specific dollar volume.

Consumers are not only our targets; they are incredible resources for our industry. Making the investment in consumer research gives you a wealth of knowledge that can translate to real dollars and cents. So if you want to know what consumers think, it’s worth it to ask.

If you’d like to learn more about talking to consumers, please contact Mary Pat Anders at m.anders@midanmarketing.com.

Teamwork Makes the DREAM Work…

Corporate culture is a nebulous concept that can make or break a working atmosphere.

At Midan Marketing, principals Danette and Michael provide the framework for our culture by clearly sharing their business values and priorities. They work hard to build a cohesive team whose members positively encourage and challenge each other.

But company leaders can only provide a loose structure for a successful culture; it’s up to the team to build on that foundation.

To flesh out the cultural skeleton, it is up to us to buy in to the company values and mission and adopt them as their own.

At Midan, our culture is driven by passion – for meat, for team, for families, for growth. Of course, our passion for meat is forefront, but our passion for team generates open communication and trust in each other to excel in our areas of expertise. We work hard, but we have fun together and encourage each other to produce exceptional results.

We are also passionate about our families, and are fortunate that the Midan culture supports a healthy work/life balance. Midan principals recognize that family and personal life cannot always be contained in the hours before and after work, and they have encouraged a culture of flexibility to find ways to help with those needs.

At Midan, team members are encouraged to have interests outside of work. These interests help our staff bring unique perspectives and new ideas to the table that benefit team members and clients.

And while Midan has a single over-arching culture, there are many subcultures in play. These subcultures come from having two key offices in geographically-diverse areas and a few remote offices. Other subcultures are departmental. Each individual team — Creative Communications, Market Research, Account Management, and Administration — works and interacts differently. This doesn’t even touch on the myriad of cultural goodies we all bring from our personal lives! While we all share similar values and a passion for our work, we work to achieve Midan’s vision from different points of view.

I think it is very important to make the distinction between culture and environment. Culture has nothing to do with environment. Game days, ice cream outings and office parties are fun, but they are part of the company environment, not the company’s culture. They are the perks of a culture that values its team members.

Although Midan’s values and mission are defined and a cohesive team is in place, we realize that our culture is not static. In fact, it’s very messy. Every time a new team member joins us, the culture changes. Every time a new client is acquired, the culture changes. And when a key or long-term staff member leaves, the cultural balance is upset and it takes a while for the culture to mend and regain its balance.

So the next time we find ourselves thinking that everything is changing, let’s think about our cultural framework. Chances are that the loose structure is still the same, and it’s up to us to continue to develop and support the culture with the new building blocks we are given.

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