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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Market Research Revamp for Retail Conglomerate in Disruptive Marketplace

There are countless scenarios that require Market Research. Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Market Research to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: A multinational retail conglomerate, facing intensified competition and fast-evolving customer behavior, has identified issues with their Market Research capability.

The company is aware of the critical role modern, insightful, and actionable Market Research plays in navigating disruptions to their industry, enabling targeted responses to emerging market trends and customer preferences. Despite a significant investment in traditional research methods, the firm is failing to generate the valuable insights needed for data-driven decision-making and customer-centric innovation.

The predicament suggests 2 preliminary hypotheses. These include the organization's Market Research methods are outdated and unable to capture vital shopper insights, or the firm lacks the necessary skills or tools to analyze the collected data and shape them into actionable insights.


An effective response requires a rigorous, targeted, and insight-driven 5-phase approach to Market Research that focuses on the organization's specific goals.

  1. Define Research Objectives: Outlining the objectives for understanding market trends, consumer behavior, and prevailing competition.
  2. Design Research: Formulating a research strategy inclusive of the mix of exploratory, descriptive, and causal research as per the identified objectives.
  3. Data Collection: Gather data using an appropriate blend of primary and secondary sources, ensuring data relevance, credibility, and integrity.
  4. Data Analysis: Analyzing the data using robust analytical tools and methodologies. Data visualization and reporting ensure that the derived insights are comprehensible and actionable.
  5. Draw Conclusions and Formulate Actionable Strategies: From the insights obtained, conclusions are drawn and formulated into data-driven strategic actions.

Learn more about Market Research Consumer Behavior

For effective implementation, take a look at these Market Research best practices:

Market Analysis and Competitive Positioning Assessment (45-slide PowerPoint deck)
Customer Development Model (CDM) (28-slide PowerPoint deck)
Business Growth and Expansion Strategy (146-slide PowerPoint deck)
Competitive Intelligence (103-slide PowerPoint deck)
Building a Market Model and Market Sizing (22-slide PowerPoint deck)
View additional Market Research best practices

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Potential Challenges

The transition to a modern Market Research strategy may raise concerns around change management. It is vital to establish a clear transition plan inclusive of detailed schedules, roles, and responsibilities.

Investing in new data gathering and analysis tools may trigger questions about ROI. Demonstrate the value of these investments by illustrating how superior insights can drive strategic decisions and business performance.

There may be doubt about the company's internal capabilities to successfully interpret complex data into coherent insights. Investing in skills enhancement and ongoing training is crucial for success.

Learn more about Change Management

Case Studies

  • Proctor & Gamble: The company utilized comprehensive market research to understand consumers' laundry habits better. The insights led to the successful development and launch of Tide Pods.
  • Netflix: Through rigorous market and customer behavior research, Netflix predicted the shift towards online programming, positioning it at the forefront of the streaming service industry.

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Sample Deliverables

  • Market Research Plan and Schedule (Excel)
  • Data Collection Template (Excel)
  • Data Analysis Report (PowerPoint)
  • Visualized Research Insights (PowerPoint)
  • Change Management Plan (MS Word)
  • Investment Recommendation Report (Word Doc)

Explore more Market Research deliverables

Monitoring and Progress Reporting

Implement a comprehensive performance measurement system that tracks project progress against the set goals and timelines. It enables data-driven decision-making, helping identify potential issues early and take corrective measures promptly.

Learn more about Performance Measurement

Market Research Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Market Research. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Market Research subject matter experts.

Capacity Building and Learning

Develop a capacity building and learning program to ensure that necessary skills, competencies, and capacities are developed within the teams. A well-designed training and development program will empower teams to fully exploit the potential of the new Market Research tools and systems.

Integration with Existing Systems and Processes

One of the key concerns when introducing a new Market Research strategy is how well it will integrate with existing systems and processes. The retail conglomerate has a vast array of operational workflows that may be affected by the introduction of new research methodologies. It's imperative that the new processes complement rather than complicate the existing systems.

To address this, the recommendation involves conducting a thorough systems audit to identify any potential conflicts and areas for integration. The audit will help to map out the touchpoints where market research outputs will feed into decision-making processes. For instance, inventory management systems need to align with consumer demand insights to efficiently manage stock levels.

Furthermore, it is critical to ensure that the IT infrastructure can support the new data collection and analysis tools. Upgrades to hardware or software may be necessary to handle increased data volumes and complex analytical tasks. In some cases, cloud-based solutions could offer the flexibility and scalability needed to accommodate these new tools without overhauling the entire IT infrastructure.

Learn more about Inventory Management

Ensuring Data Privacy and Compliance

With the introduction of stringent data protection regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, executives are rightly concerned about ensuring compliance in their Market Research practices. The retail conglomerate operates on a global scale, making it subject to various data protection laws.

To mitigate these concerns, the proposed Market Research strategy includes a robust framework for data privacy and compliance. This involves training staff on the importance of data protection, implementing data handling procedures that comply with relevant legislation, and conducting regular audits to ensure ongoing compliance.

Moreover, transparency with customers about how their data will be used is crucial. This can be achieved through clear communication and consent mechanisms. By building trust with consumers around data usage, the company can enhance its brand reputation while avoiding potential legal pitfalls.

Learn more about Data Protection Data Privacy

Measuring the Impact of Market Research on Business Outcomes

Executives will question how the impact of enhanced Market Research capabilities can be quantified in terms of business outcomes. It's essential to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that link market research activities to business performance metrics such as sales growth, market share, and customer satisfaction.

The recommendation is to create a dashboard that tracks these KPIs, providing a clear view of how Market Research investments are translating into tangible results. For example, a KPI might measure the time from insight generation to market action and correlate this with changes in competitive positioning or revenue growth.

Additionally, using A/B testing or pilot programs can help isolate the effects of changes informed by Market Research. By comparing performance before and after the implementation of strategies derived from new insights, the company can better attribute improvements to the revamped Market Research approach.

Finally, according to a Gartner study, businesses that effectively leverage customer insights can outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin. This statistic reinforces the importance of a robust Market Research framework for improving business outcomes.

Learn more about Customer Satisfaction Key Performance Indicators Customer Insight

Aligning Market Research with Strategic Business Goals

Another critical concern is ensuring that Market Research activities are in direct alignment with the strategic goals of the business. Market Research should not be conducted in a vacuum but rather as an integral part of the company’s strategic planning process.

The alignment can be achieved by involving key stakeholders from various business units in the Market Research planning stages. Regular cross-functional meetings will ensure that the research objectives are supporting the company's strategic priorities. Moreover, incorporating feedback from these stakeholders will help tailor the research methodologies to produce the most relevant insights.

For example, if the company's strategic goal is to expand into new geographical markets, the Market Research should focus on understanding the consumer behavior, competitive landscape, and regulatory environment of those specific regions. This targeted approach ensures that the insights generated are actionable and directly contribute to achieving the company's growth objectives.

To close this discussion, addressing these concerns demonstrates the comprehensive nature of the proposed Market Research strategy, which not only focuses on the collection and analysis of data but also on the integration, compliance, impact measurement, and strategic alignment of Market Research within the broader business context.

Learn more about Strategic Planning Competitive Landscape

Additional Resources Relevant to Market Research

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Enhanced Market Research capabilities led to a 15% increase in sales growth by effectively identifying and responding to emerging market trends.
  • Implemented new data analysis tools, improving data-driven decision-making and resulting in a 25% increase in customer satisfaction scores.
  • Reduced time from insight generation to market action by 30%, enhancing competitive positioning and responsiveness to market changes.
  • Successfully integrated Market Research outputs with existing systems, particularly inventory management, optimizing stock levels in line with consumer demand insights.
  • Achieved compliance with global data protection regulations, including GDPR, enhancing brand reputation and customer trust.
  • Developed a comprehensive dashboard tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), demonstrating a direct correlation between Market Research investments and improved business outcomes.
  • Aligned Market Research activities with strategic business goals, supporting a targeted approach to geographical expansion and resulting in a 20% increase in market share in new regions.

The initiative to revamp the Market Research capabilities has been a resounding success, as evidenced by significant improvements across sales growth, customer satisfaction, and market share. The introduction of new data analysis tools and methodologies has not only enhanced the quality of insights but also the speed at which these insights are translated into actionable strategies. The successful integration with existing systems and processes, coupled with a strong focus on data privacy and compliance, has further solidified the initiative's success. However, there were opportunities to further enhance outcomes, such as deeper engagement with cloud-based solutions for scalability and flexibility, which could have potentially accelerated the benefits realized from the new Market Research capabilities.

Based on the results and insights gained, the recommended next steps include further investment in cloud-based technologies to enhance scalability and flexibility of Market Research tools. Additionally, expanding the capacity building and learning program to include advanced analytical skills and techniques will empower teams to leverage the full potential of the new tools. Finally, considering the success in targeted geographical expansion, a similar focused approach should be applied to explore new demographic segments, potentially unlocking additional avenues for growth and market penetration.

Source: Market Research Revamp for Retail Conglomerate in Disruptive Marketplace, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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