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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Market Research Strategy Development for a Global Consumer Goods Company


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, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. Let us analyze the following scenario.

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Consider this scenario: A multinational consumer goods manufacturer is facing challenges in understanding and adapting to the rapidly evolving market trends.

Despite having a diverse product portfolio, the organization has been struggling to maintain its market share and profitability. The company's traditional methods of market research have proven inadequate in providing actionable insights to drive innovation and stay ahead of the competition.



The underlying issue appears to be twofold. Firstly, the company's market research methods may be outdated, failing to capture the dynamic nature of consumer behavior in today's digital age. Secondly, there might be a lack of integration between the market research data and the decision-making process, leading to ineffective strategies.

Methodology

A 5-phase approach to Market Research can be adopted to address these challenges:

  1. Defining the Problem: The first step is to gain a clear understanding of the company's strategic objectives, and define the specific issues that the market research should address.
  2. Developing the Research Plan: This involves designing a comprehensive research plan, including the selection of appropriate research methods and data sources.
  3. Collecting the Data: This phase involves gathering data from various sources, including primary research, secondary research, and digital analytics.
  4. Analyzing the Data: The collected data is then analyzed using advanced statistical tools and techniques to derive meaningful insights.
  5. Presenting the Findings: The final step is to present the research findings in a clear and actionable format, enabling the senior management to make informed decisions.

Learn more about Market Research

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

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Customer Development Model (CDM) (28-slide PowerPoint deck)
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Key Considerations

While this approach seems straightforward, the CEO might have concerns regarding its implementation. One concern could be the potential disruption to the ongoing operations during the research process. However, strategic planning and phased implementation can minimize this disruption. The CEO might also question the reliability of the research data. To address this, the company should ensure the use of reliable data sources and rigorous data validation methods. Finally, the CEO might wonder about the return on investment for this initiative. According to a 2019 study by Gartner, companies that leverage data-driven insights in their decision-making process have a 23x higher likelihood of customer acquisition and a 6x higher likelihood of customer retention.

Upon successful implementation of the methodology, the company can expect several business outcomes:

  • Improved Decision Making: The insights derived from the research can inform strategic decisions, leading to better business outcomes.
  • Increased Market Share: A deeper understanding of the market can help the company to innovate and differentiate its products, resulting in increased market share.
  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: The company can better anticipate and meet customer needs, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

However, potential implementation challenges include:

  • Data Privacy Concerns: The company must ensure compliance with data privacy regulations when collecting and analyzing data.
  • Resistance to Change: Employees might resist the change in the traditional way of doing things, which can be managed through effective change management.

The following Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators can be used to monitor the implementation:

  • Market Share: An increase in market share indicates successful implementation.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score: A higher score reflects the company's ability to meet customer needs effectively.
  • Return on Investment: A positive ROI indicates that the benefits of the initiative outweigh the costs.

Learn more about Change Management Strategic Planning Decision Making

Sample Deliverables

  • Market Research Plan (Word Document)
  • Data Collection Template (Excel)
  • Data Analysis Report (PowerPoint)
  • Strategy Development Document (Word Document)
  • Implementation Roadmap (PowerPoint)

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Case Studies

Procter & Gamble, a leading consumer goods company, leveraged market research to identify emerging trends and develop innovative products, resulting in increased market share and customer loyalty. Similarly, Unilever used market research to understand the changing consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped them to adapt their marketing strategies and maintain their profitability.

Explore additional related case studies

Additional Insights

While market research can provide valuable insights, it's important to remember that it's not a one-time activity. The market dynamics are constantly changing, and the company needs to continuously monitor these changes to stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, the company should foster a data-driven culture where every decision is backed by data and insights. Finally, the company should leverage technology to automate the data collection and analysis process, which can save time and resources.

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.

Integration with Strategic Decision-Making

The integration of market research findings into strategic decision-making is crucial for the success of the initiative. To ensure a seamless integration, the company must establish a cross-functional team that includes market researchers, strategists, and decision-makers. This team should be responsible for translating insights into strategic actions and ensuring that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the research implications.

To further solidify the integration, the company can adopt a 'research-to-action' framework. This framework should outline the process for converting insights into strategic initiatives and specify how these initiatives align with the company's overall objectives. Regular meetings should be scheduled to review research findings and discuss their strategic implications. Additionally, the company can implement a centralized data repository where all market research data is stored and made accessible to relevant parties, enabling better collaboration and informed decision-making.

According to a Bain & Company report, companies that excel in integrating data into their strategic decision-making process are twice as likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance within their industries. By adopting these practices, the company can expect to make more informed strategic decisions that are aligned with current market conditions and consumer preferences.

Adapting to Digital Market Research Trends

Given the digital transformation of market research, the company needs to adapt by incorporating modern research techniques such as social listening, mobile surveys, and online behavior analysis. These methods provide real-time insights into consumer behavior and can uncover emerging trends that traditional research might miss.

To capitalize on these digital trends, the company should invest in advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools. These tools can process large volumes of data and identify patterns that human analysts may overlook. For example, machine learning algorithms can analyze social media data to detect shifts in consumer sentiment or preferences. The company should also consider partnerships with technology providers that specialize in digital market research to stay abreast of the latest tools and methodologies.

A Forrester report highlights that organizations that effectively leverage digital analytics tools can improve their customer experience, which directly correlates with increased revenue growth. By embracing digital market research trends, the company can gain a more nuanced understanding of the market and react swiftly to changes.

Learn more about Digital Transformation Customer Experience Artificial Intelligence

Change Management for Market Research Transformation

Resistance to change is a natural response, especially when transitioning from traditional to more modern market research methods. To manage this resistance, the company should implement a robust change management program. This program should start with clear communication from leadership about the reasons behind the change and the benefits it will bring.

The company should also provide training and support to employees to help them adapt to new tools and processes. This training should not only cover the technical aspects but also emphasize the value of data-driven decision-making. Furthermore, the company can identify and empower change champions within each department who can advocate for the new approach and assist their colleagues.

According to McKinsey, a well-executed change management program can increase the likelihood of success by as much as 30%. By proactively managing the transition, the company can minimize resistance and ensure that employees are engaged and committed to the new market research strategy.

Ensuring Data Privacy Compliance

In the age of heightened data privacy concerns, the company must prioritize compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). To achieve this, the company should conduct a privacy impact assessment to identify any potential risks in their data collection and analysis processes.

The company should also update its privacy policies and ensure that they are transparent and easily accessible to consumers. It's important to implement robust data governance practices, including data minimization, purpose limitation, and secure data storage and transfer protocols. Employee training on data privacy principles and regular audits of data handling practices are also essential to maintain compliance.

A recent PwC survey found that 87% of consumers will take their business elsewhere if they don't trust a company to handle their data responsibly. By ensuring data privacy compliance, the company not only avoids legal penalties but also builds trust with consumers, which is vital for long-term customer relationships.

Learn more about Employee Training Data Governance Data Protection

Monitoring and Reporting on KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.
     – Lord Kelvin

To track the success of the market research initiative, it is critical to establish a set of KPIs and regularly monitor them. The company should develop a dashboard that provides real-time data on KPIs such as market share, customer satisfaction scores, and ROI. This dashboard should be accessible to all stakeholders to ensure transparency and accountability.

Regular reporting on these KPIs will help the company identify areas of success and opportunities for improvement. The company can use this information to make adjustments to their market research strategy and optimize their decision-making processes. It is also essential to review the KPIs themselves periodically to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with the company's strategic objectives.

An Accenture study indicates that companies that effectively use KPIs to drive business performance are more likely to achieve high growth rates. By diligently monitoring and reporting on KPIs, the company can ensure that their market research strategy remains effective and continues to contribute to their overall business success.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

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Key Findings and Results

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

  • Implemented a 5-phase market research approach, leading to a more dynamic understanding of consumer behavior.
  • Increased market share by integrating real-time digital analytics into product development strategies.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty through data-driven insights, improving the customer experience.
  • Adopted advanced analytics and AI tools, uncovering emerging trends and shifts in consumer preferences.
  • Successfully managed the transition to modern market research methods with a comprehensive change management program.
  • Ensured data privacy compliance, building trust and maintaining strong customer relationships.
  • Established a dashboard for real-time monitoring of KPIs, including market share, customer satisfaction, and ROI.

The initiative's success is evident in the tangible outcomes such as increased market share, enhanced customer satisfaction, and improved decision-making processes. The adoption of advanced analytics and AI tools played a crucial role in uncovering valuable insights that traditional methods missed, demonstrating the importance of adapting to digital trends. The comprehensive change management program was effective in minimizing resistance and engaging employees in the new strategy. Moreover, the focus on data privacy compliance not only avoided legal repercussions but also strengthened customer trust. However, the initiative could have benefited from earlier integration of digital market research methods and a more aggressive approach towards leveraging technology partnerships to stay ahead of market trends.

Based on the results and analysis, the recommended next steps include further investment in technology to enhance data collection and analysis capabilities, particularly in predictive analytics. The company should also explore additional partnerships with technology providers to gain access to cutting-edge market research tools. Continuously updating the change management program to address new challenges and resistance as the market research strategy evolves is crucial. Finally, the company should consider expanding its KPI dashboard to include predictive indicators that can provide early warnings about shifts in market dynamics or consumer behavior.

Source: Market Research Strategy Development for a Global Consumer Goods Company, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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