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Marketplaces ebb and flow.

 

What was popular with your primary customers a year ago, may no longer apply today. Competition can change; perceptions alter; and technology can influence needs/desires. If a company doesn’t conduct continuous, regular research on their market and brand equity, influence with your customers and sales will be impacted.

 

A company runs the risk of being irrelevant if it doesn’t proactively stay in tune with its customers’ lives and in check with the competitive landscape.

 

One major dairy company is dedicated to a constant, regular research approach. They were keenly aware that in order to stay competitive and at the forefront in the industry, they had to stay on top of trends and consumer attitudes.

 

The C+R Research team conducts this annual “health tracker” consumer research for the company.

Problem

A large dairy company is a leader in the category.

 

The dairy marketplace has several competitors and spans across many different product types - from butter/spreads, cheese, liquids, seasonal products, and snacks. Tracking awareness of the dairy brand, consumer usage of product lines, and perceptions of the brand and competitors is crucial to making strategic marketing and product development decisions.   

 

The brand sought a comprehensive understanding of dairy consumers across different segments as well. For example, what were the perceptions of on-site grocery store purchasers as opposed to corporate purchasers? Did those who purchased primarily milk and cheeses share similarities to those who purchased pudding and other snack-type products?   

 

The goal of the project was to continue research conducted a year prior. The findings needed to include consumer insights across different segments, competitive landscape shifts since the last engagement, brand awareness levels today versus a year prior, and usage information for products.

 

The insights gathered would allow the dairy company to internally assess competition and consumer needs.

Result

The C+R Research team found that the dairy company performed at varying levels in different categories, but the findings were generally on par with the year prior. The team uncovered areas where the brand was excelling to last year and where progress had slowed compared to competitors.

 

Spreads and butters were an area that the dairy company outpaced all competitors across all consumer segments. This was on-pace with last year’s engagement and reinforced that their marketing efforts were successful in this product category. Another area of high success was the brand’s popularity amongst corporate purchases. Those needing corporate dairy products choose the brand over most competitors, with only one or two that outpaced the brand.

 

Areas of strength and improvement were also found in specific regions. For example, in the United States East and Southeast regions, the brand was very popular over competitors in usage and consumption of deli and other cheeses, but positive brand perception was lower than the primary competitor in this segment.

 

An important risk area uncovered was in the dairy snack product categories. Competitors continued to outpace the brand like the year prior, but awareness of the client’s brand in this product line had also declined. 

 

The client also received insights in general about different consumer segments and general brand perception. They learned about what is most important to consumers when choosing dairy products across different product categories today. They also learned how their consumers perceive their brand against 10-20 other key competitors.

 

The dairy company was able to use the insights to assess competition, develop marketing plans, and determine where efforts had succeeded or failed. The research was presented to each of the different product line’s key stakeholder and leadership teams.

Solution

Quantitative strategies were primarily used to capture verifiable insights in the dairy consumer and broad attitudes on the brand perception nationwide. 

 

The quantitative phase was a large survey developed by our experts. C+R Researchers conducted over 1,000 core interviews for each of the 5 primary product categories being evaluated. These interviews were boosted with a readable sample of each of the different target segments being studied as well.

 

The interview was designed in order to:

  1. Understand the specific attitudes and behaviors related to dairy product categories
  2. Gather usage data about dairy product consumption
  3. Discover consumers’ attitudes and perceptions about the dairy product brand
  4. Conduct competitive analysis by studying over 8-10 brands and over 20 different competitive products

Our researchers used advanced analytics to extract in-depth insights for the dairy company in their annual research engagement.