When seasonal markets affect your company, it is important for you to be able to predict upcoming trends for the coming seasons.
A successful company will implement seasonal marketing strategies that help to push product portfolios forward, but finding an effective forward-thinking seasonal strategy is not always easy.
Companies must uncover the messages and products that will motivate consumers to explore seasonal products in the future. This is especially a challenge for seasonal products as consumers are not fortunetellers, and what they respond to one year may fail the next. Current events, popular tastes, technological advances, and cultural trends can all impact consumers’ needs and desires that are difficult to predict.
However, market research that blends both consumer behavior history and predictive analytics of trends can save companies in their launches to ensure that major changes to a seasonal portfolio strategy are profitable and timely.
A leading alcoholic beverage and brewing company needed to ascertain if their seasonal beer portfolio strategy was moving forward aligned with the market’s needs and desires. Were they offering seasonal products that excited their audience and stood out in the marketplace?
First and foremost, their offerings had to be differentiated from their competitors. Seasonal products and flavors had to be compelling enough to entice and retain seasonal drinkers.
Additionally, the brewing company found their current portfolio was failing to fulfill consumers’ desire for brand exploration. There was concern they were underperforming in comparison to the competition.
Before the beverage company could implement a go-forward seasonal strategy, they needed a better understanding of four basic subjects:
- Taste and Flavor
- Purchase Drivers
The company needed to learn how beer consumers are introduced to new, seasonal beers, what motivates a consumer trial, and what prompts them to buy. Do these motivators change based on season or acquisition?
Flavor preferences also required exploration. Did seasonal beer consumers have different flavor preferences based on changing seasons? How so?
Finally, the brewery wanted a comparison study between two different beers and how the market perceived the beers. A thorough analysis had to include information regarding the perception of the products as well as the impact of product overlap between types of beer and seasonal options.
C+R Research answered these questions, while identifying current brand perceptions as well as new opportunities.
Pointedly, the findings revealed that consumers have a very sophisticated and nuanced flavor preference depending on each season. Seasonal choices are driven more strongly by taste factor than any other data point. Tastes and flavors are critically important to successful, seasonal beer beverages. Additionally, consumers also desire new flavors versus old favorites when adopting seasonal beers. Seasonality equals “new” to these consumers; so, presenting updated flavor options to seasonal beverages along with reliable favorites is important to success.
The research informed marketing priorities by highlighting key functional and emotional drivers that prompted the consumers to purchase the seasonal products. Consumers liked novelty in their beers, especially for seasonal occasions like events or social gatherings. Seasonal beers often serve a specific purpose or need in consumers’ lives.
These and other drivers were then developed into recommended messaging and communication pillars for the client. Distinct seasonal opportunities were defined as a means of winning market share from the leading competitors.
C+R Research’s solution was two-fold.
A quantitative online survey was used to gather reliable, measurable data points over a large reach of consumers. These stats were carefully analyzed using penalty-reward analysis, perceptual maps, derived importance and drivers analysis.
After the online survey, C+R utilized qualitative focus groups to confirm or alter consumer behavior and perception of specific beer flavors. The focus groups were essential in identifying potential product variants, product naming, packaging, and marketing strategies. All of these components allowed the company to create a forward-thinking seasonal strategy aimed at winning considerable market share from its leading competitor.