Is It OK If Your Market Research Isn’t Always Revolutionary?

Filed Under: Shopper, Food & Beverage, Quantitative Research


I know I speak for many of my colleagues when I say that we’d love our work life to go back to the “status quo” – pre-pandemic conditions. We don’t need anything crazy or exciting – all we need is to just have a “normal” day in the office.  So, is it OK if you think about market research the same way? Or, does market research always need to be “revolutionary” to be worthwhile? We know our clients want to show the value of insights within their organizations (and we love when we’re able to play a role in helping them do that) – but, if there’s not a big “aha” as a result of our research, does that mean we’ve failed?

One of our beverage clients had just acquired a “newer” brand that had only been around for a few years. While the brand already showed promise, since it was the “shiny new toy,” there was a strong desire to innovate with this brand – in particular, to extend the flavor/variety profile.

So, we worked with them to identify their target consumers to interview and designed a discrete choice study to assess consumer interest in various combinations of flavors/varieties. We analyzed the discrete choice output in a few different ways, including running TURF analyses on the results. The results told us that the existing line was very strong and already doing its job and that expanding the line didn’t show obvious signs of incremental success. This wasn’t quite the news our client was looking for. 

Of course, our summary of the results went beyond saying “the brand is doing well, and you don’t need to do anymore” – but at the end of the day, the research ended up being more of validation rather than identifying an exciting new opportunity. So, was this research not valuable to our clients?  We think it was valuable! 

With this quantitative research, our client was able to…

  • Confirm that the brand offerings were already strong, and consumers needed to be more aware of the brand to become customers
  • Confirm that their label strategy on the packaging was spot on – in terms of which variables are most important to highlight
  • Identify potential options to expand if there was a strong desire to do so – by identifying what combinations of flavors/varieties provided the next best opportunity
  • Identify an option to reduce the current line by eliminating one beverage – given not only low-interest levels in that beverage but also the fact that consumers would purchase another item in the line instead

We know that the research was deemed valuable by our client,  and we’re excited to work on the next phase of this project – as we replicate this study in other regions/countries! So, yes – we love when we conduct research that turns out to be revolutionary for our clients – but when it isn’t, we are OK with that as well; telling a client that they are on track with their strategy makes us happy too! 

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