Page 3: Identifying consumer insights and product needs - where to start?
Market research should start with the consumer and serves two purposes:
1) To inform companies about consumer needs and desires. What are the trends in the market? What do consumers want?
2) To give consumers the opportunity to talk to the providers of products and services so that their views are taken into account.
Businesses exist in a fast-moving world with increased consumer choice. It is essential that a company knows its market and its consumers before developing any new product. Lots of questions need answering.
Consumer insights drive New Product Development. This information takes into account their behaviours, attitudes and beliefs. It is an expression of their wishes and desires. Businesses use consumer insights to create opportunities for their brands. It is the starting point that enables brands to fit meaningfully into consumers' lives.
Across countries, consumers are different in terms of culture and lifestyle. NIVEA's challenge was to find similar insights from consumers across different countries. This was used to optimize product development.
In the deodorant category, NIVEA used many secondary research sources to discover consumers' views and their need for deodorants. These related to different markets and were supplied by local country market researchers. These included:
i. A consumer Usage and Attitude study. This had been conducted a few years earlier across various markets (UK, France and USA).
ii. An external study by Fragrance Houses. This covered the importance of scent and fragrance to people's well-being and mood.
The research team felt therefore there was not enough recent knowledge about the consumer in the secondary research. They commissioned some primary qualitative research in key markets (Germany, France, UK and USA). This was aided by the local Market Research Manager. The aim was to understand the motivations for using deodorant amongst the female consumer.
Primary research is used when there is no existing data available to answer your questions.
The research involved small discussion groups of females. This helped researchers understand the beliefs and motivations of this group. There were several main findings:
There is steady growth in females shaving. They wanted to look after their underarms throughout all seasons (not just in summer).
Women cared increasingly about the condition of their underarms.
Women desired attractive, neat underarms. This symbolised sensuality and femininity.
The deodorant segment remained focused on functional rather than beautifying products.
Results of the research
The market research revealed an unexplored market potential for NIVEA Deodorant. The brand did not have a specific product that addressed 'underarm beauty' for the female consumer. No direct competitor was offering a product to meet these needs. So there was a clear opportunity to develop a new product. This would fit across different markets and with the current NIVEA Deodorant range.