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Erickson Research Blog

All posts in Shopper Insights

Random Sampling: Our Weekly Roundup of Ideas to Grow By

SurroundedWe’re always following companies and looking for interesting approaches to market growth and building brands. Every Friday we pick our recent favorites to share with you.

We spend a lot of time talking to our clients’ customers and sales people to help uncover problem areas.  It’s crucial to your company’s growth to find out: (1) are your sales people adequately servicing your customers? (2) is your company giving them the necessary training/resources to do so?  This article offers compelling examples of why this area of your business needs your attention:  Are You Paying Enough Attention to Your Sales Force?

Yet another great reminder of why shopper insights research is a must-have for retailers: Understanding the Stages of Retail

Okay, this new product is a little morbid…but consumers’ unmet needs (a.k.a. business growth opportunities) are all around us, waiting to be found. And sometimes that requires delving into more sensitive topics. Google Releases Tool to Deal With Your Data After Death

These firms successfully created growth opportunities using some of the techniques we covered in a recent post.  Find out…Why the Future of Innovation is in Ideas, Not Products.


It’s Not Easy Being a Green Shopper

I couldn’t resist sharing a childhood favorite!

We’ve all been there…trying to decide if buying a “green” product is worth the cost and benefits.  In fact, in a recent Media Post Marketing Daily article, Aaron Baar cites several studies showing how consumers struggle with achieving the full environmental benefits of green products.  This often stems from the lack of information or resources available to them.

Research shows that most consumers have every intention of carrying out their green product responsibility.  But this becomes a challenge when, for example, a compostable product is purchased but the resources needed to compost are unavailable in their area.

Then there are retailers investing heavily in LEED Certified environments…not an easy task. But big brands like Target, Walgreens, and Stop & Shop have made it happen.  In fact, Walgreens hopes to the build the first Net Zero Energy store in Evanston, IL, producing equal or greater energy than it consumes.  An amazing feat, really.

But how does this benefit translate to local shoppers?  Will they understand the importance of retailers investing in their community… and the environment, overall?

I’ve been to retailers and QSRs with a LEED certified emblem plaque proudly displayed on their front door.  Initially, I think, “very cool” but then, truthfully, I forget about it.  The ultimate benefits, the impact for me…and my community…seem so distant, so obscure.

Sadly, it doesn’t leave a lasting impression nor provide a true distinction as to what makes this brand so special.  Why should I put my money behind this brand versus another?  How does it really touch my life or the lives of those I care about?  In theory, ‘green’ sounds great.  But what does this really mean?

Alas, this problem has a fairly simple solution AND presents a perfect growth opportunity for brands.  If you’ve already made the large investment by taking a stand in offering green products and/or retail space, you are more than halfway there.

It’s time to educate consumers and clarify your position in their minds.  In other words, you need to answer these questions:

  • What are the specific benefits of your green mission – for them, their family and friends, and their community at-large?
  • (Consumer has green product in hand and ready to dispose) — What do they do with it?

Finally — and I can’t stress this enough — be specific.  In fact…why not make the instructional materials fun, interesting and educational?  If you’re targeting moms, why not get the kids involved?

You have their attention — so use this opportunity to really make it your own.


Seeking Growth with Gumption – Four Ways to Create Market Opportunities

GrowthWe know that every business is different.  But the one similarity they all have is the need to grow.  And here are a few creative (and proven) ways to do this:

Take internal inventory – what in-house capabilities have you overlooked?  Is there something you’ve been outsourcing or purchasing elsewhere that would make sense and be feasible to do yourself?  Having an objective third party talk to your employees could be a great way to uncover talents and resources you didn’t even know you had.

Be a category rabble-rouser – your competitors are leading customers to the front door…why not divert them to the intrigue of the fire escape?  There’s more than one way to engage your consumers, in fact, there are many.  Why not conduct some shopper insights detective work and find points of contact that are yours for the taking?  Now more than ever it’s a constant battle for consumers’ attention – conventionality isn’t the answer.

Get out of your ‘targeting’ comfort zone – have you looked at your product or service from all angles…or are you stuck on a linear path of “this is what we do”?  That’s where segmentation can be a valuable tool.    There may be occasions where, unbeknownst to you, your product is a great (and lucrative) fit for consumers  — something that would be nearly impossible to detect by simply focusing on the demographics of your market.

Become essential – how can you make your market’s lives so much easier or enjoyable that being without you is not an option?  This is where uncovering the market’s unmet needs is invaluable.  Immersing yourself in their daily lives and discovering the ‘gaps’ provides the perfect opportunity to create a solution that becomes a necessity.  (i.e. Do you remember life before cell phones and email? Many of us wonder how we ever communicated or got things done!)

These techniques are versatile.  They can be applied to products or services — consumer or B2B – across industries.

Try one or try them all.

Just remember that market growth isn’t about luck.  It’s about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right product or service.  These four approaches can help build the strategy to get you there.

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