Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dynamic vs. Static Consumer Insights

I just returned from the ESOMAR world congress in Montreal. The content was not very exciting but one theme I picked up - which is evident in a lot of talk and thinking around research these days is the notion of movement, change, transformation. I think a lot of criticism of research is that it does not capture the dynamic aspect of consumer behaviour. Why? Because it's hard. It is easy to ask consumers what they think but hard to track what they do - and how that changes.

But clients see current "static" consumer segmentations as too simple and not providing the insight they need to meet consumer needs that are often very dynamic.

Shopper research in particular needs to capture this dynamism as often we are researching and trying to understand the process rather than the person. As Steve Phillips from Spring Research says - it's not about why but about how. How is the decision made.

Aside from the difficulty of capturing the process, it is also hard for marketers to understand it. They are used to acting on static consumer typologies etc.

Environics Consumer Insights' The Mental World of the Shopper segments shopping trips by a combination of demographics (male 25 to 34), context (alone) and mission (quick trip to get ingredients). We are going to be looking a lot closer at how to best capture and communicate this dynamic aspect of the consumer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

US Retailer Communication Strategies in The Recession

I have avoided writing about consumer response to the recession because there is so much data out there and much of it is useless or simply common sense.

One that that I think is interesting though is the changing trip types. I think this is the key to understanding consumer changes. And I note that Wal~Mart is focusing on this in its new US commercials. These are clearly encouraging shoppers to combine trips - and in particular the grocery trips.

Target take another approach but also tap into a clear consumer trend - staying in. They are advertising DVD players for "the new date night" and hair clippers for the "new hair cut" etc.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Eating out" channel blurring

There is a lot of talk at the moment in the US about consumers buying "ready to eat" via grocery and convenience store as a cheaper substitute for eating out.

Currently this is presented as a simple economic phenomenon. But I also think there are cultural shifts in the way we see "eating out". Firstly, it is certainly not the "treat" it used to be. It has become so prevalent that it is routine for many families. Eating in is the treat! The changing experience is leading to a kid of channel blurring - where the line between "out", "take out" and "home prepared" is blurring. I think this change is occurring in the context of some significant changes in the way people see food. Retailers are playing a large role in this.....lots more to say on that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Men be Shopping

Quite a lot of them in Canada actually. And they like it. New research sponsored by MasterCard confirms and expands on this. You can download a summary of the report from their website. (Full disclosure: Environics did the research).

Interesting stuff. And it confirms what I always thought. It's not that men don't like shopping. They just don't like shopping for other people.