Qualitative market research was very effective in the development of Pearl and Beauty. This is because the very core foundational concept of a deodorant that doubles as a beauty product was arrived at after running a series of market studies. Qualitative market research identified the unfulfilled need experienced by consumers and enables Nivea to capture the opportunity and develop a product that would answer this need for the consumer.
This gave Nivea a competitive edge as none of its competitors had at the time identified this emerging and high potential market for the deodorants market. After the identification of the opportunity, Nivea again relied on qualitative research during the development of the product, by seeking from potential consumers of the product what exactly they wanted to gain from the product under development. These insights ensured that the product that was developed was relevant to the market for which it is intended.
The market research thus saved the company from a situation that was described by B2B international in which the an idea for the development of a new product occurs to or is presented to the chairman of the organization and being part of his duties of directing the company, he is full of enthusiasm for the idea, but owing to the nature of their work and the structure they cannot engage in the project in detail. Thus the responsibility for the marketing of the new innovation falls on the marketing manager and his staff (American Productivity & Quality Center, 2008).
The marketing department is at a risk of being engaged in finding out ways of how the products will be sold rather than first determining whether there is a market for the product. After the basic idea on the product has been identified, product concepts are formulated that seek to capture the insights of the consumer in the product. These concepts are then presented again to the market for research into the ones that have the greatest appeal to the consumer.
This indicates to the company the concept combinations that have the greatest support from the consumers and thus the ones that would work. Qualitative research carried out in different countries was a good indicator to the company on the kind of response that it could expect from the market. To ensure that the results from the concept testing were not biased, the concepts with each person being asked to consider one concept, eliminating the possibility of the respondent’s response being influenced by the presence of variation.
Qualitative market research when it was used to assess the effectiveness of the product design and packaging, it not only gave the company a indication of what the consumers would want to associate themselves with in a deodorant, but also enabled the various relevant departments of the company to make projections of expected sales volumes, the optimal selling price and what they should expect as far as switching behavior to the new product would be. After the product concepts and designs have been identified and tested, the product can now be produced.
This initial product to subjected to further testing, by asking potential consumers to compare the deodorants that they currently use with the new product while at the same time withholding information relating to the manufacturer of the same to avoid bias. This is done to evaluate whether the product has actually delivered on the promises made on it that is to reflect the desires of the consumers. They were asked to try the product for a week and write a diary on the use which they then presented to the company.
The results showed that the company had done a commendable job in turning the consumer’s needs into a real product. Some of the respondents actually indicated that they would be willing to switch from tier current brand to the new product if it was up for sale. Like most multinational companies, Beiersdorf had several other products on offer, and therefore to ensure a better impact on the consumers, it had to place its new product in a special positioning, so as to relate the product fully with the target market.
Pearl and Beauty was specifically targeted at young, trendy and sophisticated women and therefore by using brand positioning the company was able to establish Pearl and Beauty as synonymous with the deodorant market in the minds of this target market. This was further boosted by the uniqueness of the new product which curved a niche in the deodorant market for Nivea. Qualitative market research was also used to shape the form of advertisement that would make the largest impact.
This was done by formulating several ideas and presenting them to the target market for evaluation before adopting them in the advertisement campaign, the feedback of which enabled the company to decide which of the available ideas gave the best value for the resources committed to it. After everything has been finalised and the product launched, the company can use the consumer’s views to find out whether the consumers are actually using the product, whether they appreciate it and why they would purchase it.
Several strategies may be employed towards this end such as electronic point of sale tracking and consumer panel data which provide useful information on the trend of the product purchases throughout the launch and even the life of the product. Insight obtained from this analysis can then be used in the formulation of future products by the company.
So in conclusion it can be seen that the market research is an inseparable part of any product development.
Every company must obtain enough consumer insight which will help it in the development of the concepts of the product. Qualitative research is also of absolute importance in the development of new product as Beiersdorf did with its Pearl and Beauty brand.
American Productivity & Quality Center (2008). Market research for new product development. . Last retrieved from the World Wide Web on 09 April 2008 at www.apqc.org/portal/apqc/site