One of the most powerful aspects of marketing research is how the consumer insights generated by research studies can result in greater retail support and distribution. In a number of projects, I have seen manufacturers share consumer insights with retail partners, leading to retail support for initiatives, such as new product launches, changes in brand positioning and new packaging, and additional presence in stores.
If you are a manufacturer, Attitude and Usage (A&U) studies are a good example of marketing research that can yield insights useful to retailers. A&U studies are sometimes also referred to as AA&U (Advertising, Attitude & Usage) or U&A (Usage & Attitude) studies. As this blog explains, to get all the mileage possible from your A&U, keep your retailers in mind as you plan the research.
Craft Your A&U with Retailers in MindA&U research, if well-crafted, can help build retail support for your brand. A&U planning usually starts with market and brand objectives, as the marketing and research team focuses on what problems need to be solved, what issues need to be understood, and what types of information needs to be collected. If your marketing initiatives need retail support to be successful, when planning your A&U, consider what information about your brand, your customers, and their customers would be valuable to your retailers.
Examples of How Sharing Consumer Insights Can Help You Gain Retail SupportHere are a few case studies about how sharing consumer insights from A&U research with retail partners can help gain their support for marketing initiatives. Company names are withheld to protect confidentiality.
Gaining Retail Support for a Beauty Care BrandThe first example concerns a brand leader in a highly profitable niche segment of the beauty care market, focused on products for eyes. Management wanted to expand the brand into higher volume beauty categories. They decided to focus on one key retailer, a nationwide retail specialist in the beauty care market, and decided to approach the retailer with information from an Attitude & Usage study, to make the case for their expansion into the new categories.
- The A&U focused on two types of consumers, including consumers who purchase the manufacturer’s brand, and consumers who shop for certain beauty products at the retailer. The survey included questions about perceptions of the brand and its competitors, the shopping experience at the retailer, reasons for purchasing or not purchasing certain beauty products at the retailer, and key factors for brand selection. Questions also explored which new product categories might be most appealing to consumers.
- Using consumer insights from the A&U, management crafted a brand story with data supporting how the brand’s launch of new products at the retailer would increase loyalty and sales among existing customers. The retailer loved the pitch and agreed to the launch.
Gaining Retail Support for a Kitchen Appliance BrandThe next case study concerns a European brand of high-end kitchen appliances, relatively new to the U.S. market. The brand is sold at retail showrooms with consumers typically assisted by knowledgeable salespeople.
Management wanted to expand into new product categories and also to expand their presence in the U.S. market, possibly with increased advertising. To achieve these goals, management realized that they needed to better understand why consumers were buying their brand, which would guide the development of any new advertising, and make their brand and products meaningful and relevant to consumers.
Management turned to an Attitude & Usage study to understand the U.S. consumer.
- A section of the A&U focused on the sales process among current and potential customers. It explored the consumer experience at retail, from awareness to consideration to purchase.
- Management shared consumer insights from the A&U data with retailers. They were able to increase the number of items on display and gain better in-store locations for their displays. Information from the A&U was also instrumental in gaining retail support for brand launches of several new kitchen appliances.
Gaining Retail Support for a Skin Care BrandThis case study concerns a leading niche skin care brand, sold mostly in specialty retailers and online. This company’s products served a particular segment of the natural skin care market, and this niche was small but growing rapidly. Management wanted to understand how to expand the brand beyond this narrow niche, to capture some of the mass market. Management also wanted to attract new users while maintaining the loyalty of core customers.
- The A&U focused on potential consumers in the mass market and loyal users of the brand. Some parts of the research explored purchase behavior, including product characteristics and benefits that impact brand selection, and aspects of the retail experience that impact brand selection.
- Management shared the consumer insights from the A&U data with mass market retailers, gaining support for a new brand positioning, new packaging, and additional shelf space.
Gaining Retail Support Through A&U ResearchConsumer insights from A&U research can be used as powerful sales tools. When A&U studies are well crafted, they form the basis for compelling brand stories that, when shared with retailers, can directly help build sales. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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