Are you just winging it on packaging design without any research into shopper preference? Many entrepreneurs want to jump off that cliff. It’s so exhilarating, daring, and courageous, but what if it doesn’t really work well?
We’ve got some tips and other interesting info for you related to market research below. Have a look and tell us what you think.
Poll any number of big name manufacturers and they’ll say that manufacturing products and conducting campaigns without market and customer research is simply foolhardy. Big retailers dominate channels today because they own the best consumer sales data. At the big brand level, market research drives all decisions about product development, packaging, advertising, promotion, and brand development. Could putting an emphasis on packaging research make a sizable difference in sales and customer loyalty? It’s worth finding out.
Advanced Market Research Techniques?
Ironically, few research companies have published research to prove their research was a success factor in a new product launch or promotional campaign. It’s like they expect everyone to recognize the value of their work. In reality, business people need to be convinced. Packaging mistakes and sales disappointments can be very convincing.
Sometimes product manager’s decisions about sales potential, materials, sizing, form, graphics, logo design and promotional packaging design is nothing more than guessing. The odds of something going wrong are pretty high. There’s lots of perils, and packaging can solve one requirement while completely failing another requirement.
Have you made major changes in your packaging and branding without doing much shopper research? Is research is worth the expense? Have you had no buy in from senior management about buying research data?
Formal Market Research – Does their Quantification of the Market Really Matter?
Formal market research isn’t cheap and do the statistics they provide have much relevance to your niche product? The cost ($3000 to $20,000) is what keeps most small manufacturers and even marketing firms from utilizing research insights. Since market research has created successful results for big brands, more researchers are surveying, collecting and analyzing their own research data. There’s more insight available, but the cost hasn’t come down much.
Let’s face it, it is expensive to conduct market research which is why most people do Web searches hoping for some trickle-down research insight. Research companies themselves offer brief summaries and bloggers comment on what they’ve read. Since research is so expensive, few are buying it and therefore there’s a lack of response and commentary on blogs or forums. Research companies themselves seem to not recognize the value of customer response and feedback. If no one is talking, you’d question the value of the research.
It’s tempting to throw $10k at a research paper, but really, the research companies only provide a table of contents for preview, and they don’t offer a money back guarantee. That makes buying research more like gambling.
Most SME managers don’t bother with formal research. That means a lot of entrepreneurs, investors and manufacturers are still putting out products and packaging without feedback from real customers.
Custom Research – Focusing on the Precise Insight you Need
Where big general market research companies fail, is that they can’t adapt their insights to the specific needs of manufacturers. Hiring a research analyst to do that is possible for big companies, but for SME’s and entrepreneurs, research is just another problem on top of the ones they’re tackling now. Impatience, lack of insight, and cost is a deadly cocktail that might well jeopardize your success. So how you turn it around?
Hiring a research professional to conduct custom research is obviously expensive but may be the way to go for critical decisions. The pros know what to test and how to ensure testing bias doesn’t ruin the results.
Decision Factors on whether to hire a research firm:
- Depth of insight
- Volume of data
- Niche insights – relevance
Using research data doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your brand and innovate yourself into oblivion. Instead, if research insights are cost effective, you can use the information to tweak your packaging and perhaps see new packaging design possibilities. Even just one experience with researchers will shape how you approach information gathering and testing. It’s an investment in your future.
Knowing which packaging styles and features best communicate the product’s unique value proposition is a huge advantage. Consumers might be willing to tell you if you let them.
Practical Do It Yourself Research
DIY is a popular phrase among entrepreneurs and SME owners. But, some might say DIY research isn’t real. It’s skewed, biased, and uninformative. On the other hand, it might be productive if you learn how to do it right. With the WWW to help you collect customer input, you may get the insight you need.
Creating a company blog and an email campaign to either stimulate or solicit customer feedback is an increasingly popular way to conduct DIY research. A blog can serve many other promotional advantages too. A Facebook, Pinterest, or Flickr page are additional ways to gather feedback. They allow you to post visuals and view responses. You can run polls to gauge preferences, and upload picture galleries to see which image is clicked on. Each week, you can further refine what you’re testing and get specific info for key design or marketing decisions.
Social media is a world of opinions that you may want to leverage. You could take a bigger view of this challenge and create a social portal or hub where the only focus is to discuss packaging styles giving plenty of reasons for visitors to make a comment. Ask lots of open ended questions. Also, you may find benefit in doing Facebook ads to generate relevant traffic to grow the number of respondents.
- Twitter offers connections to other people interested and searching for packaging sites and news
- Facebook offers connections to consumers
- Pinterest offers connections to both men and women interested in visuals of products
- Linkedin offers connections to serious minded packaging industry professionals
- Youtube exposes your concepts and packaging to millions of video lovers
How do you get social media users interested in participating? Let’s say you’re not sure about which materials to use or shape of POP display to create. You could ask your CAD designer to create a number of variations. Each test display would have one variable. That would allow you to hone in on what your customers like and what new visitors like. Your next test could combine two variables to gather deeper insight. Of course, what consumers say and what they do at point of purchase are two different things. Your research still has to extend to instore shopper decisions.
It may be wise to run a contest to improve interest. You can also make controversial statements about the packaging and other’s packaging to provoke conversation.
If you know how to test, the insights you can get from social media exposure might be the most cost-effective and actionable information possible. Potentially, it could be the best source.
Acquiring and using worthwhile research is no easy task if you want to do it on your own and it’s expensive when you buy it. The more you inquire and read up on the topic, the more likely you are to get something positive out of research. Some research will have to be purchased (Canadian market research) and some you’l have to generate (social media customer feedback) so either way, you’re going to be a part of the research solution.
90% of all managers take a practical approach to research, but with better reports and services coming out and better tools available, perhaps we’ll all become research afficionados.
Tell us about some of the results you’ve enjoyed from using research and about how you’ve collected vital insights. What do you think about the future of research?
Market Research and Packaging Design Research Companies and Published Research
Visit each of these sites to get a sampling of research services, insights, critiques, do it yourself techniques, or data that is available.
- Custom Research: http://www.insigniaresearch.com
- Future of Packaging: http://www.smitherspira.com/future-of-packaging-in-north-america-to-2017.aspx
- Packaging Optimization: http://www.decisionanalyst.com/services/package.dai
- Why Packaging Fails: http://relevantinsights.com/tag/packaging-research
- Retail and Shopper Insights: http://www.tnsglobal.com/what-we-do/retail-shopper
- Various Shopper Research: http://www.shoppercentric.com/
- Extensive Shopper Research: http://www.popai.com
- Packaging Design Research: http://www.ipcsit.com/vol28/028-CoimbatoreConferences-T009.pdf
- Packaging Market Research Report: http://www.rnrmarketresearch.com/reports/manufacturing-construction/packaging
- Measuring Success: http://www.dmi.org/dmi/html/interests/package/06172YOU60.pdf
- Store Brands Research: http://www.storebrandsdecisions.com/news/2010/09/09/in-depth-private-label-packaging-design-research-report-released
- Eye Tracking Research: http://www.tobii.com/en/eye-tracking-research/global/library/customer-cases/packaging-design-shopper-research/packaging-media-lab/
- Packaging Industry in Canada: http://www.reportlinker.com/d012900203/Packaging-in-Canada-Innovation-and-Technology-Trends.html
- Pack Design Research: http://www.metrixlab.com/Pack%20design%20research
- Design and Brand Impressions: http://owri.oregonstate.edu/sites/owri.org/files/documents/Holistic%20Package%20Design.pdf
- Review of Research: http://intervue.unipack.ru/eng/33389/
- Principles for Effective Packaging Research
Plagued with underperforming POP campaigns? Maybe it’s time to uplift your complete packaging design to fulfillment process and cut costs at the same time. Fragmented services are hard to manage. A packaging company with all the services you need under one roof can make a substantial difference. Find out more about how Ravenshoe Packaging makes packaging services a breeze by contacting them right now. No time to waste when it comes to making your products successful.