Milk, Orange Juice and Consumer Panels
May 26, 2005
- by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II(The Second Beginning) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Milk, orange juice and consumer panels all have expiration dates. They all go bad in time. As milk and orange juice age, they will leave a sour taste in your mouth. consumer panels as they age also have the capability to leave a sour taste with the users. Overuse of consumer panels will also speed up the aging process.
Consider the following cast studies:
A major consumer products company, not in the breakfast cereal business, decided to give the category a fling. Not wanting to tip their hand, for two years they conducted their research totally in-house. they used the same panel of test participants over and over again. As time drew near for a commitment to the market, research was opened up and the new product was introduced to test participants outside of the company. the initial results were disastrous. After that everything but the product was blamed for the poor results -- from the panel composition to the interviewers. A quick program was put into place to identify the problem. After four studies and much finger pointing, it was concluded that it was the product after all. We had developed something that this small group of company employees really liked. In the real world, however, the population segment with similar likes was extremely small. The project was dropped after three years of expensive development. As a person who came into this project to assist in the evaluation of what was going wrong, I believe that there was too little up front work, if any, in establishing purchase motivation or the priorities involved in the purchase decision making.
During the past year, I became aware of another major consumer products company that has had a terrible time introducing new products to the market. It seems that this company does very little consumer research on their own While being a major company, their market research department is extremely under staffed. As a result, they contract their research to a marketing department of a university. this university has their permanent standing consumer panels. All their research is conducted among these panel members. New products receive high test panel scores and then fail in the marketplace.
The problem of expiration dates not only applies to food products and consumer panels, it applies to any decision making group such as organizations, committees, elected officials, etc.
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