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Key Points -- Revisited

July 13, 2006 - by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail:

On June 15, I distributed a Views concerning what I considered Key learnings during the period of over half a century in market research. That Views covered the top of mind response given to a marketing student. While sending out the Views, I was reminded of a few other points I consider as important if not more important.

Following are the additional learnings.

Ruler vs Pie Markets - It has been my experience that very few people give any consideration to the type of market their product is entering. To adequately determine the type of analysis to be used in determining market success, you must know the type of market. It is not a one analysis fits all. In a Pie market, second or third place is of little importance, unlike the importance of rankings or ratings in a Ruler market. It is only first place votes that count.  There are no trade offs that appear in a Pie market.  The ruler market is defined as one where everyone agrees which is best, unlike a Pie market.  For example, ice cream flavors is a Pie market, where there are disagreements about which flavor is best. Whereas in the toothpaste market everyone agrees that the fewer cavities the better or in the laundry detergent market the cleaner the clothes the better. In this market, the Ruler market, trade-offs are common, such as I will purchase the brand that does not clean as well because it is cheaper or comes in a container I like better.  Bottom line, average scores or rankings are appropriate for Ruler

Markets but not Pie markets.  In the Pie market, it is all about first place votes.

Alpha vs Beta Risks in Research -The risks taken in research should be dependent on the stage of research. The Beta risk should be dominant in up-stream research where you can afford to move ahead on a product that may fail in later research because you cannot afford to pass up a potential market winner. The closer the initiative gets to the market, the more emphasis is put on the Alpha risk in the research where the cost of moving forward is greatly increased.

Customers vs. Consumers - My early work with Wal*Mart clearly showed the importance of considering both the customer and the consumer. In my early years, all of my research focused on the consumer. It was not until the mid 70s that the importance of customer research became apparent. Regardless of how well the consumer likes your brand, if it is not on the store shelf, it will not sell. It is not only important that it is on the store shelf but also which shelf.

Phases of Research - As a general rule, I classify my research into three phases, Exploratory, Experimental and Evaluative. Each phase has it's own standards and methods of research.

Phases of Brand Development - Again I classify the phases into three categories, Incremental, Evolutionary and Revolutionary. Each has it's own risks/rewards and methods of research. - Thanks to the efforts of Jeanette Beautreau of Sorensen Associates, the popsg web site is up-to-date. All the Views I have written since 1994, over 400, are available at the site.

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