The recipe to creating the best product is incomplete without a comprehensive understanding of the Consumer’s preferences. Consumer research is of utmost importance to understand a consumer’s choice, attitude, loyalty, practice and behavior. It has taken precedence over age-old practices of market research where organizations would invest to understand only competition, instead of their user base.
In the current scenario- the 3Ds of New Product Development followed by top-notch FMCG Organizations include Discover, Develop & Deploy. These mighty functions are spearheaded by a Consumer Market Insight (CMI) team through an in-depth market survey to discover the market size, existing products, their prices and promises. These claims are further verified by a designated Formulations team to decipher the elementary pre-requisites of the product. The next step involves a lengthy product development process to create a formulation in line with the current market trends, yet with its own unique identity.
Post the initial lab-tests to ensure stability & productivity- the nouveau creation then enters the Early Stage Technology Testing (ESTT) Process. Here, a team of Consumer Technical Insights professionals work closely with a trained set of consumer panelists to evaluate the new creation. Areas of development & product shortfalls are identified and reported to the formulations team as the audience profile & size is gradually increased. There are three types of sample testing that are performed – monadic, dyadic and triadic testing. Monadic forms the solo testing of the product whereas dyadic involves testing it alongside an existing product from a different brand and triadic is a comparative performance evaluation with two/ more different brands.
Any negative feedback is redressed by the formulations team with necessary changes to the new creation. The entire process is repeated until the product is perfect and ready for launch. Consumer research ensures viability of a new product- and extremely essential for Home & Personal Care segments.
Some Tier 1 FMCG majors, like McNROE, conduct additional secondary product feedback procedures post market launch. This helps in the continuous analysis of product performance & continuous improvement of its quality. After all- if Consumer is the King, then Consumer Research is the Queen who ensures each of his requirements are addressed properly.