The 16th workshop of ‘Marketing Research Works’, conducted by MRSI (Marketing Research Society of India), took off on October 28. The seminar on marketing research began with an address by MRSI president B V Pradeep, who mentioned the initiatives taken by MRSI like Marketing Research Field Certification Programme, work on a new consumer classification system, new chapters started in Bangalore and Delhi, etc.
The keynote address delivered by Rajesh Jejurikar, MD, Mahindra Automotives. Jejurikar touched upon the broad challenges that marketing research faced. He explained that insights on consumer could come from the point when he was buying something, when he was s using the product and also when he had rejected a brand.
Drawing an analogy between customers and guests, Jejurikar stressed that it was high time customers were treated the way guests were treated warmly. The elements of spontaneity and comfort should be blended in the customer experience.
On the usage situation, Jejurikar explained that many interesting insights could be gained when customer actually used a product. Explaining how the fact that side doors saved a lot of space than hatchbacks and were preferred in a garage where space constraints existed, Jejurikar further drove his point home.
He further said, “Customers can offer a lot of insight even when they reject a particular brand. Issues like price sensitivity can be understood better in such situations.” Jejurikar felt that the challenges for marketing research would be in creating customer centric organizations and aligning the entire organisation accordingly.
He also added that insights wouldn’t come from occasional projects and working closely with the customers wais the need of the hour.
The first session was based on the topic ‘MR Works! Identifying Consumer Needs’, which had three papers in the form of ‘Potshop at Modern Trade’ – presented by Anila Khosla, S Sivakumar and R Murali, ‘Understanding Consumer Needs’ – presented by Aarti Joglekar and Anurag Vaish and ‘‘Cocoon’: peepers and poppers’ presented by Tara Prabhakar. Through ‘Potshop at Modern Trade’, Anila presented the tremendous opportunity that lies in the channel of ‘Home Delivery’. The paper broadly touched upon the advantages of the channel and the potential waiting to be explored as the channel provided more touchpoints with the consumer and also may help in reducing trade costs.
The paper ‘Understanding Consumer Needs’ by Aarti Joglekar presented a study of the consumers with respect to the diamonds segment and showed how implicit research can help in positioning and communication options.
Classifying the market based on need segments, the paper explained how product launch based on implicit research findings brought positive results. ‘Cocoon: Peepers and Poppers’ addressed the need to have different symbols for the insurance sector and a different tone of communications.
The paper presented by Tara Prabhakar explained how safety and risk are two sides of the same coin and that when a consumer plays safe, he misses the excitement of risk and when he takes risks, he ensures there is a safety net. The possibilities of educating women for insurance products and making such products exciting were also discussed.
‘Hoodibaba: Ad Pre Test with a difference’ was the first paper for the session ‘MR Works! Developing Marketing Mix’ – which was presented by Shobha Prasad and dealt with an ad pre test that was conducted for a creative idea, on which the client had his doubts. Through focus group discussions, the idea was backed, which yielded desired results after implementation.
The second paper in the session, a paper on ‘Greeting Card Design Evaluation’ presented by Avirup Dutta showed how two key indices – Pick Up Index and Conversion Index gave interesting findings from studies which were conducted through a mock shop setup.
‘Developing a Mix – Communication ‘ Surviving Remix and Winning’- the last paper in the second session saw Nita Gopal discuss the successful re-launch of Boost enabled through ‘Triumph- in the zone’ focus. The research questions responded by kids showed a strong association with cricket and winning which was successfully used in communication options.
In the session ‘ MR Works! Cutting Edge Research’, ‘Guiding Pricing Decisions for Reportoire Markets’ by Vishikh Talwar, Ananya Roy Mathur and Sameer Mavani explained how existing pricing models fail to work for repertoire markets and how a new pricing model can work for such markets.
The second paper in this session discussed through ‘Dakshin – A cultural understanding of South India’ what were the peculiarities of the South Indian and clarified some of the misnomers held for him. A stark contrast from North Indian was seen in the South Indian as per the report and South India was described as a land of harmonious dichotomy.
The last paper in the session ‘ Trance-forming research’ showed how hypnosis can be used to actually get reliable information on customer preferences and likes by interaction with his subconscious mind. It confirmed that the practice is ethical if it is used for fair purposes and not influence the respondent.
The panel discussion that followed broadly discussed the challenges and the way forward for the marketing research agencies. The panel was chaired by R S Sridhar, Ideas RS; while Paul Abraham, Executive Vice President, TNS India and D Shivakumar, Executive Director and Senior VP, Consumer Electronics, Philips Electronics India Ltd participated in the discussion with a few others.
The panel discussion strongly brought out the fact that market research agencies need to be more confident and since the quality of work is definitely good, the way forward is one of growth and new achievements.
It was discussed that marketing research has come a long way from being problem focused to solutions focused approach. What was unanimously agreed upon was also the need of leadership in the sector to boost and bolster it.