Once you have identified your consumer segments within the category, now it is time to find out whom you own and if there are any opportunities for branching out.
To do this, use a quantitative study to find out which consumer segment uses your product most and which do not. To bring this step to life we are going to share a usage study we did for fresh pork. Our agency paid for the information to use in conference presentations and potential new business, so we can share the learnings without breaking any client confidentiality.
Here is the situation: pork usage has been flat for decades. Meanwhile, chicken has taken over beef and pork as the number one protein consumed in this country. Who would have ever thought chicken could outperform beef and pork in our country? So we set out to find how pork could grow its share in the marketplace.
Here are the steps:
- Any time you do a consumer segmentation study and identify your consumer segments, you will have a series of questions that can identify the segments in future studies. The goal is to have 10-12 questions that polarize consumers and put them into each segment naturally. This allows you to quickly segment consumers in any future studies.
- Once we have our consumers within each segment, we asked about the usage of fresh pork.We used average usage frequency defined by the industry for center-of-plate items. The question was, “How often do you prepare fresh pork?
- Less than once a month
- Once a month
- Once every two weeks
- Once a week or more
- We then take the percentages of pork usage for each segment and create a usage index. The index compares the total sum of all segments using fresh pork for each frequency and compare that to each consumer segment reported frequency.
- See which consumer segments are driving the largest volume. The data tell the story. In the case of fresh pork, Everyday Gourmets and Epicureans are the highest users of the product, indexing at 113 and 130 respectively. There are also much lower indexes for all other frequencies which mean that these two segments are very loyal fresh pork users – and that makes sense when you consider their segmentation attitudes.
- Look at which consumer segments may offer opportunities for growth. Let’s look again at fresh pork. Scavengers and Crowd Pleasers under-index on using fresh pork every two weeks or more. These two segments only show promise at using fresh pork less than 1x/month. So let’s first look at Scavengers. Anything stick out? Yeah! The Scavenger indexes at a 271 for never using fresh pork. Consider their segment attitude and that really isn’t a surprise. Remember, this segment hates to cook. With the negative perceptions of fresh pork as being hard to cook there is not much opportunity to convince a Scavenger to use fresh pork. Maybe in a microwavable nugget form, but not fresh from the butcher counter. Now look at Crowd Pleasers. This IS surprising. Crowd Pleasers are looking for balanced, home prepared meals. They like to cook. They have 40-50 recipes they use in rotation. When we have done similar center-of-plate studies for basic products like fresh pork, Crowd Pleasers have actually scored pretty similar to Everyday Gourmets.
- Quantify the opportunity. Since the study provides the usage of fresh pork for each segment, we can calculate what happens if a segment uses more of the product. In this case, if we can get Crowd Pleasers to act more like Everyday Gourmets, that would be +25% increase in consumption.
- Talk to the opportunity segment to confirm the opportunity and positioning to change behavior. Simple focus groups at this stage can help you determine if and how to overcome barriers and turn the opportunity segment into loyal users of your product.
So now you know how to take the consumer segments, see who you own and validate new growth opportunities.