Magazine article Marketing

Greater Insight: Pete Comley, Join the Dots - Making the Connection

Magazine article Marketing

Greater Insight: Pete Comley, Join the Dots - Making the Connection

Article excerpt

High-quality primary market research is essential, but marketers can gain a deeper understanding of the context in which they operate by combining these data with findings from multiple projects.

The trouble with traditional market research is that it can overly focus on the objectives highlighted in the client's brief.

The industry as a whole is very good at being reactive and giving clients answers to their specific questions. It's less good at helping them to contextualise the questions and providing 'the bigger consumer picture'.

Over the past few years, it has become clear that primary research is only part of that bigger picture - we need to go further, looking at multiple sources to establish the 'why?', anticipate change and spot opportunities.

The 'my price' trend

An example of this from our recently published Comley Report is a consumer trend we are calling 'My Price' (visit for this and other trends).

I use this term to summarise the effects of the increasing power of the consumer in recessionary times. It is one of four main trends we have isolated by 'joining the dots' between macro trends in society and the economy, and the numerous people we talk to every day in our surveys and communities.

The UK economy is still being kept alive by the life-support system provided by low interest rates. In spite of this, the patient is suffering from declining living standards for the first time in many decades.

'Canny buying'

The conspicuous and careless consumption of the 80s and 90s is at an end and we are firmly in an era of greater prudence - essentially, there has been a marked decline for many people in the amount of discretionary 'stuff' they are buying.

An illustration: Levi's published some interesting research recently showing an increase in 'mission shopping' and how consumers are trying on fewer clothes now and even touching less of them in-store to try to cut back.

More generally, the competitive set now often extends outside the product category, as consumers prioritise whether to spend at all in a category. Despite this, there appears to be a 'sacred box' of items that are not being affected as much - witness the success of the iPad. …

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