How does a 150-year-old company stay relevant?
Originally published in Research Magazine July 9, 2014
By Lucy Fisher
Writer Lucy Fisher asks Colin Haddley, director of strategy, insight and capability at Heinz, “How does Heinz, a 150 year old company, stay relevant with consumers in a competitive market?”, the answer is research. Innovation doesn’t just happen, “Generating great ideas is essential in marketing, but to generate these ideas you need to be disciplined in your approach,” Haddley points out. Managing market research data efficiently is the key.
Using a philosophy of test and learn, Heinz looks to multiple information sources for research, including electronic-point-of-sale, Nielsen data, panel data, and social media and brand monitoring. One such panel, Heinz 57, is an online community of 300 consumers that the company uses as a source of customer feedback.
How then does Heinz manage all this data and turn it into successful marketing strategies? With customer insight teams of marketers trained in innovative thinking. However, a big challenge is integrating the sources of data, and not focusing on any one source of insight. “Penetrating, meaningful insights are derived, felt and observed through a variety of sources of information. It is like building a jigsaw… it all starts with effective data management,” Haddley says.
By piecing all the research together, from the different sources, relevant pieces of customer insight emerge: what consumers like, do not like, want more of, or think is a flaw. “But it all starts with effective data management,” Haddley cautions. While the article didn’t specifically address how different types of market research data are integrated (perhaps that’s a recipe too dear to share), it’s still a great real-world glimpse into the value of leveraging multiple information sources.
This synopsis was written by Lynn Croft, independent marketing and market research consultant. With 15 years of experience at companies such as Genzyme, Bayer Corporation, Shire, and Eli Lilly, Lynn has expertise in market research, market analysis regarding product launches, pricing and lifecycle management.
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