In the fast-moving consumer goods market, a range of sophisticated modelling services can help the process of predicting trial, adoption and repeat purchase of new products. These modelling techniques take advantage of computer-based analysis, which has extended the role of the mini-test market.
Mini-tests generally comprise a consumer panel of 1000 housewives split between two areas of the country, and selected to be representative of households in the north and the south of the UK. Panel members agree to do their regular weekly shopping in a mobile van carrying some 1500 lines representative of supermarket stock and priced accordingly. Members of the panel are sent a monthly catalogue featuring the items that are available and an order form is completed each week with items delivered from stock held in the van. This system can be used to test any aspect of the marketing mix proposed for the launch of a new product, together with some measurement of likely penetration and repeat usage of the product._
Other techniques for testing consumer response to new products are based around questionnaires. An example of this is MicroTest from Research International (Tel: 020 7656 5500, Fax: 020 7201 0701, E-mail: [email protected]).
MicroTest is based on key factors that influence consumer behaviour in the trial and adoption phase:
■ Concept acceptability
■ Attitude to price
■ Propensity to buy
■ Propensity to experiment
■ Brand heritage Adoption
■ Product acceptability
■ Post-trial response
■ Fulfilment of expectation o Pre-trial o Post-trial
■ Frequency and weight of purchase
The MicroTest model can be applied to concepts and extended to laboratory techniques. In addition, MicroTest market applies the core MicroTest model to a purchasing panel operating for a minimum of 12 weeks. This allows the analysis of frequency of purchase and long-term adoption in the marketplace._
Other research companies also operate test marketing services, and these can be identified in the Market Research Society's Research Buyer's Guide.
Research experiments can be used to predict the outcome of marketing decisions, or to test the effects of changes made in a product or its marketing mix. Four types of research experiment are described. Informal experimental designs are not statistically based, and a range of approaches from simple to more complex is discussed, with brief mention being made of the statistically based formal experimental designs. The chapter concludes with a discussion of factors to be considered in setting up research experiments.
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