Portland Marketing Analytics (PortMA) | Portland, Maine

Using Research to Know What You Don’t Know


FruitQualitative research is a discovery process designed at it’s core to reveal things you didn’t even suspect might be true.  (Survey research validates these assumptions.)

We just finished a qualitative research study around how consumers think about, use, and truly understand the nature of a particular fruit.  There were a few things revealed that none of us saw coming.  These led to insights that made a big impact on the marketing team who are trying to figure out how best to market this fruit.

First of all, customers were processing the fruit in ways we never suspected. They were buying fresh and freezing it on their own because they thought industrial freezing was taking away the nutrients.

Now nothing could have been further from the truth.

Fruit actually starts to loose it’s nutritional value once it leaves the field.  The faster you can freeze it the faster you’re going to lock in that goodness.  When the company freezes it, it’s frozen at it’s peak of freshness and thus a more nutrient packed food.

Obviously this was a misconception that the new marketing campaign will have to consider.  The team will have to choose if they focus on re-education.

Another surprise was how much people didn’t know about the industry as a whole.  Folks reported buying the fruit fresh when its in season and choose the frozen option otherwise.  However, the global supply chains that stocks the modern grocery store make the idea of seasonality less a reality today then ever before.  What’s out of season in Minnesota is at peak growing time in South America.

What does it all mean?

It means that research will always have a place in marketing.  Qualitative research tells us what we don’t know and helps us develop communication strategies that address misconceptions.  The right research can be used to make sure consumers are informed and thus able to make the purchase decision that’s right for them.

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theseanster93/2394178900/

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