Case study analysis
1. What is the current situation?
The current date is March 2006 and Ann Banks, the new product marketing director of the Saxonville Sausage company has to present her plan, developed after a serious research process, for launching a national Italian sausage brand, in order for the company to achieve its profit objectives for the next fiscal year. Saxonville was a 70-year-old, family business, which produced a variety of pork sausage products. The company had the following branded products: * Bratwurst: 70% of the company’s revenues
* Breakfast sausage: 20% of revenues
* Italian sausage, named Vivio: 5% of revenues
* Store brand products: 5% of revenues
The current situation was very appalling because both the bratwurst and the breakfast categories showed 0% sales volume increase, in addition the breakfast products resulted in a revenue loss. The only category which showed some growth in the retail sausage market was the Italian, showing an annual rate of 9% in 2004 and 15% in 2005. Saxonville’s Italian brand, Vivio, although matched this level of category growth, it was available in only 16% of the nation’s large supermarkets. The task of Ann Banks was to develop a national product either under the Vivio brand or as a new brand. 2. How was the research methodology determined? Develop a research design and explain what behaviors, demographics, and lifestyle components you deem important and why. The research methodology was determined by Ann Banks based upon her previous work experience. Saxonville Sausage did not know who their target consumer was and what are their needs and behaviors. So in order to link the Italian Sausage product with the „core values” of their consumers, they needed a method that combined both quantitative and qualitative research to learn everything about the target market. Banks read through the past 10 years of Saxonville’s market research results and then formed a multifunctional task force to help her developing the research design. After a thorough meeting they decided upon a four-step research process. The first thing was the understanding of the consumer behaviors and needs through a qualitative research, then collecting reactions to different positioning ideas and finally turning the learned ideas into actual concepts, letting the consumers to prioritize and improve them. The monadic testing as a last step helped them choosing the best option based upon the purchase intent scores.
In my opinion, the research design proposed by Banks was effective in understanding the core values of Saxonville’s target audience through qualitative research techniques, but lacked some more information and quantitative data to confirm which route should be taken. It was a good idea to start by understanding the attitudes, the needs and the behaviors of the company’s customers. However, the focus groups used by Banks’ team were too homogenous and the decision to pick woman only as the target audience left half of the potential consumers’ values undiscovered. A different but similar proposed research design would be to create focus groups similar to Banks’ study but with a more diverse demographic. Preferably diverse groups of woman and men which will vary from male and female groups, male only groups and female only groups. This is designed to bring out different conversations and ideas in each of the focus groups and present other opportunities to surface that might never have with a female only group. Other variables could be taken into consideration when assembling the current groups, such as the number of children in the household because more children a family has, more food they need to buy and their income level should also be an important issues. Creating different groups by income level can reveal the effect of the products price on the purchase intention. Other important variables used in the qualitative research could be...