<trp-post-container data-trp-post-id='26084'>Études marketing : how transform from insights at decisions business ?

Interview with Sylvie Lasoen, CMI Director France & Spain @Unilever, on the challenges of research

The question often arises as to how marketing research can be put into practice: how can insights be turned into business decisions?
Research results, no matter how relevant, are of no use if they are not translated into business decisions. Hence the importance of implementing a process within the company's culture and organisation to ensure that consumer or market insights are operational. This requires a number of elements:
1. The independence of the CMI (Consumer & Market Insight) function and its reporting line to the CEO/company management. 2. Systematic implementation (for each CMI project) of a precise action plan approved by the Marketing / Customer Development partner. Both upstream and downstream of the project are critical stages in guaranteeing business impact: the type of decision that will be taken on the basis of the results must be clearly stipulated in the brief (there's no need for 'nice to have' studies in times of budget restrictions). And during the debrief, the action plan must be developed and validated by the decision-makers. This can be the subject of an interactive workshop for more complex projects or projects involving a multi-functional team. In all cases, the CMI's role does not end with the presentation of the results, but continues beyond that, right up to the implementation of the actions arising from the study.
In the end, the ultimate judge will be the (proven/quantified) ability to generate growth for brands.

Against a backdrop of flat or even shrinking markets, how can research help to identify new sources of growth?
By moving away from overly macro-level data and averages, which often conceal a much more complex reality! It's true that the FMCG sector is shrinking in volume terms, but it's already doing better in value terms, which shows that our consumers want to "move upmarket", under certain conditions. What's more, there are wide disparities in trends between segments and sub-segments. Against this backdrop, the challenge for the CMI will be to 'De-Average' in order to identify pockets of growth. This painstaking task requires a very detailed understanding of (micro) markets, distribution channels, consumers, and the underlying or emerging trends that impact behaviour. For example, the "housewife under 50", the preferred target of marketing action plans in the (bygone) era of the Mass Market, no longer exists. On the other hand, it is important to examine the needs and aspirations of sub-groups identified as strategic and growth drivers for the company. Depending on the sector, these may include Millenials, the Silver generation, single households, ethnic populations, etc.

Today's consumer/product contact points are increasingly fragmented: how can research help to strengthen customer engagement with brands and implement Peer-to-Peer strategies?
In the digital age, brands are no longer in a position to impose their message on consumers via a dominant medium. As a result, points of contact are more fragmented, and the boundaries between advertising and sales are becoming increasingly porous. The legitimacy of brands is now being built through less intrusive and more authentic communication, on a 'one-to-one' basis. In this context, the role of research is to examine the ecosystem in which brands evolve, to understand our consumers' journeys (offline and online) so as to be present at the right touch points, with the right content. Social listening, identifying 'Influencers' on the web, co-creation (of content but also of new ideas) with partner consumers, hyper-segmentation / personalisation via the analysis of multi-source data (Social data, CRM etc.)... These are the new tools we need to take advantage of to strengthen our proximity with our consumers and put the human element at the heart of our 2.0 marketing strategies.

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