Current situation: Saxonville Sausage Company’s business basically consists of bratwurst, breakfast sausage and an Italian sausage, Vivioaccounting for 70%, 20% and 5% of revenues respectively. While sale of bratwurst and breakfast sausage for over 5 years have been flat with little or no growth expected in short term, Italian sausage has been showing growth across producers in the retail sausage market and Vivio has managed to match that level of category growth as well. However, Vivio is available in just 16% of the nation’s large supermarkets only.
The company is planning to launch a national Italian sausage brand the current year. The current situation of the company can be best explained with the help of a SWOT analysis. How was the research methodology determined? The research methodology was designed with a key priority of understanding the positioning concept that would be ideal to launch the product nationally. The research methodology was designed as a four step process. The first step was a round of qualitative research with target customers to understand their behavior and needs.
The second step is a sequential round of consumer sessions, where the researchers used the language they have heard to develop and gain reactions to different positioning ideas. In the third round they refined all the new learning into actual concepts and had the respondents to prioritize and improve on them. In the fourth round, the customer’s purchase intent score was analyzed and final positioning concept was selected. My research design: My research design would also be based on the similar lines.
At the ground level, it would first involve qualitative research to understand the customer’s reactions towards the product. I would also like to go for quantitative research i. e conducting customer surveys in order to understand their attitude towards Vivio. My next step would be to understand how my product is performing in terms of sales figures and how are my competitors performing as well. This should be done because I believe that only then would I be capable enough to develop an ideal positioning strategy.
I would be doing this via retail sales reporting wherein I can hire companies like ACNeilsento give me detailed analysis of my as well as my competitor’s performance on the basis of past month’s sales. In order to decide my positioning strategy, I would then go for multiple focus group discussion sessions with consumers to understand what they think of the product. The outputs coming from the focus group discussions can be streamlined and refined to approach at some concrete positioning concepts and the consumer can then be asked to prioritize their preferences on the basis of its appeal to them.
Finally, I would opt for monadic testing to decide my ultimate positioning concept. Demographic, geographical and behavioral aspect of key concern to me: While most of the criterions have been well taken care of, I believe there are certain aspects of demography, geography and behavior that have been ignored totally. The study has been mostly based on women because they are believed to be major buyers of food products. I think it is one of the most relevant demographic segmentations possible.
Fine-tuning further, working women in families are ideally the kinds who are of key concern to us because of their sizeable number and given their limited time to cooking. However, I believe that there is also a key segment of single, working men and women and university students who stay alone and are likely to cook their own food (preferably something which is quick and easy to make) that have been totally ignored. I would consider them as an important demographic segment as well. The other crucial demographic parameters can be age and the number of children in the family.
It is because I believe that it’s the relatively younger American families who are more likely to try out Italian cuisine as a dinner meal on a more regular basis. Older families are more likely to stick to their traditional cuisines. Also, because children like to eat Italian sausage, there is a big probability that higher number of children in a family is likely to influence the purchase behavior of sausage to a greater extent. Talking about geographic segmentation, I would definitely consider the Italian American community in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Also, because of the inherent spiciness in Italian sausages, it is likely to appeal to immigrants from India, Mexico, Middle East and the like. Therefore, I would like to segment out places like Texas and California where the penetration of these communities is the highest. Apart from these, I would definitely like to prioritize those markets where there is a strong hold of Saxonville as a brand. Taking about behavioral aspects, I understand that Italian sausage is more of a commodity and therefore has very high price sensitivity. Therefore, this would be one of my key considerations as well.
Research results: From the research it becomes clear that “Family Connection” and “Clever Cooking” received the highest total votes. “Family connection” received the most first place votes. However, “Clever Cooking” positioning concept had more number of votes under definite purchase by the respondents. Selecting two different positioning territories: The two different positioning territories that I have selected are “Clever Cooking” and “Appreciation” Clever cooking: Most women viewed Italian sausage as a ready-made ingredient that can be used in soups, sauces, casseroles as well as pasta and rice.
They were of the opinion that that they had a ready meal in the house in the form of Italian sausage always. All it needed was a little bit of creativity and within minutes they had something to serve which the entire family enjoyed. One of the key consumer verbatim frequently used can be quoted as “…pizza, soup, I use it like ground beef and they love whatever I make with it”. Family Connection: Many women felt that Italian food was one such meal that everybody loved. It was the one meal for which she did not have to call the family to the table to eat (Exhibit 4).
After all, family and friends around the table having good food and enjoying it and enjoying the company of each other is what good living is all about. One of the regularly quoted verbatim was “everybody loves it” (Exhibit 1). Also, Italian sausage is one such meal which is highly rated as an easy to do and family pleasing meal, which further reinstates my opinion (Exhibit 5). Alternatives recommended: Although “Family Connection” concept got the greatest number of first place votes, I personally feel that “Clever Cooking” would have a greater appeal to the target audience.
Today there are greater numbers of women in the work force. As such many mothers do not have the time to prepare home-cooked, great tasting meals. Clever Cooking concept allows working mothers to prepare homemade, great tasting meals quickly and easily. Also, clever cooking concept can smoothly incorporate the other proposed concepts into it as well. For example, by print and TV ads, they can integrate family connection into clever cooking by showing visuals of a working woman catering to a large family around a dinner table.
Also, they can show about work life balance and need for quick and easy food wherein a mother can cook healthy and delicious food in minutes. In addition to this, during the last phase of research, more people said they would definitely the product under clever cooking positioning concept than compared to family connection positioning concept, which further reinstates the argument. Tactics for product launch: The following tactics can be employed during the product launch. Also, they have to pay extra margins to the shop owners for better shelf space to ensure higher visibility.
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