Viewpoints

Exploring the Wider World of Consumer Insights

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Consumer and shopper insights have benefited food manufacturers and retailers, and here’s a way to possibly get even more results.

Taking a look at how insights enhance sectors outside of the food industry could provide new appreciation for these tools and new ideas on how to use them. 

So with this in mind, here are two examples from other sectors, based on two recent articles in the New York Times:

  • Automobile Industry: General Motors, concerned that Millennial consumers aren’t seeing cars as cool anymore, has embarked on a strategy to “infuse General Motors with the same insights that made MTV reality shows like ‘Jersey Shore’ and ‘Teen Mom’ breakout hits,” an article said. GM has been working to accomplish this with consultants from MTV’s parent company Viacom, who have a successful track record in research and insights.

    GM also hired John McFarland, 31, a marketing executive formerly with Procter & Gamble, to oversee this outreach to younger consumers.

    One result is the emergence of new Chevrolet colors, like “techno pink,” “lemonade” and “denim,” all geared to “a 23-year-old who shops at H&M and Target,” said a designer at the automobile brand.

  • Political Arena: The Obama campaign has an “analytics department” that tracks voting trends and a “chief scientist” whose specialty is consumer behavior, according to another NYT article. That person is Rayid Ghani, who a year ago worked at Accenture Technology Labs in Chicago, where he co-authored a paper on data mining that explored how to create personalized interactions with customers based on insights about consumer behavior patterns.

The use of analytics and customized messages isn’t new for politics, but this campaign appears to be doing it on a larger scale than ever before to energize possible supporters and voters, the article pointed out. Here’s the point of these two examples: Consumer insights are highly valued across the business and political worlds. An increased knowledge of the big picture of insights — how other sectors are embracing them — will only energize the food industry’s efforts. This could lead to more sharing of best practices, and maybe practitioners, across traditional boundaries.

So keep abreast of this wider world if you want to maximize the potential. Now there’s an insight worth having.

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Contributors

David Orgel

David Orgel is executive director, content & user engagement, of Supermarket News (SN) and its website, SupermarketNews.com. Orgel delivers his opinions on industry trends through a bi-weekly...

Jon Springer

Jon Springer has been writing about food, food retailers and food retailing for more than 10 years, and is in his second tour of duty with Supermarket News. His prior experience includes covering the...
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In their Viewpoints columns, SN editors give their perspectives on current industry issues.

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