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Investigating the Market for a Crisp Manufacturer Assignment

I am Head of the Marketing Department of White Associates, a Market research company based in South West London. The company has been approached by Josso’s Snacks Company Limited to investigate the UK crisp market with a view to launching a new flavour of crisp. The company is a small limited company that started out as a partnership and recently became a private limited company to attract investment in order to increase their presence in the South of England.

They want to introduce a new product to raise awareness of the company and its products, and increase its market share in the snack production market. The business is market oriented so the development and design of the product will depend on the research into the market trends and needs of consumers. Careful research will limit the chances of the new product failing. The market they are targeting is large and varied with a mixture of huge multi-national companies as well as smaller ones such as Josso’s.

Aims:

* To find if there is consumer interest in a new product.

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* To find the type of product the consumer may be interested in.

* To assess whether the market has room for a new product.

* To evaluate, recommend and advise on the marketing strategy.

* To increase the market share of the crisp manufacturing business for Josso’s.

* To improve the image of the business.

* To recommend a pricing strategy.

* To recommend a promotional strategy.

* To research and recommend the most suitable outlet for the product.

The research I will carry out will include both Primary and Secondary data collection, and will lead to recommendations for a marketing strategy to include advice on the product, pricing, promotion and placing. It will also show whether there is a market for the new crisp, and what that potential target market might be.

Market Segmentation

It is important for a business to know which segment of the market it is aiming at. That is which segment of the market contains the group of buyers that are going to be the likely consumers of the new product. Markets can be segmented according to a variety of characteristics such as age, gender, income, area, ethnic or religious views or socio-economic groupings. I will be looking carefully for signs of my target group during my research.

Constraints

There are certain constraints that I will have to bear in mind when considering by recommendations. I must consider my competitors many of who are large companies with access to the newest technology and who have extensive sums of money to allocate to research and development. Josso’s Snacks has a limited budget available for development, production and promotion of the new crisp, and I must therefore do particularly careful research to avoid money being wasted on risky development.

In my research I must look for areas where I can spend less without losing quality. I must also be careful to adhere to the minimum quality standard laid down in product specifications. The company already have the technology to produce crisps, and a reliable supplier of the raw materials (potatoes, oil, flavourings), but I must be careful that any recommendations do not involve expenditure on new technical equipment outside the budget. I must examine whether the development of the new product will be balanced by the projected increase in sales.

Secondary Research

This is research into information that is already available from sources outside the business. These are the Internal sources such as sales invoices, records and accounts from the sales of their existing products. This may help to see if there are any current trends in the popularity of certain crisps (e.g. different flavours or shapes)

Advertising from competitors. This may indicate what trends are leading the competitors. This may be misleading as the information is intended to attract rather than inform. It is also unreal showing only happy consumers eating perfectly whole crisps.

Websites. These sites have a potential for bias as they are intended for advertising as well as information. They may be out of date as there is frequently limited information on how recently they have been updated. Some individual sites contain limited information (for instance on pricing or sales).

I will look carefully at the internal records of Josso’s Snacks and examine particular websites as part of my secondary research. I will visit a number of web sites devoted to particular brands and also comparative sites which give independent information about price, taste, quality and availability. I will also check the trends in the USA for popularity as what is popular there frequently becomes popular here (e.g. trends in shape and flavour). I will look at the different ways that they promote their products including advertising, packaging and special offers.

Findings: As head of Marketing for White Associates I have been investigating the crisp market for Josso’s Snacks Company Limited to introduce a new crisp. In my secondary research I was looking for information on what other companies used to attract the consumer and for current trends in the market. I looked at advertising in Magazines, and on posters, and on television and radio as well as checking out sites on the world wide web.

When it came to advertising all the sites were clearly aimed at the younger consumer. I took this as a sign that this was the segment of the market I should recommend targeting.

www.walkers.co.uk was a very helpful site giving excellent help to retailers on advertising, pricing and recommended ranges for different regions and different outlets. It even included a margin calculator for the tradesman. It was a very useful site for assessing the approach of one of the main producers in this area.

www.geocities.com/ukcg0 was a very useful site showing that there are vast number of crisp snacks on the market, and showing that some have only regional outlets limited to very specific parts of the country. It gave an independent comparative taste assessment alongside price and weight of packets.

Another useful site was www.taquitos.net which was a similar site to the geocities with independent reviews of the products on the American market where extraordinary flavours are plentiful, and there are an enormous number of manufacturers.

On some sites such as www.pringles.com there was very little information on price, packaging, promotion or placing but was all about attracting a certain market. In the case of Pringles the site was a game site aimed at the 7 – 18 year old market.

www.taytocrisps.ie is an original site where one can purchase crisps online and have them delivered to you. It had a selection of games for consumers. It was the only site I visited that allowed me to buy online.

Primary Research

This is research carried out to provide data for a specific purpose through direct investigation.

The main methods of gaining primary data are via observation, survey or experiment.

Observation includes looking at and recording people’s actions in response to similar products. Although it enables you to get direct information about peoples’ choices and shopping habits it is very time consuming and lacks any information about what is behind their choices.

Surveys can take many forms and include a variety of information. Questions are put to consumers and the answers recorded and analysed. The format can be varied from a questionnaire to be filled in either over the phone, or in person, or by post to a personal interview. All methods are quite time consuming but have the advantage of allowing detailed information to be gathered, and different options to be explored. I will use a questionnaire to gain primary data and I will think carefully about the limitations. It is important to get the balance of the questions right to gain the information I need. I will have to make sure that I get a big enough response to make the answers statistically significant. I will need to ask people from a variety of age groups to complete my questionnaire.

Experiments can be used to test products to gain information as to the popularity of a particular product. I will do an experiment to test the popularity of the different types of crisps currently on the market. I will use the results to make recommendations to the manufacturer.

Copies of the questionnaire and taste test are included in appendix 1.

Findings: In my work as Marketing Director of White Associates researching the crisp market for Josso’s Snacks Company Limited I aimed my primary research at trying to find out more details of particular areas of consumer needs and what affects their choices.

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