Traditionally we know market research as a part of marketing effort that gathers data, validates assumptions or helps identify new opportunities. However most of the research problems are really reactive in nature. Someone realizes that they have a problem and research is one of the ways to start figuring out what to do with things. Basis this assumption, what if there is a market intelligence firm that works pro-actively and feeds companies and brands with dossiers that help in decision making.

I was doing market rounds for one of my clients and I saw that Coke has a water brand called BonAqua apart from Kinley (that they recently relaunched). I also saw that Frito Lays has launched a brand called Desi Beats (under the parent brand Kurkure) – in direct competition to ITC’s Bingo. I thought what if I could collect all this information for a lot of brands and create market report to be used by businesses in helping them take decisions. It would be an extension of their strategy division.

Business Case
As a brand it is very difficult for me to keep track of things that are happening in the market. Most of the information is gathered through grapevines and unofficial contacts between companies. Most of this generally is noise. And thus, I would readily pay for a company that monitors the market on my behalf and gives me weekly or monthly dossiers on what is happening in the market. This could be information about competitors, imitators, new territories, customer feedback etc. Further, this is better than market research because I am not paying for data that is more often than not fudged and at the same time has lots of biases built it. In fact more and more clients I meet as part of my work for Creativeland Asia dont want to believe in traditional market research methodologies (they are more interested in things like observational techniques).

How would I do this?
Two steps really.

  • One: If I hire part-timers (or even volunteers) whose only job is to go and click pictures at retail shelves across the country (once a week), I can collect reams of data. And with advent of personal technology, its cheap and convenient to click pictures and send it to a centralized location. I can pay these guys on per picture basis. I can even ask these guys to click a certain kind of store.
  • Two: I can then have another team analyze this data for information and patterns. We can hire MBA from grade three business schools like Amity, ICFAI etc and pay them peanuts to do basic analysis. In case a client requires a detailed report, we can use experienced resource to work on there.

For example if suddenly all images from Delhi show that Red Bull is now visible at even the juice shops, that would mean that Red Bull is trying to revamp their distribution and has ambitious plans. A company like Coke or Pepsi should be scared and probably take lessons from Red Bull. This would also indicate that there is a demand for Red Bull in Delhi. Can Gatorade now be launched with more gusto?

Probable Roadblocks
Quite a few. Including things like <retailers not allowing you to click pictures>, <motivation and remuneration of volunteers>, <team of analysts>, <no competitive advantage> etc. etc. Need to think lot more on this. I would appreciate feedback from readers on this.

Wondering what the learned community on Venturewoods thinks about the idea and what are the few major objections that one can think of. I would really appreciate if you guys here can help me see what I am missing.

Thanks for patient read,
Saurabh Garg
(Originally posted on The New New Thing and modified for Venturewoods)

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