Yesterday I attended the first day of the ESOMAR Shopper Insights Conference 2011 in Brussels, and I was pleasantly surprised by the innovative thinking by the presenters, both in the methodologies used and in the way they look at the Market Insights profession.

There were a number of presentations on innovative methodologies, such as eye-tracking. All of them had cool videos to share and gave insights into how these methodologies can be used to better understand shopper behaviors. The presentation that really stuck with me, however, was from Stephanie Grootenhuis, from Kraft Foods International, who talked about the “Incite to Action” initiative.

She came on stage, and said: "All the presentations until now have talked about understanding shoppers better and the difficulties you encounter when doing (global) research. But to be honest, that's not my biggest challenge. What my team struggles with is HOW to share our knowledge and communicate our findings effectively into the organization." 

In her presentation she describes how they, together with their partner 4Dshopper, use virtual shopper simulations not only for gaining better understanding on shopper behaviors, category management, placement, and packaging, but also as a way to get mindshare in their organization. In these videos, one minute max in length, a speaker takes the viewer on a guided in-store tour to highlight the best areas for intervention. The videos show the situation, possible improvements, and the expected effect on sales (in Kraft language: Insight, Actions, and Sales Uplift). These videos can be viewed using a phone, PC, or iPad, which makes it easy for sales and category managers to bring them to the store to support their case.

The feedback from the users has been very positive, with a request for more. Kraft's Shopper Insights team has decided to make these “Incite to Action” videos an integral part of their deliverables, and they will be part of the sales capabilities training as well moving forward.

Picture: Stephanie Grootenhuis presenting at Esomar Shopper Insights Conference 2011