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AMA Back Page - How I Did It

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Martha Guidry, The Concept Queen, describes a unique usage of qualitative research for concept development.

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AMA Back Page - How I Did It

  1. 1. 30 backpage { how I did it } With this issue,marketingnews 07.30.09 Martha Guidry Marketing News launches a new Backpage concept. We are contacting leading marketers and The Rite Concept, Avon, Conn. AMA members and asking them three Also known as “The Concept Queen,” Martha Guidry is principal of The questions; we will feature Rite Concept, a brand management, concept development and research their answers, in their consultancy. She has launched new products for brands such as Noxema own words, here. Our and My Little Pony, and her clients include Arby’s, The Hartford Finan- hope is that you find inspiration and cial Services Group, Timex and Pfizer. She spent six years in consumer useful takeaways in the marketing at Procter & Gamble and Hasbro, and earned her M.B.A. from experiences of your Harvard Business School. AMA member since 2004. fellow marketers. Q: What is your greatest marketing accomplishment? How did you strategize “This process has been a big favorite for my clients. and execute it? How did you measure your success? It teaches them to listen to their customer and write A: I’ve enjoyed working with a lot of different clients across a wide variety of winning positioning concepts based on customer feedback.” industries, helping each of them create winning new product and service concepts the standard, feature-laden concept pulled During Days Three and Four, we in the marketplace, but the most exciting directly from the science lab. conducted a series of iterative phone mini- marketing accomplishment was help- In this herbicide category, a single groups with the growers. The goal of these ing my client, DuPont, reposition a line competitor has owned the market for the groups was to identify the lead bene- of commercial herbicide products. In past 10 years with the product Round Up fit approaches and optimize the consumer five short days in October 2008, we took (the commercial version of the stuff you’d insight, all while listening for reason-to- a product with almost no muscle and buy at Home Depot). We needed to find believe (RTB) language that would support turned it into a real market contender with enough white space in the market to serve the claims. The team carefully listened and genuine traction in the marketplace. How up DuPont’s product in this practically reworked the concepts after each round did we do it? It was by carefully crafting a single-player market. Further complicat- of research, building and then converging benefit-focused positioning concept incor- ing matters was DuPont’s history of relying on lead approaches with continual guid- porating customer input versus relying on almost exclusively on R&D to provide the ance and coaching by The Rite Concept. content for the marketing process, resulting Compelling RTBs were crafted through a in a series of product-focused, kitchen-sink similar process. concepts that basically focused on features, On Day Five, these lead concept ideas the marketing of which led to very lacklus- were modified by incorporating the retailer ter results in this saturated market. perspective. It was adding this “voice of the From a strategic standpoint, it was crit- retailer” that ultimately helped persuade the ical to understand that appealing to two market to actually stock the product and targets was key to a successful sell. If we then make the sale to growers. were ever to identify a marketing oppor- While the concept was not tested quan- tunity, we needed to better understand the titatively, the effort was perceived as a purchasing drivers for the growers and success. It was the first time in a decade then, while maintaining grower appeal, that the team had been able to create an tweak the concept in a way that persuaded ownable, single-minded proposition that the retailer to sell the product to the grower. separated the product from other weed kill- Day One saw us conducting a number ers. The sales members on the team excit- of qualitative, one-on-one phone interviews edly brought the results to the larger sales Guidry’s ConCept developMent ForMulA with growers, supplemented with an online force, energizing them to start talking about interface that allowed for creative projective their products in a persuasively new and 1 Identify the appropriate targets, talking to them many times in a condensed time frame. exercises to identify the perceptions, beliefs and emotion around killing weeds, not just different way. The process (outlined to the left) is flexi- 2 A committed, fully cross-functional team should be involved in all parts of the iterative and writing process. the obvious functional necessity of accom- plishing the task. ble and can be tweaked for almost any type of product or service. On Day Two, the entire team culled This process has been a big favorite 3 Train and coach the team to be equipped with strong concept writing skills and knowledge. At each step in the development, just-in-time concept training modules help the through the telephone data and ideated different benefits that the products could for my clients. It teaches them to listen to their customer and write winning offer, based upon the previous day’s learn- positioning concepts based on customer team learn about the specific pieces of the marketing concepts ing. Additionally, the team identified multi- feedback. Plus, the entire team buys into they are creating. ple customer insights that were used to the results because they were all involved 4 You need more than just your standard moderator. Find one with significant concept writing expertise to fully create compelling “hero” benefits. (All of this activity is easy to say, but it is much with the entire process, allowing them to sincerely and enthusiastically cham-how I did it//bp equip the team, and shepherd the process and audit the work more difficult to accomplish than you pion the output when they returned to with objectivity. would think.) All this information became their respective functional areas. It is a the input into mini-concepts that would be win-win for everyone—and it only takes shared with the growers for feedback. five days! m

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