Researcher Portfolio

This page consists of research projects I've recently undertaken in my Masters of Market Research and Consumer Behavior graduate program. For a detailed rundown of the graduate program at IE University, check out the program website.

For further reading on my research experience, feel free to swing by my blog posts describing my recent success in winning a business case for Kantar Millward Brown or my first hands-on experience with conducting primary research during the product development stage of a proprietary business idea.

Visual Diary

Case Study #1 - Nielsen & General Mills

Challenge: Having launched two cereal bar products under their Nature Valley brand and two other sweet treat products under their Fiber One brand in Spain, General Mills asked Nielsen to assess the launch of their products and identify future growth potential and challenges within the category. We were brought on as consultants on behalf of Nielsen.

Industry: Consumer Packaged Goods

Specific Role: Research Designer, Focus Group Moderator, In-Depth Interviewer, and Analyst

Research Approach & Methodologies: We began our investigation by conducting exploratory secondary and primary research. This initial leg of our work was vital for the development of hypotheses and an initial understanding of the market. The exploratory portion of the research included conducting on-site focus groups, ethnographic studies via digital visual diaries, and face-to-face in-depth interviews with potential consumers in Spain, in addition to analyzing Nielsen retailer and household panel data. The former helped us get first hand insights about the snacking habits in Spain, and the latter gave us essential numerical information about the market, which was then incorporated into our analysis and subsequent recommendations for General Mills concerning the marketing mix for their products. After the exploratory research, we justified our hypotheses with statistically significant samples through quantitative research.

Insights: Some of the insights from our research included the following:

  • Snacking was seen as a desperate measure/a patch instead of something that is beneficial
  • Although cereal bars are a “healthier” snacking option, they are not perceived as healthy
  • Kelloggs had the highest top-of-mind awareness among Spanish consumers of all demographic groups
  • Taste and nutritional benefits are the most important characteristics for purchase decision
  • The main advantage of cereal bars is energy and being easy on digestion
  • The perceived disadvantages are lack of taste, “dry texture”, and a long-term filling sensation
  • Some consumers mentioned they don’t buy cereal bars because they think they would need 2 or 3 to feel satiated
  • They are usually consumed in class/office, on the go, before or after the gym

Impact on Business Strategies: From our findings, we suggested that the main segments that should be addressed with the proposed strategies were the ones increasing in penetration: Millennials (those under 34 years old) and Boomers (those above 65). We also suggested a distribution focus on big supermarkets, which had the biggest market share and was performing better than other channels at the time, and vending machines. In order to compete with private labels and drive brand preference, we recommended to increase sampling and attribute reinforcement in their communications.

In-Store Observations

Case study #2 - Johnson & Johnson in Spain

Challenge: Since the recent economic recession in Spain, the Johnson & Johnson baby portfolio has been declining in sales. In order to prep a turnaround plan, Johnson & Johnson wanted to understand the factors at play. This included having an updated grasp of the market, their marketing mix efficiency, and consumer behaviors concerning the product category. We were brought on as consultants to Johnson & Johnson via IE University.

Industry: Consumer Packaged Goods

Specific Role: Research Designer, Field Agent, and Analyst

Research Approach & Methodologies:  In order for us to understand how Johnson & Johnson could reverse declining sales for their Baby Care portfolio in Spain, we aimed to understand the market, the consumer decision-making process, and usage habits. Our research design began with secondary research, which was used to assess the current market situation, competitors' performance, and consumer behavior via internal & external sources. Focus groups were then conducted to assess product usage, purchase reasoning & potential influencers, the effectiveness of the marketing communications campaigns, and measure brands’ awareness & equity. Next, shop-along studies and in-home observational research were utilized to identify the actual way in which consumers used the products in their natural environments. The last leg of our research included online surveys, which was used to measure and quantify information regarding the market in general and the Johnson & Johnson brand. Our surveying also served as a way to reaffirm and gain greater representativity for findings of previous research conducted.

Insights: Some of the insights from our research included the following:

  • Overall, sales of the baby care category was plummeting
  • Private labels were stealing market share
  • Women (20-45) were frequent consumers of baby shampoo
  • Price seemed to be an important factor in the decision-making process
  • Consumers were sensitive to promotions for particular baby products
  • On average, consumers spent approximately 1.5 mins or less at the baby toiletries aisle

Impact on Business Strategies: From our findings, we identified an unknown way of baby care product usage (women using baby shampoo) and recommended optimizing in-store shelf placements. In order to make the right SKUs available in the right places to these Spanish women, we suggested placing the baby shampoo in both the baby care toiletries and adult hygiene store sections. Subsequent research was recommended in order to address these secondary consumers via a targeted marketing mix, including revamped product packaging and communications campaigns. To compete with less expensive private label products and attract more consumers, we recommended creating promotional product bundle packages.