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4 Case Examples of Market Research

4 Case Examples of Market Research

Perhaps you are opening a new business or maybe you have known the same group of customers for years. While you may think you already know the perfect marketing strategy, you could be surprized by what you find. Even larger companies have faltered by failing to conduct research to learn what their customers actually want. In this article, we will see how market research (or a lack thereof) has greatly changed the fortunes of many businesses.

So, why is market research so important when it comes to marketing? Market research can help you identify key obstacles, develop highly personalized content, and identify current and future needs. Ultimately, market research is about making your brand more interesting to the group of people most likely to buy your products.

Don’t make the fatal marketing flaw of assuming what your target audience wants. We’ll look at some case example of the importance of conducting market research before you begin broadcasting your message.



Case Example: Cultural Research

Cultural research involves studying the impact of culture on individual experiences, everyday life, social relations, and power. The following example will illustrate how Snapple’s lack of cultural research cost them their new market.


In an effort to expand globally, popular tea and drink company Snapple launched a marketing campaign in Japan. Their drinks ultimately failed to sell, and Snapple abandoned the effort within a couple of years. The primary reason is that they lacked market research into what the Japanese would find appealing in a beverage.

A huge number of North Americans prefer drinks with pulp. Snapple had an uninterrupted history of success with their pulpy drinks. This caused Snapple to make the fatal marketing flaw of assuming that the Japanese population would be no different. The truth is that cloudy or pulpy drinks are unusual in Japan and bear a stigma of looking “dirty”. If Snapple had conducted preliminary market research, they could have learned this and avoided a massive setback to their international expansion.



Case Example: Industry Trends Research

Industry trends are factors such as technological breakthroughs, changes in consumer behaviour, and changes in the market. Many business owners pay attention to these trends because of the impact they can have on an industry. The following case study of Amazon shows how industry research can help you stay ahead of the competition.


Rather than simply sticking to what works, Amazon will often expand into new territory. This pioneering attitude has proven to be very profitable for them. According to Verdict analyst O’Brien, “the key to Amazon’s success is that it isn’t afraid to try out new things even if they fail. That urgency and scale is hard not to admire.”

An example of this is when Amazon launched Amazon Prime Instant Video in February of 2011. This was done in response to consumers moving from traditional TV to online streaming and subscription sites such as Netflix.

Similar to Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video provides Amazon Prime customers access to movies and TV shows with their membership. By now you may be wondering how well Amazon is competing with Netflix—and the results may surprise you.

In 2017, Netflix still outnumbers subscribers watching video by over two-to-one. However, as of February of 2018, Amazon is beating Netflix in 3 countries: Germany, India, and Japan. According to Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky “Prime members who watch video also spend more on Amazon”. As this example has shown, being open to new trends can help your business anticipate consumer needs and improve your relevance.



Case Example: Competitive Research

Competitive research means studying your competitors’ products, messaging, and business positioning. The goal is to help you understand your customers’ needs and expectations. Social giants Twitter and Instagram have both used competitive research to direct their success in the past.


In 2005, Evan Williams and Biz Stone developed the precursor to Twitter, which was designed as a podcast-sharing platform. Around June of the same year, Apple had launched podcast support for iTunes, putting Twitter in direct competition with Apple. After researching the new market, user adoption rates, technology, and customer acquisition costs, Twitter came to a decision. Rather than compete with Apple, they pivoted their approach, creating a social network eventually known as Twitter.

Williams and Evans looked at existing social platforms such as Facebook to see where users were dissatisfied. A complaint that got their attention was that Facebook users loved photo-sharing but found the newsfeeds to be cluttered. Twitter decided to streamline how information was displayed in their newsfeeds by limiting the number of characters and simplifying the display. This pivot due to cultural research is what ultimately lead to Twitter’s overwhelming success.

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Did you know that Instagram started out with many more features than what they provide on their platform today? Founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger Initially launched it in 2010 as a location-based check-in app called Burbn. Later, they decided to re-evaluate the market to see where they could gain an edge against their competition. Systrom reports that the competitive market “felt cluttered and overrun with features”.

Deciding that they were too late to the game to launch alongside their competitor, Foursquare, they instead pivoted their approach. Removing the majority of the app’s features, their new, simplified app was left with three: photo sharing, liking, and commenting. Rebranding themselves as Instagram, they gained quick success and were bought out by Facebook in 2012 for close to $1 billion.


Case Example: Audience Research

Audience research involves gathering information about your target customers’ demographics, psychographics, and behaviours so you can better understand them. This has become a common tactic for online marketing, especially through social media. The French luxury jewelry company Cartier is a good example of this. They ran a very successful Valentine’s Day ad through the smart use of audience research.


The luxury goods company Cartier wanted to drive online sales of fine jewelry at the time surrounding Valentine’s Day. To achieve this, they designed a Facebook ad and decided to perform audience research to find the most receptive potential customers. They concluded that they should target people in the United Kingdom with interests in art, jewelry, fashion accessories, luxury goods, or one of their high-end competitors.

Cartier’s targeted Facebook ad was so successful that it produced twice the return on investment of past campaigns. This ad also caused huge increases (up to 40%) in the relevance scores of their “For Him” and “For Her” campaigns.

Cartier succeeded in their Valentine’s Day campaign because they researched the demographics, psychographics, and behaviour of their target audience. This let them make educated choices for which people would see the Cartier Ad in their news feed.


The 4 main types of market research were key to successful campaigns in all of these stories. With them, you can refine your core messaging and highlight what makes your brand relevant to your audience’s culture and trends. You can be a brand that feels distinct and welcome. Would your brand fare better if your audience saw you as an intrusive stranger, or as a new friend?


Lean Marketing Research

At Lean Marketing, market research is an integral starting point with all of our clients. Digital marketing in Edmonton requires a strong knowledge of Edmonton’s people and trends. Because we understand the importance of knowing your customers before we establish your product positioning or marketing and communications strategy.

 How has market research or a lack thereof impacted how a social campaign was received? Our team at Lean Marketing wants to hear from you!

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