Identifying consumer preference segments in NPD
Alex Baverstock, JinHo Cho and Josef Zach from Ipsos explain Sensory Spatial Segmentation (SSS), their novel technique for analysing consumer preferences.
ON THE SCENT: understanding how a product delivers against different consumer preferences is critical for understanding appeal and ultimately sales success
Identifying consumer preference segments in product development research is valuable to R&D and marketing functions. It is well known that products are not universally liked. For example, some people like a sweeter soft drink while others prefer a less sweet or aromatic flavour profile; some people like a skin cream to be smooth and quickly absorbed while others are more concerned by its fragrance. Whatever the product, understanding how it delivers against different consumer preferences is critical for understanding appeal and ultimately sales success.
The research methodology for identifying and understanding possible preference segments within a category is based on the combination of sensory profiling data (usually objective product descriptions from a trained sensory panel) and consumer liking data (based on product trial). The ability to identify different preference segments is contingent on testing a wide variety of products to represent the key sensorial attributes (eg, flavour, texture, fragrance). The total number of products required for these exercises is therefore usually high; a minimum of seven is advised and it can sometimes be as high as 16.