Toyota has had tremendous success with both the Toyota and Lexus brands of can. The Lexus brand was created to sell can more luxurious than those previously offered by Toyota and 10 cater to the older, more affluent crowd. However, the company noticed an opportunity in the younger, “Generation Y” crowd (those born between 1977 and 1995), where Toyota had a relatively smaller market share. More than 65 million Americans fall into this demographic category. Cars bought by this group are less expensive and more youth-oriented. Chief rivals within this competitive landscape include Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Mazda, Ford, and Chevrolet.
Focus groups and surveys by Toyota targeted at the teen through thirties age group suggested that Toyota had the image of being “my parents’ car.” Needless to say, sales to this diverse and elusive age group were smaIl. Toyota then began a secret project, code-named “Genesis,” to research the under-30 market to find out what features they wanted in their can and to determine their buying habits. The members of the study looked at existing Toyota models such as the Echo, the Celica, and the MR2 Spyder and found that the Generation Y crowd perceived these can as having no cohesive theme and carrying Toyota’s older image. Several can were brought to the United States that were being used in Japan to see what kind of reaction they would elicit. The can that created the most buzz ultimately were modified for American preferences and resulted in a third line of can for Toyota, aptly named “Scion” Scion name means “offspring of an illustrious family” and illustrates the fact that they are a spin-off from Toyota
Now that Toyota had the can and the strategy, they had to build their brand and market the new can to this new audience. Toyota hired marketing firm ATTIK to help with this task. They conducted qualitative market research through traditional focus groups and clinics as well as quantitative research through Internet surveys and youth panels. They also implemented case studies by asking people to study their younger friends’ preferences and to report their findings. The results of this market research revealed that the Generation Y crowd values individuality and expression, diversity, and style. Because they are more prone to disdain commercialism and can be swayed more effectively by word-of-mouth communications, Scion chose not to advertise through traditional channels such as network television or magazines. Rather, they decided to market the Scion through guerrilla tactics such as live concerts and events with a music or arts focus catered toward this younger crowd.
Scion took the results of their market research and applied them to their business strategy. In 2003, the first Scions were available for sale. Three different models were designed to attract a wide spectrum of younger buyers, such as the Scion lIB, which is a boxy, compact sports utility vehicle. All Scions came loaded with options that were desirable 10 the target buyer, such as 1OO-watt stereos, cell phone holders, plush seats, and plenty of customization options. They implemented a no-haggling, easy-to-understand pricing structure to make the buying process more enjoyable for many of these first-time buyers
More than 90 percent of Scion owners have never owned a Toyota car before, and the median age of Scion owners is 34, much lower than the average ages of Toyota and Lexus owners (49 and 54, respectively). Since 2006, Scion has been partnering with Nielsen Online’s BuzzMetrics service (www.nielsen-online.com) to use infonnation from consumer-generated media (CGM) in formulating their market strategies. CGM is important 10 Scion because that’s where their customers are and where they are most likely 10 see and engage in the brand. There are many blogs, Web sites, and social networking sites for discussions for customers 10 get more information and see how otbercustomers like the product. All the three models (!C, xB, and xD) continued to do well through 2008, until the recession hit.
Fast … Fruit?
Average consumers have become more concerned with health and nutrition. Obesity lawsuits have been filed against fast-food giants that have offered only fatty, greasy burgers and fries. As a result, many fast-food chains are now offering healthier alternatives, such as salads and fresh fruit, as well as decreasing serving sizes,
It seems that this shift IOward healthier fare is paying off for fast-food chains. According 10 the Quick- Track~ research study conducted by market research rum Sand elman & Associates in 2009, Americans were satisfied with fast food. The Quick-Track is a syndicated market research project conducted quarterly 10 track key concerns behavioral and attitudinal measures for all majOr fast-food and pizza chains in individual markets. In this study, each quarter 400 respondents are surveyed in each market via a combination of telephone and Internet interview sin more than 100 markets representing a wide range of denxr graphics. Telephone respondents are selected via a computer-generated random sample of listed and unlisted telephone numbers, and online respondents are selected from a panel of more than S million Internet users.
Respondents were asked their opinions of past visits to each fast-food restaurant chain within the last three months. They were asked to rate their opinions on the overall restaurant experience as well as on 12 specific attributes such as food, service, cleanliness, and value. The responses were scored on a scale with 1 = Poor and S = Excellent. To ensure reliability and representation of the population, only chains willi a minimum of 150 responses were considered
The three most important attributes for respondents were cleanliness (77 percent rated it as extremely important), food taste and flavor (74 percent), and order accuracy (66 percent). The availability of healthy and nutritious food is increasing in importance among respondents, with 40 percent rating it as extremely important (up from 34 percent in 2003). The overall increase in satisfaction with fast-food chains can be attributed to the chains’ responsiveness to customer demands for food quality, taste, health, and nutrition
One example of how fast-food chains respond to the consumer’s desire for healthier, tasty food offerings is to provide fresh fruit as a menu option. Wendy’s, for example, is now offering fresh fruit bowls as an entree or as a dessert. McDonald’s is offering a fruit and walnut salad, and !HOP is selling fruit plate entrees. These are not isolated examples in the food industry. According to marketing research firm NPD Group fruit consumption in restaurants has increased by more than 10 percent from 2006 to 2009. Kerrii Anderson, president of Wendy’s, commented that now’s the time for fruit, because people are looking for different and new tastes and for healthier alternatives
These examples illustrate the crucial role played by marketing research in designing and implementing successful marketing programs.’ Note that marketing research is being used by all kinds of organizations. such as Boeing. NBC. Toyota. and fast-food restaurants (McDonald’s, Wendy’s, IHOP). Furthermore, marketing research has become global (Harris Interactive), real time (Testatrix), responsive (Toyota), and much more integrated with marketing and product development (McDonald’s, Wendy·s. IHOP). These examples illustrate only a few of the methods used to conduct marketing research: telephone. personal. and online surveys; focus groups; in-depth interviews; and the use of the Internet as a source of information. This book will introduce you to the full complement of marketing research techniques and illustrate their applications in formulating effective marketing strategies. Perhaps the role of marketing research can be better understood in light of its definition.