• Market research and promotion


    Promotion campaigns cannot be successful without market research. Such research usually has four broad aims: 

    • To determine demographic and psychological characteristics of current consumers and non-consumers of coffee, together with insights into why they consume coffee or why they do not.  
    • To estimate the size of both the total market for coffee and its individual components, and to set objectives for the overall campaign.  
    • To test the proposed promotional message or messages to ensure effectiveness before conducting the full campaign.  
    • To monitor the results of the campaign after it is under way and also to assess its impact after the campaign has finished.   

    Who are the customers? It is helpful in developing a generic promotion campaign to understand the primary characteristics of the people who drink coffee as well as to discover what benefits they derive from coffee consumption. With this information, promotional messages are more likely to be relevant and believable.

    One purpose of generic promotion is to keep existing customers satisfied and perhaps to encourage them to consume more coffee. The other purpose of generic promotion is to encourage people who do not drink coffee to try the product and also to create a positive attitude towards coffee in order to improve the chances of their liking their first tastes of the beverage. To that end, promoters should know why non-drinkers do not drink coffee. This was very important in the campaigns run by the ICO in China. Market research had determined that many potential Chinese consumers saw coffee as bad for the stomach and something more akin to a medicine. This enabled the organizers of the campaign to tailor the message so that it directly tackled these issues.

    People have different reasons for choosing to drink or not to drink coffee. It may therefore be necessary to divide the total potential market into broad segments, called target markets each requiring a different promotional message or even a differentiated product or distribution channel.

    How large is the potential market? With a reasonably accurate idea of how many people drink coffee and how much they currently consume, it can be estimated how much more (if any) they can be induced to consume. Before investing in a full-blown campaign it is essential to test the promotional message to make certain that it will convince the consumers to take some type of action or to change their attitude in line with the message’s objectives. The promotion is therefore tested on a sample number of people and if a sufficient proportion is favourably influenced, a full campaign is initiated.

    What is progress like? If the campaign is continued, results must be monitored. Techniques exist to determine whether adequate progress is being made. Note that if no clearly defined goals are set, it will be difficult to assess whether progress warrants continuation. The annual United States Winter Coffee Drinking Study is a good example of a survey on coffee consumption – go to www.ncausa.org  for details.

    How to promote coffee consumption in new markets:  The ICO have commissioned “A Step-by-step Guide to Promote Coffee Consumption in Producing Countries” which uses the Brazilian experience (see 02.07) and that of a few other countries to create a methodology to promote consumption, not only in producing countries but also in any emerging coffee market.  This comprehensive guide can be downloaded from www.ico.org.

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