Looking Beyond Traditional Techniques to Nurture the Innovation Process

As the personal care market becomes more complex, so, too, does the market research necessary to succeed.

WRITTEN BY: Nancy Mills

AUTHOR BIO: Nancy Mills is the industry manager for the consumer products practice at Kline & Company. She oversees the cosmetics & toiletries and household cleaning products reports, and is the global project manager in charge of natural personal care. She is launching the new program Kline Pulse for consumer insight research.

The personal care market is clearly becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated. Problems have deepened with the “new normal” in the market, weakened by a recent recession. Consumer shopping habits have changed and sales may have slowed down, but retailers have not slowed down searching for products that are new, different, innovative—and in the right price range. In times of crisis, one needs innovation and some fantasy to attract customers at the points of sale.

In these conditions, marketers, on one hand, are trying to create and quickly fill new niches by hyper-segmenting the target population. On the other, consumers are moving targets, with changing behavior and lifestyles shifting across traditional demographics. Managers are called on to make sense of a wide range of factors to decide what products to develop, in alignment with what consumers really want. In order to do so, they can rely on a handful of methods—some old and some new—for understanding human behavior and decision-making.