In recent years, there’s been an influx of talent from the consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) industry to the building products sector. Over the past year, half of the new hires we meet have a CPG background from companies such as Procter & Gamble, Heinz, PepsiCo and Unilever, as well as smaller organizations geared towards broad consumables distributed through mass retail.
What does that mean for the building, home improvement and lawn & garden industry?
Our industry is getting more sophisticated with marketing.
Manufacturers and retailers recognize consumers are becoming increasingly more discriminating as they research a wide variety of products, brands and prices online. Our research shows most consumers (80%+ of millennials) will even shop online for home improvement products while in the aisle of brick-and-mortar stores.
The CPG world has a head start in developing marketing strategies to address omnichannel issues. CPG veterans know how to distinguish their brands by creating seamless omnichannel experiences and curating a consistent online presence, which is becoming increasingly important.
In our research, we see over 50% of customers (Pros and DIYers) going online for information before making a building and home improvement product purchase. CPG is using this consumer data to ensure a detailed level of information is available across mediums. This brings us to the second way CPG influence will change the building products industry.
Data-driven approach to make better business decisions.
For decades, the building products industry has operated on gut feel rather than data and research, opening the door for misguided decisions. CPG leaders bring a data-driven approach to marketing strategies, product development, merchandising and brand assessment. However, while newcomers from the CPG industry know how to leverage data in marketing efforts, they might not be familiar with the nuances of available data or primary research in the building products industry.
For example, in the CPG industry, you’re likely able to pull all POS data for a specific SKU at any time across the U.S. to know exactly how big the market is, where it’s sold and who is buying it. However, in the building, home improvement and lawn & garden industries, POS data often does not exist in a timely manner or cover all distribution. This means companies are turning to primary research to fill the gaps of what may have been readily available in their prior consumables career.
Tips to Execute Research
The challenge then becomes knowing how to best execute the research to ensure high quality, usable information. Here are some tips for research success in an industry with low incidence categories, small customer bases and little detailed secondary data.
- Understand the size of the universe you’re targeting.
- It easy to get a sample of 5,000 consumers in a study about soda because such a massive percent of our population drinks it. To expect that same number of responses from commercial roofers is not reasonable since the size of the commercial roofer market is less than 20,000 firms.
- Determine the product purchase incidence.
- While a high percentage of U.S. households buy soda, very few purchase a toilet flush valve on a regular basis. Having a low incidence category, as is the case for many of the DIY products we study, means a reduced buying audience to draw from. Be sure to capture incidence levels of your products in all your research.
- Evaluate feasibility for various research methods.
- Once you understand the size of your audience, you can evaluate options for research methodology. If you’re targeting professionals that do a very specific type of industrial work, there may be only a few hundred that qualify so one-on-one qualitative interviews may be best. If you’re targeting DIYers that have purchased power tools in the past year, you will have success conducting a larger online quantitative study due to high feasibility.
After 30 years researching the building, home improvement and lawn & garden industry, we know how to conduct actionable research among professionals and DIYers. We work exclusively in this industry to go beyond conducting a survey. Our expertise helps clients build the right scope, set proper sample expectations and interpret the data within context of our unique industry.
As the building products, home improvement and lawn & garden industry continue to embrace a data-driven mentality, research matters more than ever. To discuss how industry-focused market research can help you adapt to these changes, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a time to discuss your needs.