Kevin Tame Saxonville Sausage Case Question 1: What is the current situation?

2/5/2010

Saxonville Sausage is a privately held 70 year old company that in 2005 had approximately 1.5 billion dollars in revenue from a variety of its fresh pork sausages. 70% of these products were bratwurst, 20% were breakfast sausages, 5% were an Italian sausage named Vivio, and store brand product accounted for the remaining 5%. Industry wide, bratwurst and breakfast sausage had stagnant growth, however Saxonville, due to poor performance with breakfast sausage, had a double digit decline in revenues which resulted in being ranked 6 out of 8 in market share for the industry. However, in spite of stagnant growth by the industry the Italian sausage market had a growth of 9% in 2004 and 15% in 2005. At the time Vivio was only available in 16% of the nation’s large supermarkets. Senior management was happy with the growth Vivio was receiving due to the national demand increasing but did not want to risk positioning the brand and cannibalizing the sales of their other products. Some felt it was an untapped market in a rising market so Ann Banks was hired as the new product marketing director to come up with a market strategy to launch a new national Italian sausage brand so that the company could achieve its profit objects for the coming year. Question 2a: How was the research methodology determined? Before starting, Banks knew that eventually she would like to have quantitative finding to back up any of the research that she had done. However, she also knew that quantitative research is often limited in its ability to accomplish some research objectives in launching a new product. For example, to develop a useful and valid survey a deep understanding of the concepts being measured must first be discovered. Banks also knew that she would need to convince senior management that her research was valid by using numbers. To overcome this dilemma she opted to initially use a qualitative approach to develop her understanding of the situation and then back up her findings with a quantitative research study. Banks had been hired for her expertise in creating a product that relates to the core values of a the target consumer. Once Banks was able to identified who her target consumer was she could then use a descriptive research approach to locate consumers values and pin them to a product. Picking a qualitative research approach was the only suitable solution to her problem. Question 2b: Develop a research design and explain what behaviors, demographics, and lifestyle components you deem important and why. Banks research design was very effective in getting her team to understand the possible core values of Saxonville’s target audience but lacked some of the necessary quantitative research to completely confirm what route should be taken. Structuring a study by doing qualitative research first is sometimes necessary in the development of a proper quantitative research design. However, most complaints with taking a qualitative research approach is that the research cannot be attached to numbers and analyzed with statistics, and that the findings are researcher-dependent and subject to human error. This problem is attempted to be eliminated by the quantitative research supporting the findings of key concepts derived from the qualitative research. Other complaints of Banks’ study is that focus groups are to homogenous and that the

Kevin Tame Saxonville Sausage Case

2/5/2010

decision to pick woman only as the target audience leaves half the population of consumers’ values undiscovered. A different but similar proposed research design would be to create a focus groups similar to Banks’ study but would call for a more diverse demographic. Preferably a diverse group of woman and men would be included in these focus groups. These groups will vary from male and female groups, male only groups and female only groups. This is designed to bring out different conversations and ideas in each of the focus groups and present other opportunities to surface that might never have with a female only group. Other problems that often appear in market research is that of regional or national stereotypes might influence the focus groups opinions. In the case of Italian sausage a stereotype that the Italian foods are associated with family might influence peoples opinions positively towards the Italian brand. The presence of this stereotype makes any connections discovered more spurious. To eliminate this stereotype psychological priming might be considered to neutralize people preconceived notions of Italian foods. Doing so though increase the variables and once again begins to skew any potential findings. Question 3: What were the research results? Select two different positioning territories identified in case Exhibit 6. Trace back through the case, using Exhibit 4 and other embedded information, to rationalize the development of these territory ideas. The research done by Banks discovered that the territories “Family Connection” and “Clever Cooking” represented the highest potentially successful locations where Saxonville could position Vivio to optimize the core values of their target consumer. The two territories arrived from similar origins but evolved through time and display the core values of the consumers differently. Banks, after identifying the market opening through research and assistance of her multi-functional team, used a Pennsylvania research facility to conduct a pilot study to get a quick handle on what consumers were saying about Italian sausage. From this she used the information to develop stimulus material and mentor guidelines to conduct a focus group. She then cold called 437 woman and selected 103 to participate in focus groups located around the country. All of these participates were woman because it was identified that woman were the primary food purchasers and meal preparers. Banks structured these focus groups to bring out various common feeling and ideals from the woman such as Italian sausage made life easier and wholesome meals bring the family together but it isn’t worth the risk of disaster. She then lead her team to analyze all aspects of the focus groups and identify key items and as a result 11 values that characterized the woman’s ideals were identified. Banks wanted to use a brand ladder to show how core values lead to the attributes of a product. The team identify the core value held by the woman by noticing that the 11 values they identified from the focus groups were all about the woman wanting to do a good job as a mother and homemaker. “Job well done” was identified as the Core Values and the top of the brand ladder. The team then developed 4 mock up concepts and exposed consumers to them and asked them to vote on which one the like best. “Family Connection” and “Clever Cooking” were clearly the favorites and were selected for future quantitative testing. The results were “Clever Cooking” had the highest votes but “Family Connection” had a more evenly distributed score with less “would not buys.” Each one of these stemmed from the same roots but took an

Kevin Tame Saxonville Sausage Case

2/5/2010

approach that both gave woman the feeling that they were doing a good job as a mother and homemaker. Question 4: What alternative do you recommend and why? “Clever Cooking” outweighs the “Family Connection” territory because the majority of Italian foods are associated with the idea of Family. Just having an Italian name and it being Italian sausage might drive this stereotype even further in the eyes of many. Since there is no current “Cleaver Cooking” marketing campaign it might have more staying power. Since “Family Connection” is not a new idea to many, Saxonville runs the risk of competitors copying their same strategy. A “Cleaver Cooking” approach would be harder to duplicate because the companies would be perceived as copy cats. For example, imagine an insurance company who runs an add about being their for you in times of need or shares a story of how they helped someone out. It is easy for another company to come and do the same thing. No company that runs an ad like that would be perceived as a copy cat because that market strategy is so saturated. Now, lets say a company runs a new unique insurance ad that is a duck whose quack sounds like “AFLAC.” It would be really suspicious if another company followed the duck ads with a dog that barked “State Farm.” Since the market strategy is so unique it is unlikely that a company like State Farm is going to have a barking dog. This is a positive thing for Saxonville because they are in a situation where they can be that quaking duck. Therefore, it is better for them to take the “Cleaver Cooking” approach and eliminate any possible competitors entering into the same market position. Question 5: What tactics should accompany the product launch? Further research needs to be taken into consideration before deciding which tactics need to be used. One possible study that could be done would be one that looks at the number of woman or man who watch cooking shows and the trends of these shows. The Nelson Company probably already has the information and it would be a matter of going through the data and seeing the trends of what types of shows people are watching and focus on those groups. If these groups show affinity to creative cooking a marketing campaign could be set up that would have one or two of the cooks on the shows have a number of meals that they prepare using Saxonville’s Italian sausage brand and show how easy and versatile it is. This would appeal to the creative cooker and encourage them to but Saxonville’s Italian sausages. Ultimately this product launch will be successful if the company is able to appeal to the “Creative Cooking” market. Targeting cooking shows, recipe books and and various other types things in the cooking industry will bring it more credibility and substance. However, to push the product over the edge and have true sustainability the name of the product must be branded. If Saxonville use the name Vivio then they should try and push their sausages as “Vivios” not Italian sausages. For example, let’s say they are able to get a chef from the cooking network to cook some easy meals and using their sausages then the company needs to push the chef to refer to the sausages as “Vivios” and not Vivio Italian Sausages. This strategy of branding will have a stronger impact on customer’s buying decisions and will make the brand stronger and sustainable. The company wants woman to go to the store and ask the butcher, “Can I have some “Vivios?”

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