As I mentioned, I’m fairly confident in my neighborhood demographics, but I need to find out what the demand for my baked goods looks like. I need some way to predict the volume of purchases I can expect. Once I have that magic number, I can crunch a whole bunch of numbers and find out what kind of space and equipment I need, supply costs, employee costs, etc. But it all centers on knowing how much I can expect to sell in my neighborhood. So goal one of my survey is to get this number.
A second goal, since I’m not likely to be able to do a second survey quickly, is to get feedback on a couple of potential messages I might use to market my bakery and see which message gets the best response. For instance, I now live in Colorado, but I’m originally from Alabama where my grandmother taught me to bake. My recipes are mostly southern-style cakes and pies passed down through my family (although modified to death now because of altitude!). So I could potentially market as a southern-style bakery… but is that a positive or negative in Colorado? I’m not sure. My neighbors may hear southern-style and think made-from-scratch goodness , or they may think high-fat, lard, gross. I need to know what their perception of southern-style is before I use it in any concept for my bakery. This is the other bit of information I’d like to get out of the survey.
So the goals are:
1) Estimate sales volume per year
2) Test response to two or three potential marketing concepts and see which works best
I have an initial outline for the survey which was put together with the help of a market researcher. Surveys can get tricky in that you can unintentionally influence the answers in the way you ask the question. Market researchers know how to avoid this problem. Because I want accurate results, I felt it was worthwhile to pay for a few hours of time with a market researcher to be more confident in the result. We are not done yet, but this is the outline I have so far:
1) Disqualifying questions
2) Purchase volume
3) Concept Description
4) Concept Likeability questions
5) Concept Uniqueness questions
6) Concept Believability questions
7) Anything Confusing?
8) Need or want questions
9) Totally replace, partially replace, or supplement questions?
10) Product Features (scale — important to not important)
11) Which are the 3 most important?
12) How do current offerings rate in terms of the above?
13) How familiar are these motives (scale)
14) Misc. questions
So I will break these down and try to give examples. I’ll only do a couple today as it is my baby’s birthday — he’s 16 and towers over me by a good 10 inches, but I guess he will always be a baby. :-)
So starting with #1, disqualifying questions should be asked first to make sure you don’t include people that may skew your results, and that you are talking to the decision maker. So in my case, I’m going to exclude people who work for a grocery store, warehouse store, or bakery. Also, I want to ask to make sure the person we’re talking to makes decisions about where to buy cakes, pies, etc. for their household. If not, then there would be no need to continue the survey. So those types of questions go first, and you want there to only be a couple.
- Which of the following types of companies, if any, are you employed by:
- Are you one of the primary decision makers responsible for decisions about grocery shopping in your house?
#2 is the purchase volume question. In my survey, I’ve opted to ask how frequently do you currently buy baked goods like cakes, pies, cookies, and muffins — then offer a scale of weekly, monthly, 4x per year, etc. I am playing a little with the wording on how to define baked goods because I don’t want to get answers for breads and bagels, as I don’t provide these. If I just said baked goods, bread is probably the first thing that would come to mind.
- How frequently do you or members of your family purchase baked goods?
#3 is the concept description. In practice, the survey giver would at this point hand a card with the concept description to the taker and let him or her read it. This description should be short, but should describe the concept for the bakery and include words and emotions that convey the benefits to the survey taker — it should define why a person would buy from this bakery vs. a grocery store bakery. This is another area where I have opted to involve a marketing consultant. I want a well-written description that lets me gauge the concepts potential. I don’t want my inexperience in writing a concept description cause me to get a false reading on its appeal.
I should have concept ideas to review next week — I’ll let you know how it goes! I will also continue to explain the survey outline and give examples of what the questions might look like.
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
– Will Rogers