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Gonna make you a star!

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By Bob Bushby

    Tags:

  • Communications
  • Derby
  • Marketing
  • survey
Reader, I am worried. A recent email from Marks & Spencer has informed me that last month I was the #14 shopper of yoghurt at the company’s Derby city centre store, a feat which apparently puts me in the ‘superstar shopper’ category.

It is true that in our currently three-person household, we do like a bit of yoghurt, fruit and muesli to start our day… but not every day. On average, I would say we buy a couple of pots of yoghurt each week which, to me, hardly qualifies us as ‘superstar’ consumers.

So, if there were only 13 other people buying more yoghurt then me in M&S last month, what does that say about yoghurt consumption in Derby? Is the city’s population not very health conscious? And, given the wide choice of yoghurts available in the store, how popular is my favourite variety and might it be in danger of being delisted?

I am sure you can understand my concern.

I jest, of course, but details of my yoghurt purchases are just another demonstration of how we are all living in a world of ‘information overload.’ Not that this is a new phenomenon – according to Wikipedia, the concept dates back to the 3rd and 4th century BC while the actual phrase was first used in Bertram Gross’ 1964 book, The Managing of Organizations.

Nevertheless, I cannot really call information about my yoghurt habits ‘useless’. Its lack of context may make it largely meaningless to me, but for the product managers at M&S it will be combined with similar data from thousands of other shoppers to help them in their future product planning and strategy.

And as consumers, we are all contributing to this wealth of information with every scan of our loyalty cards, trawl of the internet or instruction to Alexa.

As the saying goes, ‘knowledge is power’ and in today’s digital age it is very easy to gather facts and canvass opinions. This is good news for communications professionals – there is nothing like a few choice facts or a quirky consumer survey to attract attention, as one of my previous blogs highlighted.

And, of course, flattery is an important part of marketing… so I have to confess, I am secretly just a little bit proud of my status as a superstar shopper – and also very glad that M&S chose not to highlight my penchant for chocolate éclairs.

To find out how research could support your communications programme, contact us for a chat and a coffee and if you’re lucky we’ll even pop down to M&S for one of Bob’s favourite éclairs!

 

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