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Looking for Insight

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: June 22, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

I recently attended Luxe Pack New York, as well as moderated a panel, and noticed a significant focus on the importance of consumer insight—that is, simply not just assuming consumers want, need or will purchase a product, regardless of how good the product and/or its packaging. GCI magazine has printed much on the importance of consumer insight, but, for the most part, it’s from a marketing perspective. At Luxe Pack, suppliers were stressing the need.

“[Consumer insight studies have] been a very big push for MWV, in really the past two years, to change from a company that was very technology-oriented in what we brought to market to one that is more consumer- and consumer experience-oriented,” Earl Trout, director of marketing for MWV’s beauty and personal care division, told me. “Every product development that we’ve had in place for the past three years has changed, and consumer insight is part of development programs—to make sure aesthetically and functionally it's in line with consumer expectations today.”

More and more, success depends on consumer insight—putting products with the best chance of selling on shelf, particularly with consumers watching their spends. I believe seeking these insights is important across job titles. This requires dialogue internally and with consumers, and always striving to engage consumers.

I also attended the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Capstone event, celebrating the 2010 graduates of the Master of Professional Studies degree program in cosmetics and fragrance marketing and management and their work. The four focused presentations all sought to answer, “What will the beauty industry be like 10 years from now?” The presentations and ideas were brilliant. The work was inspiring, and a brief recap is available online and in next month’s issue. I’m also excited that GCI magazine will be able to share additional information from the presentations in upcoming issues, courtesy of FIT.