snippets from the guide   (Introduction ⇩)

(Introduction ⇧)

In the age of analytics, The Marketing Analytics Practitioner’s Guide serves as a comprehensive guide to marketing management, covering the underlying concepts and their application.

As advances in technology transform the very nature of marketing, there has never been greater need for marketers to learn marketing.

Essentially a practitioner’s guide to marketing management in the 21st century, the guide blends the art and the science of marketing to reflect how the discipline has matured in the age of analytics.

Application oriented, it imparts an understanding of how to interpret market intelligence and use analytics and marketing research for taking day-to-day marketing decisions, and for developing and executing marketing strategies.

Article — Redefining how we learn marketing.

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Consumers perceive the pack as the product.
Exhibit  Consumers perceive the pack as the product.

The packaging’s consumer journey may be summed up as a series of messages: “pick me”, “buy me”, “remember me”, “use me” and “replenish me”.

Think of a product. For instance, Coca-Cola.

The image that usually comes first to mind is the pack. Which is why packaging plays such an important role in building the brand’s image.

Of no less importance, is its role in sales.

Packaging encounters the consumer at a crucial juncture—the moment, at the shelf, when she is about to make her purchase decision. This is the moment the pack must sell the product.

Packaging is also a form of advertising. Good packaging augments advertising in building brand equity and generating sales. Inferior packaging, on the other hand, can weaken brand performance.

Over the years, as media advertising has fragmented, and media costs have increase, brands are relying relatively less on media for advertising support. This increases the importance of the role of package as the advertising campaign.

Consumer research supports marketers through the stages of development of packaging—review, exploration, screening and optimization, and validation. It helps them identify the functional and graphic elements of the design that break through the visual clutter on-shelf, improve the communication and strengthen the imagery.


Tropicana Saga


Tropicana Saga

Tropicana Saga
Exhibit  Tropicana debacle — new packaging (right) led to a 20% slump in sales.

Tropicana Saga

One of the great shortcomings of marketers is the tendency to discard something of great value for the wrong reasons. It happens all the time but some tales are more noteworthy than others.

In January of 2009, PepsiCo revamped the packaging of Tropicana. The vivid and memorable orange-with-straw-poking-out graphic was discarded. It was replaced with the glass of juice version shown in Exhibit 17.2.

The outcome was far from what PepsiCo had hoped for. According to IRI’s Infoscan, sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium plummeted 20% from Jan 1 and Feb. 22. And on Feb 23, the company announced that they would bring back the old packaging.

Undoubtedly talented marketers and designers devoted time and attention to this USD 35 million campaign. Yet, considering the scale of market impact, the high level of dissonance should have been sensed through consumer research. If decisions were guided by research, PepsiCo might not have lost an estimated over hundred million dollars in sales.

Though reminiscent of the New Coke launch, the Tropicana debacle is distinct in that it centred mainly on packaging. The saga explicitly illustrates the pivotal role that packaging can play in driving sales and building brand equity.

It also highlights the importance of testing and optimizing packaging, and understanding how it works.

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How Packaging Works


How Packaging Works

How Packaging Works
Exhibit  Bright, distinct colours make the Garnier pack stand out from the clutter.

Packaging protects, preserves, transports and contains a product over its life span. It offers convenience and facilitates the use of the product. It informs, educates, communicates, builds brand equity and generates sales.

In a fleeting encounter with the shopper, packaging must grab her attention, tell the brand’s story and evoke her desire to purchase.

It must not be conceived in isolation. On the shelf, where it meets consumers, packaging is surrounded by rivals competing to grab attention.

Thus, from a marketing standpoint, the key to effective packaging, lies in its ability to stand out. It needs to cut through the visual noise that engulfs it. It must get noticed.

Studies have shown that faces attract attention, more so if they are expressing emotion. As social beings, consumers seek eye contact.

Nature too is alluring. Though other considerations come into play, the Tropicana experience does suggest that the image of a fresh orange is more endearing than a glass of orange juice.

Typically, the consumer’s gaze is drawn to aberrations in her visual pathway, contrasts such as brighter facings, distinct shapes, or discontinuities such between different shades of colour, and she likes aesthetically pleasing designs.

For instance, in Exhibit 17.3, the dark green Garnier packaging stands out from the lighter shades.

To attract attention the packaging should therefore discriminate from competitors through choice of colour, shading, shape, typography and other design special effects. Yet this distinction must be contained within the context of the brand’s image. The packaging has to be unique to the brand, and distinct from competitors.

The packaging’s consumer journey may be summed up as a series of messages: “pick me”, “buy me”, “remember me”, “use me” and “replenish me”.

When the consumer gazes at the shelf, the pack urges her to “pick me”. It creates an instant impression that should trigger interest among new buyers, and evoke loyalty from repeat buyers.

Once it is in her hands, the pack must convey the information she requires, and impart the value proposition that resonates and compels her to buy.

When it is brought home, the pack serves as a cue to remind consumers about the product, to get them to use it, and importantly, to replenish it once it is consumed.

The packaging is constantly engaging with the consumer, persuading her to try it and continue buying it, strengthening her relationship with it and enhancing her affinity for it.

Creativity and consistency in packaging builds long lasting associations and memories. Yet it is important too that the packaging evolves over time, and that it remains fresh and contemporary.

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Packaging Development


Packaging Development

Packaging development cycle.
Exhibit  Packaging development cycle.

In a constantly changing market, from time to time, marketers need to redesign or tweak their packaging so that it remains relevant and contemporary, and further enhances the brand’s equity. Sometimes, as with new products, they need to craft packaging from scratch.

Irrespective of the immediate objective, from a long term perspective, packaging development is an ongoing cyclical process of review, exploration, screening/optimization, and validation. Depicted in Exhibit 17.4, these stages address different business needs and objectives, by means of a diverse range of analytic tools and research techniques.

  • Review: The objective is to understand how the packaging enhanceS the brand’s equity and increases purchase intent, and identify areas for improvement. The review should also assess the shelf impact of the packaging.
  • Exploration: At the early stages of packaging development marketers need to explore consumers’ motivations, and understand their knowledge and perceptions of the category and the brands. Seeking ways to improve the packaging, they need to understand how effectively the packaging is communicating what the brand stands for — the proposition, brand personality, the key symbols, identifiers and icons. This usually falls within the scope of qualitative research.
  • Screening and Optimization: In the process of packaging development, designers create a number of prototypes and design variations that need to be evaluated. The primary approach to screening and optimizing the prototypes is a quantitative assessment of the engagement (purchase intent, perceptions and attitudes, and communication) and shelf impact. Exploratory qualitative research, similar to the areas described under exploration, identifies the ways to improve the packaging. And, if several elements are being optimized, conjoint analysis can provide the combination of elements that consumers find most attractive or desirable.
  • Validation: In the final stages of packaging development, tests are conducted to validate the effectiveness of the new packaging in terms of estimated increase in the proportion of buyers and the sales volume. These tests are conducted in the context of shelves modelled on a few major retail chains. An increase in these metrics would confirm that the new packaging is effective at these chains.

In general, the key aspects that we need to analyse in packaging research are brand image and brand equity, engagement, persuasion, and shelf impact.

Brand Image and Brand Equity

When a consumer thinks of a product, the image that usually comes first to mind is the pack. So it is of vital importance that the pack projects the desired image and proposition, that it convey the right values, and strenghtens the bond with target consumers.


Packaging in many ways is a form of advertising. And as media advertising gets more fragmented, more expensive and less effective, brands are increasingly relying on their packaging to strengthen their image, and build engagement through attitudinal aspects such as likeability, symbolism, emotions, and relationship/involvement.


One of the dimensions of engagement, persuasion deserves focussed attention because of the importance of packaging in selling the product. We need to understand how the graphics and other packaging design elements influence consumers at the point of purchase.

Shelf Impact

When a consumer shops for low cost, frequently purchased products such as fast-moving consumer goods, she is usually in autopilot mode, and will purchase her usual brands.

There are moments, however, that may trigger a change. Whether it is disappointment with her existing brand, the launch of a new product, the incidence of a stockout, an attractive promotional offer for a competing product or a host of other factors, from time to time she is induced to break out of her habits and try something different.

When she is habit-driven, good packaging gets noticed and primes her of what the brand means to her, increasing the likelihood that she will choose it from within her repertoire.

And when she is ready for a change, though she may never have bought the brand before, packaging can perk her attention and remind her of the brand’s messages and its value proposition. At that moment when she is about to make-up her mind, it is perhaps the most influential element of the marketing mix.

To play these vital roles, the packaging must stand out from the visual clutter that engulfs it on the shelf.

It must convey the information the target consumer requires, and impart the value proposition that resonates and compels her to buy.

Shelf impact is of greater importance in highly competitive, fragmented categories where brands need to break through the clutter.

A wide array analytic and research techniques assist marketers during the different stages of packaging development. These include:

  • Qualitative research: Particularly important during exploration.
  • Quantitative research: Used for reviewing packaging and for screening and optimizing.
  • Conjoint analysis: is an optimizing technique that is used when several elements of the packaging are being optimized.
  • Eye tracking — shelf impact: Used for assess how well packaging stand out.
  • Biometrics — engagement: In conjunction with other biometric technologies, eye trackers capture respondents’ feelings, their level of attention and engagement, and the extent that they are mentally stretched.
  • Visual search test: Qualitative in nature, this is a test for findability and shelf impact.
  • Controlled store test: Used during validation to estimate the packaging’s sales impact.
  • Simulated shelf test: Also for estimating sales, this technique uses virtual shelves with CAPI.
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