Mackman Research was approached by Natures Menu, the premium natural pet food manufacturer, to evaluate the impacts and effectiveness of Natures Menu’s dog food brand evolution and marketing activities.
Natures Menu was established in 1981 in Norfolk, starting life as a small family business with a focus on natural pet food. They offer an extensive range of raw and natural pet foods for both cats and dogs, ensuring that their recipes are nutritionally balanced and locally sourced. Natures Menu has a wide range of employees, from a dedicated customer service team to registered veterinarians. Their welfare and quality standards comply with DEFRA approved micro-biological testing and raw material traceability so that pet owners can be sure that their cat or dog is eating only the best food available.
Early fielding criteria meant that fewer panel members qualified to take part in the survey. Because of this data collection took a little longer than anticipated. The respondent ‘type’ required had to fulfil a specific buying behaviour and this proved to narrow the field somewhat. To overcome the reduction in respondent ‘type’ we slightly loosened some of the remaining and less crucial quotas. This allowed the last few surveys to be completed whilst maintaining the pre-requisites.
Working with Natures Menu, Mackman Research designed a research method which would use a panel survey to target dog owners who were purchase decision makers. The survey needed to include a wide range of different audience segments from a variety of demographics including gender, age, and occupation. These participants would be asked to provide their opinion on how they approached feeding their dog, and their awareness of Natures Menu in comparison with other well-known dog food brands. Over a time period of two weeks, 500 panel participants would complete the survey through Kantar, the data, insights, and consulting company. This survey was designed to comprise a range of question types from quantitative to qualitative, inviting participants to choose both from specific options and to elaborate on their answers in their own words.
We analysed the panel data which consisted of 500 individual replies. Each completed survey contained mostly closed question responses with a few open questions to allow for unprompted feedback. We produced a detailed report to illustrate the findings in a visual format, along with verbatim answers from participants which were organised according to theme and frequency.
As well as providing brand positioning and brand awareness, the panel survey also detailed other crucial consumer behaviours. From the results, a clear picture of common buying patterns and attitudes towards dog feeding could be discerned. The data revealed a variety of nuances that effect both purchasing and feeding choices. In addition, pain points were identified that may act as either motivations or barriers to purchasing this particular brand of pet food.
Our research also measured the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns. Here the findings indicated thoughts and feelings surrounding campaign messages. By including particular marketing activities in the panel survey Natures Menu would be able to assess the impact of future campaigns upon their brand reputation.
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