This year was supposed to be our version of the roaring twenties. Well, there was roaring, and it was indeed 2021, but this year was anything but a party.
Another year of the COVID pandemic, of divisive politics, and out-of-control weather. On the business side, there were supply chain constraints, out-of-pocket customers, and a very big boat that got stuck in a surprisingly small canal.
But maybe 2021 was like our gap year, the transition between the chaos of 2020 and the return to order we can only hope is coming in 2022. Either way, we’re already ready to close the books on this year.
So, admittedly a bit earlier in the year than typical, we present to you our top-five market research blogs of 2021, covering food service, retail, entertainment, and CPG/manufacturing.
We were sounding the alarm about Peloton all the way back in January, noting that “[Their logistics and branding] difficulties threaten to create a vicious cycle (pardon the pun) wherein their sales funnel constricts, and their subscriptions decline.” And that was before they killed Mr. Big.
We looked at their struggles to keep pace with their own expanded market as well as the ways market research could help them avoid their descent.
We had as much fun as anybody can rightly expect to have on the job back in early March when we wrote about the Nike resale scandal involving a Nike executive, her enterprising son, a corporate credit card, and a whole chain of mistakes.
But along the way, we got the heart of the conflicts and confluences of the sneaker resale market.
“In that sense, manufacturers and resellers are co-conspirators working together to increase shoe value. Of course, that conspiracy was always supposed to be unspoken and unintentional—the result of market forces coalescing around a mutual interest. What this Nike-Hebert story does, however fairly or unfairly, is make it look like this conspiracy is both tangible and intentional.”
So, come for the jokes, stay for the analysis.
At the end of July, we did a deep dive into Victoria’s Secret and their spectacular fall from cultural relevance, when “the company had a big secret: It was manufacturing and marketing products to appeal to Victor, not Victoria.” Indeed, as we pointed out at the time, Victoria’s secret created marketing campaigns where “women were the consumers but men were the audience.”
How did they so completely lose connection with their ideal consumers and how can they get it back? We used some market research methodologies to answer these questions.
AMC appeared to be on the ropes, but a confluence of luck, savvy, and timing have them on the rebound. As we wrote, “With an infusion of cash from small-scale meme stock investors, a public that seems all too ready to return en masse to movie theaters, and a plan to capitalize on both, AMC looks to be on the ascent.”
The theater chain is gobbling up market share and betting big that Americans prefer their entertainment together, in the dark. They’re right, we do.
We, like the rest of the country, started noticing a concerning trend in the late summer–restaurant customers, frustrated with safety mandates and extended wait times, were getting out of pocket, acting a fool, abusing wait staff, and ending up on YouTube. We attempted to contextualize this aggression and offer some market-research-based solutions for it.
As we said: “Restaurant owners and operators must protect their staff, not just because it’s right, but because it’s their most important resource. If they lose customers or even go out of business because of it, well, at least they went down defending their staff. They couldn’t run a business without them anyway.”
Be sure to come back next week when we countdown our five favorite blogs about anything other than market research...