Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Marketing Research Blog
Spring Field Trip to Cincinnati, OH by Aaron Anderson

On February 22, 2012 the A. C. Nielsen Center departed on a field trip to Cincinnati, OH where we visited the offices of Procter & Gamble and Burke Inc. The adventures began Thursday afternoon with our flights from Madison to Chicago being cancelled. We instead boarded a bus bound for Chicago. Nielsen Center bus rides are a great way for classmates to bond. What little barriers exist between the first and second years come down and everyone socializes. The bus ride passed quickly and we were soon boarding our plane to Cincinnati.

Our onsite visit began with an overview of the coming hours, which were to include an in-depth conversation with moms followed by hands-on activities. This portion of the trip coincided with work the students are doing in our New Product Development class. Each group of students has been given a P&G baby product category to develop new product for. At this stage in the class each group has a series of concept ideas. Our objective with our focus group moms was to augment our procedural knowledge of baby care products with an emotional and psychological mindset as expressed by them. We were interested in understanding the pain points around raising a child, their daily routines, how they make purchase decisions, and what benefits they seek from the products they buy.

Each NPD student group was matched with a mom and one of her friends. We had 45 minutes with the mothers to walk them through our “dig sites” (specific research areas of interest). After the focus group activity we conducted a store walk through with the pairs of moms. We toured every product category and got a sense for what products they purchased, how they perceived brands, what aspects of the shelf captured their attention and what package details most influenced their purchase decisions. Our P&G activities concluded with a brief presentation of our key findings. Every group came away energized with new insight to drive our new product developments.

Our next stop was at the Burke offices. We received a tour of their offices and engaged in a presentation on the process of writing and responding to requests for proposals (RFP).

The evening concluded with a Nielsen Center alumni happy hour. Area alumni and alumni and staff from P&G and Burke were in attendance. We mixed and mingled the night away over drinks and hors d'oeuvres.