Passionate about gourmet food and cooking, Kathy Kudler founded Kudler Fine Foods in 1998. Since then, Kathy’s store has successfully expanded into three locations in Del Mar, La Jolla, and Encinitas. Kudler Fine foods offer gourmet quality imported and domestic food products including bakery items, meat and sea food, produce, cheese and diary, and wine.
The Kudler Fine Food operation is experiencing great success and opportunities for further growth are abound. Kathy is currently focusing on expanding her organization, and is seeking a suitable spot for her next shop. The Kudler Fine Foods mission statement is to “provide their customers with the finest selected foodstuff, wines, and related needs in an unparalleled consumer environment (University of Phoenix, 2008).” Marketing research will aid Kathy in developing marketing tactics that will help grow her organization.
Importance of Marketing Research
Entrepreneurs like Kathy “need information in order to produce products and services that create value in the mind of the customer (Internet Center for Management and Business Administration, 2010).” Marketing research links the marketer, the competition, and the consumer by means of gathering information. Previous to expansion, it is important that Kudler Fine Foods performs marketing research in order to acquire information regarding the competition and target market characteristics. When performed successfully, marketing research will minimize risk potential.
The formal process of marketing research is conducted in five steps.
The steps are: define the problem, analyze the situation, acquire problem specific data, interpret the data, and solve the problem. Kudler Fine Foods may appear to have no specific “problem” per se, but the five steps can be applied in a general sense. The company does wish to expand into new markets and seize a potential opportunity, thus marketing research can be used to Kudler’s advantage.
Application of the “Five Steps”
Kudler Fine Food’s main marketing concern is their upcoming expansion. Kathy’s fourth store will be opening in another area of the state, and so the consumer base that supports her other stores may not be present. Thus, step one and the definition of Kudler’s problem is that the company must research and define the potential market that will support the new store. Failure in doing so may result in an unprofitable store.
Step two of the marketing research process is analyzing the situation. “A situation analysis is an informal study of what information is already available in the problem area. (William D. Perreault, 2009).” Situation analysis often begins with quick research such as an internet search or informal conversation. Kudler Fine Foods can perform quick and informal research regarding an acceptable location for a new branch. This may include researching existing businesses and their clientele on the internet, or informal interactions with individuals who may have market insight into Kudler’s expansion. Useful secondary data may be available citing the success or failure of market competitors in the target area(s).
During stage three, Kudler Fine Foods would attempt to acquire problem specific data regarding their expansion. During data collection, the researcher attempts to learn what customers think or how they will behave regarding a specific topic. In relation to Kudler Fine Foods, acquiring primary data from marketing research might include a survey of potential customers within potential expansion zones. After all, it would be unwise for Kathy to expand her business into an area where consumer demand would be lacking. Qualitative research utilizing surveys would provide a snapshot of potential customer perception of a gourmet food shop within their community. The survey would ask specific questions which gauge customer feelings toward a local gourmet food store and related products. Surveys can be administered via mail, email, or phone, and would capture data within a sample population.
An important step regarding Kudler Fine Food’s expansion, step four involves interpreting the data gathered during the data acquisition phase. During this stage, Kathy and her marketing team can use statistical analysis to draw meaning from the population sample. The data analyzed during this stage will express the customer perception of a gourmet food store and its products within a targeted area, and will help to determine the viability of opening another shop within a specific area.
Step five in the marketing research process is simply referred to as solving the problem. “In the problem solution step, managers use the research results to make marketing decisions. Some researchers, and some managers, are fascinated by the interesting tidbits of information that come from the research process. They are excited if the research reveals something they didn’t know before. But if research doesn’t have action implications, it has little value and suggests poor planning by the researcher and the manager (William D. Perreault, 2009).” It is during this stage where Kathy Kudler and her company will make the final decision of where and whether to expand into a new store based on their marketing research.
Importance of Competitive Intelligence and Analysis
Competitive intelligence is the gathering and analysis of public information about competitors within a marketplace. As opposed to industrial espionage which is not only unethical but also illegal, competitive intelligence is common practice, ethical, and legal. Competitive intelligence is important in today’s business world because it allows firms to anticipate the actions of their competitors, and provides a clear picture of potential opportunities and threats. Competitive intelligence is crucial when planning marketing strategies and tactics.
Kudler Fine Foods must consider the fact that other companies are entering the market of gourmet food shops. Using competitive intelligence, Kudler can keep a watch on competitor trends, so that they may stay ahead of the game in both service and products. Kudler already has the advantages of an established store and a popular brand name, but Kathy and her marketing team must keep their momentum and always remain vigil in regards to the actions of competitors.
Kudler has a taste of success, and plans to further their growth within the gourmet food market by opening up a fourth retail location. Through meticulous planning and market research, Kudler can ensure success by targeting the most sensible area to set up another location. Competitive intelligence and a well respected company name will aid them in remaining profitable in the face of fierce competition.