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Reporting In from VNU’s Consumer 360 Conference
Yesterday’s sessions continued to drill deeper into the hearts and souls of consumers. In particular, there were two discussions that were eye-openers.

In his session on Hispanic Consumption, Jim Walkley reemphasized that not all Hispanics are equal – something we’ve heard a lot about in the marketing world over the past year. But Walkley put a different spin (and take-away) on the issue. Due to the significant growth of the Hispanics in the US and with the increasing importance of the Hispanic market, he emphasized why it is important to put the Hispanic consumer in the center of marketing efforts and customize consumer-centric marketing to effectively understand, reach and locate the Hispanic consumer.

“The Changing Face of the Hispanic Consumer” illustrated the differences among the Hispanic consumers due to difference in their demographics, geo-demographics and cultural influences as well as featuring Spectra’s work on measuring Hispanic acculturation and its impact on their purchase behavior. Among the most enlightening was the “Speaking the Local Dialect” portion of the session in which Scarborough data was used to understanding the Hispanic consumer at the local market level.

The new learning for many that attended the session was the comprehension of “acculturation.” The process by which minority cultures like the Hispanic culture adopts values, attitudes and behavior of the dominant non-Hispanic culture. Acculturation is a continuum where members, in this example, of the Hispanic population can vary from a low degree of acculturation with no adoption of any of the dominant culture behavior to a high degree of
acculturation where most of the dominant culture’s behaviors and attitudes have been adopted. According to the Strategy Research Group, about 59 percent of all Hispanics are somewhere in the middle, and that this group is expected to increase to 67 percent by 2010.

2003 – The Year Of More Successful New Product Introductions?

As new product development continues to be a big opportunity for the industry, we can all agree on a common goal: to assess a new product's viability as soon as possible. The New Product Adoption Session, led by Nick Sorvillo and Joe Wilke shared some groundbreaking research to identify Early Adopters prior to a new products in market launch. Their research is geared to addressing how best to determine who new Adopters are likely to be and how best to use them in assessing new product success. Why is this important?

Bottom line: early adopters consume a higher quantity of individual product than later adopters, your potentially most profitable customer.

At best a new product purchase by a consumer is risky business. After all, how do they know they will like the new product? They could potentially be wasting money by purchasing an inferior product to their tried and true brand. The issue for every marketer is to develop a compelling brand positioning that drives consumers to the new franchise. This session stressed that given the leadership that Early Adopters represent, they are critical to the brand’s overall success.

Early Adopters are so critical to new product introductions because their adoption of new products are a bellwether of the new brands long term viability

Early Adopters tend to communicate their likes and dislikes to others.

Because they adopt product quickly, they assist marketers in addressing business opportunities earlier and how best to optimize programming if it is not meeting its objectives. Early Adopters represent a beacon of what is likely to occur.
KC's View:
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