Printer Friendly

Tested in Indiana: if it sells in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis or Marion, you can sell it anywhere.

You can't chow down on McDonald's Pizza in indianapolis but it's hard to avoid the pepperoni in Evansville. You can't pause and refresh with Coca-Cola's new Clarte water in Evansville but it's easy to glug a glass in indianapolis. You can't send Hallmark Flowers in Marion but you can 'send the very best' posies in indianapolis. You can't open Gerber's new plastic package of baby juice in Evansville but you can in Fort Wayne.

These 'here you see it, there you don't' products are all in test" in indiana to see if they will fly. And flagpoles to run them upon are scattered all over the state.

The theory behind test marketing is to launch the fledgling brand in a controlled situation using limited funds rather than blow the budget on a national introduction that might bomb. It saves a bundle and avoids embarrassment in the trade. Close to 1,500 new products were trotted out in 1989 and about 90 percent have flopped or probably will. There's no reason to believe 1990 will be any different. it makes sense to think small before you think big and wisdom says, 'If you can make it there' - in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis or Marion 'you can make it anywhere.'

Packaged-goods manufacturers and others look for All-American microcosms in the Midwest to use as demographically representative fishbowls. To qualify, the population must be large enough to give a fair reading. The city has to be a media island so spots and ads do not 'spill' in from or out into other towns. The markets need the correct mix of TV, radio and print media that are priced reasonably. Television buying has to be especially efficient because most products are launched on the tube. Whatever money is invested must be projectable to the entire country when the brand is fully rolled out. Retailers, the supermarkets and drugstores, have to cooperate and products should be supplied from the stores' own warehouses or by wholesalers in the area so distribution is confined.

Look at a U.S. map and you will recognize about 100 isolated cities that qualify as marketing mirrors: Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and, sure enough, Indianapolis, Evansville and others. All are on the list of top test markets.

What can be tested? Among other things, different advertising messages, types of promotions, budget levels, packages, pricing, shelf placement, product ingredients or flavors, media buying and combinations, competitive activity, and other vital points in a marketing plan.

it is a jungle out there and test marketing does its best to tame it.


Historically, Evansville is a prime test area. Procter & Gamble Co. tried out Crest toothpaste there more than 30 years ago. During the last 10 years Bases Burke Institute Inc. in Cincinnati, formerly the SAMI/Burke Co., ran its Test Marketing Group in Evansville. It covered 2,500 local households, and thumbs-up from consumers helped launch Puffs Plus Tissues, Liquid Tide and Aunt Jemima Lite pancake mix, among others.

This summer, The Juhl Agency of Mishawaka and indianapolis tested media effectiveness for Aristocraft, "Fine Cabinetry for Kitchen and Bath," in Vanderburgh County. The drill was to check the change in brand awareness following a media campaign and to provide quality leads to dealers.

Telephone research going in said Aristocraft had a high 49 percent total awareness, and 12 percent was unaided. 'Can you name a manufacturer of kitchen cabinets?')

The follow-up survey found total awareness after the campaign jumped 26 points to 75 percent, with unaided recall up 8 points to 20 percent. The campaign produced a hefty 2,100 dealer leads. What this indicates,' says John Keck, media/research director at Juhl, is that the consumer products approach using consumer media and consumer copy works as well with home building products as it does with packaged goods brands.'

Evansville also has a pizza war raging. Billboards blare Pizza Tonight.' Counter banners belt out "Pizzaaah!" The McDonald's Corp.--through the Louisville, Ky.-based Bandy-Carrol-Hellige Advertising--has launched its version of the Italian delight to beef up its less-attended dinner hours. Since the first volley sounded the rollout has expanded to Las Vegas, Nev.; Fresno, Calif.; Hartford, Conn.; and Downers Grove, Ill., a few miles from the corporate headquarters.

Godfather's, Domino's, Noble Roman's, Little Caesar's and Pizza Hut are sniping back in Evansville with price cuts, barrages of coupons, full-page newspaper ads and competitive TV spots. Pizza Hut says, Don't be McFooled. Their crust is McFrozen. We offer three great crusts - not just McOne. We offer 12 toppings - they McDon't.' McDonald's thanks Pizza Hut in print for giving our campaign some extra topping.'

The Circle City is encircled by fresh offerings. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Indianapolis researched and conceptualized a new, ultrapure, polished water' product. Its name is Clarte, pronounced 'klar-tay,' meaning 'clear" in French. It is carbonated and available natural or flavored with lime, lemon or orange. Six-packs are found in the water section next to rivals Perrier, LaCroix and others. It comes in 11-oz. bottles.

Bill Marty, vice president of sales and marketing at Indianapolis-based Montgomery, Zukerman, Davis, says: We believe consumers will find it is the purest, most refreshing sparkling water available today.' The product didn't come easily. MZD spent months on the project with focus groups testing names, messages to be used on TV and in print, and flavors. 'Orange was the trickiest," Marty recalls. it was a challenge to get just the right subtle and natural flavor."

So far distribution is in Carmel, Greenwood and Indianapolis,' says Harry Davis, MZD's executive vice president and account supervisor on Coca-Cola. There is some product in Fort Wayne and Chicago but it is not being monitored. The advertising has been direct-mailed to selected ZIP codes. We're getting good feedback. People like the taste. They think the bottle design looks classy and that's important in this kind of product. Restaurant and bar sales are important where Clarte is an upscale substitute for alcohol drinks.'

If Clarte works here, it will logically be expanded to other bottling companies owned and operated by the Marvin H. Herb Group located in Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York.

Hallmark Cards Inc. of Kansas City, Mo., has fought the 'reach out and touch someone" competition for years. Now the firm is taking on the flower folk. Any way sentiment is expressed other than with what gets tucked inside a stamped envelope had been an anathema to the greeting card leader. Reaction? Four-foot coolers filled with posies now bloom beside the Missing You, Sympathy, Happy Birthday-Uncle and Get Well racks. Displays a reset up in supermarkets and malls as 8-foot additions to the present Hallmark section. Business is expected to be impulse, cash-and-carry. Advertising is only on television but free flowers go to customers on promotional days. Baltimore is a second test city.

According to Fran Etheridge, the Mr. E of Mr. E's Hallmark card shop in Indianapolis, The flower business has been good in the first six weeks. Hallmark flies the flowers in fresh to the airport and a refrigerated truck delivers them three times a week. There are 50 stores in central indiana involved in the test, from Bloomington in the south to Fort Wayne in the north. When all of them have their display cases in we'll do some television spots. So far I have a banner and have handed out 200 carnations. I'll do another carnation giveaway in September.' Will flowers boost total sales or cannibalize card sales? Stay tuned.

Crest tooth paste, which had the testimonial boost of all time with its American Dental Association endorsement years ago, is now getting attention with a new package. Everybody squeezes the tube in the middle and it takes a hammer to get the last paste out. To solve these nagging problems, P&G has come up with a slick dispenser. In TV commercials the paste practically drapes itself on a toothbrush, then actually backs up inside the package when the pressure comes off. The spots aim to let you watch that in a tight close-up.

Other products being tested in Indianapolis are Pringles' microwaveable dips and single-serving coffee bags in regular and decaf from Folger's.


This town is wired. information Resources Inc. of Chicago has a panel of 3,500 in the market. Up to 1,500 of them have a device in their TV sets so they can be fed special commercials. That's called 'split cable capability.' it means that household A receives a group of X spots and household B receives a group of Y spots. Resulting purchases are monitored and the researchers can tell which commercials are the most persuasive. They also can give clients a reading on how well people like the concept of the product and a report on whether people buy it more than once.

The system works because the 3,500 volunteer households in what is called the Shoppers Hotline' panel have identification cards to use at stores. They show the card to the cashier and their ID number is fed into a cash register scanner that records the universal product code for every item they buy. This info is combined and massaged and Behavior Scan' answers the client's big questions. Yes, we predict the likelihood of people purchasing the product and at what volume level,' says Robert J. Bregenzer, senior vice president, corporate communications, at Information Resources Inc." I don't think anybody else has a permanent, ongoing setup like this in Indiana. We have similar operations in Pittsfield, Mass.; Eau Claire, Wis.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Grand Junction, Colo.; and Midland, Texas. We have been around for about 10 years and over 300 major packaged goods firms have tested with us, including Procter & Gamble, Kellogg's, Heinz, Del Monte, Kraft, Nabisco and Frito-Lay.

Results are almost immediate and three months into a test we are able to see how many people are buying the brand and how the marketing is working,' says Bregenzer.

Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne is in the vocabulary of every advertising agency account executive and corporate brand manager. Procter & Gamble, which practically originated market testing, has used the city for years. The way one finds out what is going on is by talking with a local supermarket sales manager. Grocery buyers have to cooperate with the testing firms to squeeze new products onto the shelves so customers can pluck them off. One buyer in Fort Wayne is Dick Gordon of Roger's Markets inc. He reels off recent products tested: "Robitussin Cough Drops, similar to Hall's cough drops, the way the flavors come out; Gerber baby food items, we just finished one in July with new plastic packaging for juices; Handy Wipes, a bathroom wipe from Dow; Pedia Care, a children's cold relief product; and a new formula for Kitty Litter.

There will probably be a lot of this coming out with the ecology business and all the recycling,' he adds. These companies are redoing packaging and they'll be testing different redesigns.' Gordon works with a number of research firms, including Test Mark in Minneapolis and Market Decisions in Cincinnati. There is also a homegrown company, Dennis Research. Pat Slater, vice president, remembers when Dennis studied Pampers and a lot of laundry detergent brands for P&G years ago. We are a field service,' she says. "We have a mall facility where we intercept shoppers and bring them to our office nearby to do taste and concept tests. We have a phone room where we call people locally and around the country. We also have store auditors who put the test products in the stores and monitor sales. We are the only such facility actually located in Fort Wayne.'

The marketing beat goes on all around the state. Depending on where you live, you are offered the latest. How the public shells out for these toddler brands determines whether they thrive or shrivel. Test marketing is a sturdy safety net and few product manager acrobats want to attempt the triple without one under them.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Curtis Magazine Group, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Media & Marketing
Author:Johnson, J. Douglas
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Previous Article:Profile: Griffin & Boyle.
Next Article:Fit for life? How solvent are life insurance companies?

Related Articles
Indiana's largest financial institutions.
At the crossroads: Indiana's infrastructure.
Indiana's largest banks, savings institutions and credit unions.
Indiana's largest hospitals.
Biofuture: a growing number of promising life sciences companies across the state.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters