Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Stonyfield Farm Applies Consumer Behavior Insights

Stonyfield Farm recently introduced a new line of yogurts with organic fruit blended in (which is why the line is called "Blends"). The company applied classic marketing techniques based on consumer behavior insights to launch this line.

I first found out about Blends through a coupon I received at the supermarket checkout, offering a freebie. Probably I was selected to receive the coupon because I was buying a lot of competing yogurts. That's the first insight based on consumer behavior: Stonyfield is offering the no-risk sample to people who are already yogurt fans, enticing them to compare and switch brands. Trying to convert non-yogurt fans would likely be less effective--and more expensive. This way, yogurt lovers can try without losing anything.

The product intro was also promoted through exclusive preview samples offered on the company's Facebook page. This gave brand fans an "inside" view and encouraged word of mouth.

As you can see from the foil top shown above, Blends is being marketed with a bit of an attitude: "Other yogurts better watch out," warns the top. "This new Blends could get other yogurts pushed to the back of your fridge."  

That's the second way Stonyfield is applying consumer behavior insights: Consumers tend to bring favorite foods forward in the refrigerator, so foods out of favor wind up in the back. The company is demonstrating its understanding of how people really behave, even as it differentiates itself with its slightly cheeky comments. A good way to stand out on the supermarket shelf, compared with other yogurts that lack this bit of attitude!

Once I peeled off the foil cap, I encountered a surprise: A money-saving coupon for $1 off 3 containers of Blends. Stonyfield's website also offers a 50-cent Blends coupon for download.

This reflects a third critical consumer behavior insight: To become a faithful buyer of a brand or product takes time. Giving buyers a discount to try 3 more containers is a good way to reinforce the buying decision, build familiarity, encourage enthusiasm, and strengthen preference. After enjoying 4 Blends (1 free and 3 discounted), yogurt fans will know whether they want to adopt the product on a regular basis, which translates into valuable customer loyalty.

Blends are still in the intro stage of their product life cycle. Will Stonyfield Farm's classic marketing make Blends into a big success? 

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