Karen Faust
karen@faustintel.com
T 708.305.0727
F 708.488.0971
415 Park Ave. Suite F
River Forest, IL 60305

Case Studies

We work with clients in marketing, operations, distribution, new product development, R&D and many other areas of organizations. The following four case studies highlight how our work has helped key managers in different business areas make winning decisions for their companies:

Market analysis and opportunity sizing

Market Analysis and Opportunity Sizing Case Study from Faust Market Intelligence When a Fortune 500 office products company wanted to make a decision about entering a new line of business, they needed to know the potential size of the opportunity. The trouble was that the market was really a 'micro-market.'
What is a Micro-Market?
Unlike many large markets such as personal computers or sports drinks, a micro-market is a smaller, untracked sub-group of a larger market. For example, you might want to know about the micro-market for beauty products that use rain forest ingredients; or the micro-market for dental offices that allow financing; or the micro-market for soup products used as ingredients for other recipes.
This client wanted to know the overall size of the micro-market, who the key players were and their respective market shares, the anticipated growth over time, product distribution channels and throughput for each, other basic micro-market characteristics, and any 'new entrant' experiential data that could be found.

A combination of research techniques were used to compile the desired information including:
  • An analysis of internal company hypotheses and existing evidentiary source materials

  • Retail observations including photographic evidence across channels

  • Direct interviews with industry experts, association reps, government regulators, players in the micro-market, and others.
The resulting information was analyzed and synthesized to create a detailed picture of the micro-market and the opportunity and challenges it represented. From this, the client was able to make a go/no-go decision on the opportunity.

Competitor SKU level cost studies

SKU Level Cost Study Case Study from Faust Market Intelligence When a Fortune 500 manufacturing company wanted to determine how to compete against a competitor with a significant MSRP advantage, they needed to know what the competitive product costs were at the SKU level.

This client wanted to know direct costs including materials, labor, manufacturing, etc., as well as indirect cost allocations for shipping, warehousing, administrative & executive salaries, administrative overhead, sales, advertising, R&D, etc.

A combination of research techniques were used to compile the desired information including:
  • An analysis of internal company hypotheses and existing evidentiary source materials

  • Public source filings including OSHA facility reports and local permitting documentation

  • Direct interviews with target company employees and former employees, suppliers and customers
The resulting information was analyzed and synthesized to create a reasonable approximation of the competitor's costs at the product level. Based on this information, the client was able to identify areas of advantage and disadvantage and make a series of informed decisions as needed to reduce the cost differential.

Mystery shopping (internal or competitive)

Mystery Shopping Case Study from Faust Market Intelligence When a Fortune 500 retailer in the pharmacy/drug store market wanted to improve its customer service experience due to mediocre feedback reports, it needed to evaluate its own customer service experience in relation to its top 6 competitors - one of which was considered 'best in the industry.'

Over 100 disguised evaluations were designed and executed across multiple retailers and geographic markets to assess customer service, merchandising, brand representation, transactional efficiencies, and compliance with safety and security procedures.

The resulting information was analyzed and synthesized to create an assessment of the client's performance against that of its competitors. Areas for improvement were clearly identified and decisions were made to adjust processes, alter communications materials and selectively retrain employees in certain areas.

Inspiration and ideation observations

Inspiration and Ideation Observations Case Study from Faust Market Intelligence When a Fortune 1000 home/soft-goods manufacturer identified a failing package design, its creative team needed to jump-start the ideation process for a series of high visibility meetings to develop new packaging concepts.

This client needed to know what structural design, graphic design and mechanical packaging design was being leveraged by its competitors as well as by proxy products in order to learn from the field and jump start its own ideation process.
What is a Proxy and how is it used?
A proxy is a product, market, or retailer that can stand in for, or represent, the original for the purpose of divergent thinking. A proxy often comes from outside the client's area of comfort, but it shares some compelling characteristics. For example, a clothing retailer might attempt to learn about check-out lane merchandising from proxy retail segments such as mini-marts, grocery and mass; or a CPG company might attempt to learn about affinity marketing from proxy leaders such as airlines, consumer electronics retailers or quick serve restaurant chains.
A series of steps were taken to collect the desired information:
  • Meetings with client employees as well as customers were conducted to identify ideal packaging characteristics.

  • Expert observation and photographic evidence was collected from a variety of retail establishments within the client's product category in order to identify design ideas that would stand out from the competition and not create trade dress issues.

  • Expert observation and photographic evidence, along with actual packaging samples, were collected from proxy products, outside categories and retailers.
The resulting information was analyzed and synthesized to create an idea map for use in creative meetings during which, specific design ideas were generated and decided upon.

Acquisition Target Study

Acquisition Target Study When a global CPG company was faced with heavy competition for its new natural and organic product launch, it needed to consider strategies for quickly filling in the product line. Strategic acquisitions were a possibility, but it was unclear what companies in the fragmented space would make desirable acquisition candidates.

A detailed evaluation tool was developed based on the client's acquisition objectives, manufacturing processes and culture. An acquisition target study was conducted which evaluated over 60 privately held companies, including the collection of information not available in the public domain such as annual revenues, company culture, succession planning, and margin estimates. The process identified three companies as strong acquisition targets.

The results of this project were used to make a decision regarding an acquisition, but were also helpful in understanding the entire landscape of players in the category and how they might be expected to perform going forward.