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Why are the sponsors of the consumer coping survey changing?

/ 03:04 AM September 25, 2015

Question: Our company was a sponsor of your consumer coping survey way back in the 1990s. But when you gave us an in-house mini-seminar on how we can integrate your consumer coping survey into our annual UAI (Usage, Attitude, Image) survey, we stopped our sponsorship.

We’re happy with our UAI survey but it covers only the product categories where our brands belong. We’re still interested in what’s going on with other product categories where our consumers may have shifted to or where our company’s business growing opportunities may be found. Can we be a sponsor for just those product categories of interest to us and at an appropriate discount?

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Answer: Let me start by thanking you for your question. At SWS (Social Weather Stations), we never thought about this version of a sponsor’s research need for data from the Consumer Coping Behavior Survey. To give a good answer, there are important points to clarify. Once these clarifications are made and appreciated, we hope you would consider withdrawing your question.

The first clarification is about SWS. Since 2008, SWS has become the owner of this survey project. They didn’t buy it. I donated it.

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This is because I want the coping survey data to be part of the SWS survey data archive made available to master’s and doctor’s degree students for their thesis or dissertations. My primary objective in this survey project is to help the academic social science community.

In 2008, the Consumer Coping Behavior Survey became nationwide thanks to the sponsorship-recruiting help from my partner at that time, Josiah Go. The nationwide coverage has continued.

The database is now large and open to both annual and trend analysis, especially by graduate students and their professors.

Now that I am a research mentor at the College of Business in De La Salle University, I am making available the coping survey database to the school’s graduate students and professors. I hope the sponsors will continue to help in this mission.

For the survey sponsors, the sponsorship is categorized as a “donation.” It is each sponsor’s contribution to the social and business sciences and their students.

The survey data and analysis are presented first to the sponsors and are embargoed for two months. Thereafter, the pieces of information contained there are made available to students and industries.

The survey is based on a representative sample size of 1,200 housewives in their role as household budget managers of “recurring expenditure items.” In the 2014 coping survey, those recurring expenditure items consisted of 151 product and service categories.

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My SWS survey team analyzed the survey data by presenting first how housewives classified each product category into: (1) a “staple” which for the housewife is a budget expenditure she definitely cannot do without or is absolutely necessary; (2) a “near-staple” or necessary but not absolutely; (3) a “nice-to-have” or not necessary but still nice to have; (4) a “generally dispensable” or an expenditure she can do without, and; (5) a “definitely dispensable” or a really-can-do-without.

Changes shown in these five classes provide opportunities to grow businesses.

But changes in the coping consumer segments within each product category provide better data.

My SWS survey team presents three such segments: (1) the “maintainer” segment, which refers to those who have retained the category in their budget; (2) the “lapsed” segment, which has dropped the category in their budget for some other category; and (3) the “non-user” segment, which has not at all bought nor used the category.

These are the double- and triple-digit revenue productivity sources. They are optimally revenue productive if the company is organized to develop and implement: (1) a customer retention campaign for its category’s maintainer segment; (2) a customer reacquisition campaign for its category’s lapsed segment; and (3) a new customer acquisition campaign for its category’s non-user segment.

We have had three sponsors who decided to continue sponsoring, not every year but every two or three years. The common reason is the unchanging classification of their product categories as their own data analysis showed.

When my SWS team reanalyzed their categories’ data, it turned out that their claim was untrue. But even if this were true, the analysis could be wrong.

The truer and greater source of business-growing was in the changes in the coping segments of maintainers, lapsers and non-users within a product category. Those segments change from year to year.

How did this escape the sponsor’s attention? There are several reasons, but the major cause can be traced to the sponsors’ marketing organization. They were all organized along the product-management system. So they focused on product categories.

There was no market management organization or responsibility among product managers. The greater sources for business growing were missed.

From all the foregoing, my SWS team hopes that you will now understand why we’d wish to encourage you to rethink your question. Please consider your company’s donation as its answer to the CSR (corporate social responsibility) question: “What has your company done lately in advancing the social and business science education in our country?” Your coping survey sponsorship can do this in a most cost-effective way.

Keep your questions coming. Send them to me at [email protected]

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