My First Steps into Marketing: Jasberry Market Research in the Netherlands

July 13th, 2017 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

By: Juliette – Siam Organic Intern

I first met Neil, the CEO of Siam Organic, in Amsterdam prior to the start of my internship. He asked me if I would like to begin the internship before arriving in Bangkok, and of course I said yes, as I saw this as my first learning opportunity.

Clint, my supervisor, sent me a detailed internship work plan with several projects to work on from home. Even though my entire schedule was already in the internship plan, I was also asked to provide my own input for additional projects as long as they would create value for the company and myself. It was an amazing thing to hear as an intern, and gave me defined assignments and targets in addition to a lot of freedom.
As Siam Organic is entering the BeNeLux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) market with their Jasberry products soon, one of my projects was to study the Dutch market regarding Jasberry products. This was very convenient as I am from the Netherlands myself. The Jasberry products include Jasberry rice, other rice varieties, pastas made from rice, and tea made from rice. I was sent a big box of rice and pasta that I could give to the people participating in my research, so they could cook with it and provide feedback to help us improve the products. Personally, I also love to cook, so I was very excited to try the Jasberry rice and cook with it.

The purpose of this real-life market test was to get feedback on Jasberry products and to improve our products and packaging. I began this research with asking respondents to fill in a questionnaire about Jasberry before, during and after they had cooked the products. During my studies, I have learned about writing and conducting questionnaires. This was very useful, as I already knew how to structure the questionnaires for this market study. However, learning something in college and actually doing it in real life can differ. The easy part was drafting the general questions, and I finished this pretty quickly. As regards to the content and structure of the more detailed questions, I had to think it through a little bit more. My study books helped me with finding the right ways to word these questions.

When the questionnaires were sent back to me, I stumbled upon some things I could have done better to be more efficient and effective. These were issues like making the format of the questionnaire more easy and clear to fill in. Also, maybe even try to make the questionnaire online. These were simple things I learned that can improve the process and the outcome the next time I conduct similar research.

Besides gaining a lot of information on the products themselves, the questionnaire also gave me a good impression of how consumers may react to a new product. In the questionnaire, I asked the respondents to add some photos of the dishes they had prepared with Jasberry rice and pasta. This resulted in some very creative and tasty dishes. One example was rice patties with feta cheese, spinach, spring onions, milk, buttermilk, eggs and mango chutney on the side.

When asked to describe Jasberry, the participants reacted with words like: “Innovative”, “special”, and “awesome”. Furthermore, they would recommend it to friends and tell them: “Try Jasberry rice if you want to eat a healthy version of ‘normal’ white rice”, “Jasberry rice helps the rice farmers in Thailand”, “I love the rice, it is a nice variation to regular rice and it is very tasty”, “Jasberry rice is easy to cook, it has a good texture, and is usable in every cuisine”, “Jasberry rice is very nutritious”, and “Jasberry rice is a whole new experience”. All of these reactions were very good to hear!

In addition to the written questionnaire, I wanted to conduct a focus group, which is a meeting between people to discuss a certain topic. In this case, the focus group would be to discuss Jasberry products to get more in-depth feedback. It gave me the opportunity to ask questions and discover specific reasons behind their enthusiasm for the Jasberry products, but also to see how we could improve things like the packaging to make it more consumer friendly for this market.

The focus group was something that I had never done before, but I was really excited about. I did research on how to best conduct the focus group and prepared myself well. When everyone came together for this, it was not only very useful, but also very fun. We had good in-depth discussions and it was good to hear all the participants being so enthusiastic about Jasberry. With all the information I gathered, we were able to make improvements and adjustments to some aspects of the products regarding the Dutch market.

During the process of the focus group I did not encounter any difficulties. The hardest part of the research for me was processing all the data. I did not have a program available that would have allowed me to make correlations and graphs. At this point, I also figured that if I did possess this program, too many of my questions were open ended questions, which made it difficult to process the data. This was another thing I will take into account for future research.

When I processed all the data, I had to make it presentable. Working with text, colour and graphs are things that I normally do not have to do as a student. In academic writing, we just write reports with text that do not need to be visually attractive and powerful. I tried different designs until I was satisfied with the outcome. I think I did a good job for my first time writing a marketing report, and I think this designing part will just take some time and practice to become really good at.

With this Dutch market study, I got the chance to apply the knowledge I acquired at my university. I have experienced how fun it is to gain feedback on products that I am working with, as it gives an opportunity to keep improving and always striving for something better. It was also very nice to receive so much positive feedback about Jasberry as there is a social aspect that drives this company. It’s the farmers that are the source of this product and the company.

Jasberry will be available in the BeNeLux market soon and I hope that we can all help support the farmers we work with and improve our own health by eating a lot of Jasberry rice!

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