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Abbott Nutrition

Abbott needed a way to test an idea and iterate in product development with two key audiences – moms and health care providers.

The Problem

Abbott Nutrition, a worldwide leader in nutritional products for people of all ages, wanted to develop a new product to address new moms’ changing behavior around breastfeeding. After examining market trends, Abbott identified potential for a new formula to supplement breastfeeding, but needed a way to connect with their two key audiences, moms and Health Care Providers. Abbott needed to understand new moms’ experiences, perceptions, and emotions around feeding their new baby, as well as HCP’s opinions of and likelihood to recommend the new product, in order to validate their hypothesis and move forward.

The Solution

The research plan from idea to launch took 10 months, an aggressive and accelerated timeframe in order to get to market during spring retailer re-sets. In total, there were 10 research events that occurred during this 10-month window, about half of which were studies like quantitative concept testing and communication/campaign development with traditional market research suppliers.

iModerate’s role was to bring Abbott’s key audiences to life through one-on-one conversations at each stage of product development. This approach allowed Abbott to get an in-depth sense of moms’ emotions, motivations, and needs as well as Health Care Providers’ views and opinions. Furthermore, as the conversations were completed in a sequential manner, they allowed Abbott to leverage findings and adjust for the next iteration to maximize learnings within a short time frame.

The Results

iModerate’s role in the product launch allowed Abbott Nutrition to:

  • Validate a hypothesis and move into development after uncovering that mom could use some support in her breastfeeding efforts
  • Involve the voice of dual audiences – moms and Health Care Professionals – in their research, which wouldn’t have been possible had they employed a different methodology
  • Increase efficiencies in learning times, research spend, and time to market because they were able to iterate with both audiences simultaneously
  • Develop a clear path in terms of how to move forward, where to make changes, and how to surprise and delight their consumers

Ultimately, Similac for Supplementation was a great success. It achieved 113% of Abbott’s plan, drove incremental share, and was the first to market. It was quickly followed by similar products from both of Abbott’s main competitors. The ability to move quickly without sacrificing the ability to stay in touch with consumer needs was crucial in the launch, and success, of the Similac for Supplementation product.

By engaging an experienced firm such as iModerate, whose business is qualitative research, you get online delivery of depth interviews by experienced researchers – both during the interviews and for the analysis. iModerate does not simply understand our business questions, but they work to scope discussion guides to advance both the narrow business question and the larger context of the experience, helping us advance marketing and business objectives with their findings well beyond the immediate need.

Angela Knittle, Market Research Manager, Penske