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Not only did our pizza brand find what resonated with consumers, they got a national food research sample and an online research community with five great ingredients.

With time ticking before a national launch, Palermo’s Pizza needed deep customer insights to finesse their new packaging. By combining five key online market research ingredients, they found what resonated with their customers.

Palermo’s Pizza brand is strong in Milwaukee — a great place for Palermo’s to do in-person or online qualitative consumer research when they need insights from their most loyal fan base.

But this was a national launch and Brad Rostowfske*, Director of Innovation and New Business Development at Palermo’s Pizza, wanted national input. After all, this was for their new urban pie (a super premium craft product).

“We wanted national insight. Trouble was, we only had a 2-3 week time slot that was free of logistical issues,” says Brad. “And we had this launch deadline looming.”

Palermo’s was hungry to get the messaging elements right on their newest project. By combining these five key market research ingredients, he found the insights he’d been craving:

Ingredient #1: Mine Deep Qualitative Insights Quickly

In this industry everyone is time-crunched. Likewise, time was ticking for Brad’s marketing project, which was scheduled for right around the December holidays. But he needed more than marketing solutions that were quick. He needed them to be right.

Palermo’s Pizza turned to Digsite’s online community product for qualitative insights. Brad had already done the concept screen portion of research, so he had an important foundation to build upon.

“We had the packaging idea but we needed to get deeper input from the consumer,” says Brad. “This wasn’t just any pizza. It was our super premium craft pie.”

Brad already identified some of the key callout areas. He used Digsite to discover which packaging/marketing communication elements resonated with consumers and best positioned their product.

Ingredient #2: Ask the Questions You Never Had Time to Ask

We’ve all had that feeling in life and business of wishing we had said or asked just one more important question to someone. Traditional focus groups are like that. “You leave the group wishing you had asked this question or that,” says Brad.

That’s the beauty of online community research. It fits the creative development process. It’s like cooking. Things need time to “simmer.”

Before online research was ever an option, there never seemed time to let qualitative customer insights simmer. There were always tight work plans, flights to catch, and things just had to keep moving. Not anymore.

“Online research avoids that aspect of ‘I wish I had asked that question,’” Brad says. “It gives you time to let ideas and insights percolate.”

Ingredient #3: Follow the Research Without Physically Having to be There

C-suite leaders can’t be everywhere all of the time, so some clients can’t be physically involved in the needed research. But marketing and other leadership still like being able to see the input, the results.

Online research communities are easy to plug into from anywhere. Better yet, the iteration is more responsive.

With traditional focus groups, to get the iterative input you need, you have to be there to affect it. To turn the focus of a conversation around in a minute, you need to be there — in that moment.

“With Digsite, we could turn it around in our own time. We can peek in the back room over days versus only minutes at a time. And the iterative process worked better,” says Brad.

Ingredient #4: Accomplish Marketing Goals Within Budget

Traditionally, Palermo’s conducted focus groups in places like Charlotte, NC and Kansas City, MO. But this time, they couldn’t afford the cost of hosting focus groups in different regional areas.

Brad says, “This is the only tool that could accomplish access to geographic areas in a 2-3 week time slot (including recruiting the research participants). It was the only thing I could have done to get national feedback in two weeks on a budget. We got what we were looking for.”

Ingredient #5: Try Something Different — Innovative Online Research

At the time, doing qualitative online research was something new for Brad. He had previously hopscotched around the country doing focus groups.

“The beauty of doing traditional focus groups is that your participants can’t leave. You have their undivided attention…but only for a couple of hours. I liked the idea of Digsite…of doing something different,” says Brad. “It’s great for teasing out unmet needs, brainstorming concepts and coming back to them.”

Digsite’s online research community met marketing expectations and built marketing confidence while staying on-budget. It delivered national input in a tight and busy time frame. Our client got a good read on what resonated with consumers, and pizza packaging launched the right way, on time.

Better yet, Brad became a Digsite Partner.

I guess you could say when it comes to in-depth consumer research on pizza, Digsite delivered. (Sorry — couldn’t resist!)

[*As of this writing, Brad is currently the Director of Innovation & Finance at FaB Wisconsin.]


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Topics: Brand Strategy

Jane Boutelle

Jane Boutelle

Jane is the CCO and Co-Founder of Digsite, where she and the team provide the first truly social platform for getting consumer insights and user feedback. She has a deep background in software product management and marketing.