This is the best era. All demands, markets, and perceptions may be broken, subverted, and reshaped in the face of the Internet. At present, both the international environment and domestic demand are undergoing earth-shaking changes. For SMEs, the ecological niche strategy is to discover new needs and find a new blue ocean.
How to find the new blue ocean?
In recent years, the recognition of the instant noodle category has been sluggish, and it is recognized as “junk food”, and the market has declined severely. But at the beginning of 2020, Lan Wei cooperated with shopkeeper Yang, and forcibly tore a crack open and created a trendy single product-tiger pattern surface. In just 2 months, an explosive propagation effect was formed in the industry. The product sales speed and market popularity far exceed those of conventional instant noodle products such as Master Kong and Uni-President.
The niche strategy is actually to find new demand points and new blue oceans. Internet data analysis can help companies confirm the size and accuracy of demand points. When consumers shop offline, it is difficult for companies to capture and record the consumer’s shopping psychology and purchase process, but in the face of the Internet, all consumption can be traced.
Take e-commerce as an example. When consumers purchase instant noodles, they must enter keywords such as “instant noodles”, “instant noodles”, “sour and spicy”, “beef noodles”, “barrels”, and “bags” on the e-commerce platform. Data capture to form key consumption data. Consumer purchase data, search data, shared data, complaints and complaint records are all footprints of demand and the basis of product innovation. Every real consumer demand is an untapped blue ocean.
Lanni took the lead in the instant noodles field, capturing and analyzing category consumption data. These data cover many Internet platforms including mainstream e-commerce, search engines, social software, new media, etc., with a total of 628,000 instant noodle products. In the data analysis, we found that consumers are generally helpless with traditional instant noodles, and they desire that instant noodles are healthier-with fewer additives, more vegetables and nutrients, and the soup is delicious and safe.
I remember a consumer complained online that instant noodles were not sold on the high-speed rail. The reason is simple. First, the instant noodles taste too strong, and the high-speed rail compartment is closed and there are many passengers; second, to prevent scalds, the hot water of the high-speed rail will not be too hot, which makes the instant noodles difficult to soak. This phenomenon affects the taste; third, the soup and water of the instant noodles is very unfavorable for the high-speed rail service staff to clean up. However, there is a strong demand for instant noodles on the high-speed rail. If you can develop an instant noodle that does not smell, can be soaked at 70 degrees, and the soup is very delicious (the consumer will drink it), it will be a very strong product.
In the face of the Internet, the record and presentation of consumer demand is extremely rich and diverse, and it is constantly being upgraded and iterated. Tiger Noodle is a product born on the basis of analyzing consumer demand data. In fact, Tiger Noodle is not created by us, it is a product that thousands of consumers have longed for.
In front of the Internet, the traditional boss is vulnerable
In fact, the biggest obstacle to the development of many industries is the industry leader. When the boss does not act or innovate, it will affect consumers’ perception of the entire industry. The hot FMCG products and hot brands that have exploded in recent years are no longer the brand giants such as Master Kong and Coca-Cola, but more of the rookie companies and brands. Such as Yuanqi Forest, Li Ziqi, Xicha, Tiger Noodles and so on.
The era of mobile Internet happens to be the best opportunity for industry change. The Internet impacts traditional head brands from three aspects, and it also brings opportunities for small and medium-sized brands to overtake in corners:
1. Impact of offline channels
Internet channels are more of some new 2C channels, such as e-commerce, micro-commerce, community group buying, live broadcast delivery, and second-class e-commerce channels. Although established companies are also using such channels for marketing, the marketing teams of traditional companies are far inferior to emerging teams such as e-commerce in terms of operating capabilities, data analysis capabilities, demand capture capabilities, and innovation capabilities in these new channels.
Cai Hongliang, the founder of Baicaowei, launched a self-heating pot product in 2018 and achieved sales of 1.5 billion in just two years. The earliest marketing channels of ZHIBO are all e-commerce platforms. With its unique channel advantages, it can be said that it has crushed established companies such as Master Kong and Uni-President. After the online popularity, offline dealers are also very active, and the distribution is very extensive. Traditional distributor channels are not the inherent assets of brand companies, but public resources. Distributors do not have absolute loyalty. As long as they can make money, they are willing to act for any product. In the face of the Internet, the advantages of established companies that used to be based on the number of channels and channel control have become less obvious.
2. Cannibalization by mainstream consumers
The mainstream consumer of FMCG is young people under the age of 35 (except for certain categories such as liquor). It is this group of people that the mobile Internet cannibalize, and these groups will be the main consumption force in the next 10 years.
Taking the instant noodle category as an example, consumers have always had a strong demand for instant noodles. Under the inferior cognition environment of “instant noodles are junk food”, the turnover of Master Kong’s instant noodles in 2019 is still as high as 25.3 billion, and the unified instant noodles turnover is 8.5 billion. The market has always existed, but consumers are tired of old products and long for new products to be born.
Internet celebrity products just cater to the consumption and social needs of young people. Internet celebrity products generally have several characteristics: extremely high appearance, distinctive taste, more fashionable consumption scenes, and healthier. Packaging colors, patterns, packaging utensils, environment, lighting, and background for taking pictures are all critical. Many traditional products will lose out just by looking at their appearance. In the new era of product design, there is a very key indicator, which is the rate of completion.
The taste buds of young people are rich, and the stimulating taste will deepen consumers’ sensory memory of the product and form a unique stimulation. The smell of snail noodles, the spicy flavor of tiger noodles, and the hotness of self-heating hot pot are all distinctive flavors. At the same time, we must also pay attention not to blindly pursue stimulation and ignore health.
3. The marketing team gradually derails from the market
In the public relations of first-line brands, when cooperating with the media, they basically post a hard advertisement directly, and pay to forward it. In fact, the hardest thing consumers hate to see is hard wide. The public relations of big brands do more than public relations work, just hard-broadcasting. Few fans of this kind of hard advertising will click to view, let alone repost, the reading volume is naturally very low. In order to make the data look good, the media and public relations staff will spontaneously brush traffic, the purpose is to let the company see the good data.
Many big brands are slowly being destroyed in their own hands, and marketing, public relations, and R&D are gradually leaving the market. The products are made behind closed doors, and the public relations are all self-selling and boasting. Why should consumers pay for the brand? It is an indisputable fact that more and more young consumers have begun to stay away from big brands and are constantly caught by more characteristic niche brands.
Three strategies to replay FMCG
We believe that, from the perspective of Internet big data, the following three strategies are most likely to help small and medium-sized enterprises come back against the wind:
1. Change the category and be the boss in the new track
To be a brand is to be the first or the only one. This is the easiest opportunity for development. Small and medium-sized enterprises can choose to be category creators in market segments or reverse race tracks.
Take the Guizhou countryside girl chili sauce we cooperated with as an example. In its 30 years of development, there is widespread suspicion of following the trend in marketing. The bottle type, taste, category, etc. are basically attached to the old godmother. The company’s annual turnover is around 50 million yuan. This marketing method makes the country girl unable to do it, but it is also not big or well done.
After communication, we recommend changing the track. During the epidemic, the condiment market in China has grown by leaps and bounds. The people are closed at home and their cooking skills have increased greatly. The demand for “cooking” seasoning sauce is far greater than that for “dinning”. Nowadays, there are so many chili sauces in supermarkets, but condiments such as “braised sauce” and “fried meat sauce” are rare. Therefore, the next step for the country girl is to avoid the advantages of Lao Ganma’s table meal, innovate and develop in cooking sauce, and create a large single product.
Master Kong, Uni-President, Baixiang, and Jinmailang are the four giants of instant noodles, and it is difficult for SMEs to surpass them in instant noodles. However, Jiaozuo’s Haojiajia has innovated from the hot and sour noodles category and opened up a new track; Guangxi has opened up a new category market of 10 billion with its unique snail noodles; and tiger-patterned noodles has also created a new category. -One with noodles. We have also registered and protected this category through innovative trademarks, and strive to make a unique large single product.
2. Change goals and build a brand among new people
There are many types of social software for young people: QQ, Soul, Station B, Xiaohongshu, Douyin, Kuaishou, etc. These tools continuously classify young people and form different demographic attributes. The same is true for FMCG. Coca-Cola is a mass consumption, and Pepsi-Cola defines itself as the “choice of the new generation”, and Yuanqi Forest has won the preference of the younger generation Z generation through its main focus on zero sugar, zero fat, and zero calories.
The success of Paqu is also changing the crowd. It targets a more niche group of high-end young people. With its unique blind box products, it gains a foothold in the trendy toy market. Its current market share is over 8%.
When planning for shopkeeper Yang, in addition to tiger-patterned noodles, we also proposed 11 different product development directions. Among them, “Yuhuofen” and “Shengxian Noodles” are two products that aim at younger and heavier flavors. Young consumers. It’s spicy, rich in garlic powder, stimulating and unique, and has a deep memory.
Young people will be the main consumer in the next 10 years. Many traditional top brands are showing their aging attitude. Small and medium-sized enterprises can take this opportunity to carve up the market.
3. Change your thinking and use the Internet to hit explosive products
The essence of Internet thinking is actually user thinking. Traditional companies research and develop products more often from boss thinking, executive thinking, and R&D thinking, relying on feelings, equipment, and resources, but they rarely consider consumer demand. The value of Internet data is to help companies identify consumer pain points, itchy points, and demand points, and then design products specifically to meet demand.
Around 2015, a lactic acid bacteria water was popular in the Chinese market. This product has a light taste, light sweetness, and light refreshing. After tasting, the manufacturers and distributors all felt good, and the investment promotion was also very good, but the market just didn’t move. why? Because the mainstream consumers of beverages are young people, and young people don’t like light flavors, they prefer sweeter and more exciting flavors. Nongfu Spring’s tea π sells well, but if you look carefully at the ingredient list, you will find that there are more than 4 types of tea that only add sweetness. However, dealers are basically around 40 years old, and middle-aged people are reluctant to drink too sweet drinks, thinking that light drinks are better. The result is to use your own thinking to judge whether the product is good or bad, and finally choose the wrong one. This phenomenon is a typical representative of not having Internet thinking.
For another example, the consumer’s consumption trend of beverages is developing in the direction of “zero addition”, “short-term protection”, “low temperature”, “zero sugar”, “new flavors” and “nutrition”, but the equipment of many companies simply cannot do this. What should I do if I grow a product? Is it to stick to the equipment of the enterprise, or to adopt the foundry thinking to cater to consumers?
If you want to fish, you must use the bait that the fish like to eat. No matter how the Internet changes and products change, the consumer symbol will not disappear, and consumer thinking will not make mistakes. The ecological environment is ever-changing, the survival strategies are diverse, and the constant is always the consumption thinking.