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Beneteau applied simple market research method to calcule market share

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French radio and TV station BFM has a very interesting program that I like to listen to. It’s called BFM strategy and his basically a TV and radio course on business strategy that is given by Xavier Fontanet, former Président of Essilor and visiting professor at HEC business school.

In one of the latest episodes, Fontanet, who was also the COO of French sail and motor boat manufacturer Beneteau, explained how it carried out market research in France when he took office. His concern was to calculate Beneteau’s market share in France and to understand why certain boat dealers were overperforming while other were underperforming.

Despite the rather simple market research method employed, Fontanet shows that sometimes common sense is a value to obtain quick results and a better oveview of a market.

The initial situation : not much visibility on the market

At first Fontanet complained that he had not much visibility on the market situation in France. Selling boats he claimed is a matter of being close to the customers. Like in any retail business the catchment area is somewhat limited and he had had to understand why in some regions dealers were performing much better than in others.
To get a first overview of Beneteau’s market share in French harbours, he employed a very simple -yet effective- market research approach. He sent people in the field.

Simple market research method for efficient market share calculation

Fontanet sent 3 students to visit the harbours of the northern, Atlantic and mediterranean coasts. The objective was to count the boats in the harbours and to identify those made by Benetteau. That way the market share of Benneteau boats could easily be calculated at a very granular level.

2 lessons learned

The first lesson is that it’s important to take purchase drivers into account when doing market research. It will help you reflect on your catchment area and conduct your analysis at the right level. No need for instance to conduct market research in whole France if your catchment is limited to a few kilometers.
The second one is that simple market research methods are available for even the most difficult problems. If you don’t have much money you’ll be forced to be creative. Maybe you won’t get the most precise results but that’s not really what matters. At first what you need is an overview of the market dynamics.


Image : shutterstock

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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