Dr Martin Bergmann – Beiersdorf AG

Dr Martin Bergmann – Beiersdorf AG

Dr Martin Bergmann is the CMI Manager at Beiersdorf AG in Germany and responsible for the market research projects in Europe. Next to the implementation of ad-hoc and quantitative projects, his main tasks include strategic marketing advice and the identification of growth opportunities. Beiersdorf AG is a German multinational company based in Hamburg that manufactures and retails personal-care products and pressure-sensitive adhesives globally. Beiersdorf’s brands such as Nivea, Tesa, Labello, Eucerin and Hansaplast are known and successful in more than 200 countries around the world.

Main ingredients for brand growth

The KPIs for brand growth at Beiersdorf are numerous and diverse, Dr Martin Bergmann shares. In his opinion it’s important to differentiate between brand KPIs and growth KPIs: “We have defined a set of items on which we want to perform particularly well, the core of the brand, so to speak. Some of these items are aimed at differentiating ourselves from competitors, other brand KPIs are for example, image dimensions, brand strength and brand equity, but also the Net Promotor Score, which is often discussed. Other KPIs include innovation rates, but when it comes to growth, the market shares of value and volume are most important to us, as is penetration and, of course, profitability. We also track sustainability and the carbon footprint, as they also relate to growth in the broadest sense. If you think long-term, you hope that in the future they will have an impact on the brand perception and consequently strengthen brand value.”

“When it comes to growth, the market shares of value and volume are most important to us, as is penetration and, of course, profitability. But if you think long-term, sustainability and the carbon footprint also relate to growth in the broadest sense.”

Main driver for growth

For Dr Martin Bergmann, market penetration is the most important growth driver and brands grow by attracting more buyers. Penetration, however, is the result of various measures and the challenge is to find out which measures are the right ones to further advance the brand and to win over even more consumers: “With Nivea, we have a brand that is already very special. It is a brand that is present in an incredible number of categories and that is incredibly well known in many European countries. We are, after Coca-Cola, the second most bought brand in Europe and we have the second highest household penetration at just over 50%. We are already a very strong brand. The question is, what are the right measures to enable us to develop further?”

There are many interesting theories and ideas, such as the excessive share of voice, says Dr Martin Bergmann, but for each brand you need to check which ideas actually work: “It’s a learning process, and we all are still in it. The assumption that penetration is an important growth driver, is now widely accepted in many companies. But there are other KPIs behind it and ultimately an entire school of thought and new approaches, so you have to understand it first. Mark Ritson names ten points that increase effectiveness, and ultimately each of these points must be addressed – what does it mean for us? As a company, you need to take that journey and take time to look into it, and when you have found the right KPIs, implement them.”

Success factors and pitfalls

Working with data can be also challenging. On the one hand, the KPIs and methods are changing, and on the other hand, the strategy also needs to be adjusted, but it’s not that easy to interpret and understand data, Dr Martin Bergmann: “We notice a trend towards DIY market research, and I find that extremely problematic. You can compare it to craftmanship, you need to learn the trade. Theories like Double Jeopardy Law or Duplication of Purchase Law are not easy to understand and if you just do it superficially, you can end up drawing the wrong conclusions from it.”

An additional challenge is choosing the right data and combining different data sources: “We still need to go down that road and agree on a data set. We have a lot of data, almost too much, and you need to decide what the right data is for the decisions you want to make. Data that does not meet scientific criteria has to be excluded, and that is a difficult decision. We are currently in the process of combining the data. Right now, there are still multiple data sources, but once they are combined into one, the question is, how do we proceed? Who should ultimately be allowed to work with the data? It is a Herculean task.”

“Data that does not meet scientific criteria has to be excluded.”

The new role of market researchers

The role of market researchers is changing considerably, says Dr Martin Bergmann. In his opinion, market researchers should help shape the future of the company: “In the past, researchers had more of a supportive function, but due to the large amount of data nowadays, they are becoming consultants. The added value of market research is that it helps make sense of the data. Market researchers within companies should have a higher position, so they can talk directly to the important stakeholders and provide them with all the necessary data.”

Exciting times

Data-driven decision making will become even more relevant as a topic, believes Dr Martin Bergmann: “Many companies are not up-to-date when it comes to DDDM, and many companies still need to embark on this journey. Beiersdorf is also still on its journey. We will have to try a lot of things to see if they make sense for us. I like to keep an eye on what Mars is doing because I think that Mars is extremely far ahead. They started moving in the direction of DDDM about eight years ago and started a big programme, which resulted in some really great things. Tchibo is also very far ahead and looks into the right topics. These are exciting times. I hope that we at Beiersdorf will quickly develop into this direction as well.”