Dale Beaton
Dale is Principal Consultant, Mintel Consulting, and has over 25 years’ experience as a data and consumer insights agency leader, working across 30 plus countries.

With the start of this year’s Formula 1 (F1) season, racing fans will be hoping for the same thrilling battles between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton….but this time without the controversy. On the one hand, the secret to winning in F1 is simple: go faster than the competition! On the other, creating that competitive advantage requires getting every variable right. It’s no wonder that F1 teams are increasingly turning to data science and analytics to give them the edge

Winning in product development and innovation is equally simple and simultaneously challenging. You win by getting to market first with new product attributes and formulations that consumers want. The trick is to be the brand that uses market signals to uncover where consumers’ tastes are heading before the rest of the chasing pack does. Fortunately, the F1 analogy continues as data science and machine learning increasingly support getting ahead in product innovation. 

Data: quantity and quality – key to success

F1 is arguably the most complex of high stakes sports there is. Over recent years teams have increasingly used data-driven insights to navigate this complexity. The core success of their approach is based on the quantity and quality of data available. All told, each race weekend generates 1.5 terabytes of data. If all this data were printed out and converted into paper form, it would weigh over 60 tonnes! There are also 65 years of historical race data that the teams can extract critical performance statistics from. 

All this information is used to train machine-learning models to help the teams’ strategists identify critical race-winning criteria. They use the patterns in the data from similar races and scenarios to gain a head start on what’s likely to make it a successful weekend. Verstappen and Hamilton are incredibly talented and brave individuals, but data analysis now plays a key role in underpinning their courageous decision making.

Product Marketing has become a data driven ‘sport’ 

Over twenty five years ago we at Mintel realised that there was one area where high quality, comprehensive data was missing: the detail on new product launches coming to market. To fill this gap we embarked on creating the world’s leading product launch database – Mintel GNPD. It’s now established as the definitive source to track and analyse global product innovations – a searchable analytic tool covering 40,000+ product launches across 86 markets every month.  Can you imagine the powerful product innovations that we can generate, by putting millions of data points  into the hands of our data scientists? 

Like the F1 teams, Mintel Consulting has taken advantage of recent advances in AI and machine learning to change gear on extracting winning insights for our clients. In our case, we have fed our product launch data into machine learning algorithms that allow us to uncover the patterns that put new launches on top of the podium. Like the F1 strategists, we learn from the lessons of the past and the emerging trends of the present to steer the future. 

Empowering clients with bespoke data-based recommendations 

Our knowledge base has grown so much that our data-science engine now produces client-specific recommendations of the product attributes most likely to bring them success. This ‘recommendation’ engine scans every market globally to spot what attributes (flavours, ingredients, etc.) are growing in that category or emerging in adjacent categories. It provides a clear set of suggested product features to help a brand ride areas of rising consumer demand or introduce novel, market-disrupting ideas.  This expedites a more effective product, to launch innovation and business strategies. 

We used Mintel’s Recommendation Engine capability to help a global snacks manufacturer uncover winning flavour formulas in its Latin American market. Our machine learning algorithm efficiently  identified the emerging flavour trends, allowing the company to get ahead and ride the next big flavour trends before the competition. The Recommendation Engine then took them one step further.  It identified a set of flavours not yet present in their market, but which were taking off in similar, adjacent markets and categories. The client received a list of novel, potentially disruptive flavours to take into their R&D and consumer validation process.  Not only did this provide them with a unique source of R&D inspiration, it helped reduce their overall time to market with innovation.

In an ever competing and cutthroat branded marketplace, successful product innovation is critical to driving businesses success. Whether it’s deciding what ranges to introduce in new markets, or perhaps what new novel concepts  a client should launch, companies need to be smarter in decision making. Mintel AI capabilities can help deliver this for brands. 

Utilise intelligent launch analytics to optimise future performance

Whether it’s F1 or product marketing, winning margins are small. Gut instinct, talent and human expertise will always play a part in making the right choices. Mintel Consulting’s clients now have the opportunity to benefit from our high-quality data and intelligent launch analytics to support their teams and give themselves a head start over the competition. We enable our clients to make brave decisions, confident that they’re benefiting from us mining the complete set of historical learning to optimise their future performance and create the right strategies specifically for them. 

Let’s see who’s crowned the new champion of the course of over 20 races. And just like the products that will win over the years to come, I have no doubt it will be the one who has the most courage and the best data insights that will come out on top!

For more information about how Mintel Consulting can help you achieve a podium finish, please click here