Cigar businesses have been growing since the nineties thanks to rising consumer demand and marketing approaches such as advertising in specialized channels and, more recently, digital influencer marketing activities. These tried and true mainstream services remain crucial to sustain the industry and attract new consumers. However, as macroeconomic pressures bear on all of us, we need to acknowledge that different growth strategies may be of great help.
Data-driven strategies for growth
Cigar businesses wishing to drive growth despite economic headwinds invest more in strategic decision support to aid their crucial product portfolio decisions and substantiate product uniqueness. Understanding what consumers want, region by region and market by market is essential to delivering the market fit that yields growth.
After all, we all know that consumers continue to evolve and demand quality, and this calls for cigar businesses to adopt leading edge growth strategies in their understanding and respect of cigar lovers’ unique tastes and need for science-based education.
Predictive consumer analytics
Recognizing this need some years ago, Cigar Sense began developing our capability to provide predictive analytics to help cigar business with their product decisions. Our consumer base serves as a “virtual focus group” with which we can help you evaluate product alternatives to choose the best path forward. Virtual market tests and simulations are a quick and cost-effective way to provide data-driven support to strategic decision making to ultimately reduce risks and optimize margins. After our early test cases, interesting results confirm sales growth in line with our predictive analytics. These experiments proved that indeed, if we do a better job of giving consumers what they want in terms of product characteristics, our products will have greater sales success.
Expansion in new markets is certainly one use case for how manufacturers and distributors leverage consumer preference information.
In the current economic climate, we need to give growing importance to risk management when making product decisions: “Where are gaps in our product portfolio? Where could this product be more successful? How would consumers respond if we made this change to that blend?” These are among the first questions our B2B customers are bringing to us, and we have no doubt there will be other use cases we’ve yet to discover…
Data- and science-based education
We have trained sales teams to present their products in the most fair and professional way, by substantiating their sensory characteristics. Here is one video from A Cigar Tasting Course, which can help anyone positioning premium cigars in the market to up their game:
We also organize free virtual seminars for our members. The most recent series focuses on explaining, through sensory games, how:
- each of us has the ability to become an excellent taster
- we can exercise our right to freedom of choice when buying new cigars
- flavor notes used by individual reviewers may mislead consumers.
Leading edge cigar promotion
Although we don’t sell sponsorships, you could say we do promote cigars, in our way: we do it by highlighting to our members those cigars which meet their unique personal preferences, based on our trained tasting panel‘s work. And those cigars that pass our internal quality threshold and that meet a majority of consumers’ preferences much better than other cigars, earn our data-driven, exclusive Product Excellence Awards.
Brick and mortar retailers
Our services are online, but we can help brick and mortar businesses. Our sensory charts have been used on shelves to visually present what characteristics customers will find in the cigars.
The less experienced staff can delight premium customers just like pro’s thanks to our online cigar recommendations form and API’s, which can be used by your staff or integrated with POS systems to offer expert, personalized recommendations based on the cigars in the store’s inventory.
eCommerce sites can also sell more of the cigars customers will love through our causality based algorithm. Working based on causality means accurately advising customers based on an understanding of their preferences, as opposed to correlating transactional details with some behavior that may not be relevant for the customer (other customers bought this; based on your past purchase that was not for you, etc.).
We are excited to be able to support both consumers and the cigar industry with a suite of leading edge growth strategies in the interest of all… higher tides raise all ships. Feel free to contact us to discuss new ideas and collaboration opportunities.