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Think Small to Drive Big Growth in 2013


NEW YORK -- Anyway you look at it, the world has changed permanently. Within that transformation, though, lies opportunities and businesses can capitalize on the changes this year by thinking small to drive big growth, according to global information and measurement company Nielsen.

During a webinar today entitled "What's in Store 2013: Think Small for Big Results," James Russo, senior vice president, global consumer insights for Nielsen, acknowledged that the program’s title may seem strange since the word “small” often has a negative connotation. However, small is not only defined in size, it also means drilling down into your business to find areas to grow, he said.

U.S. consumers continue to remain cautious about the future, with 74 percent of consumers polled in November saying the country is still in a recession despite the fact the recession officially ended in June 2009. On the bright side, that figure was down from 90 percent of consumers who felt the same way in November 2011. Even more notable, 67 percent of U.S. consumers live paycheck to paycheck, Russo noted.

While on the face of it, this may not paint a rosy outlook for the business community, what it really means is businesses just need to look at things differently to capture success in "the new normal."

Several aspects make up the new normal, all of which lean toward the "smaller" side. For example, there has been a resurgence of the smaller rental housing market as homeownership numbers decrease, and the average household size has been on the decline, Russo said. Where those households shop also has undergone a change: from big-box stores to corner stores to online to virtual stores to now smartphones, he explained.

The smaller concept even applies to how consumers view television -- and in relation, advertising. According to Russo, the average household has access to 180 channels, but only views 17 of them each week. How consumers view TV has changed further as smaller devices gain in viewership. Advertising has been downsized, as Nielsen research shows that 15-second spots are 94 percent as effective as 30-second spots in regards to brand recall.

These factors, Russo explained, will drive businesses to use new methods for finding growth opportunities. But one major force behind finding and using new analytics is "the power of one" -- the increasing role and influence of the individual consumer.

The new analytics that business should turn to are those related to:

  • Current, emerging and latent demand.
  • The most profitable consumers.
  • Demand segments and need states.
  • The right supply for the right market.
  • Shared understanding of how to win across the organization.

"We are in a new stage of the business cycle," Russo said. "Marketplaces are very flexible, very fluid. Either you ride this wave or you get crushed by it."


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