by MarkLives (@marklives) Our weekly wrap of the latest market and consumer research:

  • The future of meal kits
  • 2019, the year of zero trust
  • Content marketing: not much thought, not much leadership

Meal-kit viability

Packaged Facts logoDespite the massive growth experienced by South African meal-kit companies, many global food industry experts believe that these companies will only survive if they are eventually acquired, as the ecommerce subscription-centric business model is ultimately unprofitable for meal kits. [Cheryl Hunter]

Packaged Facts points out in “Meal Kits: Trends and Opportunities in the US, 3rd edition” that delivery of a number of packaged ingredients carries significant costs, especially when many of the ingredients need to be shipped cold, but not frozen, to remain fresh. These companies are trying to offer meal kits for a reasonable price while delivering a variety of fresh ingredients from limited distribution points nationwide, which is a nearly impossible goal due to the high costs of shipping these specialised products. Additionally, meal-kit companies spend large amounts of money on customer acquisition and retention while continuing to see many customers cancel the service.

Many will have to be acquired by grocery stores, food or ecommerce companies to survive, with a growing number seeing acquisition by a grocery store as an opportunity not only for survival but also for expansion.

The potential synergies between meal kits and grocery stores are undeniable. If meal kits are sold at grocery stores and are available for order online with a full suite of other groceries, customers are more likely to remain customers. Additionally, most meal-kit companies would benefit by being able to take advantage of the grocer’s supply chain for fresh ingredients

Less packaging is needed for meal kits that are sold in a grocery store, as meal kits can be displayed and stored in refrigerated areas without needing to be shipped in boxes with cooling or insulating elements; this makes paper bags a real option.

• Buy the report at Packaged Facts.


Zero trust

Forrester logoThat one major brand will lose valuation of more than 25% due to a cyberattack is one of 14 key predictions for 2019 made by Forrester. [Cheryl Hunter]

“Predictions 2019” talks to the concept of a kinetic cyberwar for economic advantage among nation states, in addition to existing cyberthreats that themselves represent major risks to all companies and high-wealth individuals.

The report suggests that 2019 is the year when governments and companies turn to zero trust — the security strategy for those which already see the risk from both outside and inside their four walls and no longer view perimeter-based strategies as effective or valid. Zero trust will become the preferred strategy in the US, adopted by the US government and as inferred guidance to industries.

• For more, go to Forrester.


The Eardley Analysis

Thought Leadership Disrupted
The Economist intelligence Unit and Hill+Knowlton Strategies

by Mark Eardley. Okay, so it’s not hot off the press but this mega 2016 study into “thought leadership” (TL) as a category within content marketing is even more relevant now than the day it appeared. That’s because, as the volume of content keeps on rising, so too does the need to differentiate yours from all the rest. Here’s how the report regards that truism:

“Faced with an explosion of content from publishers, brands and agencies, business executives are becoming more selective of their trusted sources, relying on those that can provide insights that are transformative, innovative, and credible. And while these executives are becoming ever more discerning, marketers who manage to make the list are being rewarded with increased loyalty, sales and advocacy.”

Given who produced the report, it’s no surprise that it’s impeccably presente,d with links to an infographic of key findings; summaries in both PowerPoint and text of the findings and their implications; and a tableau viewer for exploring the data. This is a seriously serious report that draws on a survey of 1 644 executives globally who either produce or consume TL content.

Overall insights for marketers? There’s so many that I’ve chosen just three:

  • Only 25% of all the TL content seen every day is engaged with. The rest is wasted.
  • 75% of executives have become more selective about the content they consume
  • Just over 80% cite volume of content as the reason for being more selective

Clearly, an awful lot of the content that’s being pumped out by marketers under the guise of TL just doesn’t fit the definition — which, according to the report, goes like this:

“Thought leadership is the practice of influencing a community of interest by developing information, analysis and insight that helps its audience understand its world and plan for the future. It can be delivered through any medium, and can help companies raise awareness, shift perception and increase the status of their brand.”

In a world of content that’s so laughably short of thought leadership, this report really does deserve that title. Essential info and intelligent commentary for anyone in the content-creating game.

Mark’s mark out of ten (is it worth reading?): 10/10
How long: 30+ mins for the key findings & actionable implications + fast-read executive summary here
Related B2B insights on MarkLives: How to create content that creates sales


Market Research Wrap” offers readers a weekly overview and critique of the latest market and industry research.

Cheryl HunterCheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.


Mark EardleyMark Eardley (@mdeardley) advises B2B companies on how to govern their marketing to attract and retain profitable customers; several of his clients have grown to become market leaders. His monthly “Back2Basics” column covers how B2B companies and their agencies should manage their marketing.

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