“Whoever understands the customer best, wins.” – Mike Gospe
The best way to understand customers is through market research but it is often seen as tedious, boring, and not that important, unfortunately.
Today, however, the industry is all about data-driven decision making and that makes market research quintessential. Our target audiences have grown increasingly smart and savvy, and because of that, we need to go the extra mile to understand them in greater detail.
To do that, we need to embrace the power of market research.
Let’s dive into how you can take your market research game up a notch and get ahead of the pack.
What is market research?
Market research is the activity of gathering information about your market needs and preferences. When you understand how your audience feels and behaves, you inch closer to meeting the ever-rising customer expectations.
If you want to discover something about your target audience, your competitors, or the industry trends, market research is the answer.
Why is market research important?
Market research is essential because it identifies the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing strategy. Here are a few common uses of market research:
- product development
- buyer segmentation
- advertising and communications pre-testing
- competitors/industry analysis
While it’s important to follow your own marketing gut, you need to back it up with an analytical understanding of what your customers want, what your competitors are doing, and where the industry is headed.
Market research can help you:
- identify market opportunities and risks
- learn more about competitors
- understand your buyers
- understand the market size
- identify key trends in your industry
The two main building blocks of market research are primary research and secondary research.
Let’s understand in detail what they are.
Primary research is first-hand information that you collect about your market and the customers within your market. It’s useful when you’re segmenting your market and creating buyer personas.
Here are a few examples of primary market research:
- focus groups
For instance, if there’s a question about a product or service that you’ve launched, why not ask your customers directly for their feedback through a survey? This will help you identify any loopholes around your product or service.
This is the second-party or third-party data information that already exists within the market.
Here are a few examples of secondary market research:
- blog posts
This type of market research comes in handy to help you get a better understanding of your industry as a whole so that you can create a solid marketing strategy.
Now that you know where to begin, let’s unravel the key tips to ace market research.
8 awesome tips to do market research
Doing your research right is a complex job. However, with the right tips, you can focus on taking action on what matters. We’ve listed 8 tips that we swear by:
1. Know your buyer persona
To understand ‘who’ your customers really are, buyer personas come in handy. Buyer personas help you identify users’ pain points, challenges, and buying motivation so that you can figure out the gaps in their processes or expectations and fill those with relevant offers.
2. Use the right mix of people as your sample
The information you collect from creating your buyer personas can be used as an ideal sample. Use a mix of recent buyers, existing buyers, and loyal customers to better understand their actual challenges and buying habits during an interview or focus group. Keep an apt sample size, usually, 10% of your target audience/population is good enough and if you are relatively small and have a limited customer base, conduct in-depth interviews.
3. Ask the right questions
The best way to identify opportunities and improve your marketing strategy is by asking the right questions. If you are conducting interviews, use observational research to understand your participants better. Remember to use open-ended questions to go beyond the ‘yes/no’ answers.
4. Design your survey to be simple
Make sure that your survey isn’t complex, be it in a focus group, online survey, or personal interview. Simplicity is key, ask questions that are clear and concise so that you get the relevant insights.
5. Use interactive elements
A cool way to help make your research better is by making it more engaging all while successfully collecting data. Use dynamic elements or gamification like slider bars instead of standard scales to capture the intensity of response or progress bar to show how far along they are in the survey, and drag-and-drop response items to rank or sort into categories. These can help improve response rates in your online surveys.
6. Research your competitors
Learn about your competitors, secondary research is helpful here. Here are some questions you must find answers for:
- What are you doing as compared to your competitors?
- How do your competitors attract customers?
- Which keywords are driving traffic to your competitors?
- What type of content is working extremely well for your competitors?
When you have these answers, you can strengthen yourself. For instance, Ahrefs, a tool that helps you see what your competitors are doing and you can use those insights to improve your content and its SEO.
7. Share your insights
After you’ve finished conducting research, your job isn’t done there. Share your insights with your team and plan out the next course of action to ensure you use the data to bring a positive impact to your business.
8. Revisit your research
It’s key to remember that the dynamics of our market change rapidly and often, without much warning. That’s why it’s key to conduct the market research process regularly. This will help you stay up-to-date with your industry trends, customer expectations, and competitors at all times.
Use these tips to balance the art and science of research to focus on taking action on what matters.