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How good is your customer insight?

To succeed in business, you have to know your target audience. Where they are. What they’re interested in. What they think of you and your competitors. Only then can you really speak their language and attempt to meet their needs. Ongoing marketing research is key to reducing risk and increasing the likelihood of capturing market share.

Current, relevant research helps your business:

  • Assess the marketplace and competitors
  • Gain greater understanding of your target market
  • Pinpoint where to invest (and where not too)
  • Optimize brand positioning
  • Improve messaging and marketing communications

Marketing research comes in many forms

The type of marketing research you pursue will depend on your objectives and what is available to mine for your purposes. A multi-faceted approach will add depth and dimension to your findings.

  • Qualitative research is designed to identify your customers’ mindset based on information gathered in focus groups, one-on-one interviews or open-ended survey questions. Narrative insights help shed light on problems and help uncover opinions and trends that you can leverage to shape your strategy and messaging.
  • Quantitative research utilizes numerical data (hard data gleaned from surveys, purchase histories, demographics, etc.) to yield information about customers and the marketplace. Widely used to quantify attitudes or behaviors of specific variables such as brand or product awareness amongst a specific market segment. The larger the sample population, the more statistically accurate the data.
  • Social monitoring is a relatively new research tactic that can provide valuable and timely insight to guide your marketing campaigns. One of the most valuable aspects of social monitoring is its immediacy; you can see consumer attitudes in real time and reach out immediately to address a customer needs, concerns or expressions of good will. Potentially, the most valuable aspect of social monitoring is the real-time sales opportunity gained by reaching out to dissatisfied users and buyers and engaging with those who are looking for answers.
  • Personas are fictional profiles of your ideal customers, which are based on generalized traits and common attributes such as purchasing habits, preferences, age, lifestyle, etc. In B2B, where the sales cycle is often lengthy and involves multiple gatekeepers, it’s helpful to create personas for every contact in the chain of command, from the influencers to the decision maker and the buyer. Well-developed personas help everyone stay focused on the intended audience when producing content and at each customer interaction, which in turn can help increase relevancy and improve the customer experience.

Make research a priority

One thing is certain—what you knew last year may not be true this year or the next. Because the marketing landscape is always changing, plan on renewing your marketing research efforts on a regular basis. At the same time, be careful about relying too heavily on internal research, beliefs and ‘group think’ that can bias your campaigns. An external view can provide a needed reality check for your go-to-market approach. Continually learning about your customers and the marketplace will help you position your business to meet current and future needs and capitalize on higher value opportunities.

Visit our resources page and check out the infographic, then let us show you how strategic research can benefit your communications.