Research is an important part of any business, marketing or customer relations plan. Even when a plan has been completed for a while, it doesn’t hurt to do more research to find out what has changed and how to update your plans. Marketing, for instance, has changed dramatically over the last few years with the advent of email, social media and the like. Who knows what is coming next.
Know What You Want To Know
Before you start your research into a business, marketing strategy or customer wants and needs, make a list of questions that you want to find answers to. For example:
The knowledge you gain from marketing research could be:
- To attract more customers
- To increase sales to Millennials (or Gen X or Boomers)
- To present products to a broader audience
- To discover what my customers want
- Who are my competitors (and how are they attracting customers)
- There are many reasons and these are just a few.
Know What You Want to Achieve
Again, make a list of how you want to use this information in your business. Will it drive:
- The sales direction for the next year or two
- How you go about attracting new customers
- How it will influence your product mix
- Whether you are focused on the right target market(s).
It’s important to focus on the market segment that would be most interested in your products. I speak to many companies who answer the question of, “Who are your customers?” with the answer, “Everyone.” Try to be more specific by looking at the mix of customer you have now and discovering how you can increase the numbers. Focus particularly on your best customers and see if what the similarities are possibly in age, location, buying habits, etc.
Different Avenues of Research
Primary market research:
- Observation of customers, yours and your competitors
- Focus groups: Ask current customers why they do business with you
- Surveys: Keep surveys fairly short (3-20 questions) and offer an incentive for completing and returning the survey
Secondary market research.
- If you belong to a trade association, ask for any research they may have on the subject you are researching.
- Trade publications can be a big help to your research.
When analyzing results objectivity is key. Accept what people have to say whether you like it or not. Also, consider how the responses apply to your marketing and what you can use from the data to bring in more customers.
Research can be time-consuming but it also is well worth the time you spend.
A tip of the glass from me to you!