In our hectic day-to-day world of marketing, we sometimes forget the basics of market research and the priceless information it can deliver, not to mention all the money it can save by helping to develop more effective marketing programs.
When most companies start adding market research into their mix, the typical tactics they use to learn basic customer information may include customer satisfaction surveys, focus groups, and traffic surveys. We have found that by adding the following market research tactics, companies may glean even more useful information from those walking gold mines we call customers.
Target Audience Profile
Try conducting a survey of existing and past customers to improve your understanding of their key demographics, psychographics, and media preferences. This knowledge enhances your creative and messaging efforts, and helps you better focus your media spending.
Some companies go on day after day doing the same old thing. Then one day they walk into the office and say, “What the heck happened?” Don’t let this happen to you. Conduct regular studies to learn the latest trends of the marketplace, specifically as these trends relate to your customers. This way, you will be ready to meet their changing needs.
To create new products with innovative features and benefits that your customers really want, ask existing customers what they’d like to see from your next generation of products. For example, a homebuilder we know contacted recent customers to learn what their home of the future might provide. Not only did they uncover some very useful information, but those customers were very impressed that the company cared enough to ask.
What do customers really think about your brand? The only way to find out is to talk with them. For example, another homebuilder recently changed its marketing focus when it discovered that the market perceived it to be a safe, traditional homebuilder rather than the creative, high-end builder it actually is.
Knowing which markets are receptive to your specific messages and which ones are not will dramatically increase your results. Recently, a marketing director for a senior home complex discovered that out-of-the-area seniors were more interested in their development than the local seniors. They redirected their marketing dollars and significantly increased traffic.
Ask your customers and prospects what they find most compelling about your products and services. Then use this information to develop messaging strategies that better resonate with them. The more you know about what they want to hear, the better sales response you’ll be able to generate.
Before spending any money on advertising, test your concepts. This small extra step of making sure your target audience understands what you are trying to say will enable you to be confident that your advertising dollars are being spent wisely.
It’s as important to retain existing customers as it is to generate new customers. Make sure that you interview your customers. Make sure that you interview your customers after the sale and continue to stay in front of them. A recent study shows that by raising your customer retention rates 5% can actually increase the value of your average customer by 25% to 100%.
Remember that market research is more than simply conducting surveys and focus groups. It’s finding out as much about your customers’ perceptions as you can. Just like good advertising, your research should be creative, as well.