You know how amazing your product or service is and how it can help people. But how well do you actually know those people you are trying to get your offer in front of?
Understanding your target audience is critical to your marketing campaigns and the health of your bottom line. You’ll need to go beyond basic demographic knowledge and know WHO your audience is and how your product or service serves their pain points. You’ll also have to know WHO your competition is and how you can set yourself apart from them.
Market Research: Your Secret Weapon
Market research is how you uncover the data you’ll need to run effective and profitable ad campaigns. Using a systematic approach, you can gather information about your target audience, your competition, your own business and how all three intersect. You’ll be able to answer important questions such as:
- Where does your market currently stand?
- What ad strategies is your competition using?
- What are their price points and offers?
- What keeps your audience up at night?
- How do they like to consume content?
Market research will help you determine everything from your unique selling proposition to messaging to which media channels you should use to connect with your audience.
What Sources Should You Use for Market Research?
Before we dive into the steps you’ll need to take to conduct this important research, let’s talk a little about the primary and secondary sources you can use. This is important, because the types of sources you use can and will make a difference in the quality of information you retrieve.
This information comes from first-hand interactions. Think of survey responses and focus groups. Think social media conversations and be sure to leverage the information your sales team has gathered over the years from being on the front lines and speaking directly with prospects. Getting direct information from the horse’s mouth is essential to create winning campaigns.
Your secondary sources are pockets of already-assimilated data that you can access. This is anything that can be readily found online through reporting and demographic research conducted by other groups and organizations. While you should never rely solely on secondary research, including it will help fill in the gaps and give you a more complete picture.
Conducting Market Research the Quick and Easy Way
There are 4 main steps you’ll need to complete in your market research. Let’s go over those now:
Step 1. Identify Your Target Audience
Who are you trying to reach exactly? Who is your product or service meant to help? Who does it appeal to and what channels do these people interact with? Do they prefer email, Facebook or print publications?
These are some of the data points you’ll need to uncover in this first step:
- Family Size/Relationship Status
- Job title
- Biggest challenges and goals
- Preferred communication style and channels
Most brands will find they have several distinct audiences they serve. So you may need to do this first step several times in order to develop water-tight buyer personas.
- Spy on Your Competition
Competitor research is an equally important part of market research primarily because it helps you understand the market. You’ll be able to discover who else is out there, what they are offering, how they are offering it and for what price. Dig deep to find out what unique value proposition they use and why they might appeal to your audience.
This second step will help you determine:
- The right price to charge for your product or service. Don’t instantly think about undercutting your competitors. You could sell yourself as the “luxury” option and get away with charging more than the competition.
- What value proposition you can use to stand out from the pack and attract more customers to your offer.
- What offers your market may currently be responding to (free trial VS low cost consultation).
- What overall marketing campaigns are performing best for your competition? Are their customers loving their blog? If so, it may be time to invest in some content marketing. Are they hitting the local newspapers? Then it’s time to get your own ads inside!
- Engage with Your Audience
This step gets you to reach out to your current customers to learn more about what they find valuable about your product or service and how it is positively impacting their lives. You may want to use survey or compile focus groups. You can hire a company to help you with this step. If you work with a media buyer, they can take care of this for you.
To interpret this data correctly, you’ll want to qualify the individuals you are engaging with. Are they part of your high value audience? What niche do they fit into? These answers will help determine how you get the most from the data you collect.
- Compile the Data
By this step you should have a large amount of data at your disposal. You’ll want to carefully organize it and sort it by relating the information at hand to the buyer personas you created in step 1.
Ideally, market research should be done before you ever begin to create your content. That goes for ad messaging as well as website content. But it’s never too late to start conducting market research. Also, as your brand evolves and your market naturally changes, you will want to continue conducting market research from time to time. This will help ensure you are always focused on the right audience and presenting them with offers they will respond to.
If you need help with any of these steps, get in touch with us. We make the entire process incredibly easy so you can leverage the data and run with it.