When you have a great idea for a marketing campaign or a clear picture of where you want your brand to go next, you often can’t wait to get started. Here at OTB we know how exciting it is to launch a new project, to explore new designs and new possibilities, to pull together the relevant contacts and begin to see your efforts taking shape.
But throwing yourself and your organisation into a new marketing venture without the necessary research has the potential to send your strategy in the wrong direction or cause problems later down the line when it comes to measuring your ROI or the impact your new marketing campaign has created. Not sure how to conduct your market research and absorb these insights into your strategy? Not sure whether the customer insights you’ve generated are valuable? Here’s our top tips for making your market research shine…
Although mass marketing can still be effective, many of the biggest organisations in the world have turned towards personalisation and targeted marketing to enhance the customer experience and create buy-in for their brand. In order for this level of personalisation to work, this intention needs to be reflected in the market research you conduct.
According to an interesting article by The Huffington Post, ‘consumer insights provide understanding that leads to marketing on a more direct and personal level.’ Simple insights such as understanding how buying habits vary between regional or social demographics and the differing associations products create in the minds of customers can have a huge impact on creating a personalised strategy.
The Huffington Post also links this need for personalisation to the centrality of social media to modern marketing. They claim ‘the ability to identify group influencers and advocates, and predict how information will be shared among the group members, can lead to a more effective consumer relationship in an online world’ – all information that can be gathered throughout the research stage of your strategy.
YOU CAN RESEARCH MORE THAN ONCE
Although market research is essential when starting out on your marketing journey, this doesn’t mean that everything needs to be researched in one go, or that you shouldn’t conduct market research at various stages of your strategy. As with anything, marketing changes and develops with time, experience and expectations, and so should your research.
In an article by The Guardian, director of small business support service Blue Orchid Paul Mooney has argued that ‘market research shouldn’t only be carried out at the beginning of a business venture – there are all sorts of other points in the business process where a small business owner should be undertaking research, from developing a new product or service and bringing something new into their product portfolio.’ By seeing research as a constant process of learning and development, rather than a one-time chore, it is possible to add much more value to your strategy.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE
While it is true that the largest blue chip companies may have entire departments dedicated to market research, highly-advanced R&D techniques and customer insight centres, market research doesn’t have to be expensive. The true value of good market research goes far beyond the money involved, and there are a number of ways you can conduct great market research on a shoestring.
This week Marketing Week published an article expressing exactly this, arguing that by focusing on quality over quantity it is still possible to generate highly-valuable insights without breaking the bank. Tom de Pass, head of communications at herbal tea brand Pukka, argues it is important to ask yourself ‘do we need to know this, and are we prepared to act on it. He says ‘by doing this you focus the research on answering the questions that will have the biggest impact.’
Other great hints and tips from Marketing Week to help you keep to a budget when researching include taking advantage of the vast array of free data and services available through organisations like Royal Mail and Google Analytics, or using social media to test the market for free and analyse the levels of meaningful engagement with your brand.