When does marketing research make sense?

Learn how market research works and what you should expect to gain from it 

Marketing research, often referred to as market research, elicits input from potential customers to guide your brand positioning and go-to-market strategies and create maximum marketing appeal, penetration, and adoption. Understanding your customers makes you a stronger competitor.

What is marketing research?

To put it in the simplest terms, market research is used to find out what people really want and whether your product or service meets those needs. By understanding your customers better, you’ll gain insights on ways to improve your product and service offerings. And it can inform your marketing strategy so that you will reach your ideal prospects with a greater chance of achieving your sales goals.

When should marketing research be conducted?

Marketing research should deliver insights that can help inform your communications and advertising strategies, media plans, as well as creative messaging and visuals. Some good reasons to conduct marketing research include:

  • Awareness: By gauging how many people are familiar with your brand and your competitors’ brands, as well as their perceptions of those brands, you’ll have a better sense of how much you should invest in building your brand. Here’s a primer on branding, why it’s important, and when you should revisit your brand strategy.
  • Market segmentation: You will have better success at talking to potential customers if you’re speaking their language. By creating subsets of your audience based on demographics and/or psychographics, you can tailor your messaging based on their individual interests. Learn how to base personas on market research.
  • Creative testing: By assessing which copy and images are most persuasive, your ad campaigns can be more impactful.

How do I get started with market research?

Finding the right marketing research partner is critical to success. Look for a market research partner who employs a consultative engagement model to ensure:

  • the right objectives are set
  • the right research methodology framework(s) are enacted
  • the right analytic techniques are used
  • insights that directly address your goals and objectives are delivered.

Our team, led by our research partner, starts by asking, “What are the top three critical questions to your organization right now?” It can be difficult for a client to immediately get to this level of focus. We use additional questions during the project initiation phase to help clients focus on the most important project requirements for success. Some of these questions include:

  • What are the most significant strategic issues you are facing now?
  • How have you attempted to address them so far?
  • What has/has not worked and why?
  • What critical pieces of information do you need to move forward?
  • Are you aware of what information you need or what insights are missing?
  • If we could offer you a “magic bullet” insight, what would that be?

What can I expect to get out of marketing research?

Companies can get a better understanding of the market landscape, including:

  • Current purchase behaviors
  • Affinity toward brands vs. features in the decision-making process
  • Drivers of current category activity in terms of recency, frequency, and repeatability
  • Interest in your product offering
  • Potential brand and product barriers to success and opportunities to overcome them
  • Identification of optimal target market for your product

What are the steps to market research?

While there are many ways to conduct market research, we are going to focus on online surveys which are quicker to set up, easier to recruit participants, and can provide valuable data much faster than an in-person or online focus group.

To set up a survey of your target market, you should expect to follow these steps:

  1. Gain alignment on objectives – identify the key questions you want to answer
  2. Define your audience
  3. Develop creative to test and survey questions
  4. Program the survey
  5. Conduct survey
  6. Collect and clean data
  7. Analyze and process findings
  8. Review the final report

From a survey participant’s perspective, they will:

  1. Respond to a dedicated email invitation, clicking a link to take the survey which works on mobile, tablet, or desktop/laptop computers
  2. Take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete the survey

What questions are included in a market research survey?

Questions will generally flow as follows:

  1. Uncover factors impacting current usage, reasons category is purchased, to what degree respondent is attached to current behaviors.
  2. Explore current awareness and usage of product category.
  3. Establish extent of market potential for purchasing your product, reasons why/why not, and usage scenarios.
  4. Examine consumer’s potential change in current frequency, activity scenarios and channels used when shopping/purchasing this product compared to current behavior.
  5. Explore expected purchase channels.
  6. Assess preferred pricing model (i.e., one-off, multiple month supply, subscription) and price elasticity for each model.
  7. Determine response to potential brand positionings.
  8. Capture extensive demographic and psychographic variables.

What does a survey report include?

Results should be comprised of both quantitative and qualitative (verbatim) results, clearly outlining all findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Qualitative results should be sorted according to response type, and presented in organized tables, along with sample participant quotes, for easy and actionable understanding and use.

An extensive analysis can include:

  • Demographics/geography
  • Current category affinity
  • Behavior scenarios: category purchase/preference behavior activities
  • Channel and buying habit affinities (in-store, buy online / ship to home, etc.)
  • Preferred pricing model and price elasticity
  • Types of products purchased within category
  • Modeling to reflect product feasibility and market potential relative to current preferences/activities

Convince me. What’s the real value of market research?

By gathering customer insights you can create a true competitive advantage and drive faster performance against your business goals. To summarize, marketing research will help you:

  • Benchmark the current market landscape: Get an objective, numeric evaluation of current market activities, attitudes and behaviors
  • Identify drivers of impact: Know which demand drivers to focus on first to achieve optimal market penetration
  • Build baseline framework for creative: Create your brand positioning and messaging framework based on data, not guesswork

We use marketing research to answer questions around brand equity and positioning, messaging, customer and user experience, website experience, feature functionality, and much more.

Want to understand a better way to approach your customers? We can help.

Contact us