Although constant change is the standard in marketing and business, there is one thing that never changes: the necessity to conduct marketing research. Marketing research is a valuable asset for businesses to identify better marketing concepts and analyze business strategies by using data. In the same way that you wouldn’t travel overseas without making plans, you shouldn’t develop marketing strategies unless you back them up with research and data.
The marketing research process is the cornerstone of sound corporate and marketing planning.
Although it is essential, marketing research often suffers budget cuts because of time and money investment. Cutting down the marketing research budget is wrong, particularly if you are planning on releasing a new product or entering a new target market. Marketing research doesn’t have to be pricey if you do it right and follow the correct steps.
Let’s take a look at the best practices in the marketing research process:
Define the Problem
The essential part of every marketing research is defining the problem. If you want to conduct research or collect data, you first need to know what you want to learn from that research. The problem of your company can be anything from launching a new product to market share loss. By defining the problem you need to solve, you will understand what information and data to collect.
You can define the problem of your business by asking detailed questions. Write down as many precise questions as you can and try answering them. For example, if you’re searching for your best target audience, ask yourself: ‘What’s my perfect customer?’ If you can answer this question based on the products you offer, it’s easy to figure out the correct marketing strategy for your brand. You can also include questions about demographics, occupation, free time activities, and age to narrow down the data research.
Develop Your Marketing Research Plan
When you realize what you need to solve, you can develop your marketing research plan. Creating a research plan can be overwhelming, but you need to confront all challenges identified in step one. Here we share some essential techniques for doing marketing research:
- Interview Customers
Interviewing potential customers is an excellent tactic of understanding your marketing focus. By going straight to the source, you will find short-cut solutions to your problem. Select the right people for the one-on-one interview by clearly defining the issue of your business.
- Conduct a Survey
There are plenty of online tools for conducting surveys that you can choose from to find out the opinion of the broader audience. Unlike one-on-one interviews, surveys will help you cover more people and save time. However, you need to know your target audience to get relevant results.
- Run User Test
These short, A/B tests are located on landing pages of websites. It’s a specific way to feel the pulse of your customers and potential clients once they visit your page. People sharing first-hand feedback with you is the most valuable tool you’ll ever get for enhancing your website traffic, and most importantly, it’s cost-effective.
Collect Relevant Information & Data and Analyze the Results
No matter what the issue you want to solve is, you need to collect relevant information and data. In most cases, it’s best to run user tests as well as one-on-one interviews to get both quantitative and qualitative data. If you only conduct surveys, you might get a bunch of numbers and data that doesn’t give you realistic feedback.
Consider including all the research techniques to get optimal results for your marketing research. You need to know your customers’ needs and requirements to plan a marketing strategy that will ignite your business growth.
After gathering all data and information, you need to analyze it. No matter what the findings of your study are, try to look at them as they are no matter your previous expectations. Analyze what your customers and potential clients are pointing out as essential and write down a summary of the results.
Although this is not an official study, it’s still handy to have everything registered so you can refer to it in the future when having similar problems. Always rely on the actual results of your research than your assumptions. It’s better to prove yourself wrong than to cause a negative impact on your company.
Put Your Research into Action
In the end, you are ready to put your research into action and plan your marketing strategy. However, your research is never done because trends, business conditions, and problems are constantly changing. It means that your marketing research is only good until a new problem emerges and the business environment changes.
If your advertising agency starts improving and moving forward after applying your marketing research, you might not need a new study for at least a few months to a year. However, you and your team should always be on top of the new trends and business rules to make sure your company’s services are exactly what your target audience needs.