If there’s one vital resource in business, it’s consumer intelligence. You need to know who your consumers are, and be able to model how they make their decisions so you can optimise your marketing, your stores and your products to appeal to them. Knowing what your market is is only the first step here. You need to know enough about the factors affecting that market to know what attracts them to products, what kind of social media engagement comes across as insincere and in any given situation, which way they will jump.
This is why programmes of market research are only rarely single surveys: when you need an answer to a very specific question, one survey might get it for you. But if you’re trying to construct a model of your consumers, you need ongoing programmes that gather information for you over time. Seeing how people react to changing circumstances is far more important that any individual data point at any one time.
Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can reach people to gather data and truly understand who is buying from your brand, and why.
One of the most important kinds of market research is brand tracking. You need to know what customers think of your brand, and how that opinion changes based on the decisions you make and factors beyond your control. You might need to know if a social media campaign has made you more attractive to customers, or if news of bad economic times ahead has depressed interest in your company.
Brand tracker surveys let you gather this information, and collecting it long term lets you see how the strength of your brand wanes and waxes over time. It’s well worth investing in talented analysts to tease out the insights waiting in this data. When you’ve collected enough, you can begin to use it to make predictions – to inform your marketing campaigns, to add specific words to your copywriters’ vocabulary that you know will increase customer’s engagement on certain topics.
This is when you see the return on investment promised by market research companies: the information gleaned over seasons turns into insight that means you can predict with a fine degree of accuracy how products and campaigns will perform. This lets fine tune their wording, design and released to speak to the greatest potential number of resources and predict with confidence the profit you can expect to see on them. Avoiding investing in consumer insight is the worst kind of