Using Market Research to Perfect Your Marketing Strategy

Jul 5, 2024

Collect market research about customers and your industry to improve sales. Reliable data helps you develop effective marketing campaigns.

Market research provides the data you need to increase sales and make the most of your advertising budget. This type of research gives you a firm grasp on who your best customers are and exactly what they want, which helps keep them coming back. It also lets you know how to best attract new clients so you can grow your business. Developing a systematic process to collect and analyze data about your local market, overall industry, customer base, and primary competitors gives you a distinct business advantage.

Gathering Market Research Data

Before you start collecting data, determine what specific information you require most right now. The specific type of marketing research your business needs depends a lot on where you already are in terms of growth. If you’re about to open a new storefront or introduce a new product to the market, your research might focus on the feasibility of your idea in the current marketplace. A well-established company might craft a research strategy that looks at changing market trends or ways to target new consumer groups.

You can collect marketing information in a few ways. Customer surveys and focus groups let you question consumers directly about the topics that are most important to you. Social media sites often provide lots of data you can analyze to discover industry trends and track how people respond to your posts or ads. Collecting information on consumer purchasing behavior provides insight into what products people look at, purchase and return. Tracking consumer-generated content, such as blog posts about your company and customer reviews on Yelp or Google, gives you a sense of your company’s overall reputation in the community.

You might also gather more general information to assess the overall state of your industry. Published reports and case studies might introduce new ways to market your service or product. Trade journals and industry-specific magazines keep you abreast of trends and give you a sense of where the market is headed.

With the growth of the internet and social media, collecting market data yourself is fairly easy. The sheer amount of available information can be overwhelming, though. Third-party companies can conduct surveys or analyze big data sets and put the results in an easy-to-read format for you.

Understanding Your Customer through Consumer Data

Customer demographics can change over time, and understanding who you’re really selling to helps ensure that you’re focusing your marketing efforts in the right places. Use collected data to find out who is buying your product or service. Is your typical customer a college student or a grandparent? What is the general income level, gender, family size and profession of your average customer? Create customer personas to direct your marketing efforts, and use these personas to craft ads that appeal to the specific demographic groups most likely to make a purchase.

Once you have a good grasp on what your customers want, you can use this information to improve your products or services to make them more appealing. Using market research to evolve your business keeps you a step ahead of competitors.

More sophisticated tracking might involve assessing which products people buy after an initial purchase so you can target ads to existing consumers. For example, if customers often buy sunglasses shortly after purchasing a swimsuit, you can target ads for sunglasses to all recent swimwear buyers.

Improving Your Branding

Market research can help improve your branding efforts and make the community more aware of your presence in the market. Create surveys and focus groups to determine whether people are familiar with your brand and how potential customers view your company. Branding research can also alert you to how well current marketing efforts are working. Specific areas you might want to research include:

  • How customers feel about your ordering process or customer service
  • Opinions on your website design and ease of navigation
  • What characteristics consumers associate with your brand
  • Where consumers rank you in relation to your competitors
  • How people perceive your pricing and value

Understanding how local consumers view your company right now helps you adjust your messaging to make an even better impression on both potential and existing customers. If consumers view your business as one of the pricier options in town, make sure your marketing communicates the value of your services and emphasizes things such as luxurious experiences and impressive quality. Data indicating that a lot of people have concerns about website navigation might indicate that you need to streamline your site and let customers know about the new and improved online experience.

Research focused on branding might also help you improve your marketing materials. Detailed questions about your logo, ad slogans, product packaging or brochure copy can give you an idea of whether your materials are sending out the message you want and having the desired effect.

Identifying New Opportunities

Your research might give you new insight into opportunities you’ve previously overlooked. Consider imitating or building on successful strategies your competitors are already using, or incorporate customer suggestions to improve your services. Collected consumer data and market trend information can also help you determine the best geographic areas for expansion.

When you’re in search of innovative ideas, expand your research into areas beyond just your customer base. Talk to your employees, vendors and local small business network to find creative tactics for sales and promotions.

If you’ve identified potential new products or services, you can use research tactics to determine whether your market is ready for them. You might also be able to determine which market segments are most likely to respond to specific new offerings.

Tracking the Effectiveness of Your Marketing Strategies

You can measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy in a few ways. You might want to gather information on the reach of your marketing campaign to make sure potential customers actually see your ads. Engagement, or how people respond to your ads, is another metric you should track.

When you know which marketing methods and ad campaigns are the most effective, you can focus your efforts on those and drop any less efficient strategies. This can save your small business time and money by putting your marketing dollars where they have the biggest impact. If the majority of your new customers hear about you through Facebook ads, spend your money there instead of on billboards or radio ads. If referrals are driving new business for you, focus your marketing efforts on programs that encourage customers to send friends and family members your way.

Making Research Part of Your Ongoing Marketing Plan

Market research should be part of your ongoing strategy, not just a one-time event. Develop a regular schedule for collecting and analyzing data. Industries, markets and trends all change over time, so it’s a good idea to revisit your goals and plans on a regular basis so you can make any necessary changes.

When it comes to tracking your marketing efforts, Groupon Merchant Services has tools to help. Become a Groupon Merchant today, and you’ll be able to track demographic information about your customers and develop a more detailed marketing plan to keep them coming back. Learn more at our FAQ!

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