Research is an essential part of any marketing strategy. You’ve got to know your audience, their needs and pain points, the way they interact with your brand, and the effect your strategies are having on them. But research isn’t just about data analysis.
It’s also about stories the stories of the people behind the numbers. That’s why I always love to conduct market research personally whenever I can:
It gives me a chance to talk one-on-one with members of my target audience and hear their thoughts directly in their own words as they share them with me.
Maybe it’s because I’m an extrovert, but there’s nothing that makes me feel more connected to my customers than taking time out of my day to phone them up (or send a personalized email more on that later) and ask “What do you think?”
In fact, some of these conversations have been so fruitful that I’d like to share what I learned from them with you today.
|The importance of skepticism in interpreting research data.|
|Utilizing social media effectively for marketing research.|
|Discovering powerful but lesser-known marketing research tools.|
|Prioritizing research efforts with the help of strategic questions.|
|Enhancing conversion rates through clickthrough rate optimization.|
|The value of using surveys to generate leads and save costs.|
|Understanding the difference between marketing research and consumer research.|
|Recognizing the significance of psychological insights in marketing.|
|Making research actionable to drive business success.|
|Navigating challenges when marketing research ideas fall short.|
|The role of experimentation and adaptability in research strategies.|
|Learning from market research failures to improve outcomes.|
|Identifying opportunities for effective market research in various contexts.|
1. I Was Not “Market Research” Ready
I was not “market research” ready. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this process, and the reality of it all was a bit overwhelming. Here are some things that could have helped me:
Being prepared for what would come with conducting your own marketing research. It’s one thing to think about how much time and money you’ll need for your market research project, but did you really know what kind of emotional toll it would take?
Did you know that people might say bad things about your product/service? Did you realize how many hours (and dollars) it would take to conduct this type of market research?
Talking through these issues with someone who has done market research before. This is especially true if they have been through similar experiences before!
Understanding what marketing research is and how to perform it step by step is crucial for informed decision-making. Dive into our comprehensive guide on What Marketing Research Is: How to Do It Step by Step to gain insights into effective research strategies.
2. Honesty Is The Best Policy
Being honest is a good thing. If you’re conducting any kind of research, it’s important that you be as honest as possible with yourself and the people around you.
This goes for your data, your results, your audience, your stakeholders and bosses, even your team members everyone needs to feel like they can be completely open about what they want from the research process (and vice versa).
Honesty is also key when communicating with clients. If a client asks for something that isn’t going to work or doesn’t make sense according to the data or findings from previous interviews/surveys/whatever methodologies were used;
It’s important not only to speak up but also why speaking up might not be possible at this time either because there aren’t enough resources available or because some other constraint might prevent us from doing.
So now but perhaps later down line once things have settled down we’ll revisit this topic again then maybe by then something else will have changed which means now instead of saying no I’m sorry I cannot do that because…
Successful marketing research relies on following key principles and rules. Learn more about these essential guidelines in our article discussing Discovering the Top 10 Rules of Marketing Research, which can greatly enhance your research practices.
3. Everyone Wants To Look Good
When conducting my marketing research, I learned that everyone wants to look good. When people make decisions, they are often concerned with how those choices make them look.
One example is when choosing a car. A person might choose a luxury brand over an economy brand because they want to be seen as intelligent or successful by other people.
Another example is when someone chooses the “green” option at lunch, even though it’s more expensive than another option they may do this because they want to be seen as environmentally conscious and good citizens who care about their impact on the environment.
In these situations, people are motivated by their desire to be perceived well by others instead of actually wanting those things (for example: caring more about what other people think than being environmentally-friendly).
4. Subconscious Messaging Is Powerful
The first thing that I learned is that subconscious messaging is powerful. I had always known this, but didn’t realize how powerful it was until I saw it in action. The second thing that I learned is that subconscious messaging isn’t an exact science.
It’s not a bad thing, but it does make things trickier than they need to be at times. And thirdly, while the effect of subconscious messaging can be good or bad depending on what you do with it;
The mere fact that there is an effect makes it worth your time as a marketer to understand how your customers think and learn how best to reach them on their terms rather than yours (which means using their language and images).
5. Always Be A Student
As a researcher, you are always learning. Always. Always, always, always. The world is changing, and so are your customers and clients. You must keep up with the trends in order to remain relevant as a marketer or business owner.
The best way to stay on top of things is by conducting research on a regular basis at least every quarter if not monthly or weekly depending on the size of your company and following up with actionable takeaways for yourself and your team members.
Exploring the latest tools that aid marketing research can provide a competitive edge. Discover the potential of lesser-known tools by exploring our feature on The Top 10 Most Powerful Marketing Research Tools You Haven’t Heard Of.
6. Take The Emotional Out Of Decisions
Never, ever let your emotions take control of the situation. You will find yourself making decisions that you’ll regret, or worse, being unable to make any decisions at all because they’re too emotional.
Make sure you’re objective before you do anything else. If there is one thing I’ve learned from my research, it’s that being objective is key!
Try to think about everything as a scientist would: take notes on what happened and how people reacted without letting them know their responses were being watched closely by an expert in marketing research.
It’s important not only for scientists but also for marketers like myself because some people might get upset by how much I was observing them; therefore, it must be done covertly so as not to cause any undue stress on them (or myself).
7. People Really Want To Help If You Are Genuine And Ask In The Right Way
The last thing that I learned is that people really want to help if you are genuine and ask in the right way. In my research, I found that a lot of people will give you an answer as long as it’s relevant to their interests.
If your question is relevant and asked in a genuine way, people will be more willing to help. So if you want someone’s opinion on something, make sure that the subject matter is something they care about or would like to share their thoughts on.
It also helps if you are polite, respectful, and genuine when asking them questions people tend to respond better when they feel respected by the person who has asked for their time and attention.
8. It’s Okay To Pivot
Pivoting is a good thing. It means you are being flexible, and you are open to change.
This can be a challenge for some people because they set out on a path that has been planned for so long, but if things don’t work out the way they had hoped, it’s okay to change direction or even change your mind completely.
If you want something badly enough then it’s worth taking risks especially if those risks help you reach your goals! Part of what makes this job so interesting is how fast-paced it can be when trying new things in order to find out what works best.
If something doesn’t work as well as expected during one campaign then there will always be something else coming up next week or next month that might work better than anything before it was tried (or maybe not). Either way, though we’re always learning lessons along the way…
When planning your marketing research efforts, prioritization is key to success. Our article on 11 Questions to Help You Prioritize Your Next Marketing Research Effort offers valuable insights into selecting the right projects for your goals.
9. Marketing Research Is Not Easy, Even When You Think You Have It All Together
Marketing research is not easy. It takes a lot of time, energy, and effort to conduct the best marketing research possible. Marketing research can be very hard if you don’t have the right mindset and strategy in place to help guide you through the process.
Marketing research isn’t for everyone either! If you are looking for something simple that doesn’t require much thought or effort on your part.
Then it might be best to avoid marketing research altogether because it takes a lot of work and dedication to get results that will help improve your business in any way shape or form.
10. You Need Questions And Answers To Have A Survey Or Interview That Works
Your research questions and answers need to be clear, concise, relevant, and specific. They should also be open-ended rather than closed-ended.
If you ask someone to choose between options such as “yes” or “no”, they may just pick one of the two options because they don’t know what to say otherwise.
This would make your findings less accurate and reliable than if you had asked them more specific questions like “Why do you think our product is better than the competition’s?” or “How much would you pay for our product?”.
These guidelines will help ensure that your survey or interview is unbiased:
If your question starts with an assumption (e.g., “Do you think that XYZ are important factors when purchasing a car?”), make sure it does not influence the respondent’s answer by wording it differently (e.g., “What are important factors when purchasing a car?”).
11. It’s Okay To Take A Break Sometimes, Especially When You Have Little To No Budget And Funding Is Limited
Not being able to take a break can be detrimental to your health and well-being. The best thing you can do when you have no budget or funding is to not work as hard.
Sometimes, it’s okay to just relax and enjoy the silence. When researching my marketing project, I found that taking breaks from working was an incredibly beneficial way to recharge my batteries.
12. When In Doubt, Just Send It Out! (At Least Internally… Like Me)
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you don’t know how to proceed, remember that there is no reason to panic. Sometimes the best thing to do is just send it out and see how it goes!
There are a few things that you can do before sending out your message:
Make sure it is your best work. You want the information or product that you are selling to be as good as it possibly can be so that people will want to buy from you!
If your content isn’t up-to-date with what is going on on the market then people won’t be interested in buying from you. They might even think that they already know all about what’s happening when there are new developments worth checking out (like me!).
For example, if someone sees an old post about “How To Get A Job” but has been unemployed for years then why would they trust their information? Instead, try something like “Top 5 Ways To Get A Job Right Now.”
This shows off some knowledge of recent trends plus keeps everything updated so readers feel confident about their purchase decisions 🙂
13. Have A Plan Of Action Ready Once the Results Are In Hand. Things Happen Fast!
Once you’ve conducted your research, it’s time to analyze the data and determine what happened.
This is an important step for two reasons: firstly, because it lets you know how well your marketing plan worked and what areas need improvement (or if there are any glaring issues);
Secondly, it will help you develop a plan of action based on those insights so that when funding comes around later on in the year (or whenever), you’ll have something ready for them.
If all goes well with this step and funding does come through as expected or even better than expected! you should still keep in mind that there may be unexpected challenges that arise during the implementation or execution of whatever project was funded with these funds.
You can’t predict everything when deciding this, but luckily having some prior knowledge of how things might go in advance will help keep panic at bay while also helping provide some direction when things start getting rough along the way.
Elevating your conversion rates is a critical aspect of marketing success. Explore our list of 15 Ways to Increase Conversion with Clickthrough Rates to discover actionable strategies for improving your marketing performance.
I hope these tips have encouraged you to get out there and conduct some marketing research on your own.
Take what you’ve learned from my experience, mix it with some of your expertise, and maybe come up with a few more things that I can try the next time around. Either way, please let me know how it goes!
Explore these additional resources for more insights into the world of market research:
5 Things I Learned from Working in Market Research Short Description: Gain valuable perspectives from someone with experience in the field, highlighting key takeaways from their time working in market research.
10 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Market Research Analyst Short Description: Discover essential lessons directly from a market research analyst’s journey, offering practical insights that can benefit your own research practices.
5 Things Market Researchers Can Learn From Marketers Short Description: Explore the crossover between market research and marketing, uncovering valuable lessons that can enhance your research strategies.
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Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.