Why should you take the time to research your customers? The short answer is this: all of your customers are individuals who go on to become valuable insights for your business.
Knowing these insights and using them to make informed decisions about your company, products, and services is the difference between a lackluster and thriving business.
That said, I’m not here to convince you that customer data is important; instead, I’m going to show you how to use it effectively and efficiently.
Whether you’re a marketer or not, these tips will help any professional better leverage customer data without wasting precious time and resources.
|1. Utilize automation tools to streamline data collection and analysis.|
|2. Focus on specific research goals to avoid information overload.|
|3. Use pre-designed templates for surveys and questionnaires.|
|4. Leverage online research communities to gather insights.|
|5. Invest time in setting up proper data organization and storage.|
|6. Collaborate with team members to share research tasks.|
|7. Prioritize research objectives to allocate time effectively.|
|8. Use online tools for competitor analysis and market trends.|
|9. Avoid multitasking during research to maintain accuracy.|
|10. Stay updated with industry news and changes.|
1. Know What You Want To Achieve
Surprisingly, knowing what you want to achieve is the most important of all the tips. This will help you focus on the right things and avoid wasting time doing unnecessary tasks.
Perhaps more importantly, it will also allow you to make your ideas more concrete so that they are easier for others to understand.
Utilizing Google Trends can provide invaluable insights into current market trends and consumer interests. Discover how to leverage this tool for your research in our guide on using Google Trends for market research.
2. Develop A Marketing Plan
Before you can begin to run marketing research, you need to develop a marketing plan. Your marketing plan should include these elements:
- A list of goals and objectives that the research will help you achieve
- A description of your target audience
- A budget for the project and resources for each phase of the project, including timelines for each phase
- Success metrics (for example, number of leads generated or percentage increase in sales).
3. Define Your Target Audience
One of the first steps in researching your marketing strategy is defining your target audience. Before you start developing ideas, you need to make sure that you know who you want to reach out to and what their pain points are.
The best way to do this is by setting goals for yourself and seeing how they align with those of potential customers. This will help guide your decisions throughout the rest of the process and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
This doesn’t mean that everything should be done according to someone else’s specifications; it just means being ambitious enough so as not to fall short while staying realistic enough so as not to overreach yourself and cause stress or anxiety in other areas of life (like family).
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4. Identify Your Budget And Goals, Which Should Always Be Aligned
Before you begin, you should spend some time thinking about your goals and budget. This will help you decide what is most important to you in terms of marketing research, and how much time or money is available for accomplishing those things.
You may not have much money to invest in market research when starting. But even if your budget is small, the goals of your business must be aligned with what you can afford to do at this stage of development.
For example, if one goal is growing sales but another goal is staying frugal until profitability arrives (or never arrives), then there will be challenges when choosing between different types of market research tactics based on cost.
5. Ask The Right Questions, But Not Too Many
Focus on the most important questions.
In our experience, many marketers ask too many questions in their research. Be careful not to do this. The more questions you ask, the longer it will take for people to respond and that’s time wasted!
When you’re writing your survey or interview script, focus on asking only those questions that are necessary and important for your research project. Ask fewer open-end (i.e., text) responses if possible;
These tend to be much longer than multiple choice answers and are harder for respondents to complete (especially if they’re asked via mobile device).
Instead of asking a question like “What is your customer service rating?”, try instead: “How would you rate our customer service?”
That way, even if someone doesn’t have an opinion about how good or bad something is right now (“I haven’t had any experiences with them yet”).
They still have an option available for responding positively about whatever issue might interest them later down the road (e.g., when making future purchases).
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6. Filter Out The Irrelevant Data
Once you have a big enough sample size of data, it’s time to start looking for patterns. Look at customer behavior across different channels, time frames, and regions.
Look for trends in the data over time you can use charts or graphs to identify these trends.
Look at outliers: Are there any unusual or unexpected pieces of information? If so, try to figure out why this could be happening by looking at other factors that might be influencing your results (if you’re using surveys as part of your research).
Look at anomalies: What happens when something goes wrong? Does it affect some customers more than others?
Correlate customer behavior with other factors like location or age group (see our article on how age affects buying habits).
7. Work With The Best Tools For You And Your Team
You want to save time and money, right? So you’re going to be using all the right tools for your marketing research, including:
A responsive platform that works smoothly on any device. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing primary research or secondary research you need to be able to reach out, engage with, and collect data from your audience at any point in their decision journey.
A tool that allows insights into not only what people are saying but why they say it so that you can use this information as a starting point for new strategies, campaigns, and initiatives.
Something that gives immediate feedback so that decisions can be made quickly. You don’t want to wait days or weeks for answers when you’re trying to hit deadlines!
8. Segment Your Data
Segmenting customers into groups is an important part of the marketing research process.
Using customer data to segment your audience allows you to focus on the specific needs of each group, making it easier for you to create a more effective strategy for reaching them. You can use customer data in several ways:
Personas are fictional characters based on real people who represent certain segments within your market. By creating personas, you’ll have a better idea of how these different groups think and behave when making purchasing decisions.
For example, if one person is interested in organic food products but only has $25 per week left after rent and bills are paid out every two weeks.
That means he/she may only be able to afford a few items from this category rather than all ten items available during that timeframe (and potentially spend more money).
You could then adjust the pricing accordingly so it doesn’t sacrifice profitability while still keeping consumers happy since they won’t feel like they need all the product options;
Instead, they might just buy what works best given their financial situation at any given period (e.g., one day per week).
Buyer personas help marketers understand what motivates buyers within different segments so as not just sell them something once but also build deeper relationships over time by providing additional value beyond just what was purchased initially.”
Transforming raw data into actionable marketing insights is an art that requires skill and precision. Explore our insights into distilling data into actionable marketing insights to make informed decisions that drive your business forward.
9. Let Technology Assist You With Analyzing Customer Data
Use data visualization tools to help you analyze and understand the data. There are many tools out there that can help you visualize your data, like Tableau or Qlikview.
These tools will give you a visual representation of your customer’s needs and wants so that it is easier for everyone on the team to identify patterns in the data.
Use data mining or analytics tools if you want to go deeper into understanding what customers want from their experience with your company or service.
You can use these tools to see how customers interact with each other based on their demographics and understand what content they prefer.
10. Use The Right Research Methods And Types Of Data Collection
While research methods and data collection types are not the same, they often go hand-in-hand. Some common research methods include focus groups, surveys, interviews, social media analysis, and analytics.
A focus group is a gathering of people who come together to discuss their ideas or opinions on something to understand their thoughts better.
A survey is an instrument used to collect data from a sample of individuals (or organizations) to make generalizations about the target population or population at large.
An interview is a form of the qualitative method where one person asks questions about things like beliefs and practices while another person answers those questions.
The most common type of interview involves one researcher asking questions while someone else listens passively to the “respondent” but other types exist as well (for example two researchers ask each other questions).
Social media analysis/analytics
11. Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Use Customer Data
You can only learn so much from your data or the data of other companies in your industry. But if you’re not tapping into the true value of customer research, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to improve both your marketing strategy and business as a whole.
The first step is to make sure that you’re using customer data and not just any old customer data; it needs to be relevant to what you’re trying to achieve.
If someone is looking for an answer about how a particular demographic feels about their brand or product, that’s great but it won’t help them understand how the same demographic feels about similar products from competing brands.
If there are specific questions that have been raised by potential customers in previous surveys and focus groups.
Those should be answered before making any assumptions based on general trends discovered while analyzing past surveys (which will mostly focus on people who didn’t end up buying anything).
This way there won’t be any surprises later down the line when someone mentions something like “I wish my company offered more options for customizing my product” or worse yet: “What does ‘customizable’ even mean?”
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12. Identify Opportunities Based On Customer Behavior And Survey Results
As you get started, it’s important to have your best foot forward by putting the right assets in place for success. This includes making sure that you’re collecting actionable insights not just something that will be nice to have.
Actionable insights are those things that will help you make an impact on customers and drive growth for your business.
They can be gained from data analysis or other research methods like interviews or surveys, as well as from analyzing sales reports or any other relevant information related to what your customers want to solve their problems at hand.
For example, if a customer has purchased something but hasn’t returned it yet because they’re waiting for more information about how the product works before trying it out themselves (or maybe even contacting support).
Then we might look into ways of reaching them while they’re still interested so they’ll come back sooner rather than later!
13. Build Trust With Customers By Using Their Data Anonymously And Securely
When you ask customers for data, you need to make sure that it’s safe and secure. The first way to do this is by making sure your data collection practices meet any regulatory requirements in your industry.
For example, if you’re collecting information on European citizens, GDPR requires you to get their explicit consent before gathering any personal information. To do this, follow these steps:
- Ask customers for their consent;
- Be transparent about how long their data will be stored (in some cases); and
- Keep all customer information anonymous.
14. Make Sure You Are Collecting Actionable Insights, Then Get Going
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to make better-informed decisions, there is only one thing left to do: get started!
As we mentioned earlier, this process will take time but what we mean by that is that it can take a little while for the whole team to get on board and start using the information you collect.
That being said, once everyone has had some time to practice and use those insights in their daily workflows, your research will become easier.
Your team members will know what questions they need to be answered next, which means that they won’t waste time asking questions over email or meetings anymore.
We hope these tips have helped ease some of your fears about running marketing research! If not (or even if they did), feel free to reach out via email with any further questions: [email protected]
15. If You Collect The Right Information From Customers, It Can Help You Make Effective Decisions About Your Business
The most important thing to remember is that data doesn’t have to be perfect. The goal of collecting information is to get insights and actionable information that will allow you to make better decisions and ultimately achieve your goals.
If you have read this far, then there’s no doubt that you are serious about saving time when it comes to your company’s marketing research.
There are a host of great tools for conducting research and analysis on your audience, and we hope that this article has given you a solid foundation in understanding how they work their magic.
Here are some additional resources to deepen your understanding of marketing research and time-saving techniques:
Hotjar’s Guide to Effective Market Research Learn about the latest trends and best practices in market research to enhance your decision-making process.
21 Ways to Save Time as a Marketer Discover practical tips and strategies to streamline your marketing tasks and boost productivity.
Guide to Market Research at Different Stages of the Buyer’s Journey Explore how to tailor your market research efforts to different stages of the buyer’s journey for more targeted insights.
How can I leverage market research for my business growth?
Market research offers valuable insights into consumer preferences, market trends, and competitor strategies. By analyzing this data, you can make informed decisions that drive your business growth.
What are some effective ways to save time as a marketer?
As a marketer, you can save time by automating repetitive tasks, using marketing tools to streamline workflows, and prioritizing tasks based on their impact and urgency.
How does market research contribute to understanding the buyer’s journey?
Market research helps you understand your target audience’s pain points, preferences, and decision-making process at different stages of the buyer’s journey. This knowledge informs your marketing strategies and content creation.
What role does data analysis play in distilling actionable marketing insights?
Data analysis involves examining collected data to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations. This process enables you to distill meaningful insights that guide your marketing decisions and strategies.
How can an understanding of psychology enhance marketing efforts?
Understanding psychological principles can help marketers create more persuasive and impactful campaigns. By tapping into cognitive biases and behavioral triggers, you can effectively engage and convert your audience.
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.