How to use market research and really understand your audience

Do you know who your customers really are? What influences their purchasing decisions? Do you know what they do for fun? What do they eat for breakfast? What brand of toilet paper do they use?

If you think that kind of data is irrelevant to your business, think again [okay, maybe the loo roll was pushing it, but every little bit helps, right?].

What is market research?

Market research is the process of gathering information about your audience, industry, and competitors, and using it to figure out how your business can meet [and exceed] buyer needs. By being on a level with your customers, you’ll gain valuable insight into what motivates them and what sends them running in the opposite direction.

For business owners with a digital presence in a world more crowded with attention-grabbing content than ever, understanding your customers, industry, and competitors is crucial. It allows you to take the guesswork out of product development and content delivery so that you can hit the spot, every time.

It’s so much more than figuring out if what you’re offering is viable. Market research can help you understand where your customers conduct their product research, which of your competitors they go to for info, what their challenges are, and what influences their purchasing decisions.

Primary and secondary market research

When looking into market research, you’ll probably hear about primary and secondary research. Primary market research is first-hand information that explores potential problems facing your customers and the opportunities presented by the market. It can be undertaken by asking questions of a segment of your audience using things like surveys, focus-groups, and questionnaires.

Secondary market research, on the other hand, draws on data and public records like reports from research agencies, government stats, and even internal sources like customer retention rates.

According to a 2021 report, the most used quantitative method used for primary research is online surveys, which are used by 89% of businesses.

Here are some common types of market research:

  • Focus groups to test out your product, watch a demo, and answer questions.
  • Competitive analysis to learn what’s going on in your industry and how you can stand out amongst competitors.
  • Customer satisfaction research, to discover what makes your audience tick.

What are your goals?

As with all things digital marketing, market research will be most effective when you’ve got clearly defined objectives. After all, it’s sooo much easier to get to where you wanna be if you know where you’re going.

So, before you jump in and start setting up focus groups and crafting questionnaires, think about what information you’re trying to uncover. What is it that you want to know?

Interpret the evidence

The more information you have, the better – but more than that, it’s about how you use it. What trends have you noticed? What does this mean for your business? What are you going to do about it?

While analytics will tell you the ‘what’, market research gives you the ‘why’. It can reveal what customers are thinking and why they make certain decisions. Analytics can tell you when customers abandon your checkout, but only market research can tell you why.

Implement changes

As a company that sells nothing but colourful socks, you might know for *sure* that putting avocadoes on your next line of feet coverings is the best idea ever. But when you look at your research, it says your customers actually hate avo socks. Whether you’re in love with the idea of avo on socks or not, it’s customer preferences that should steer your ship, not your personal love of theoretical fruits.

Actually implementing some changes after doing your market research [rather than shoving it in your desk drawer until 2026] is what it’s all about, and will help ensure that your business is a human-led, customer centric operation. That means happy punters and bigger profits.

Are you ready?

Even if you think you already know your customers REALLY well, market research can be an eye-opening activity. You may figure out surprising ways to develop your product or service and more efficient ways of marketing to increase conversions.

If you still have no idea where to start, 3PM can help. We help businesses big and small generate leads with data-driven digital marketing strategies. 3PM helps you figure out who your perfect customer is and gets them heading straight for your door.

Get in touch with 3PM today.


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