When it comes to market research strategies, the more you know about your target audience, the more effective they will be. The biggest mistake you can make is assuming you know who your audience is and that you understand what their needs are without doing the proper market research. Not only could you be mistaken, but audiences evolve over time. This means that even if you do have a firm grasp of who your audience is at the moment, this can change in the future. It’s why you need to continuously do market research so that you can keep up with who your audience is. With that in mind, the following are seven market research strategies that you should use to better understand your audience and what their needs are:
1. Send Out Customer Surveys
One of the easiest ways to collect information about your target audience is to send out surveys to your customers. Basic NPS surveys can give you a good idea of what they think about your products and services and give you more detail about what they liked and didn’t like. This will give you a better understanding of whether you’re meeting the needs of your audience or not.
Of course, NPS surveys aren’t the only type of surveys you can use. They are certainly helpful and easy to complete, but you might want to consider sending out surveys through the mail, asking website visitors to do more in-depth surveys on your website, or even performing telephone surveys.
2. Perform Customer Interviews
Contact customers and request personal interviews. These can be in person or over the phone. When performing a personal interview, make sure that your questions are unstructured and open-ended questions. When you first contact a customer, do so with the intention of scheduling an interview in the future and not performing one on the spot as they are more unlikely to do this. Incentivizing a customer to take the time to do an interview may be a good idea as well, just make sure that by doing so, you’re not affecting how they answer your questions.
3. Hold A Focus Group
A focus group can be an excellent way to find out what customers think about your brand. During a focus group, a moderator will ask a series of scripted questions to a group of customers at a neutral location. The conversations that take place are videotaped so that you can review them and learn about what your customers think.
4. Observe Your Customers
It’s worth noting that customers may give answers in focus groups, interviews, and surveys that conflict with their actual behavior. It’s why you should consider observing customers in action. You can do this by recording customers in your store to see how they behave. Also, try inviting customers to try out products or services and record them (with their permission of course) so that you can see how they interact with your product in person.
5. Monitor Your Competition
You can learn a lot about your audience by reviewing what your direct competitors are doing. Routinely check out the content they’re posting on their website, their press kits, their advertisements, and their social media activity. Doing so can provide you insight into how they are positioning themselves and what kind of audience they are targeting and engaging with. This should also provide you with some useful information in the form of what their weaknesses and strengths are that you can apply to your own marketing efforts.
6. Monitor Discussions About Your Brand
Customers will often talk about your brand without you even realizing it. You can use a variety of tools to track mentions across social media channels. This allows you to identify when people are talking about your brand and what they’re saying about it. You could even join in on conversations to ask people follow-up questions to their comments.
7. Join A Trade Association
Joining a trade association can be quite useful. It provides you with access to information about your industry, making it easy to keep up with the latest trends and market shifts. Not to mention that you’ll have access to networking events and conferences. There, you can glean all kinds of information about both your industry and your audience.
By better understanding your audience, you will be able to keep up with their needs and improve your products and services to meet those needs. Use these seven market research strategies to stay up to date with who your audience is and how their needs are evolving.