Valuable Market Insight is Key to Crafting the Best Marketing Strategies
Effective marketing is essential to lasting success for every business, but effective marketing doesn’t just happen; it takes skill, know-how, and diligence to create powerful marketing strategies which lead to impactful marketing campaigns. More than that, it takes a strong foundation of understanding a number of key factors such as who your customer exactly is, who you’re up against, how people view your brand, and what opportunities are available.
Before the strategy and execution can take place, there has to be something to base it off of. No matter how good you think your creative team is or how reliable your tactics and technology are, your campaign likely won’t be very successful if there’s not a strong reason for everything you’re doing. That’s why it’s so important to first devote time and resources to market research that backs up your strategies and creative solutions, and guides you as to when, where, and how to deliver your deliverables.
What is Market Research?
Market research, or “marketing intelligence,” is a critical early stage in the marketing process which involves facilitating and gathering valuable data and insight about your brand, customers, industry, and competition, to help you make informed decisions about future marketing and communications efforts.
If you think you can do without market research, think again, because it’s highly likely that your competition is taking advantage of it even if you aren’t. The global revenue of the market research industry exceeded $76B in 2021, more than doubling since 2008. The market is expected to grow to roughly $91B in 2025. More and more, businesses are realizing the incredible value of market research, as should you.
Benefits of Market Research
Market research delivers a bevy of benefits to your business, and the dangers of not doing any research or not doing the right types are significant. Among the top things it brings to table, market research helps you:
- Know your target audience better, how to best reach them and serve their needs
- Understand your competitors and what they’re doing right and wrong
- Reveal brand strengths you should highlight and weaknesses you should work on
- Improve product development and spur innovation
- Identify market trends and opportunities
Market Research Types & Methods
There are multiple types of market research which employ a number of different methods to achieve the objectives. Among the most effective market research methods are surveys, interviews, ethnography, database research, website analytics, social media monitoring, and customer journey research.
As of 2020, the most common quantitative research tactic conducted globally was online surveys, comprising over 80 percent of that type of research. Online in-depth interviews with webcams were the most common method for qualitative research, making up more than a third.
In a 2023 North America Market Research Survey by NetBase Quid, respondents said that among data sources, website traffic was the most valuable, followed by sales data, customer reviews, and media mentions to round out the top four. That same survey found that companies use market research the most for strategic planning (91%), marketing campaigns (75%), and competitive intelligence (74%).
Which market research types a business focuses on and which methods it uses depends on its unique needs and goals.
These are the most used, most significant types of market research:
Optimizing the customer journey so that it is easy and persuasive, draws customers in, and keeps them coming back for more is key to long-term success. To do this, you have to know exactly who your target audience is and what they want from you and their shopping experience. This is where you get to the bottom of what really makes them tick, including their purchasing habits; personality traits; hobbies and passions; demographic information such as age, geographic locations, ethnicities, and gender; their communication preferences; and how they consume media and advertising.
Utilizing everything from surveys to social media feedback, consumer insights help you leverage customer behavior to accomplish your goals whether it’s better ROI, increased revenue, or greater engagement. It helps you anticipate consumer needs, spark innovation, personalize your marketing, and more. Once you understand who’s out there, how they behave, and what they want, you can separate them into smaller groups for targeted marketing through customer segmentation.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses view consumer analytics as less essential than other market analytics even though consumer insight can predict emerging trends and potential problems in the market.
In the sports world, coaches and teams put hours of gameplanning into their opponents, learning their every move, and strategizing ways to counter them and get the winning edge. Studying your competitors is essential in winning the marketing game as well. Recon on your closest competitors allows you to understand their strengths so you can emulate them and uncover their weaknesses to seize upon opportunities.
Allowing you get a clearer picture of the overall marketplace, competitive analysis can help you set the bar for future performance while spurring marketing and product development ideas. When it comes to search engine optimization, competitive research involves tracking such metrics as industry keywords, website traffic, sales volume, and cost-per-click.
News articles, product reviews, social media, and advertising methods of those in your industry are all useful sources for competitive insight. Surveys, focus groups, and mystery shopping offer even greater depth.
Getting a better grasp of your target audience and main competitors’ behavior is vital, but just as important is knowing how others view your brand. The perception of your brand revolves around the visuals, narratives, and traits people associate with it. Whether launching a new product or re-branding altogether, brand research helps with shaping and finetuning your brand’s identity and constantly improving its reputation consistently across all channels.
Analyzing the gamut of customer feedback from surveys and reviews to social media engagement, brand research reveals how aware people are of your brand, if they’d recommend it to others, if people are loyal to it, what qualities people associate with it, what differentiates it from competitors, and how much people are willing to pay for your products or services.
Market research is also helpful in assessing the effectiveness of your messaging. Communicating with existing and potential customers is the essence of marketing and brand success. You have to know how well you’re connecting with your audience, how well you’re reaching them, and the impact of your campaigns.
Across the digital landscape especially, there are a ton of different metrics you can track and analyze — e.g. bounce rates, click-through rates, and social media likes, comments, and shares — to evaluate whether your messages are reaching the right people and producing the desired results.
Your messaging must convey your unique value proposition (UVP) as clearly and persuasively as possible. This is why you have to start by knowing exactly what sets you apart from your competition and uniquely meets customers’ needs — or what we like to refer to as what makes your brand 1.O.A.K. Market research can help you narrow your focus on just the right UVP as well.
Beginning with the conception stage and continuing throughout a product’s life cycle, product development research helps you create a quality product or service and then continually improve upon it in response to evolving customer feedback and needs as well as technological advancements. This type of research tests how well the intended audience perceives what you’re trying to sell them and helps minimize risk of it failing immediately or losing steam in the marketplace.
Whether a focus group of kids given a new toy prototype or adults user-testing an app in beta version, product development research aids in critical objectives like finding market opportunities, deciding on the right price, furthering innovation, and determining the best features and value props to highlight in your advertising.
From consumer insights to product development, there are countless research avenues you can take to better understand the marketplace and uncover opportunities for growth.
As a fully integrated marketing and communications agency, M:7 offers not only top-notch strategy, creative, and communications services but also market research capabilities utilizing the latest market research tools to back it all up.
For deep-diving research to build the strong foundation you need to optimize all of your strategies, marketing, and communications efforts, get in touch with us today!