A comprehensive marketing strategy is the foundation of your brand growth efforts, right? Good. And that marketing strategy is informed by market research, right? No? Uh-oh.
What exactly is market research?
Market research is the overall task of establishing questions about your intended market and finding answers to them. Market research usually falls into one of two categories.
Quantitative Research: The emphasis is on measurement
- Quantitative research provides a measure of how many people think, feel or behave in a certain way and uses statistical analysis to determine the results. If you want to know how many of your customers support a change in a product or service–and how strongly they support it–so that you can determine whether you have a business case for making that change, you would use quantitative research.
Qualitative Research: The emphasis is on understanding
- Qualitative research is an in-depth exploration of what people think, feel or do and, crucially, why. If you want to know why your customers behave as they do and what barriers there may be to their changing that behavior, you would use qualitative research to explore those issues.
In most cases, strategy requires utilizing both research types. This provides a broad overview of your intended market, brand opinion, strengths, weaknesses and potential ways to improve your efforts.
Why utilize market research?
Compiling the benefits of market research would take pages. However, these are four of the major benefits:
- Improving efficiency: When it comes to marketing, it is all about ROI. Without market research to back your strategy, your brand could be throwing money away. Depending on your business, this could be the difference between success and failure. Market research allows you to maximize the benefit of each dollar invested in your marketing.
- Positioning: When it comes to establishing your brand as a leader in your market, it is all about brand reputation. A major contributor to brand reputation is authority and innovation. By conducting research into the common concerns of those in your market, you can place your brand in a position to fill vital needs within your market. This creates an innovative appearance. With that, comes increased exposure and authority. Sometimes the best marketing strategy is simply knowing your market. Market research gives you to tools to do that.
- Identifying problems: Brand problems such as poor image, inconsistent voicing or poor targeting are not always apparent. With the hectic routine of growing your brand, things sometimes slip by unnoticed. Market research provides objective ways to assess your brand’s marketing from an outside point of view. By identifying problems with your marketing strategy or brand through marketing research, you can fix issues or shift directions before the problem becomes critical.
- Simplified brand expansion: The insights gained through market research extend far beyond your marketing strategy. By getting to know your market, you can promote your brand using their vocabulary, directly address their concerns, find new uses for existing products or services, ensure your marketing is reaching the proper audience and improve conversions or lead generation. All of this results in a cascade of benefits that reach every corner of your brand.
When to utilize market research?
Though market research has specific roles in creating a business plan, designing market strategies or expanding your brand, it is a tool that can be used for your business continuously. By alternating qualitative and quantitative methods, you can create routines that will ensure that your brand is always in the optimal position for success. Often one research cycle will uncover additional questions and fuel another. If you are constantly exploring your marketing practices and the state of your market, you are always primed to perform action for the right growth.
Marketing strategies will make or break businesses. Market research offers numerous ways to optimize your marketing strategies to improve the chances that your brand will succeed, grow and prosper.