5 Ways You Might Be Doing Market Research all Wrong

Emilie Johnston

It’s all about the data.

It’s no big secret that as customers demand more personalization, lazy marketing tactics just aren’t going to cut it. Gone are the days of surface-level emails, products that don’t speak to your customer’s most craved benefit and lumping each of your customers into one giant list.

To win and retain new customers, it’s time to get personal, dig deeper with the market research. Stop making it about you and figure out who they really are - before your competitors beat you to the punch.

Here are 5 ways you’re skimping out on effective market research, how it’s hurting you - and most importantly, how to fix it.

Stop obsessing over your buyer personas

It's great to have a firm idea of who your customer is, but nobody buys anything because they're "27 years old, lives in DC and reads TechCrunch.” They buy because of their values and behaviors. Go beyond the demographics with specific customer surveys and don’t be afraid to ask your customers outright why they aren’t buying, upgrading, or why they’re leaving.

Ryan Levesque’s popular book, Ask, is in the author’s own words “ a counterintuitive online method to discover exactly what your customers want to buy” that highlights the importance of quizzes, surveys and getting out of the habit of guessing. If you want to know something about your customer, simply ask and they will tell you.

The good news? It’s never been easier to be ultra-specific with your customer. Tools like SurveyMonkey (the author’s preferred method) make getting the answers to a detailed market survey a breeze.

Dive into your voice of customer data

You may not realize it, but there are major revenue opportunities hidden in plain sight on your subscriber list, facebook page and instagram. VoC (voice of customer) data is critical to understanding your customer’s experience - and these types of analytics may have single handedly saved McDonald’s from a vicious slump when VoC data showed that what customers really wanted was an all-day breakfast menu (they had a 5.7% jump in the last quarter of 2017 thanks to their all-day breakfast menu).

Encouraging current customers to give direct feedback via websites, engaging them on social media and paying attention to what they’re saying about you on their personal IG, Twitter and Facebook accounts are critical to collect well-rounded VoC data. Paying special attention to what social concerns they follow, online trends, and overall buying habits are key to making customer experience data pay dividends in the long run.

Create a direct line with your support champs

What is consumer behavior without the help of support team champs to track, analyze and apply said data into real-time results?

Frontline insights are always the best. Set up a regular workflow, or meeting schedule to review the most common issues, feedback and FAQs with your customer success gurus. Complaints, questions and requests are never solo and by setting up dedicated time to review what the customer support team is hearing on the frontline, you’ll be better equipped to make the right changes that your customers are actually asking for.

Tip: Create a dedicated Slack channel, Voxer chat or document as a central hub for the team to share stories, insights and keep everyone in the loop about customer trends.

Go deep

If you want what they have, do what they do - or in this case, go where they are.

What is market research if not a deep dive past surface level insights and into the psychology of what makes your customers tick?

Find the latest hashtags, Facebook groups, blogs and other social areas your customer hangs out in to follow the conversation.

Even better than following? Jumping in, introducing yourself, answering questions - and most importantly asking questions. Platforms like Reddit, Facebook and LinkedIn make it easy to reach your customer and survey them conversationally (without the pressure of being on a list).

Remember this is a fact-finding mission. Always aim to offer value - NEVER to sell.

Learn from your stats

What’s the point of learning how to conduct market research if the information isn’t going to be used.

Many teams do a great job sending surveys or interacting online, but then do zilch with the data they collect.

One of the simplest ways to learn from and apply your customer journey stats is to take a closer look at your company’s social analytics. Instead of just glancing at likes, comments or conversions of paid advertising, look to see what these stats are telling you.

What was your highest engagement campaign? Why? What was the specific feedback? What image was the most successful? What kind of comments encouraged your customers to engage?

By tracking which posts, questions, images and conversations have been the most interactive, you can easily recreate these types of social campaigns to replicate results. This is a powerful, way to understand what resonates with your customers and if you’re actually solving their problems, or not.

Leverage that insight to fuel future engagement and hone your brand’s content based on what your actual audience (not your marketing person) wants to hear.

We’d love to hear how you’ve been making the most of your market research skills to better serve your customers! Make sure to share your best data-collecting hacks with us in the comments below!

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