Good market research creates a strong foundation for any new marketing activity. You have to analyse your market to work out what they like and why they like it; who else is doing it and how you’re different. The better your information is, the stronger your foundations are.
But what if you haven’t got the budget for a fancy market research agency?
Lack of budget is no reason to skip the market research for your marketing activities, so here are 12 low cost ways you can gain some insight or check your assumptions.
1. Compare your approach with your competitors.
Write down all the ways they are different, and ask your most trusted customers which they prefer (and why). You might find your way is better after all!
2. Create a customer profile.
The information you already have about your customers is GOLD! So create a profile of your “typical customer” and check your marketing is aimed appropriately.
3. Entertain customers to get their input.
Don’t be afraid to schmooze your customers to open the lines of communication. In a more relaxed setting, you never know what you’ll find out.
4. Use your email database to ask your customers one question.
Just one. Like ‘do they prefer paying by credit card or invoice’… Instant, useful research!
5. Use government statistics and information.
There is so much information (freely available) that is extremely useful when you’re mapping out potential new markets.
6. Observe people using your product.
Being a marketing voyeur (or a secret shopper) can give you some really useful nuggets, straight from the horses’ mouth. But don’t be creepy!
7. Ask your staff to record trends and changes.
Your team is one of the best research resources you have and it also gets them involved in the business.
8. Go through your customer/sales records.
Get your hard hat on and create useful reports that will help you target your marketing campaigns.
9. Interview past customers and find out why they left.
But be nice and even send them a thank you. It could even improve the last impression you left with them.
10. Ask your kids. Seriously!
Taking time to get down with young people can help you get ahead of the next big thing. How are they communicating with each other? What is it that everyone’s talking about?
11. Survey your customers.
Apart from sending them a one-question email, use free survey tools like Survey Monkey to get a bit more detail now and then.
12. Look at successful marketing and analyse it.
If your marketing isn’t making a splash compared to your competitors, try and get some ideas from the marketing happening around you.
So there you have it. A dozen ideas to get market research that won’t blow your marketing budget.
What can you add? How do you get your market research?
By Belinda Weaver