3 Ways businesses conduct customer-focused market research

3 Ways businesses conduct customer-focused market research

Beulah Iriele is a Director at Soteria Business Services Limited, a UK-based business consultancy  working with businesses to implement their growth and transformation objectives. Follow on twitter @SoteriaBusiness

Market research as we know it, is becoming more challenging for businesses. It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict what consumers want or would pay for due to the unprecedented disruption happening in various markets.

A Post-Truth Era

In 2016, various sectors including the political and social arenas, experienced seismic changes to known and predictable patterns. Many say this was because the world may have moved into something the Oxford Dictionary terms as the ‘Post-Truth Era’. The Post-Truth Era signifies an era where feelings or emotions are prioritised above facts. Businesses could find it challenging to perform market research. Just collating facts relevant to their markets through the old way of conducting market research will not be sufficient. Therefore, businesses might need a customer-focused approach.

Customer-focused market research

Here are 3 ways businesses can perform a customer-focused market research

Engage in customer exploration

This is not only about getting feedback from customers through surveys and questionnaires. It also involves observations and one-on-one customer contact. This will help businesses understand how customers feel about your products and services. Businesses should not rely on the number of likes or followers on their social media page. Meeting customers one-on-one could help give first-hand feedback. It will also help to capture more than what customers say in their surveys and questionnaire responses.

Pilot new services or test new product prototypes

Within given markets, observe customer reactions to products or services. Observing rather than waiting for responses from feedback forms will enable businesses to understand the underlying feelings of reception or rejection of these products or services. This technique will also enable further probing into these feelings where necessary.

Focus research on the underlying factors accounting for customer loyalty

Customers often stay loyal to products and services that appeal to their feelings. Focusing on these factors will help businesses understand what drives adoption and customer loyalty through market research. For example, most people who own Apple brand products do so because they feel that they belong to some sort of elite club. Therefore, they remain loyal customers to maintain that feeling. Subsequently, Apple ensures that their products continually appeal to this feeling of elitism putting a lot of focus on Customer Intimacy as a value discipline. What other ways can businesses move from the traditional research methods to a customer-focused approach? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

Choosing a Marketing Agency? Ask Yourself…How Cheap Is Your Love?

Choosing a Marketing Agency? Ask Yourself…How Cheap Is Your Love?

This blog post is by Scott Graham, Creative Studio Manager at AVC Immedia. AVC Immedia is an Aberdeen-based agency that provides a range of creative services including web and graphic design, audiovisual, app and 3D animation.

Are you choosing a marketing agency because they’re cheap?

If I asked you to give me £500 to damage your brand in front of potential customers would you do it?

Well, plenty of you are.

The recent downturn resulted in everyone is trying to get their marketing and promotion as cheap as possible. I saw a video the other day. It looked like it was filmed by a man with one leg shorter than the other – squint, no tripod, no lighting, in and out of focus, ambient audio. This was broadcast on social media as an ‘insight’ into that company.

In choosing a marketing agency, someone at that company was delighted to have saved a few quid by paying the cheapest supplier possible. What they actually did was pay someone to damage their brand then show it to the world.

We are living in a world of fools. Breaking us down.

Instead of paying people to represent your company poorly, invest a little more time & money and get a better result. Your love for your brand will shine through to clients and you’ll come to value the difference between a cost and an investment.

But hey, it’s not me you need to show…

Here are 3 questions to help you to distinguish between cheap and good value when choosing a marketing agency:

 

1: Can your marketing agency scale up with you?

Every time you switch marketing companies, you have to spend some time with them to ensure they have a firm understanding of your brand. If you have to switch, each time your company’s needs grow, it costs you money. To avoid this, don’t assume the company with the lowest rates and lowest overheads is the cheapest. Find a partner, not a supplier.

2: Have they done this before?

Ask for case studies and examples that resonate with the objectives you have for your own business. If they don’t have any, then be aware that you are the one that is paying for them to build skills in that area.

3: Do you trust them?

Great ideas come from relaxed conversation. If you can’t establish a relationship of trust & mutual respect with your marketing supplier, then you’ll never get to the place where great ideas come from. You’ll tell them what you want, they’ll give you that, nothing more and nothing less. Eventually you will find that limiting and have to move on. Think about these issues when looking at your marketing provision and I promise you won’t waste your time living in a world of fools.

A version of this post was published on LinkedIn on 22 Oct 2015.

 

Photo credit: iStockPhoto.com | Photo for editorial use only

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