Exceptional customer and brand experience are often the differentiating factors between thriving companies and their stagnant counterparts.
Providing a difference-making customer experience starts with understanding what people actually want, which requires brands to have timely, relevant, and actionable customer insights that inform everything from product development to marketing messaging.
Market research, the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a market, is the gateway to this critical data. With market research as your foundation, your team identifies target audiences, prioritizes new product opportunities, and uncovers customer sentiments – all before investments are made.
Put differently, market research is the due diligence that unlocks customer engagement opportunities. It’s the data that shapes direction and informs decisions at scale.
Here are five ways your brand, agency, or team can maximize market research in the year ahead to strategically achieve your goals with precision.
#1 Secure Stakeholder Support
While many people say they are data-driven, they often mistake intuition or personal preference for empirical evidence.
To maximize impact, start by breaking down this approach, understanding that market research is most effective when everyone is on the same page. Remember, you have the power to spark curiosity and interest within your different audiences. Consider the following key points for various stakeholders:
- For leaders, market research facilitates strategic investments by allowing organizations to strategically devote resources to audiences/products/services that will have the largest ROI potential. It also directly impacts an increase in winning customers and generating sales by empowering organizations to deeply understand potential audiences and create tailored strategies that effectively convert prospects into customers.
- For colleagues, this research helps improve effectiveness by leveraging data to inform product innovation, product development, and product marketing/promotion. It ultimately aids in delivering more targeted and effective products and messaging.
Message or concept testing is a great way to get your foot in the door with market research. Create several concepts and test those ideas with your target audience or market segments to see which concepts resonate most with your target audience and why they are so impactful.
#2 Uncover Hidden Pain Points
Highly effective market research moves beyond the obvious, uncovering hidden pain points to deliver better products, services, and experiences.
However, people’s ability to articulate their feelings or problems varies based on many factors, including emotional awareness, communication skills, and comfort levels.
To maximize results, balance quantitative and qualitative analysis, leveraging non-verbal research techniques to understand consumer behavior in a natural setting.
#3 Use Research to Enable Emotion-Based Marketing
As marketers, we all strive to connect with customers on an emotional level, understanding that people make decisions based on how they feel as much, if not more, than how they think.
Market research allows you to understand customers on an emotional level and create strategies and campaigns that address those emotions.
Start by conducting audience segmentation or persona-based research. Segmentation studies help identify different audience segments based on emotional triggers or preferences, which lets you tailor messages to specific groups, making them more relatable and impactful.
Additionally, messaging testing research allows you to evaluate creative concepts to ensure content and images resonate positively with the target audience and avoid unintended reactions.
#4 Emphasize Data Quality
The equation to effective market research is simple: garbage in, garbage out. Put differently, bad data produces unreliable results, compromising the insights that power data-driven decision-making.
That’s why finding the right people for observation, interviews, and surveys is critically important.
This is especially difficult in today’s digital environment, where AI-powered tools enable professional survey takers and bots to infiltrate and influence survey results.
By using quality sample providers, appropriate screening questions, and tracking solutions, you can ensure an accurate representation of survey results. High-quality sample providers are critical. They employ methods to prevent survey tampering by professional respondents and bots, including sophisticated tools to know if people are manipulating their IP addresses and individual survey volume analytics.
At the same time, avoid template survey platforms to maximize data quality. There is an expansive and easily accessible ecosystem of DIY survey platforms that make it “cheap” and “easy” to conduct market research. However, these platforms often come with hidden costs, and their efficacy is often fledgling at best.
#5 Prioritize Actionable Insights
Actionable data is key to making better marketing decisions.
Keeping the business and research challenges as your north star will help keep stakeholders aligned and inform survey question development. Once the research is conducted there will be a deluge of interesting and important insights available, but distill the vast amount of information into bite-sized chunks that are desired for business outcomes.
To achieve these, consider leveraging frameworks like MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) and the Rule of Three, which are helpful for distilling the most actionable insights.
Getting Personal in 2024
As the business landscape continues to evolve, the need for in-depth, actionable insights becomes increasingly crucial. Market research is the quickest way to achieving these insights, allowing businesses and brands to move with speed, intentionality, and precision.
By securing stakeholder support, uncovering hidden pain points, leveraging emotion-based marketing, emphasizing data quality, and prioritizing actionable insights, organizations can harness the power of market research to drive growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
These steps will help teams make the most of market research in 2024, empowering more personalized offerings that surprise and delight customers and differentiating truly data-driven companies from their intuition-informed counterparts.