Your customers’ needs and wants are changing faster than ever. But are your sales and marketing efforts enough to keep up with them?
Savvy marketers always reach out to their customers as they truly understand who their customers are, how they behave, and what they want. But the post-pandemic times have made this more difficult than ever. It hit the fast forward button on already changing customer behaviors and expectations; to which, there’s no hitting rewind. Or, let’s put it this way, the speed of customer change is outdoing brands’ ability to respond or adapt to it.
Customers are the shapeshifters as they are changing faster. It has become a completely unpredictable marketplace out there. In turn, organizations have some serious implications on how to go with their market operations. This adds to the pressure that business leaders face—managing today’s complexity while driving tomorrow’s growth.
Companies have to meet revised sales expectations with drastically lower budgets. Industry leaders have to rethink how customers experience their brands across new and existing channels while operating within compressed timelines. So, the challenge and/or opportunity here is to find cost-effective approaches that deliver commendable experiences with scale, speed, and repeatability.
Shifting Paradigms: Customer Change
For more than two decades, digital has been the force to be reckoned with when it comes to customer change. With stores closed and health and safety at stake, we all turned to digital channels to fulfill even basic needs. Amidst the chaos, many of us tried digital mode for the first time for some product categories.
The massive migration to digital channels within these few months catapulted customer expectations for personalization, convenience, and speed. As the digital Pandora’s box is wide open and e-commerce follows an upward trajectory even though we return to stores, marketers have to deal with the fallout. It has created a ripple effect on how to segment, whom to target, the adoption journey, and so on.
And as we gradually inch toward life after the pandemic, customer change continues to be fast and fluid. There is so much uncertainty on which pandemic behaviors will stick, which will fade, and what will happen to consumption patterns that became the center of life at home? Which experiences (like online car buying and click and collect) would be preferred over the traditional ways of doing things? Though these questions seem so hard to answer, professional market research firms help you hack them all.
The market is a dynamic matrix where trends, tactics, and technology are never stagnant. That is why it is critical for businesses to have an efficient market research function. It enables the stakeholders to chase the speed of customer change in terms of agility, analytics, insights, and efficiency.
A Statista report states that “the global revenue of the market research industry exceeded 76.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, growing more than twofold since 2008.” The figures speak for themselves about what potential the market research function hold.
Here’s a list of some of the most impactful ways market research can empower organizations to harness new growth:
Maintain the Customer-Centric Approach
A customer-first, channel-second strategy to design customer experiences is the key to driving loyalty.
To meet this challenge, market research firms have teams that are experts on the competitive landscape, consumer behaviors, historical business performance, and wider megatrends. Brands can gradually fast-track their digital capabilities with the changing customer needs. Industry leaders can focus on identifying customer needs and behaviors to unlock greater loyalty. It also helps in building customer relationships that are stronger and more sustainable.
Identify Growth Opportunities
Market research isn’t just important for launching new products, performing it periodically helps you discover new opportunities.
You can discover unreached segments that could benefit from your products/services. A simple modification in your product or marketing strategy is all required to tap the new customer base. You may come across business partnerships that already have an established connection with your target audience where joint promotions can be mutually beneficial for both.
Apart from this, market research can also reveal possible shortcomings in products/services that would improve customer satisfaction. You can discover opportunities for product bundles, add-ons, or other upsells that match with customers’ preferences.
Make Way for Personalization
The marketing channels used and the content shared are the two main elements of effectively connecting with the target audience.
Optimizing channels to better configure full-funnel campaigns across social media, events, email and in-person interactions aligned to your unique goals drive ROI. For example, you can reach out to the majority of the urban population by marketing or advertising on Instagram. But you’ll only reach approximately a fourth of the rural population this way. This means that advertising the farm equipment on Instagram is likely a poor choice.
An important first step to reaching out to your audience is choosing the right marketing channels. However, tailored content of marketing materials is essential to truly connect with them. From the features of the product to the tone and visuals used must be crafted to speak directly to your target audience. Speaking the customer’s language helps you gain the right amount of attention.
Agile Marketing Strategy
A diversified and agile business methodology orchestrates a cycle of planning, evaluation, and continuous improvement in response to sudden changes.
Fast-changing events like the COVID 19 pandemic can upend marketing strategic plans. The uncertain times required rapid shifts and stakeholders had to react with speed and agility. Insights and analytics retrieved from market research played a vital role in achieving the desired goals by improving responsiveness and marketing flexibility.
Reduce Risks by Testing Concepts
Market research insights help you ensure whether there’s demand for the product and/or service you are planning to launch.
A majority of products fail during the runway test. So, the best way to minimize such risks is by ensuring there’s demand for that product/service. You can get answers to questions about whether the product/service concept has real potential for success? Will the product cater to the needs of your customers? Will it do more effectively than the competitors are doing? Market research insights help you get proof of concept so that you can be more confident in your efforts.
After creating the product—whether it’s a limited edition run or a prototype, you can employ market research to refine your strategy before the official product launch. For example, you can get feedback in exchange for a new food product sample.
In the End
Maintaining the competitive edge demands stakeholders to keep up with the new customer context. They can get the agility using market research insights and analytics. And stakeholders can meet the pressing mandate of optimized performance while driving growth. This is not about doing everything in marketing faster, but about doing things better using proof of concepts.