The customer journey today is no longer linear but looks more like a rubber band ball! With so many channels, digital consumption continues to increase and the amount of information leads to the paradox of choice. So how do you create great digital experiences for your customers? Market research is the tactic and there are many different tools and techniques to learn more about your customers - but it all comes down to the data.
The role of data in business continues to grow, but it is still lagging behind where it needs to be. Data is used to profile customers to deliver customer intelligence (CI), or business intelligence (BI), which includes transactional behavior. Businesses use these for decision making and strategy. The more forward thinking businesses combine both to have a wider indicator of what the consumer might need. CI and BI are the bare minimum of what businesses should be doing with data.
There is an abundance of data online, just check out the infographic by Social Media Today on What Happens On The Internet Every Minute. This visualization makes it easy to see how much data is available. The more data you collect, the more relevant you can make your customer experience. Customers are looking for personalized content to address their specific needs and wants. This requires marketers to deliver the right information to the right customers at the right time. It’s all about relevance! Relevance leads to a better customer experience. The more interactions with customers, the more ways to glean data. In order to keep a clear picture of customers, businesses need to understand and accept the role of data. This data strategy should be built around lagging, current and leading or future indicators, each of which can give you a different piece of the data equation. Leveraging this data offers a clear view of past and current performance as well as future opportunities.
There are different tactics used for research to understand and below are just a few ideas:
Searching Google is a great start. This video provides 15 different ways to search Google,
Look at who is visiting your website, from where and on what device by installing Google Analytics
Utilize social listening to analyze other sources such as online data, such as social media sites, forums, groups
Speak to your sales and customer service teams or review data from the Sales CRM software
Do you have a brick-and-mortar store?Look at in-store experience data, customer service logs, in-person surveys, in-store foot traffic and much more.
Market research means gathering and analyzing data in order to gain insight into consumers, understand a market and make business decisions. Research can provide relevant insights about customers, competitors and the market. Insights can be gained with primary data, secondary data or a combination of both. Secondary data is already published and readily available while primary data is gathered specifically for a particular research problem, can be more costly and time consuming but is specific for your brand. Besides primary or secondary data sources, research may be qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative data can be captured through surveys, focus groups or interviews, while online tools such as surveys and web analytics packages are excellent for gathering quantitative data.
Utilizing market research helps you not only to understand your customers better, it helps you change in industry, identify new market trends, find new potential sales opportunities, prospective customers, engage customers to help steer your business. In the end, the better you understand your customers and the better you will be able to craft the right marketing mix, meet their needs better, and create a more positive brand sentiment. Delivering the right content through the right channels to the right people at the right stage of their customer journey creates happier customers and, ultimately, a healthier bottom line.