Market research is essential when you’re looking to launch a new product, expand your services, or get ahead of your competitors. Without accurate data on your future and current clients, competitors, or industry trends, your strategy may be based more on gut instinct or outdated practices.
Third-party market research, however, can provide crucial, impartial insights that businesses need to push forward with effective marketing and PR strategies.
1. Understand Consumer Behavior
While data analytics can show transactional information, it doesn’t give you insight into why consumers behave the way they do, what kinds of attitudes they hold about a company, and what their motivations are for making a purchase.
Research methods that include observing your target audience using your product/service or open-ended questionnaires allow you to discover insights that you wouldn’t have considered if you solely rely on past behavior and sales data to direct your marketing efforts.
You can also gain insights into your existing audience to learn:
- Why your customers choose you
- How your customers utilize your product or service
- Why they didn’t choose your competitors
- What influenced them to make a decision
When you really understand your current target audience, you can expand and improve on the qualities that helped them choose you in the first place.
2. Solve Current Problems
If you already know about an issue within your business or organization, such as a lack of brand awareness or new, unidentified competitors, market research can help you find the root cause.
For instance, when the Boy Scouts of America Capitol Area Council (BSACAC) wanted to reverse a trend that showed poor crossover rates from Cub Scout to Boy Scout, Bloom Communications designed a strategic research approach and plan to learn what was impacting retention and crossover.
Using surveys, focus groups, and phone interviews, Bloom was able to uncover new and actionable insights that allowed us to craft a long-term strategy for BSACAC. Our plan also led to follow-up studies that helped shape their current messaging to retain members crossing from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.
3. Know Where You Stand
Market research gives you a look into how your target audiences are using your (or your competitors’) services and how your audiences feel about the competition. It can also help position your product or service to show how you offer more value than your competitors.
These insights can also help you identify competitors who are currently on the rise, or those that you didn’t even realize you were competing with. Once you’ve found your main competitors, in-depth research can help identify the weaknesses in their strategies or messaging, which will give you the opportunity to better position your business.
4. Identify Opportunities for Growth
Based on your research results, you can make informed decisions on how you want to grow your business. This can include branching into new marketing channels, adjusting your product or service pricing, and expanding or reducing your service offerings to better suit your target audience.
While it may seem paradoxical, reducing or focusing on a specialized set of services may actually grow your business in the long run, as you’ll have more resources to funnel into a single, well-thought out strategy. Conversely, if there’s an opportunity to diversify your operations, you’ll need data to determine when and how to best position your new venture to resonate with your consumer base.
5. Set Realistic Goals
Continuous goals prevent your business from stagnating, but there’s a fine balance between driving growth and stretching your resources too thin. Effective market research will help:
- Determine what goals are attainable for sustainable growth
- Predict when your business can reach these goals
- Identify common pitfalls that could set your organization back
- Strategize the best methods to reach these goals without wasting time or money
Market research can help reduce the overall risks associated with growth while enabling you to create the most cost-effective strategy possible. Plus, with the insights you’ve gained from your market research, your PR and marketing strategies have the potential to be more effective and influential than ever.
Market Research in Portland and Austin
Bloom Communications is a research-based integrated communications agency with offices in Austin, TX and Portland, OR. Unlike other communications agencies, our efforts are focused on helping mission-driven organizations grow and thrive. We design market research strategies that not only provide insight into consumer behavior, preferences, and motivations, but take it a step further to solve your unique organization challenges as well.
When it comes to integrated marketing and PR services in Portland and Austin, we use the collective strengths of our team to craft well-designed communications solutions. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we approach market research, marketing, public relations and creative solutions.