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Marketing Strategies Examples

When you decide to start or improve your business, the best place to begin is doing market research. Market research is so important to your success.

It would be best if you did it before starting and continuously throughout the lifetime of your business. But, don’t make these mistakes.

  • Using the Wrong Research – You have to step outside your expectations when you conduct market research. Don’t only study information that matches your assumptions because you could be wrong. Even if your service or sell products to people you think are just like you and you’re in your target market, your experiences are subjective and not indicative of the experiences of others. 
  • Avoiding Primary Research – Knowing the market size, how it’s performing, and other information readily available to you is considered secondary research. And while it is good information, you need to also get information directly from your audience about your business. Being able to ask your target market directly about their thoughts, feelings, and actions can go far in helping you make good decisions.
  • Not Researching the Competition – Your competition is very important in your market research because they likely sell to your audience. Knowing how they do things and whom they do it with, and everything you can about how they do business will help you do it a little bit better. Differentiation is the key when it comes to winning against your competition.
  • Using Poor Reference Materials – It’s important to understand what constitutes good research and what constitutes poor research. There are some legitimate places to research using the internet and some that aren’t. The best places to look are within scholarly research via university-approved publications. Be careful about using materials put out by propagandists. 
  • Not Researching Your Audience – It’s best to get access to a list of people who are definitely within your target audience. You can do this via list-building exercises, or you can locate your audience in your competition’s groups and message boards. The more you can communicate with your audience directly and ask them the right questions, the better.
  • Using Out-of-Date Data – This is very important because people change and grow with time even when the demographics stay the same. For example, Olay doesn’t market its beauty products to its audience the same way today as it did in the 1980s. Their product hasn’t changed much, but they have to market to their demographic differently, so they don’t offend them. You should do the same and avoid using out-of-date information.
  • Not Using the Market Research – Believe it or not, many business owners don’t even bother using any market research at all. They stick with their assumptions and move forward. This is a huge mistake. When you conduct market research, you may confirm or completely defy your expectations.
  • Not Asking the Right Questions – When you start with market research, ensure that you’re asking the right questions when you conduct surveys. Creating a good survey is a talent that can be learned. You must phrase the questions correctly, read about survey question mistakes and learn how to do better.

Remember that market research doesn’t ever end. Even when you complete the initial research, you’ll need to continue with it throughout the lifetime of your business.

Because, as mentioned before, even if your actual market demographics don’t change, they do. They start using different techniques, and their opinions and outlook on life evolve with every generation. Market research can help you keep up. 

How Important Is Market Research to Your Business?

It really cannot be overstated that market research is imperative to the success of your business. Understanding your market will ensure that you provide the right products and services to your audience products that they need and want. 

Plus, you’re pricing them most accurately at an amount they will gladly pay. 

Without researching your market, you’re just shooting in the dark. With the right type of market research, you’re shining a bright light on your target, so you’ll be a lot more likely to be successful. 

  • Helps You Focus on What’s Most Important – When you conduct market research, it will help you focus on what’s most important to your audience and, therefore, to you. You cannot make assumptions about your market without confirming them by researching the situation. You might find out that your ideas are wrong, or you might find out they’re correct.
  • Helps You Learn More about Your Audience – You might think that you can wing it, but if you don’t know everything about your audience that you can, you may make a mistake. For instance, Coke thought it was a good idea to come out with “New Coke” without really learning about what their audience would think about that. It was a colossal failure. 
  • Helps You Know Which Path Is the Most Profitable – When you learn more about your market, you’ll be able to create even better products and services that your audience wants. They will think that you’re able to read minds and will clamor to buy what you’re selling.
  • Helps Your Business Adapt to the Present – Even when you are marketing to the same general demographic, the morals, views, thoughts, and ideals of demographic change over time. That’s why companies that have been around for ages have to change their marketing plans and advertise periodically because people change.
  • Helps Improve Decision-Making Processes – Having the right information in front of you will help you make many better choices for your business and your audience. After all, decisions made with no information, the wrong information, or assumptions will almost always be wrong. Having the right information is going to make your choices so much better.
  • Helps Reduce Your Risks – When you know what your market is doing and what they want, you lower your risk of mistakes and failure when pushing out new products and services. Why waste time and money shooting in the dark when you can shine the light on your work and hit your target every time?
  • Helps You Develop New Strategies – The right marketing research will help you create new approaches for everything you do in your business. With market research done properly, the new things you do for your business will be more likely to work out.
  • Helps Minimize Risks – The more information that you have and gather through the market research that you do, the less risk you will face as you conduct product development and marketing to your ideal audience.

Don’t just do market research once; consider it an ongoing need to stay competitive in your business. You’ll identify future problems faster, which will enable you to create products and services even faster too. 

How to Gather Your Primary Research Data

If you want to succeed as a small business, you need to understand the importance of conducting market research and gathering primary data. 

The difference between primary and secondary research is that you get preliminary information directly from your audience, and you get secondary information from other people who have surveyed an audience or conducted some research.

What Is Primary Data?

This is data that you’ve collected on your own without relying on someone else to collect it. You go directly to the source for the information. Collect it and gather it on your own. In this way, you can organize the data in the best way for your business.

Ways to Collect Your Data

The very best ways to collect your data are conducting surveys, doing interviews, hosting focus groups, and sending out questionnaires. Before you start, learn all that you can about your audience, so you are sure that you’re collecting the information directly from the right source.

  • Conduct surveys – Using software like SurveyMonkey.com to send out a survey to your audience that you can analyze using a spreadsheet, pie charts, and other methods that help you to understand the data better. 
  • Do interviews – You can also interview people one-on-one that you know are in your audience. Use Skype, Blab. I’m Google Hangout or the old-fashioned telephone to help you conduct interviews with your audience.
  • Host focus groups – A focus group is a diverse group of people within your target audience with whom you’ll host a discussion answering a particular question. For example, let’s say you’ve created a sales page; you can host a focus group who will try to use your sales page and then report how it worked.
  • Send out questionnaires – These measure various variables of the group taking the questionnaire. They can consist of open-ended as well as closed-ended questions. A questionnaire should only be formulated using positive statements and should never make any assumptions about the respondent.
  • Observations – Sometimes, interviews can end up biased due to how questions are formed or the perceived judgment of the interviewer, but by observing your audience, you can gather much-unbiased information fast. 

The Benefits of Primary Research

Anytime you want to create a product or service or write an article or blog post about or to a specific audience, conducting primary research can be a good way to address your audience. You won’t make mistakes with assumptions if you know the truth about your topic and market.

Getting Started

First, ask yourself what you want to know. Which method will you use to make the discovery? Which participants will you use, and where will you find your subjects? Plus, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll access the groups you need to access. You also need to figure out what your own biases are to avoid having them show up in your research.

There are many things to consider when conducting primary research that will make your work ethic. Always ensure that you have your subject’s permission to gather and use the information, assuring them that you’ll keep their personal information private. Don’t take advantage of people, and report your findings accurately.

How to Organize Your Market Research Data

Most market research culminates with a report of the findings. It’s important to determine how you’ll organize the data even before you start collecting it to make sure that you’re using the right methods to gather the data. 

The report should be useful for you to use when trying to create products, market products, or otherwise communicate with your audience. Here are some tips.

How Will You Use the Data?

How you will use the data matters a lot in terms of how you’ll organize it. For example, if you are conducting research that will help you create a brand new solution for your audience, you’ll want to organize the data for internal use.

The Type of Data

Some data types will work great in a spreadsheet, others in a pie chart; some will be best reported in writing within a report. You’ll need to determine by the type of data how you’ll best organize it.

What Are You Trying to Impact?

If you’re trying to determine how you can affect your revenue, then you’ll want to study issues that you can impact, like click-through rate, sales conversions, traffic, and more. Ask yourself what results you expect, and then move from there.

What Impacts Your Goals?

Sometimes the things we do impact what we are hoping to change. For example, if you want to make more sales, but you don’t create or hire someone who has experience making amazing and high converting sales pages, you might not succeed.

Create a Logical Naming Convention

One thing that can be irritating when it comes to organizing data is finding it when you need to use it. Thankfully, you can figure out a logical naming convention to use so that when you search for the information on your computer, Google Drive or Dropbox, you’ll be able to locate the information easier. Set up a naming convention that includes the subject matter keywords, data, results, and discovery information. 

Clean It Up

Once you collect data, you’ll need to determine what data is useful and what is not useful. Determine which data is important for you, is easily quantifiable, and allows you to make good decisions. Throw everything else out because you don’t need it. 

Mix It Up

Use different methods to demonstrate the data you need to understand and that others in your organization may need to understand. Write out in words what it means, as well as show it pictorially via graphs and charts.

Include a Table of Contents

For the main report, you want to include a table of contents because that is also a good way to search for the information within the document. If you also include keywords, you’ll be able to find the document when searching easily.

Organizing your market research data is an important part of conducting market research. Without being able to easily understand and interpret what the information you’ve gathered means, it’s essentially useless. The process of the organization will help you to understand better and put to use your hard work.

Quantitative Results and Qualitative Results

Before you start with market research, it’s important to understand the difference between quantitative and qualitative results.

Definitions

Quantitative: This type of research is used to gather numerical data and statistics so that you can put a number with the attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other variables that you define from your sample population. This data is measurable and can be used to find patterns and formulate facts. 

To gather this type of information, you’ll use surveys, face-to-face, and telephonic interviews, long-term studies, polls, and more.

Qualitative: This type of research is used to understand the reasons something is as it is. Not only that, you’ll want to understand your audience’s opinions and motivations for feeling how they feel, and qualitative results will do that for you. The insights you get with qualitative research will show you how your audience is thinking and feeling and what they need and want. 

To gather this type of information, you may use focus groups, individual interviews, and observation methods with small groups.

Strengths and Weaknesses 

Both types of results have strengths and weaknesses. 

Quantitative: Providing much information in numerical form can sometimes provide correlations that have no real meaning. You may end up coming to a conclusion that isn’t accurate.

Qualitative: This data type can identify trends that you might not see otherwise, but it’s hard to place a good value on it to determine accuracy. Without putting numbers to this information, it can be hard to determine its true importance. 

Why You Need Both

By combining both types of data, you can fill in the blanks and prove or disprove correlation. So many research results matter – from who researched what types of information the researcher was trying to prove or disprove. Using both types of data will help you get more accurate results.

Each type of research data is also important in its regard. To know how to serve your audience, you’ll need facts, figures, opinions, and insight to help you make the best choice. That will need to consist of both types of research results. When you combine methods, you’ll get far better and more accurate results.

It’s preferable to collect both data types and then combine them within your reports to get the best answers. A really good example is the company Coke and their push out of their product New Coke. This is known as one of the bigger marketing mistakes a company has made. 

They probably made this mistake because they looked at one taste test against Pepsi where more people chose Pepsi. But they forgot their target audience those who prefer Coke.

By changing the flavor based on one type of research, they missed the mark in a big way and made Coke lovers across the world mad. Don’t do that; use both types of data for the very best results.

Tools to Help You with Your Market Research

When you start conducting market research, you’ll need to collect a few tools of the trade. Thankfully, today there are so many automated tools to help you conduct market research like a pro at very little cost, and in some cases, even free.

1. Typeform.com – This is a beautiful form creator that you can use to collect information from your audience in an easy way and post them right on your social media accounts. There is a free and paid version. It shows only one question at a time, which can help encourage your audience to finish. You can even accept payments via your forms if you want them to sign up for something after finishing your survey.

Link – http://www.typeform.com/

2. Survey Monkey – This can be used free, or you can upgrade it to get more features. But, you can do a good survey with the free version for up to ten questions and 100 respondents. So, if your audience is small, you can get a good enough sample with the free version. There are wonderful analytic features with this software.

Link – https://www.surveymonkey.com/

3. HeatMapCo – If you want to know what your audience is doing and looking at when they use your website, this is a great type of software to help you know how to improve your online real-estate and get the best engagement from your visitors.

Link – http://heat-map.co/

4. Facebook Insights – Included with your Facebook business page, you can use their Insights tool for free. It will tell you the demographics of your viewers, the breakdown of your audience by interest, and much more. 

5. AWeber – Your good old autoresponder service can be used to deliver any survey, questionnaire, or request for interviews to your audience. If you don’t yet have an email list, take some time to build one because having an active email list will help you with your market research exponentially. 

Link – http://www.aweber.com/

6. Google Insights – You can use Google Insights Databoard to help you explore much information. Use that info to create custom infographics, which can help you understand the information that you’ve researched.

Link – https://think.withgoogle.com/databoard/#

7. US Census Bureau – Using the information you can find via the US Census Bureau is the best way to find secondary data, which can help you figure out where to find the audience to collect primary data.

8. Personapp – You’ve heard that you should create personas representing your target audience, and this app will help you do it even better using real-life stats. Being able to visualize your audience can help immensely. 

Link – http://personapp.io/

Conducting marketing research is very important for the future of any business because it’s the only real way to know for sure what your audience wants and needs. If you’re not sure who they are, you can’t be sure about what they want. Doing market research will answer all of those questions for you. Using the right tools will make it easy to do.

What Is Included in Your Secondary Research?

Secondary research is data gathered by other people about your topic of interest. Conducting secondary research is an important start to gathering marketing research.

The trick is that you need to find reputable sources for the information, understand whether or not they have an agenda outside of spreading the truth, and then confirm that information with your primary research.

Finding Sources

Before you even get started, you need to know where to get the information from. You want to identify good sources of information that will work for your needs. Places that are government, educational, and industry outlets work well. Be careful about sources with a particular agenda because they may twist the information to match their own needs. 

Gathering Information

You’ll put together public data and other information from organizations and industries to develop a start to the secondary research you’re conducting. If you ask yourself what you want to find out and then collect information that answers that question, it’ll be easier to know what to keep. 

Normalizing Information

Sometimes you’ll find conflicting information from different sources. Take a look at that data closely to ensure that the interpretation you found is accurate in what was collected. You may need to throw out some sources in favor of others that you deem more accurate. 

Analyzing Information

Once you’ve determined that the information you’ve collected is accurate, fair, and representative of your market, you can put it together in a way that’s easy to interpret. Using words, plus graphics and images is often the best way to make the information understandable. What’s more, you’ll want to determine whether you’re putting the information together for yourself to use internally or for your audience.

Understand the Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Research

Secondary research has the advantage of being a fast, cost-efficient way to gather data easily, and it has a high level of value. But often, it’s very general and not indicative of your targeted audience’s wants and needs. You’ll have to do primary research to make sure it’s accurate.

Use Technology to Help

Today, you can use technology to help you, such as accessing various online sources like the US Census via the net so that you can download the information. It’s amazing what is out there if you know where to look, now that you can do it online.

Sources and Strategies

If you’re unsure where to start, the best place is with a government entity that collects and publishes data about various audiences. Next, look to trade journals, academic research, and industry experts. You can also ask your colleagues and associates for help with brainstorming before you get started.

Time Yourself

They say that if you spend more than 10 to 15 minutes trying to find something online, it doesn’t exist. But maybe you’re not using the right search terms.

Brainstorm at least ten to twenty search terms about your subject matter before starting your search. However, don’t spend too much time searching because you need to spend more time analyzing. 

When conducting secondary research, follow leads and look for information in public areas like libraries, government entities, trade journals, and other reputable places before you get hung up on any data you collect.

What to Look At When Conducting Market Research

When you’re conducting market research, it’s important to know what you’re looking at and looking for. The more you’re ready in advance before you start your research, the more likely your research will be accurate.

  • Define Your Problem – When you start conducting market research, you need first to define the problem and identify the research objective you’re trying to accomplish. Knowing these things in advance will be helpful.
  • Design the Project First – Think about all the questions you may have and how you’ll get the answers. Some you’ll be able to get via primary research, others via secondary research. Will you use a focus group, a survey, or something else?
  • Know What Question You’re Trying to Answer – When you start researching, you need to have a list prepared of the questions you want to answer before you even start. This is going to help direct the research that you do.
  • Look for Official Sources – The best thing to do is to look for government data, trade publication data, and industry data from reputable sources. Your sources are the most important aspect of your information because they will determine whether or not your research is accurate.
  • Start with Secondary Research – It seems strange, but the best research to start with is secondary research, which has already been conducted. Find out what answers you can get from other people’s work first. Then use those results to inform your primary research.
  • End with Primary Research – After you’ve done your secondary research, it’s easier to design your primary research in a way that will get the best results. The results you need will depend on the questions you have so far.
  • Collect and Combine the Information – Once you’ve collected all the information you need in the methods you’ve chosen, you need to put it all together and combine it. A lot of market research is both creative and scientific, and it’s best to use both. You don’t want the research to be stifled. 
  • Analyze and Present – As you conduct your research, always remember and keep in mind what you are looking for as a result. How you plan to use the information matters a great deal. Is it going to be used internally or externally? 

When you conduct market research, you need to know what to look for, and the way that starts is that you know what you want the result to be. You know what questions the research will answer and how you’ll use them.

Where to Find Reliable Data about Your Market 

Identifying legitimate places to collect reliable data about your market means that you need to ask the right questions. 

What are the qualifications of the person who collected the data first? 

What sources do they use? 

Can you check out the source for yourself to ensure that the way they reported it is right? 

Most of the time, you can assume the following sources are accurate, but you should always look to potential bias when others report their findings.

  • Government – Websites that end with .gov are usually very accurate with the information they provide. The reason is that they have to be unbiased with the information they collect and report, and they understand how to do it right.
  • Industry Associations – While some industry associations might put out some biased information toward their industry, their methods of collecting the raw data are usually very above board. You can typically trust an industry association for accurate data.
  • Trade Groups – The same applies to trade groups. Of course, they want to represent their trade well, but that is the only place their bias exists. They collect the information in ways that lend themselves to accurate reporting.
  • Business Magazines – Generally, business magazines that are well known and are real publications and not just advertorials in disguise will have accurate information that you can use to get started with collecting your data. If nothing else, they may lead you to more sources.
  • Academic Institutions – Usually, these websites end in .edu and can be relied upon to produce accurate information collected ethically. You can find the info online, but you can also visit their libraries in many cases. You can access academic information and scholarly information via Google Scholar. 
  • News Sources – Sources like The New York Times and other reputable newspapers are great places to start your research. While you should take care with opinion pieces, even slanted and biased opinion pieces can get you started if they list their sources so that you can go straight to the information. Typically, newspapers have fact-checkers, so you can be assured that the information is accurate most of the time.
  • Third-Party Research Groups – Some companies do research independently about various industries and information. These are excellent places to look for great information about your industry to help you answer your questions. One very reputable group is Pew Research Center.

Link – http://www.pewresearch.org/

  • Individual Experts – You can also get information from well-connected and well-credentialed individuals known as experts in their field. Not only is this a great way to get the right information for your research, but it’s also primary data which is a lot more beneficial than secondary data.

Finding reliable data for your research about your market is an essential step to conducting market research. You need the right information at the right time to answer your questions and help you move your business forward.

Who Should Conduct Your Market Research? 

When it comes to market research, there are times you may want to do it yourself and times when you might want to outsource. In some cases, market research can take much time away from you doing your core business. 

This is especially true if you have a very small business without a huge marketing department. 

Should You Outsource?

To determine if you should outsource, consider these questions.

  • Do You Have the Time? – If it’s just you, chances are you do not have the time to earn money and conduct market research. If you’re in the start-up stage and haven’t started taking on clients, then you’ll need to determine if you have the time to do it. 
  • What Is Your Budget? – Can you come up with the budget to pay someone to conduct market research for you? The cost will vary depending on whether you hire a marketing firm or hire a virtual assistant to do your assigned tasks.
  • What Are Your Goals? – If you’re not sure of your goals, then you may need to take out time to determine what they are before you conduct or have someone else conduct the research. Knowing the research goals will help the person conducting it set up the right process for collecting data.

Questions to Ask If You Outsource

When you choose someone else to do your research, whom you don’t direct but rather a full-service firm, you want to ask these questions.

  • Does the Firm Have Experience in Your Industry? – It can be tempting to hire any firm to do your research, but the truth is, you need to hire someone who is in your industry and who understands your industry. If you hire someone who has no idea about your industry, they may do it wrong. 
  • How Much Control Do You Need? – Whether you can stomach hiring out your market research will depend a lot on your personality. Some people need much control. In that case, you may want to design the research yourself and then hire helpers to carry out your direction. 
  • What Contacts Do You Have? – It’s imperative to establish contacts in your field to go to for help when you want to conduct market research. You can interview them or get information about a firm or person to hire to help you conduct market research.
  • Is Your Business Stuck? – If you’ve tried in the past to research on your own, but your results have not improved your profit margin, then it might be time to bring in the big guns. Once you have a better idea of what is possible via the market research that the experts conduct, you’ll know whether your business goals are even possible in the first place.

The important thing is to do market research. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you, get it done. Do it right, and do it without preconceived notions.

The best market research will change your mind about what works and what doesn’t work in your business to make major changes that get results.

Marketing Strategies Examples

Marketing Strategies Examples

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