Way back in 1995, Newsweek published an article titled “Why the Web Won’t be Nirvana.” Go ahead. Read it. It’s almost laughable now. Little did its author know that the one thing he so disparaged would become the driving force of the 21st century. What was once thought to be a passing distraction is now the single biggest influencer for a whole host of activities, including consumer spending. People the world over look to the Internet for information on what to do and how to act, as well as where and when to spend their money.
Smart marketers understand the Internet’s economic power and, thus, have turned to reaching consumers in new ways via digital marketing. By utilizing all forms of digital media (such as the Internet, text messaging, online radio and television channels, mobile apps and podcasts), they can engage consumers in real time. Traditional market research techniques can help digital marketers in their endeavor by providing important data that can be used to help strengthen a company’s virtual presence, its authenticity and its communications and content.
Consider these four market research techniques when crafting a digital marketing campaign:
Tuning In to the Market
A lot of market research is listening. And listening has never been easier than in our current digital age. Businesses can learn how and when people are talking about them by simply tuning in to their presence on social media platforms and other digital media systems. All are free and relatively easy ways to establish a foundation on which further research can be built. By monitoring the terms consumers use and the places those consumers gather, you can identify trends, create detailed buyer personas and, ultimately, better direct your digital marketing messaging in the future.
Targeting Your Audience
Once you’ve listened to consumers, you can begin to segment and target them in personalized ways based on their likes and dislikes. The digital footprints of consumers provide valuable data about their habits, wants and needs, allowing companies the information needed to craft meaningful virtual encounters with them. You can also identify the people influencing your brand and build relationships with them, as well; peer pressure has a profound affect on consumer spending habits, especially in an era dominated by Millennial distrust of authority. Consumers are more likely to respond to communications from trusted sources that reflect a knowledge and respect for their unique experiences. Use research to learn when and how to place targeted ads, display banners, solicit information through individualized emails and offer specialized free content.
Oftentimes, market research is needed to assess competing brands. The Internet is a great tool for this because of its transparency. Every click, swipe, word and visit is documented and apparent for those willing to look. The opportunities to anonymously observe competing brands are ubiquitous, and secondary market research is readily available, as well. Studying how the competition is creating their online presence will enable you to better critique your own practices for efficiency and efficacy in an online world.
Testing a Product
Market research frequently entails experimenting with products and advertising. Digital platforms allow businesses a readily available way to test various messages amongst various audiences to see what holds the most appeal. Market researchers can virtually track website visits, text message response rates, mobile app traffic and other virtual channel views; seeing consumer behavior in real time can highlight the things that work and the things that don’t work, providing you with ways to be proactive rather than reactive in your prospective digital endeavors.
Quality market research can enhance digital marketing efforts by uncovering the necessary data to create meaningful virtual content and promote engaging relationships with consumers in an online world. Communications for Research (CFR) has experience with all types of market research. Contact us to see how we can help you design the best research campaign for the best results.