Back to Marketing Basics: Market Research in the Social Media Age

market researchMarket research is often undervalued in companies and is often one of the first things eliminated when times are tough.  But, that’s the wrong attitude. Market research is crucial for uncovering marketing opportunities.

Consider the humble minivan — only the MOST successful new car concept in many years.  This car concept generate billions of dollars for manufacturers who recognized the problems faced by consumers with existing cars.  And, the new foot activated rear lift on cars is a stroke of genius in recognizing that folks often have both hands full with stuff they need to load in the back.

Market research is important for your success

And, market research is much less expensive when you incorporate market research as part of your social media strategy.

Teaming market research with social media

As reflected in this infographic from PageModo, market research on social media is a winning combination — whether you’re doing problem oriented market research or gathering routine market intelligence.

That’s because your social network is a ready-made pool of engaged consumers who are likely already part of your target audience — likely they’re already customers.

Here are some of the ways you can use your social networks for market research:

  1. Understand the lived experience of your customers.  This is academic speak for developing a deep understanding of your target audience and how they live their lives.  What are their problems? What brings them joy? What do they value most? Who are they influenced by? How do they express themselves?  You get the idea.
  2. Ask them. I particularly love the question feature in Facebook that allows you to build engagement with and extend your social network by asking questions. These answers also help you understand what’s important to your target audience or discover unmet needs which affords you great marketing opportunities.
  3. Test market. Social networks are great for test marketing new ideas before you spend the money to create a new product or service.  Float your ideas on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Google+, etc and see what folks have to say about the idea.  Do they Like it? Share it? This can save you millions!
  4. Sentiment analysis. Knowing what folks are saying about you and your brand is important.  Quick response to service/ product failures, advertising mistakes, or even social media gaffs can reduce the impact of this negative sentiment on your brand image.  Fixing problems in the public forum of social media can even provide lift for your brand.  Sentiment analysis should include not only monitoring on social networks, but more in-depth monitoring using Google Alerts (FREE) or paid solutions, such as Radian6.
  5. Determine what works and what doesn’t. By tracking how consumers respond to your content — Liking, Sharing, Commenting — you can determine what content “works” for your target audience and what doesn’t.  This allows you to create more of the content that works and improves the success of your social media marketing strategy.
  6. Use social media to promote your traditional market research. Traditional market research surveys still have a place in improving your understanding of your market and their needs. Using social media as a means for soliciting respondents is a cost-effective way to get the responses you need, while increasing responses from your target audience.

Hausman and Associates

Hausman and Associates publishes Hausman Marketing Letter and the monthly email newsletter of the same name.  We also provide cost-effective marketing and social media through our innovative virtual agency concept.  We welcome new clients and would happily provide a proposal to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE.