Marketing research is especially easy for firms to overlook in tough times. However, marketing is the key to ensuring long term success for your business and economic downturns often provide unique opportunities for firms to:
- stand out from the crowd
- introduce innovative products
- capture market share
Firms can use these times, when their competitors are focused internally, to make great strides in the market. For instance, Apple was formed in some pretty tough times, yet look where they are today. There is a great saying that goes,
Nobody ever shrank to greatness
that really describes how firms should be responding to current conditions.
Marketing research allows a firm to track changes in consumer attitudes, needs, and ways of interaction. Data can be internal (such as scanner or clickstream data), it can come through data mining of other databases, or may be more traditional survey or experimental data. Whatever the technique, marketing research can provide direction to help your business stand out with your target market.
Marketing research can also come from your social networks by seeing what folks are saying in their posts — what are their pains, what kinds of things really excite them, how they live their lives.
Conducting Marketing Research
Conducting marketing research isn’t really all that hard and it doesn’t even have to be a formal process. You can just strike up a conversation with customers in your store or on your wall. Use Facebook’s question feature to find out a little more about your target market (this has the added bonus of building higher levels of engagement with your market).
You can use one of the many free tools (I use SurveyMonkey) and construct a short online survey and post the link on your website. Give respondents a coupon and the survey serves the purpose of also generating some trial of your brands.