Do you remember when market researchers stood outside stores and on street corners trying to entice shoppers to complete their surveys? This was one of the earlier methods of gathering customer intel or insights for marketing. A seemingly thankless task for the researchers on the streets; however, the data captured was mined and sold to marketers so they could improve their products and service.
Thankfully today, market intelligence is mostly done digitally, and you can do it in channels where customers frequently visit, including social media, blogs, and discussion forums.
In this article, we look at why you need to do regular market research, plus where you can do it & what some of the key strategies.
Why Market Intelligence?
Market intelligence is used by businesses initially so they know where there is a need or gap that they can fill with a product or service.
For example, a startup business will use analysis of captured data to decide either to launch their product and commit to marketing and sales campaigns.
All businesses need to know how competitive they are with their goods and services. Getting it right with one product or service is no guarantee that you will get it right with other offerings or that what you’re selling today will be what customers want a year from now so this is where market research plays a vital role.
Many areas of a business are reliant on market data analysis to grow market share. Customer service, pricing, marketing and branding all touch the customer and therefore need to know how and where they can improve to retain business and also grow. Even if your startup is in a category by itself and therefore it doesn’t have any direct competitors, eventually competition will arrive. New entrants in your sector will come on to your turf in an attempt to steal your customers, and if they’re successful in time, they will overtake you and become the leading brand.
There is never a time when your business can ignore the changing needs of the customer, and this is why data gathering software and systems are ubiquitous. Have you heard of AI in Market Research? This is the latest development in technology-based market intel capture and analysis.
Artificial Intelligence in Market Research
Artificial intelligence is also known as machine learning insofar as it’s robots, not humans taking action based on using their continuously learned cognitive functions. The more intelligent the robot becomes, the more sophisticated the responses.
In market intelligence gathering AI-powered systems can perform many of the tasks once done by humans. For example, an AI market intel bot could process surveys. You can use plug-ins and apps and even Chatbots to initiate surveys and gather other customer data and then use your business artificial intelligence to also process the results into useable data for marketing and sales teams, product development and R&D.
If you’re starting out with market research here are some of the tried and tested strategies.
Your plan of action will include reaching out via many online channels to get the data you need from your targeted audience including
Use your email marketing list to connect with your opted-in audience. Share your requirements and request help from your email list subscribers.
Post your market intel features including quizzes, surveys on your Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn account and other social platforms frequented by your target customers.
On your blog as well as external guest blogs where you can submit a guest article with a link to your site where you have incentive-based strategies for anyone participating in your market research.
Typically reward-based data gathering will include your newsletter sign up where you collect information from the registrant in exchange for a discount on a purchase made online.
Use these strategies to gather approved and compliant customer data.
- Sign up forms
- Give-away promotions
Taking your market intelligence strategies online removes the headache of hiring ‘foot soldiers’ aka market researchers to walk the streets or mingle in populated public spaces to gather customer data.
Whether you prefer the face to face approach to learning more about your customers or you use online solutions, what’s vital for the success of your business is that market intelligence is part of your marketing mix.