All companies and organizations need to do the following in order to be successful and profitable:
- Establish a strong and reputable brand
- Design and develop strong marketing tools and materials
- Implement a communications and engagement strategy
- Create an effective marketing and growth plan
- Attract, engage, and retain ideal customers
Before addressing or doing any of these, and prior to expending more time, money or additional resources to market your business, there is one important step to implement: research
Often, people in charge of marketing jump straight into production without taking the time to discover the best way to communicate the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, to the right people. You can’t effectively establish your message, position your brand, and engage with your customers until you know who wants to hear from you, what they want to hear, and where they want to interact with you and your brand.
The foundation for true engagement between a brand and a customer can only be accomplished through investment in up-front and ongoing research. It is a worthwhile investment that uncovers knowledge and information and sets the foundation for all marketing going forward.
Here is some valuable information you can uncover with research:
- Holes and gaps that exist between what your company believes the customers think and feel about your product and/or service versus what the customers really think and feel.
- Language that customers use when describing your company, service and products.
- What customers know and don’t know about your company.
- What customers like and don’t like about your company.
- How customers prefer you to engage with them, rather than what you think is the ‘right’ way.
- The products and services customer value most.
- How and where customers find your company as well as how and where they talk about your company with others.
- Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) facing your company – real and perceived.
- Ideas, thoughts, perceptions, experiences and honest feedback from management and front-line employees.
Before you take any steps towards marketing your products and services to your customers, be sure you do your research first to understand what motivates your customer’s buying decision.
Stay Tuned for The Foundation of Your Marketing: Research, Part II –where we will discuss what you can gain from understanding your customers through market research.