In this article, we’ll explore 10 market research techniques that you can use to generate rapid market insights. Even the most pressing campaigns can now be deployed based on real market insight.
Before you start any B2B digital marketing activity to drive traffic to your marketing funnel, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your target audience. This is the foundation of marketing strategy and the tactics you execute. You need to understand who you are speaking to and what would make them care about what you have to say. We need to find a market insight, the thread we can pull with our message, that will unravel the challenges our audience is facing.
There is often resistance to spending time on the research part of marketing activity, especially in small businesses where the urgency to action tactics will overwhelm the call for having a more methodical strategy. This is of course why many businesses struggle to get good ROI from their marketing activity.
10 market research techniques you can use for fast market insights
Talk to sales & support teams
The easiest way to get great market insight quickly is to talk to the people interfacing with customers every day. Talk to sales and discover the objections they face. Speak to support teams and hear about common challenges customers are trying to solve. You may quickly see themes emerging can you can then address in your marketing.
Talk to existing customers
Your current customers were once on their own purchasing journey. They had the same challenges your future customers are having, and likely will follow a similar buyer journey. This can provide great insights into the messaging and marketing channels you need to use.
Visit forums and communities
Forums are great places to see people in your target talking to each other about the challenges they are facing and perhaps even the solutions they’re considering. Use LinkedIn & Facebook groups as a starting point but don’t forget more targeted communities outside social networks.
Use social listening
Search or setup alerts for audience-specific phrases and competitor names in social media. The support channels of competitors can reveal a lot about weaknesses of their product and thoughts of their customers. Use a tool like Awario to automate the process (Get started with Awario).
Use online ad platforms for market research
Even if you decide not to run any ads, various ad platforms can be very revealing about the size of the market. LinkedIn is a great tool for evaluating the size of a potential market by looking at factors such as location, industry and job title. Google AdWords can give you insights around search volumes so that you can understand what your audience might be looking for.
Evaluate the ads and messaging of competitors
A fantastic tool for generating competitor insight is SEMrush. Using SEMrush you can see ads being run by competitors or within specific markets. You can also see how the ads are performing. This is invaluable insight for putting together ads. (Get started with SEMRush)
Use a website survey
You should consistently gather user and customer feedback. In larger businesses, it’s common practice to use NPS as a measure of customer experience after every interaction. Don’t be afraid to put a survey on your website that asks a sample of visitors both about their experience of your website and also about their challenges. Once in place, you can refer back to this information as a source of insight for campaigns.
Use website analytics and search queries to gain insights
What content are people consuming on your website? Is there one topic consistently drawing attention? For a corporate law firm, a blog post that generates interest around the business impact of Brexit should signal that there is an appetite in the audience for learning more. Numbers tell part of the story, also have a look at common searches on your website to give you more context.
Talk directly to your audience
We love to use LinkedIn to connect with peers, why not also use it to engage with your audience and simply ask if you can speak with them about their challenges? Most will say no, or ignore the request, but as long as you avoid bulk requests and keep the request personal your chances of success will increase.
Evaluate the sales funnels of competitors
Have you ever signed up to the email list of your competitors? If not, you should. Understanding the marketing messages and sales funnel your competitors use could give you great insights into what you should and shouldn’t do. Rather than fill your inbox, sign up for a new Gmail account and set up tags for each competitor.
These are just a few methods for gathering market insight quickly and there are plenty more. These market research techniques may not be as accurate as spending time on more detailed primary research, but it’ll help you uncover the thread you can pull will your messaging. As marketers, we need to ask ourselves why would my audience care? Your market research should tell you why.
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