What I've come to realize over the years is that the cornerstones for any Digital Marketing effort should be 2 things: Data and Consumer Research. Data speaks for itself in that it allows us to tangibly understand what efforts have worked in the past and benchmark against our new initiatives.
As you know, marketers today are challenged by having to keep their brand relevant in an ever-expanding marketing landscape. It is easy to become spread too thin in your efforts because you feel the need to say all things to all people in all places.
How do you know where your customer spends their time, what moves them to purchase, and what actually matters to them? The answer, consumer research. Consumer research removes the assumptions we have about what our consumers want from our business.
So beyond the raw numbers, what will your company gain from a deep-five consumer research project?
Understanding how to position your company at the intersection of what you do well and what your customer wants becomes much more attainable through consumer research.
There is no better way to learn what customers think about your brand than by you simply asking them. The information gained from consumer research will highlight gaps in your marketing strategy or even point to opportunities you're not capitalizing on.
When working with brands, I've found that conducting some level of consumer research early in the project is vital to its long term success. Without consumer research, assumptions begin to rise up that cause us to question our efforts.
Consumer research influences everything from the site architecture, how content is written, what messaging we create, and even what colors we use in the design. It offers the insights we need in order to know what will really speak to our consumers.
It seems like every few months there is a new social network that is taking over the world. Hopefully you can hear the sarcasm in that statement, but the truth is that you are faced with answering the question where should your brand exist digitally? Do you just need a website or are you missing out on your consumers if you're not on twitter?
We have a client whose audience is primarily on Pinterest. However, without consumer research, their digital marketing efforts could have been solely focused on Twitter and Facebook because Pinterest was just emerging as a viable marketing option when they started with us.
Consumer research is becoming ever more important because your audience's habits are changing more rapidly as technology continues to evolve. It helps you to stay ahead of the curve and know what pivots your brand needs to make to avoid being irrelevant.
Data is incredibly valuable, but without consumer research, it is often times difficult to know what to do with the numbers we get from analytics and metrics. Consumer research puts the data into perspective and gives our clients tangible ways to implement the information they gather.
Because the digital landscape is rapidly changing, consumer research is vital to our marketing efforts. Without it, we can be become lost. We can become hung up on the new trend or what a competitor is doing. Better yet, we can become merely stuck on our own assumptions. Consumer research is what keeps you honest. It keeps you focused on what will advance your brand and ultimately create more customers.