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Sizing Up Your Marketing Efforts

In any marketing strategy, research is a vital part of the process. You wouldn’t build a house without a plan, and you shouldn’t attempt to build a marketing plan without some market research. It may seem like a simple concept, but can often be undervalued and overlooked. First, you need to understand your audience. After all, your products and services should either create or satisfy a demand; and your marketing efforts should reflect that. Use these steps to get started with your market research today.

What You Need To Know
If marketers were mind readers, there would be no need for research. You can try to guess at what customers are searching for to satisfy their needs. Chances are you have a good idea at what they want, or you wouldn’t exist. But to take your business to the next level, you should identify what you want to find out about your customers. You can achieve this through conversations with a group of your employees from across the organization. You can analyze what marketing efforts have worked in the past. And then it’s time to ask your customers directly.

How To Make It Happen
There are a variety of ways to go about conducting your research. For instance, one way to find out how past marketing has worked is to ask customers how they heard about you. You can also take a look at sales trends after you put out a marketing message. Other ways to get information from your customers is to ask them in a survey. Keep those short, focused and unbiased. You can conduct them through your website, by phone or place a reply card with every order. This could result in a surprise at the responses you receive that you possibly guessed would turn out differently.

If you want to get more personal with your market research, conduct a focus group with customers. With this option, you’ll gain a quick snapshot at what trips triggers and what misses the mark. And you’ll probably get some good testimonials for future marketing pieces. No matter how you reach your customers, the results will be worth paying attention to for future marketing endeavors.

Putting It To Use
Now that you have a better understanding of what marketing methods have been effective, you have to actually put them to use. Too often, the research will be conducted only to not change the company’s ways. It can be difficult to let go of a strategy you’ve been using for years. But in the end, your goal as a marketer is to engage the most customers for your business. Although it seems like a no-brainer, make sure that you are actually listening to what your customers have to say. It’ll improve your marketing efforts in the long run, because having market research will help you better understand and communicate with your audience.

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