Consumer Research: Understanding Your Customer’s Voice
Do you really understand your customers? Consumer research helps you tackle this challenge early on.
Understanding customers is something that businesses are having a hard time doing, but it’s really not that complicated.
With a better understanding of your customers, your business can be more creative, innovative, and proactive with improvements that will not only lead to more sales but also improve the overall customer experience.
So here’s a question: How will you hear the voice of your customers? The answer is by generating in-depth consumer research.
What is Consumer Research?
Consumer research is a process of monitoring and measuring consumer behavior and motivations. Analyzing them and creating techniques will help you reach your customers better and persuade them into buying your products or services. It’s a powerful tool that will assist a company’s methods of developing and refining its products.
Consumer research should uncover the market’s likes, dislikes, motivations, buying behavior, and the psychology behind their purchase. Thorough consumer research brings just about every detail that you want to know about who your target market is.
Businesses who are successful at finding and understanding their customer’s thought process in buying will increase their chances of making a profit.
These sets of data can be separated into various categories while shared traits can then be grouped into the same buyer persona.
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What is a Buyer Persona?
Consumer research will give you broad data that you need to slice down into smaller pieces. These pieces are called buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a fictional composite of your ideal customer. It gives a deeper understanding of your customers which you can use as a reference on how your customers think.
This will help guide you with the right approach and strategy you need to craft to create a specific message for a specific buyer.
A buyer persona “talks” in the language of your customers. For instance, you might say that you’re targeting a “woman with a degree in technology, working in Finance, between age 24-30, living in the USA.”
You then use this to create a “voice” and generate targeted content that you can use on your marketing campaigns.
For example, you can create a blog post or social media post directed to this persona: a post that talks about FinTech written at an intermediate level specifically aimed at professionals working in the FinTech industry.
You can leverage various buyer personas and use them as a guide for you to craft marketing materials and attract potential buyers.
What is the Objective of Consumer Research?
In the past, research has been seen as something that is only done to understand existing customers, but it’s now being used as a tool to help companies develop and refine their products for new and potential customers.
The key here is to anticipate possible trends and changes in your market’s buying behavior. With how fast the market trends are and how stiff the competition is, your main challenge is to be adaptable to these changes and prepare for innovations from the very beginning.
Consumer research’s main objective is to gather information that will help you understand and serve your customers better. But in the process, you will also uncover gaps to fill in that will help you:
Consumers are the most important resource in any business. Understanding consumer insights through consumer research is just as important.
Valuable information from good consumer research will help you identify, understand, and predict the existing and potential consumer needs, wants, complaints, and problems. Using this data, you can then create new methodologies to help you develop products and services that consumers really desire.
How to Conduct Research About Your Consumers
Strategic decisions will rely on your consumer data. When doing consumer research, you can always look at your own platform’s analytics.
Having an active website and social media presence will give you a gigantic amount of data that you can leverage. From your Google Analytics dashboard to your Facebook insights, the data from these channels alone will help you identify who your audience is and understand what motivates them.
But, there are more ways to dive deeper into who your customers are and what do they really like. Take a step further and do it the traditional way—reach out to them.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you conduct your consumer research through surveys.
1. Identify your goal
Before you do your consumer outreach, first is to plan what kind of feedback you’re looking for.
For example, your product is a mobile app and you want to know which features your customers use the most and which ones do they barely touch. Having a specific goal will help you select the proper message and distribution plans that you need to implement.
2. Select your target persona
Recognize the differences of your audience so you know the type of survey to give out. If you’re looking to get feedback from the above 65-year-old market who’s not tech-savvy, perhaps you can get better information if you schedule a call with them.
Additionally, segment your data depending on where your participants are coming from. Are they your existing customers or are they from a 3rd party provider? Did they buy from your physical store or are they online customers?
If you’re sending out surveys for loyal customers, you can enhance your message into something more personal. Use their names on email, include a certain product that they bought from you, or talk to them in a casual manner. This usually works if you’ve developed a deeper relationship with a loyal customer.
Cold emails can be tougher, but you can always offer a token of appreciation if you want to gather feedback from people who just ‘met’ you. Plus, you can give them free trials or subscriptions to encourage them and leave real feedback about your brand.
3. Create your message
Keep it short and straight to the point, but not too short that you’re not getting enough information that you can use effectively.
Here are some of the questions you can ask:
Some questions may require personal connections with your audience, so establishing relationships with them is key to getting valuable feedback.
Most surveys come with no incentive, but if you have resources, it’s best to give out samples or tokens of appreciation to encourage more survey participants. Note that in order for you to get the information that you need to improve, always ask for honest, non-sugar coated feedback.
3. Create your message
Select which channels you want your survey to be posted at. It can either be online or offline and will depend on the kind of business and market that you have.
For online surveys:
For offline surveys:
This step will have varying types of approaches and calls to action.
For instance, you need to plan out the type of subject lines, images, and contents to draft for email surveys.
If you’re doing phone interviews, make sure that the interviewer knows how to handle different people and knows how to collect valuable information without wasting the interviewee’s time.
4. Collect and analyze the data
If you already have substantial data to work with, you can check each response and collect the most significant areas that you can use to make business changes. Filter out all the results and make sure not to leave out the type of persona as it can be a big factor in planning out your course of action.
Quantitative data: Tabulate the data by calculating the number of ratings including the yes and no answers.
Qualitative data: Organize the comments, suggestions, or general comments about your business.
Separating the quantitive from qualitative data will give you a better picture of what your customer’s feedback is really trying to say. You can either interpret it with your committee or hire a market expert to help you do it more efficiently.
5. Plan your action
If there are areas you can work with immediately, then don’t hesitate to do so. Fast action always gets a bonus. Once you implemented certain changes, let your participants know through the channel you first interacted with them.
For example, you can send out a personalized email that says their feedback helped you improve your product and that you’ve already made actions and implemented it with their help.
But make sure to send out a thank you response to all of your survey participants and let them know that they are heard and that you’re well on your way to making your product a better one.
Why is Consumer Research Important?
Consumer research will help you pinpoint the motivations behind your customer’s purchasing behavior. This will help you create techniques to make changes in your products and services. If you’re able to identify who your customers are and their preferences, you can create a customer-centric business that will, in turn, give you better positioning in the market.
Consumer research involves a variety of methods designed to find out what the customer wants and needs, and how they can best meet these needs.