How market research can help marketers win in the market

As a brand manager, understanding your target audience and their needs is essential to the success of your brand. Marketing research is a key tool that can help you gain valuable insights into your target market, your competitors, and the overall industry. But with so many different types of marketing research available, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of marketing research that a brand manager should be aware of and how they can be used to inform brand strategy, specifically in the areas of consumer targeting, competitor analysis, advertising, new product development, and in-store research.

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Consumer target

Using Market Research to help with consumer targeting.

Knowing your target audience is crucial for developing an effective brand strategy. Consumer targeting market research can help a brand manager understand the demographics, psychographics, and purchasing habits of their target market. 

Primary market research methods such as surveys and focus groups can be used to gather this information. Surveys can be conducted online or through mail, phone or in-person interviews, allowing a brand manager to gather large amounts of data from a specific target audience. Focus groups, on the other hand, allow for in-depth discussions with a small group of people, providing qualitative data on consumer attitudes and behaviors.

There are several types of market research that can be used to gather knowledge of consumers.

  • Surveys: Surveys are a popular method for gathering data on consumer preferences and behaviors. This type of market research can be conducted online, by phone, or in person, and can be used to gather data on a wide range of topics, including brand awareness, purchasing habits, and product satisfaction.
  • Focus Groups: Focus groups are another popular method for gathering data on consumer preferences and behaviors. They involve bringing a small group of people together to discuss a specific topic, usually moderated by a trained facilitator. Focus groups can be used to gather qualitative data on consumer attitudes and perceptions, as well as generate ideas for new products or advertising campaigns.
  • In-Depth Interviews: In-depth interviews are a type of qualitative market research that involve conducting one-on-one interviews with individual consumers. They can be used to gather detailed information on consumer attitudes and behaviors, as well as explore specific topics in more depth.

To illustrate, click on our 10 best consumer market research questions above. 

How to find and focus on your ideal consumer target

One of the biggest mistakes I see marketers make is picking too broad of a consumer target market. A tight consumer profile helps you decide who is in the target and who is not in the target.

There is a myth that a bigger target will make the brand bigger, so the scared marketer targets “everyone.” There seems to be an irrational fear of leaving someone out. Spreading your brand’s limited resources across an entire population is completely cost-prohibitive. While targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first, it is riskier because you spread your resources so broadly you never see the full impact you want to see. This fear of missing out (FOMO) gives your brand a lower return on investment and eventually will drain your brand’s limited resources. Please focus.

target market

Selling target:

This is pretty much everyone, as you sell to anyone who comes in the door and wants to buy, regardless if they fit your ideal target. However, “everyone” should never be a marketing target. You are spreading your resources so thin your message will miss out on really capturing those consumers most likely to respond, which provides an efficient payback. 

Marketing target: 

You should focus your limited resources on those consumers who have the highest likelihood of responding positively to your brand positioning, advertising, and new product innovation. A tighter consumer target market provides the fastest and highest return on investment.

Program target: 

When working on a specific campaign, narrow the target even further. Focus on people you want to stimulate to see if you can get them to see, think, feel or do things that will benefit your brand. A specific program consumer profile is smart when launching a new product, or aligning with a promotional time of year (including back-to-school or Christmas).

Competitors

Using Market Research to help with competitor analysis.

Understanding the competition is important for any business, and competitor analysis market research can provide valuable insights into a brand’s competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and what sets them apart in the market. 

Secondary market research methods, such as industry reports and competitor analysis can be used to gather information on competitors. A brand manager can also conduct primary market research methods such as surveys or focus groups to gather data from consumers on their perceptions of the competition. This information can then be used to inform the brand’s positioning and messaging in the market.

To illustrate, click on our 10 best competitor market research questions above. 

There are several types of market research that can be used to gather knowledge of competitors.

  • Market Analysis: Market analysis is a type of market research that involves analyzing the overall market, including size, growth, and trends. It can be used to identify key players in the industry, as well as identify opportunities for growth.
  • Competitor Analysis: Competitor analysis is a type of market research that involves analyzing your main competitors, including their products, pricing, marketing strategies, and target audience. It can be used to identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as identify opportunities for differentiation.
  • Mystery Shopping: Mystery shopping is a type of market research that involves sending a trained researcher to visit a competitor’s store or website, posing as a regular customer. They can gather information on the competitor’s products, pricing, customer service, and in-store experience.

Advertising

Using Market Research to help assess and improve advertising.

Advertising is an essential aspect of brand strategy and advertising research can provide valuable insights into what messaging and media channels are most effective for reaching the target audience. 

Pre-testing methods such as focus groups and surveys can be used to gather consumer feedback on advertising concepts and campaigns before they are launched. Post-testing methods such as surveys and data analysis can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns after they have been launched.

There are several types of market research that can be used to assess advertising.

  • Advertising Testing: Advertising testing is a type of research that involves testing different versions of an advertisement to see which one is most effective. This can include testing different headlines, images, and call-to-action phrases.
  • Pre-Testing: Pre-testing is a type of research that involves testing an advertisement before it is released to the general public. This can include focus groups, surveys, or online testing to gather feedback on the ad’s effectiveness.
  • Post-Testing: Post-testing is a type of research that involves gathering data on an advertisement after it has been released to the general public. This can include surveys, online testing, or sales data.

Advertising testing is an important part of any marketing campaign.

It allows brands to evaluate the effectiveness of their ads and make data-driven decisions on how to improve them. There are several different types of advertising testing that can be used, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

A/B testing is one of the most popular types of advertising testing. It involves creating two versions of an ad and showing them to a sample group of consumers. The ad that performs better is then used for the full campaign. A/B testing allows brands to test different elements of an ad, such as headlines, images, and call-to-action buttons, to see which ones perform the best.

Split testing, also known as multivariate testing, is similar to A/B testing but involves testing multiple elements of an ad at once. This allows brands to test different combinations of elements to see which ones work best together. Split testing can be more time-consuming and complex than A/B testing, but it can also provide more detailed insights into how different elements of an ad are impacting performance.

Online surveys and focus groups are another popular method for testing advertising. 

Surveys can be used to gather data on consumer attitudes and perceptions towards an ad, while focus groups allow for in-depth discussions with a small group of consumers. These methods provide qualitative data that can be used to understand consumer attitudes and perceptions in more detail.

Testing in-store or in the real world is another option. For example, in a retail store, brands can test different product placements, in-store displays, and pricing strategies to see how they impact sales. This can provide valuable insights into how customers interact with products in a real-world setting.

Advertising Decisions

The Creative Brief defines the box.

At Beloved Brands, we believe the best creative people are in-the-box problem solvers, not out-of-the box inventors. This builds on our Strategic ThinkBox we used in our planning process. The box below demonstrates how we need creative work that is focused on the target, fits with the brand, delivers the message, and executes the strategy. 

As marketers, we kick off the advertising process using a Creative Brief to define the box the creative advertising must play in. The execution align with the brand positioning work and deliver the brand strategy statements you wrote in your marketing planMoreover, we show examples of the good and bad of the Creative Brief. And, we introduce our Mini Brief for smaller projects and the Media Brief as part of media decisions. We have a Creative Brief template you can use. 

To illustrate, the creative brief defines the box the advertising should play in.

The creative brief defines the box

As marketers, we kick off the advertising process using a Creative Brief to define the box the creative advertising must play in. The execution align with the brand positioning work and deliver the brand strategy statements you wrote in your marketing planMoreover, we show examples of the good and bad of the Creative Brief. And, we introduce our Mini Brief for smaller projects and the Media Brief as part of media decisions. We have a Creative Brief template you can use. 

Use our Creative Checklist to determine if the creative work is in the box.

Then, we introduce a Creative Checklist that is designed to help you make advertising decisions. When you see the creative marketing execution come back from your experts, use our creative checklist to make decisions. Next, use your feedback to your marketing experts to steer the ideas back in-the-box. Importantly, the Creative Checklist highlights the gaps you see. Your role is to provide your problems with the work, while avoiding providing a solution. Let your creative marketing execution experts use their in-the-box creativity to figure out new solutions that will fit the box. 

To illustrate, click to review how our Creative Checklist helps decide if the creative advertising fits the box..

Use our ABC's of Advertising: Attention, brand link, communication stickiness

Here are four questions to ask:

  • First, is it the creative idea that earns the consumer’s attention for the ad?
  • Then, is the creative idea helping to drive maximum brand link?
  • Next, is the creative idea setting up the communication of the main consumer benefit?
  • And, is the creative idea memorable enough to stick in the consumer’s mind and move them to purchase?

To illustrate, click on the ABC’s of advertising to see details.

Get comfortable with various advertising techniques.

Learn how to be better at advertising. Explore other advertising ideas such as emotional advertisinghumorous ads, feel-good ads, and ads that bring consumer insights to lifeMoreover, read how to conduct your own marketing research, social media plans, or using influencers.  

Video on how to use in-the-box creativity

Have a look at our video on how to use in-the-box creativity to ensure our marketing execution stays on strategy. We introduce how our Creative Brief defines the box the work must play in. And, our Creative Checklist to allow you to decide if the marketing execution delivers. To read more, click on this link: How to use in-the-box creativity. 

To view, use the ▶️ controls to play our brand strategy video. 

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New product innovation

How market research helps determine the success of new product innovation.

New product development research can provide valuable insights into consumer needs and preferences, and can be used to inform the development of new products. Concept testing methods such as surveys and focus groups can be used to gather consumer feedback on new product concepts. Prototype testing methods such as in-person testing or virtual testing can be used to gather feedback on product prototypes before they are launched. Finally, market testing methods such as test markets or controlled distribution can be used to gather data on sales and consumer feedback on a new product before it is launched in the market.

One of the first steps in conducting market research is identifying the target audience. 

This includes gathering data on demographics, purchasing habits, and pain points. Understanding the needs and wants of the target audience is essential in creating a product that addresses their needs and stands out in the market.

Next, it is important to analyze the competition. This includes researching existing products in the market, understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and identifying gaps in the market that the new product can fill.

Gathering direct feedback from potential customers is another key aspect of market research. This can be done through focus groups, surveys, and pilot tests. By asking customers about their needs, preferences, and pain points, companies can make adjustments to the new product to better meet the needs of their target audience.

Using a pilot test to improve the new product

Once the product has been finalized, it is important to conduct a pilot test to gather additional feedback. This allows companies to make any final tweaks to the product before launching it to the wider market.

With all the data and feedback in hand, companies can make a decision about whether to launch the new product. Market research provides valuable insights that can help companies create a product that meets the needs of their target audience, differentiates itself from the competition, and has a higher chance of success in the market.

Market research is a vital step in the product development process. By gathering data on target audiences, competitors, and industry trends, companies can make informed decisions about their new product, increasing the likelihood of its success in the market. By conducting thorough market research, companies can make better decisions, launch a product that is well-received by customers and increase their chances of success in the market.

To illustrate, product innovation ideas should also fit within the marketing playbox

Using our innovation checklist

Our Innovation Checklist is designed to help brand leaders compare innovation ideas. It is a decision-making tool to help sort through various factors to compare and decide which ideas to move through the innovation process. First, look at the potential of the idea in terms of consumer demand and competitive intensity to help figure out if it will meet the sales and profit threshold level. 

Moreover, the innovation checklist looks at the fit with the brand, looking at how well it fits with the brand idea. And, the checklist looks at how well it can fit with the company’s strengths such as manufacturing, sales, distribution, and servicing.

 

To illustrate, the innovation checklist helps to compare ideas on an equal playing field.

Purchase moment

How to use market research to help understand the purchase moment.

In-store research can provide valuable insights into the customer experience, and can be used to inform in-store merchandising, product placement, and store layout. 

In-store observation methods can be used to gather data on consumer behavior in-store, including product selection, in-store navigation, and purchase decisions. 

Mystery shopping methods can be used to gather data on customer service and in-store operations, including sales associates’ product knowledge and adherence to store policies.

To illustrate, click the purchase journey and the marketing funnel that measures. 

A classic marketing funnel measures how successful a brand is at moving consumers through their purchase journey including stages such as awareness, familiar, consider, purchase, repeat and loyal. From a strategic view, the brand funnel tells you where your brand is now, and when analyzed with intelligence, it provides hints as to where you can go next. The marketing funnel is also referred to as a sales funnel or brand funnel.

The importance of market research for the brand manager

In conclusion, as a brand manager, it’s important to understand the different types of marketing research available and how they can be used to inform brand strategy. Consumer targeting research can provide insights into the demographics, psychographics, and purchasing habits of the target market. Competitor analysis research can provide valuable insights into a brand’s competition, their strengths and weaknesses, and what sets them apart in the market. Advertising research can provide valuable insights into what messaging and media channels are most effective for reaching the target audience. 

When you’re facing a tight budget you can do your own market research. Click here to learn how you can do your own market research.  

Marketing Excellence

We empower the ambitious to achieve the extraordinary.

Without a doubt, our role at Beloved Brands is to help the ambitious marketers who are trying to improve their marketing skills. Most importantly, we will prepare you so you can reach your full potential in your career. You will learn about strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand plans, marketing execution, and marketing analytics. As well, we provide a suite of marketing tools, templates that will make it easier to do your job, processes that you can follow, and provocative thoughts to trigger your thinking. 

Have you gone through an assessment of the marketing skills of your team? Take a look below:

The fundamentals of marketing matter.

Our Beloved Brands marketing training programs cover different streams to suit the type of marketer you are. For instance, our marketing training covers consumer marketing, B2B marketing, and Healthcare marketing. 

The marketing fundamentals that we show in this article are part of what we use in our marketing training programs. Ambitious marketers will learn about strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand plans, marketing execution, writing creative briefs, advertising decision-making, marketing analytics, and marketing finance

Importantly, when you invest in our marketing training program, you will help your team gain the marketing skills they need to succeed. Without a doubt, you will see your people make smarter decisions and produce exceptional work that drives business growth. 

Finally, I wrote our Beloved Brands playbook to help you build a brand that your consumers will love. If you are a B2B marketer, try our B2B Brands playbook. And, if you are a Healthcare Marketer, try our Healthcare Brands playbook.

We designed our brand templates to make it easier for you to do your job.

Moreover, we provide brand templates that help you run your brand. For instance, you can find templates for marketing plans, brand positioning, creative briefs, and business reviews. Altogether, we offer brand toolkits with all the presentation slides you need. 

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Everything a Marketing must know about.

Importantly, Brand leaders need to know how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze with the best of them. Moreover, while the brand leaders don’t really know how to do anything, they are looked upon to make every decision. Have a look at our five minute video on everything a marketer must know. To read more, click on this link: Everything.

To view, use the ▶️ controls to play or volume buttons 

If you are looking to make your marketing team smarter, we can help. To get started, email Graham Robertson at graham@beloved-brands.com

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