Digital marketing and public relations professionals take many steps before creating and developing strategies. Whether it is a new product launch or conducting a survey, the first step is research. Research is an essential component in developing winning strategies, providing brands and marketers with data to maximize their impact, grow sales, and generate leads.
Custom research, in particular, gives brands a better understanding of current and prospective consumers, trends, and target markets, as well as competing products and services. Whether you’re kickstarting your brand’s marketing or looking to become a successful marketer, it is important to understand why and how custom research can benefit business initiatives. Read on for our custom research breakdown below!
A Data-Driven Approach
Custom research offers brands and companies a tailored solution to meet unique objectives through insights and data to make those tough decisions with confidence. With that said, brands that conduct custom research have a strong advantage over those that do not. Here are some key benefits of custom research:
- It helps businesses strengthen and establish their position as a leader in their key marketplace as well as stay ahead of the competition.
- Custom research minimizes financial risks by investing a portion of your marketing budget to develop marketing strategies for a larger return on investment
- It identifies threats and opportunities using various research methods, like qualitative and quantitative research, to highlight opportunities or challenges that may have otherwise been missed.
- It facilitates strategic planning by utilizing evidence and data-based strategy giving brands the confidence to tackle their business goals.
- It focuses on consumer needs and demands by taking valuable and real-time data to learn how to improve everything from customer service to product offerings.
Custom research uncovers practical information and data that answers some of your brand’s most important questions. Such data can be applied to product development, sales and brand strategies, and additional opportunities. When conducting custom research, it is important to apply both quantitative and qualitative approaches to stay ahead of competitors.
Quantitative research refers to the process of collecting large amounts of data through surveys, questionnaires including open-ended questions, or polling methods. The purpose of this research is to collect reliable, standardized facts and statistics to guide key business questions like, “Is there a market for this product?” or “Do our customers care about the benefits of this product?”.
Conversely, qualitative data collection involves determining customer motivation through close observation like conducting small focus groups, online forums, or face-to-face interviews. This research goes into a deeper understanding of consumers’ emotions and the “why” behind their general dislike or admiration of a brand or its messages.
After learning more about the different methods included in custom research, it is helpful to uncover what your brand’s unique needs are. For example, if a brand needs to test perceptions of its branding, quantitative research may be the best way to uncover disapproval or support. To understand what leads an audience to said approval or disapproval, qualitative research and open-ended questions may be the best method. Typically though, a robust custom research effort involves a mix of both. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and each method used should be determined by what the brand requires, the desired results, timeline, and budget.
Now that you know the basic research methods, it’s worth mentioning that many businesses have turned to social media for custom research and marketing insights. Many social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, offer numerous ways to analyze trends, conduct market research, and do general searches on related brands and products. Social media includes almost every demographic in existence, making it a valuable tool in collecting up-to-date data at virtually no cost.
Identifying Your Targets
After collecting diverse data sets, it’s time to put your findings to the test. Now, your brand can begin utilizing the collected data to develop a marketing strategy that is catered to key demographics. Let’s say your target audiences use Instagram instead of TikTok; the market research you’ve done to find this information gives you an advantage as you put out more ads and content on the platforms where your audiences will see and interact with it. Even further, custom research can help you plan for the future and test out what marketing methods truly work. In time, your brand can grow its customer base and discover new ways to tell your brand’s story. By knowing who your customers are and what they want, you can tweak your marketing strategy to give them what they want. Although it takes some trial and error, custom research is the most reliable way to plan for your brand’s growth while gaining measurable results – in sales, brand awareness, and more.
Fuel Your Brand’s Story
Traditional storytelling is much different than brand storytelling. Custom research, when done well, can help brands and marketers address things consumers want to know about your brand through brand storytelling. For example, it is important to answer the following:
- Why was your brand created?
- What is your brand’s mission?
- What problems will your brand solve?
- Who is your target audience and what are their challenges?
Some may be able to answer these questions easily, but many need to conduct industry research, market segmentation, or surveys to understand what your audience’s needs are. Even if business owners know their story well, it is important to gain an outside perspective and look more deeply into what your brand looks like from the outside.
Furthermore, custom research can be a valuable tool when problems or crises arise. Understanding where your brand stands on controversial issues, emerging market trends, as well as various crisis strategies can help you to respond appropriately in difficult situations. A brand’s story may constantly evolve as the world changes, however, custom research and continuous learning keep brands connected to their consumers and discover what their new needs are.
With the data gathered through custom research, marketing professionals can develop a successful roadmap for brands – long and short term. Whether you’re kickstarting your business or looking to pivot your marketing strategy, custom research is the place to start. With the right data and consumer insights, your brand will be headed towards growth.
Are you interested in a brand or custom research consultation? Get in touch with the lotus team!