So you want to conduct a market research study. That’s great news. Research is key to understanding your audience and helping you validate and optimize your go-to-market strategy. The thing is, market research is tricky these days. Without the right tools you can be left with suboptimal results.
That’s because traditionally, you need to cast a wide net in order to reach your ideal respondent and get a decent response rate. Doing so can take weeks, if not months, to conduct. And the insights you glean are often limited.
The good news is, there is a better way forward for highly effective research in 2023. This step-by-step guide will provide everything you need to know to get started:
- Define goal: What is the ultimate goal of your research initiative? This is a loaded question, but important. If you try to answer everything, you’ll end up answering nothing. The objective of your study should be to leave you with one main area of focus—and the insights you need to take action.
A good way to define your goal is to write a question you want answered. Below are a few examples:
- Market research question example #1:
What product features are most important to my target audience?
- Market research question example #2:
What features of product X do my customers find confusing or difficult to navigate?
- Market research question example #3:
How do customers of my main competitor compare to my target audience?
- Market research question example #1:
- Select survey software: If you’re working directly with a market research firm, feel free to skip over this step. If not, it’s time to select your survey software. This is important, as not all survey platforms are created equal, and you want this to be as seamless as possible. Here’s a short checklist of some key features to look for:
- Easy-to-use templates
- Engaging, professional design
- Wide array of question formatting options
- Question branching, skip logic (ability to create follow-up questions or skip over questions based on survey response)
- Customizable format to match your company’s branding
- Seamless survey distribution
- Robust, actionable survey reporting capabilities
Some of the most popular survey platforms to review during your search: Qualtrics, Alchemer, Survey Monkey, and Typeform.
- Define ideal panelist: Who are you trying to survey? It sounds like an easy question to answer, but it varies based on the ultimate goal you defined during Step 1. Different members of your audience will provide you with different insights. For example:
- A new customer might have more feedback to provide you with on difficult-to-navigate features, where a long term customer can better assess product optimization and expansion opportunities.
- Customers can provide different insights based on things like demographics, the size of their company (e.g. enterprise vs. start-up), and even how often they use your product
- Surveying your competitor’s customers or those members of your target audience who aren’t currently customers can give you insight into how to market to them more effectively
- Outreach tactics: Once you’ve clearly defined the who and what elements of your study, it’s time to tackle the how. Namely, how will you conduct your outreach effectively?
Below are the main ways companies conduct outreach for their market research today:
- Incentivized online survey platforms: Swagbucks and user interviews are online platforms that connect companies conducting market research with their target audience. Participants are incentivized through monetary compensation or gift cards.
- Targeted ads: Running targeted ads on the social channels your audience frequents is a great way to reach them. For the best results, consider offering some sort of discount or incentive for participation.
- Outsource to the experts: Feeling a bit overwhelmed about the idea of conducting the outreach yourself? Defer to the experts by partnering with market research panels who will do it for you.
- Post-survey tactics: After you conduct your survey, there’s a few major things you can do with your panel data:
- Collect additional insights: By importing your panel audience, or specific cohorts of panelists, into a social audience insights platform, you can gain thousands of additional insights on their unique interests, affinities, preferred media channels, as well as key demographics. This information will help inform your buyer personas and create highly effective marketing campaigns.
- Enrich survey data with social audience insights: If you would like to gain insights at the individual panelist level, you can enrich your survey data with self-declared audience data to gain a holistic view of who your respondents are in your own data environment.
- Build seed audiences for paid media activation: A social audience insight platform can be further leveraged to create look-a-like audiences of your respondents at scale to then deploy across paid and social channels for paid activation.
Now that you have a clear line of sight into how to conduct effective market research, there’s one last thing to consider—a social audience insight platform. These platforms allow you to create custom audiences for easy pre-screening, insights gathering, and retargeting so that you can maximize your efforts. You can even filter out any potential participants who don’t match your ideal panelist prior to the survey to ensure you are maximizing your research budget.
Follow the steps above to hit the ground running with research in 2023 that will set your brand up for success throughout the year.