One of the most common questions I am asked by new and potential marketing clients is,
“How do you know where to start?”
The idea of beginning from step one on a marketing or public relations campaign can be daunting, especially for an agency that may or may not understand and know the industry of the client inside and out. In step one, the marketing opportunities seem endless, but the question of what will be the most effective is even more difficult to define. So, how does a marketing professional know where to start?
Market research. Market research is the nucleus of everything that we as marketing professionals do, it’s the guiding light to our campaigns and the driving force behind benchmarks and evaluation.
What exactly is market research?
Market research is the process of gathering information about goods and services in order to determine whether a product or service will satisfy a consumer need. Marketing professionals need to spend time on market research to identify market trends, demographics, economic shifts, buying habits, competition information and so on and so forth.
Market research allows us to establish realistic goals, define problems and opportunities and determine the path that will lead us to achieving our goals.
I was lucky enough to begin my education in marketing at Brighton DECA, a program that heavily emphasizes the importance of thorough market research. Following my time at Brighton DECA, I obtained a degree from the Journalism and Technical Communication department at Colorado State University where the idea of research and evaluation was even more reinforced. I credit a lot of my success in the agency setting to my ability to collect, quantify, qualify and analyze market research and ultimately connect the dots.
It is incredibly important for businesses to understand that if the agency or marketing professional that they’re working with isn’t researching the industry and marketing environment, there is no concrete basis for the strategies and tactics being implemented in their efforts.
Market research musts:
- Demographic research: learn as much as possible about the audience you’re trying to reach!
- Industry research: determine where your product or service fits into the marketplace.
- Competitive analysis: look at what the competition is doing and has done in order to create marketing opportunities.
- Past and current customers: analyze current and past customers.
- Internal research: analyze the company itself! Incorporate research on the business, the history and past marketing efforts.