Target Market Intelligence Drives Brands
With a pandemic economy and fractured workplace, the decision-making process for brands has entered a tumultuous phase. Making concise and strategic moves that benefit a product, a service, or even the greatest majority of your target audience or customers, can become difficult both internally and for optic’s sake.
With market research taking many shapes and techniques, it is best to refer to these types of activities as primary research, secondary research, and user-experience feedback. All of these said market research techniques and processes enacted to result in improved decision making at the highest levels of the firm or brand.
If there are money and growth at stake, the exercise of conducting market research can vastly improve the clarity of data interpretation and provide sound information for the decision-makers present. However, for market research to be effective, it must take an objective shape, have a measurable result, proper timing, clear budgeting, and careful execution. Research also needs to be conducted on a fairly consistent basis as this is the only way to maintain an efficient feedback system.
In today’s market, where buyers hold more power in the business exchange (WFH patterns, shuttering brick & mortar, etc.) it is apparent that brands engaging in frequent research are showing faster growth. Market research conducted at least quarterly or frequently has shown improvements in line with 40% growth rates to respective departments and initiatives.
Primary and Secondary Research
Once brands can properly identify a decision problem, the time comes to translate the information gap into a proper research design. This design typically takes the shape of Primary or Secondary market research. Whereas primary can vary from exploratory or confirmatory (early in the process versus late), secondary is previously collected and typically easier to come by.
Primary research can include interviews, product reviews, confirmatory studies, reflective surveys, focus groups, and scientific experiments. Secondary research will typically piggyback off of previously enacted primary research with a more specified approach to one or more target segments. Data can be provided in both qualitative and quantitative form and thus it is important that brands properly interpret their findings.
Sony A-Series cameras have been widely acclaimed for sending out their beta-model cameras (test-models) to Sony Alpha ambassadors before a big camera launch. This has helped Sony clarify problems and design a more formidable product averse to simple user experience mishaps or malfunctions. Through proper research over time, Sony has risen to the ranks of the AP’s (The associated Press) main equipment partner. The program also establishes Sony as an authority on trends and product development patterns. It gives them keen insights into their new technologies and customer behaviors.
Sony is wise to utilize this type of market research across their corporation, not just for their imaging products, but for their interactive hardware and entertainment software. Sony Interactive Entertainment engages in primary and secondary research on a global scale. This provides their board members and investors with big data as a simple inheritance that comes along with a company experiencing growth of such a large magnitude.
User Experience Feedback
Amazon engages in a type of user experience feedback research after every Amazon Prime purchase. Purchases made through Amazon or any of their store affiliates are provided succinct product feedback mechanisms that have helped shape the online store.
When one receives a product via Prime delivery, both Amazon internal and outside partnered sellers, conduct product feedback surveys that come in the form of Amazon pull-strategy emails.
A customer opens the email and provides one simple insight. Out of 5 Stars, how many would you provide said Product? A review of their product’s performance or function is all it took to change the online store’s internal landscape. These finite details have driven the success of Amazon not only from a micro-level but from a larger, shipping and logistics-industry level.
Customers flock to the Amazon Prime store for specific purchase behaviors that have become habits with the amount of trust and convenience that come along with an Amazon purchase. Their implementation of user changes via customer-provided research has single-handedly shaped the UX (user-interface) of Amazon Prime from its inception, into a seamless and savvy experience for the masses.
Research is a valuable tool for brands and firms looking to implement change at every level or drive growth in any capacity. The real value that research provides comes in the form of clarified solutions, meaningful insights that identify alternatives and change for a brand, as well as user feedback in the form of product and service reviews.
The quality of research depends solely on how you enact the specific means of primary, secondary, or user-generated research processes. Frequency, specificity, and segmentation are key components to potent and meaningful research which can help drive changes.
It is safe to say that those who employ careful tactics, across a measured subject, at a consistent frequency, will find validity in the execution of research for their brand’s sake. Now, more than ever, a consumer-generated opinion should form the basis for brand product/service and operational solutions and innovation.