Whatever your business is, you have something to sell. If you’re a retail business you have your products, whether you’re selling them based on their function and utility or based on the luxury and status owning them brings to your life; if you’re a consultancy or agency then you’re selling your expertise, and the promise of future success. Even charities are selling – they solicit donations by selling the worthiness of their cause and their effectiveness in addressing it
Successful selling is the key to long lived businesses – while you need investor funding or loans to start up and establish your brand, the sooner you are supporting your business through revenue the better! It frees you to run the business you want, not one where all your decisions have to be run past investors. To sell successfully you need to know who your customers are. A nuanced understanding of your market lets you make decisions about how to appeal to the people who are most likely to spend their money with you, whilst not wasting resources trying to attract people who never will.
The best way you can build this understanding of who your customers are is to work with a market research agency. They have not only the specialist tools that can get you data, but the understanding that can interpret that data into insights: nuggets of information about your market that tell you just how to succeed.
One of the first things you will be advised to do is gather demographic information: find out the basic background of the people buying from you, or seeing your adverts. A relatively resource light way to get this information is by adding questions to omnibus surveys. For a relatively low cost you can add one of two questions to a large survey sent out to a large group. The key is that you don’t just get back the answers to your questions, you get the demographic background of everyone who participated. This gives you the building blocks of a more developed understanding of your market.
Where a market research firm can really help you is with advanced concepts like audience segmentation. This gives you a more comprehensive understanding of who your customers are. It’s all too easy to think of your market as ‘men’, ‘new parents’ or ‘over 65s’. In reality, this might be the biggest group of your customers, or indeed merely the most visible, but treating it like the end of the story will cost you revenue!
Audience segmentation helps you understand your customers are distinct groups, with different concerns, likes and dislikes. You can prioritise a segmented audience, appealing in different ways to different groups, to ensure you’re capturing the most revenue!