The relationship between your business, your research, and your consumers is like an Oreo cookie. Your business is the face of the Oreo, with the logo that makes it distinct and recognizable as a top-notch snack. Your consumers are the bottom cookie, supporting your business, making the whole package sweeter and easier to handle.
But what is the key to an Oreo? It’s not the cookies. It’s the cream.
Research is the creamy filling that binds your business to your customers. And it can make the future of your relationship easier by giving you those tools and the information you need to continue to define it on mutually beneficial terms. And when has having an Oreo not made your life easier, anyway?
Research gives you a way to look at your market holistically—connecting you with all of your customers (existing and potential). Challenge yourself to become familiar with both of these groups because each has something to offer and therefore, something for you to gain.
Research also encompasses a multitude of tools and strategies. Below, I cover segmentation, panel use, and concept testing; 3 key methods that ensure your connection to your consumers becomes an even stronger one.
Segmentation will help you get to know your existing, as well as your potential customers, even better. It is a way to identify homogenous groups of people with similar interests and needs out of a heterogeneous population.
If you’re in new product development and you want to fill in a gap in your product line, needs-based segmentation is a good way to anticipate what your market wants and identify white space in the market. If you find that a segment of your consumers say they love your product but desire a portable version, perhaps that’s your next step.
On the other hand, attitudinal segmentation might be useful if you want to market existing products to more customers, thereby expanding your market share. You can identify who your best customers are, who could be, and how to appeal to what’s important to them.
For example, if your company identifies that there is a large segment of consumers who think it is just too difficult to switch insurance companies, you would try to make a campaign that shows them just how easy it is to do so.
Richness can be added to both a needs-based and attitudinal segmentation through the incorporation of behavioral data. This data reflects transactional situations such as actions taken (like purchases), interests (like subscriptions), and lifestyle factors (like memberships). Read our blog on the power of customer segmentation by CEO David Wilson.
Another research strategy involves using a custom-built online panel of your trusted customers who can provide feedback about your business strategies. This allows you to get to know your existing customers better while reducing the costs of your research by providing a reliable sample source. You also have the option to append other useful data such as segments, geo-codes, transactional data, and rate plans.
Feedback from a panel will help you understand not only who likes and uses your products, but why they do and what factors influence their purchasing behaviors. Narrowing down your existing customer base through data appending will help make your marketing campaigns more specific and therefore, more successful and profitable.
3. Concept testing
Finally, through concept testing you can gauge consumer reactions to ideas before they go to market. Keep in mind that concepts are not just limited to new products and services. They can also include packaging, naming, pricing, and messaging.
Concepts need to get people’s attention (think “Double Stuf Oreo”). This might be evaluated through measurements such as appeal and uniqueness. Concept testing can also identify strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to refine your concept and improve the chances of acceptance in the marketplace.
You can help get the competitive advantage you need in the market by using these 3 research methods. Once you’ve got the cream, why not cram it between 2 delicious chocolate cookies to create a best seller like the Oreo?