The Best Way to Get All the Marketing Research You Need

May 20, 2016

Successful marketing is the result of really knowing your customers. You want to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time, so you must know as much as possible about your targets.

One of the most successful ways of finding this information is one that is often overlooked: ask. I always like to interview my best customers to find out what they find valuable about my service, and I think most businesses should regularly do the same.

But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Even the most honest customer interviews usually result in more positive information than negative, so you’ll often find more telling information in their behaviors rather than interviews.

The good news is you’re already tracking their behaviors - you just may not know it yet. All of the information you need is in your internal data.

The Right Customer at the Right Time

Your sales logs are loaded with data; you just have to know what to look for. With a keen eye, you’ll be able to spot what your customers are buying and when. Do your customers only buy when your product is on sale? Is there a time of year when all of your regular customers are returning to your store or requesting your service? Spotting these trends can help you to identify when you can target your audience and plan that sale or promotion.

Are your customers buying multiple items at the same time? If two products are particularly popular together, there may be an opportunity to bundle the two in a promotion or cross-sell them.

All of this data can add valuable insight on how you market your products or services, but this only tracks the right customer at the right time. You’ll also want to track your marketing to make sure you’re sending the right message.

The Right Message

Now that you know your customers’ buying habits, you can then market to them based on those habits. But promotion isn’t everything. Even the best promotion can be undone by messaging.

This is where marketing data comes in. You will want to track who’s converting when you send an email and who converts from the website. To determine why, deploy A/B testing, where you try out different messages on the same platform to find which variation of the message works better.

The version with the higher conversion rate is the message to follow. Conversion rate is the number of people that executed on your call to action (they visit the website or buy the product) in relation to the number of people that saw the ad.

All of these data points can help you become a better marketer, but it’s not an immediate fix. It takes some skill to spot trends and act upon them, but with some practice, you’ll get better.

This article was originally published on Inc.

Deliver the right message to the right people at the right time

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