Marketers, especially online marketers have a lot of things to consider as they go about their business. What to market, who to work with, what channels, schedules, etc. They have so much to do in fact, that they often skimp on one of the most important parts of their job, market research. It’s the thing that can make or break a campaign. It can save time and money and be the difference between success and failure. Instead, they either go with what they know (or think they know) or rely on the basics, like what that quick search revealed on the search engine of choice.
Why is that? Often it’s because marketers don’t know where to start and they don’t have a plan of attack. Starting and conducting market research should be second nature. Below is a list of tips to help anyone get started doing market research.
-Begin with the end in mind – What are you trying to figure out? Write down specific information you are trying to figure out. Could be one thing or it could be many, but write it down and establish what it is. It helps not only guide you in your search, but where to stop as well.
-Time block for market research – While some people claim they can multi-task effectively, most people can’t. Shut down Skype and email, put your phone on silent and focus on what you need to do. Sounds simple and it is if you will do it. 30 minutes of work without distraction can be worth hours of distracted work.
-Get started – Sometimes the hardest part of a job is getting started. Just do it.
-Don’t let your knowledge or opinions interfere – Be open minded to whatever it is you are researching. You might be surprised to find out you are totally off base with preconceived thoughts on your subject.
-Focus on collecting measurable data – Focus more on specific measurable data and not just opinions or feelings. While they can be useful in the right place, hard numbers are better.
-Track and document findings as you go – Sounds like a no brainer right? Well not everyone does that and then they wonder why they can’t find that site they thought they bookmarked. Figure out what works for you and do it. If it’s screen grabs into a folder and a notepad, do that. If it’s an excel sheet, use that.
-Bring it all back together – Once you collected the data, distill it down to cut out the fat and keep what is useful in a form you can use.