When you’re running a business, your work never ends: one of the things you have to accept is that a business isn’t a single project that concludes successfully after you put in lots of work. It’s an ongoing task, where you’re constantly building better processes, and more nuanced understandings. Perfection is out of reach, and the reward for success is the chance to try again!
With that in mind, today we’re looking at ways you can try to understand your market a little better.
Building towards a more complete understanding of your market, the customers that make it up, the forces that influence them and the rival brands that are vying for their money requires a non-trivial investment, not just of money but of your time as well. Why is it worth making this investment?
Understanding your market means you can optimise what you have to offer to appeal to the biggest possible cross-section of customers who might buy in your area (be that a literal area where a brick and mortar store is based or the figurative ‘area’ that covers your online niche). That means products that are easy for your customers to use and attractive for them to look at, advertised and sold in the places they’re looking. It means you can tailor your marketing to sound persuasive to the biggest possible slice of the market, so you’re getting better engagement, more clicks and more sales without spending as much. Consumer intelligence is an investment that pays big returns.
What to Do?
The best thing you can do is find a market research firm that’s expert within your industry, and partner with them. They won’t just have the experience to get you the answers you need, but also existing tools and information that’s useful to you.
A brand index is a ranking of all the brands in a given niche or industry, using a number of different factors to determine how good each brand is at using their reputation to turn consumers into paying customers. It uses metrics like the brand’s net promoter score (the likelihood customers will recommend the brand to their friends) to quantify the value of the brand, and then lists them all. Getting access to this doesn’t just give you a one-off ‘health check’ for your brand, showing you where you sit within your industry. Brand indexes refresh over time (often quarterly) so you can see how your brand is developing over the years, whether you’re acquiring momentum and growing in mind share or falling behind.
The Value of Data
The biggest value of data as a tool is that it can lift the burden of decision making a little from your shoulders. Rather than relying simply on your judgement, you can defer to an objective measure of what’s effective and what fails to resonate with customers, allowing you to feel more confident about making better decisions as time goes on.