ESP, or extra sensory perception. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic tool for marketing and advertising? To understand what your clients really want to know, not just what you think they want. The Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt movie “What Women Want” explored that very topic. How much better could our messaging be? How much more meaningful could our marketing become if we really got inside the heads of our clients?
Of course, we have not been struck by lightning (most of us anyway) and we don’t have the ability to read our clients’ minds – or – do we? In the world of marketing there is a ‘magic’ available to us, and it comes in the form of science – market research!
I think we make things too darn complicated these days. If I want to know what is important to my clients, I ask them. Imagine that. I walk on up and say “how do you feel about” or “are you worried about” or “what are your colleagues saying about”. You’d be amazed at what happens – they tell you! I know, it sounds condescending even as I write it, but really, it seems to be a lost art.
Firms spend millions of dollars every year on market research, and while that is innately valuable, so is simply asking. There is a difference between putting together a quick survey on your Survey Monkey or Constant Contact account, and polling several thousand people. When you want to know basic facts about your industry, consult a book. If you want to get more in depth, hire a market research company. But when you want to know what your target market is thinking about right now – talk to them! Do it through social media, through an in person phone call (see my post on Loyalty – you should be calling them to say hello more often) or through a card or email.
PS – if you do want a firm to do some results-oriented market research for you – my favourite referral is Vireo Research. Caroline Wilson is an expert in market research and a trusted contributor to my first book, Quacking the Surface, managing customer perceptions