If you want to learn about your target audience, one of the best ways is to ask them. Your current and potential customers can reveal a wealth of information about what they want and how they perceive your products and your marketing. Increasing your brand awareness leads to increased engagement and ultimately, to new business growth.
Market research helps you gain insights that allow you to:
- Better attract your target audience
- Differentiate your brand from the competition
- Offer and position your products and services as more beneficial and desirable
- Serve your customers more effectively
In order to receive useful information from your target audience, it’s a matter of asking the right questions, in the right way and in a manner that the customer feels is helpful.
Audience demographics can help you segment large, heterogeneous groups of consumers into smaller groups by determining their wants, needs, and key characteristics. In fact, 71% of respondents prefer personalized ads. Age is one of the most impactful demographics for determining ad spend. The younger age group spends more often, while older adults have more to spend.
Options for answering personal questions should be done in “ranges,” as consumers may be more comfortable answering more general questions, rather than ones where they might be specifically identified. Important questions to determine your customer profile may include:
- What is your age range?
- What is your gender?
- What is your education level?
- Where do you live?
- What is your profession?
- What is your household income range?
- What is your household size?
Psychographics identify your audience's hobbies, interests, values, and spending habits. It is another method of segmenting large groups of consumers so you can more effectively tailor your marketing tactics. If demographics identify who your audience is, psychographics can tell you why they purchase. Targeted marketing campaigns using psychographic data increases click rates by 670%.
Questions to understand what motivates your audience to buy can include:
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- Where do you spend your free time?
- What are your biggest challenges?
- What are your primary goals?
- What is most important to you?
- Where do you go for information?
- How do you like to make purchases? Online, or in-store?
Customers are not loyal to a company for the products or price, but because of their customer service and experience. Eighty-six percent of customers say they'll pay more to have a better customer experience. A recent study found that companies earning $1 billion per year who have invested in customer experience can expect an average return of $700 million within three years. Keeping your customers satisfied can return your investment many times when loyal return customers become brand evangelists.
Questions to ask to learn more about your customer's experience include:
- What is the likelihood of you recommending our brand to a friend?
- How long have you been a customer?
- What problem does our product/service solve for you?
- On a scale of 1-10, how well does our product/service meet your needs?
- What do you wish the product or service had that it currently doesn’t?
- What do you like most/least about product/service?
- What made you choose us over a competitor?
- On a scale of 1-10, what rating would you give your last experience with us?
One way to identify your competition is to find out whom your customers consider being an alternative to your offerings. You’ve probably already completed an analysis of your direct competitors. While that’s certainly valuable, it doesn’t identify how your customers perceive your brand vs. others. The only way to determine that is to ask.
While formal competitive analysis can tell you who sells similar products or services, it probably won't identify the businesses that, though different, may compete for the same customers as you. For example, McDonald's and Stouffer's, while vastly different brands with divergent products, both compete for the same group of people who want quick and easy prepared foods. Another comparison could be Starbucks and Keurig that both deliver quick coffee products.
To find out more about whom your target customer considers being your greatest competitors, ask the following questions:
- What other products and services do you feel are similar to ours?
- Who are our top competitors?
- How would you rate our brand in comparison to our competitors?
Let Your Target Audience Tell You What They Want
There are many ways to market to and serve your target audience better. Telling your customers that their opinions matter and you’d value their input is an important first step in improving the ROI of your marketing dollars. These questions can be delivered as a survey after they interact with your brand, or you can use them with a focus group. Consider offering those that complete a survey a discount code, or something special. Otherwise, why would someone waste their valuable time?
Posing market research questions and evaluating the answers can provide valuable insights and direction that can help propel your marketing campaign. Work with an experienced media partner to learn more about the most effective ways to reach your target audience.