Research-driven marketing gets results. Knowing who your audience is, what they’re looking for (and what they are typing into search engines), and the best ways to connect with them means that you’re able to design and execute in a way that talks to the right people at the right time.

There’s more to market research than SWOT analysis charts, focus groups, and survey templates. There’s more than demographics and geographical segmentation. The Customer Insight research that agencies have been selling for decades typically focuses solely on who their repurposed primary research documents suggest your potential customer might be. These Power Point presentations often feature slides that look like this sample slide created by [redacted] for a [redacted] dealership:

The problem with this is that it’s only a small part of the puzzle (and it certainly isn’t an edge piece). This slide doesn’t tell us anything about how these people will search for a new truck. We still know next to nothing about how to engage this customer because this is just high level information that provides little context and no insight. We take a different approach to customer research. After we understand your business goals, we focus our research process on Keyword Research and Competitor Research instead.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is more than just looking up a few keywords with lots of searches – it’s ensuring we have a thorough understanding of the intent of the search. Is it a research-gathering search, or is your potential customer ready to buy? Google always wants to show the most relevant page for a given search, so they won’t show the same page for “bookkeeper in Edmonton” and “small business tax exemptions”. Our comprehensive research uncovers not only what people are searching for, but why they are searching.

Competitor Research

In addition to finding keywords, we look at what your competitors are up to. Are they investing in search engine optimization? Are they spending a lot of money on AdWords each month? How are they doing on social media – do they only broadcast, or do they engage with their (and your!) audience? Or perhaps there’s a new competitor on the horizon that you weren’t even aware of.

If you don’t know what’s going on across your competitive landscape, you will miss out on opportunities to engage with your audience. When you know what your competition is doing, you’re also hyper-aware of what makes you unique, and can then focus your marketing budget to best highlight your Unique Selling Points (USPs).

Without a solid foundation of research:

  1. you don’t know who you’re talking to,
  2. you won’t know how to craft your messages,
  3. you can’t know where to present those messages to your target audience,
  4. and you will not be able to determine how much you should be investing in marketing.

It would be like standing in front of a million haystacks shouting at a needle in a language it doesn’t understand.

Once we have the keywords (the what and the why) and the competitors (the where and the how), we can develop a marketing strategy that appropriately addresses your business goals, and will be profitable for your organization.