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Leveraging Business Intelligence Data to Positively Impact Consumer Product Launches


By Lindsey Carnett


Cast your mind back to how you lived during the pandemic. Our daily lives shifted online, and our contact with the outside world, at least in its physical form, ebbed away. This solitary shift in behavior also led us to spend more time purchasing our everyday essentials — and often lockdown treats — at the click of a button.


Businesses, whatever their sector, have been impacted by this shift in consumer purchasing. Many brick-and-mortar stores have ramped up their online offerings to proactively offer customers a broader choice of products and services and the way in which they can purchase them. Others have closed physical stores altogether.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the second quarter of 2020, US consumers spent $211.5 billion on e-commerce. Statistics show that online sales grew nearly 20 percent in April 2021, and online, shoppers were spending the most on clothing. Additionally, 48 percent of consumers say their shopping habits have been permanently changed by the pandemic.


To meet these new trends and habits, companies know that they need to invest in market research.


Market research helps drive decision making and dives deep into a company and its competition, developing initiatives and campaigns that achieve measurable results using the market research they've conducted. For companies that want to start a new campaign, market research is essential to understand what competitors are up to, as well as identifying opportunities for growth and the chance to gauge the wider consumer landscape. Setting this groundwork early on can help better target audiences and result in a better return on investment.


Market research firms have experienced large growth in the demand for market research support. Companies, cross-sector, are utilizing market research not only to navigate the competitive landscape and to prioritize target demographics, but also as a tool to onboard new staff and to support their lending relationships.


New methods of market research like content gap analyses, social listening, SEO, and influencer relevance analyses are used by marketers and production companies to gain an understanding of a brand’s customers and their key vertical to clearly illustrate market opportunities. Other consumer insights tactics helpful prior to a full-scale launch include customer surveys, online forum monitoring, social media analytics, big data analytics, message testing, deep-dive web crawling, sentiment analysis, listening sessions, web chats with focus groups, and the synthesis of data.


Video content has become even more important in our changing consumer landscape. Video is king in the consumers’ demand for quick, digestible content. Content like this helps brands to make a direct connection with customers and can and should be used to help nurture a deep connection over a long period of time.


One DRTV advertiser in the seating business was airing national TV spots targeted toward one persona. By executing a deep-dive competitor content gap analysis, three additional personas were developed, influencers were selected and contracted, ads were created from influencer content, and social media targeting allowed for new revenue streams to open for these new consumer audiences that otherwise wouldn’t have been tested. By not exploring these insights, marketers can’t see their own blind spots. This is essentially a “blind spot finder” that helps brands not leave money on the table.


One way in which video production companies can effectively use market research is to work with social media influencers. They prioritize sincere relationships with their followers and are influential in persuading them to buy or try out what they’re promoting. By using them as part of the market research strategy, they will have a direct and authentic line to what customers want from the content they consume, raising the odds of a successful television or digital commercial campaign.


And it may sound obvious, but deep diving into the digital footprint of the competition should be one of the first steps a company should do. Did a similar campaign sink or swim? What is their target audience keen to see more of? How do they communicate with their customers? All these questions should form the foundation of a brand’s research.


This approach will effectively help with the brand messaging and the development of unique selling propositions, making it more likely that the offer to the consumer will succeed.


It is clear that the COVID pandemic changed the landscape for many people and many industries, but it has had a special effect on marketing for companies. From the way that consumers consume products and services, to how they do their own research to influence a purchase, consumer spending habits have challenged even the seasoned marketing professional. Messaging, budgets, and outlets have all been affected and in some ways; "business as normal" may never resume.


Marketing research as a technique is a tried-and-tested method of understanding what drives a target customer and how their habits shape an industry’s competitive landscape. An effective market research strategy, led by professionals, should be an approach that businesses invest in if they want to nurture and grow their offering for the future.


Lindsey Carnett is CEO and president of Southern California-based Marketing Maven. She can be reached via email at lindsey@marketingmaven.com.