Why Should I Be Starting Every Campaign With Digital Market Research?
Getting To Know Who Your Brand Is (And Who You Should Be) Talking To Online
Who are you talking to on the Internet, when everyone has their own channel?
Groups and subgroups of people online are carving out their own areas of the web to cozy up in and create communities. Digital market research is your way to access these groups, peeking inside and saying “what’s up?” in just the right tone of voice, resonating with your specific audience. This is an important tool to have in your marketing arsenal because it is the basis of your interaction with a constantly moving connected consumer. By finding out more about your digital audience, you can also learn how to better serve them. Getting your message out there in the right way is the first step in attracting loyal customers who appreciate and crave what you offer.
How do you get to know a group of people online?
Simple. Social media. Well, actually it’s not so simple, is it? With new platforms, not to mention groups and users, popping up everyday social media is becoming a bigger and bigger job to tackle for businesses. Yet there is a plus side to this digital beast, your future customers are there. As if you had amassed a crowd of millions and shouted into a microphone, social media gives you a place to spread your company’s values, message, mission, and services. Still, screaming and shouting online won’t get the job done. You need to be sure of not only what you are saying and how you’re saying it but also who you are saying it to.
This is where digital market research comes into play. Finding the right online users to target and how to speak to them is the key to tackling this digital giant.
Here are some things I look for as a digital market researcher:
1. Who is the loudest?
Be that a single person, blog or competitor I want to identify who has the biggest voice in this market. I pay attention to what this account is saying. This shows me who people are following and listening to and gives me an idea of what they like to hear.
2. What’s the preferred social platform?
Typically any group is talking online in all the major social platforms, but finding their main area of communication is beneficial to market research. People communicate in different ways on different platforms, for example, Instagram is focused on images and twitter is short text, knowing this will tell you more about the group and how they express themselves.
3. Who are the newcomers?
It’s great to see who the veterans are in a group but to get ahead of the curve the most important thing to notice is who is new. Seeing who is new in a group and finding out what brought them in will tell you what new users are looking for and hoping to find within a group. Knowing their intentions will help you to carve out a niche for yourself to serve their needs.
These are the key macro things I try to notice in the digital landscape when I am researching a new market.
Still, only getting the expanded view will not tell you everything you need to know about a market. Zooming in on specific users and intensely looking at their activity will help you to be in their shoes, so to speak. Seeing who a specific person follows, how often they post, what posts they like and how many channels they interact with regularly will help you to get a feel on the norms for this group overall.
Digital market research allows you to be an observer, gathering the information that will help you in your ability to reach a new group or better meet the needs of your current customers. The data you have gathered is only valuable if you use it to stand out in your target market. To do this, you need to find the needs of customers, observe what they respond well to and find the things they are miss or starting to gravitate towards. Once you have identified these things, you can take them internally and reflect on what makes your brand or company different, how you can speak to consumers in a way that is genuine and clear. Strategizing to create quality content is what will help you shine in whatever market you are in.
Getting to know a digital community is getting to know a new culture. Just because it exists online, that doesn’t make it less substantial. These people are having real interactions with each other and no matter the group, they have shared interests and needs that can be met. The trick is finding out how you can help meet their needs and further grow your brand to be trusted, relatable and innovative.
Jacqualyn Mangels is Zen Media’s Senior Marketing Strategist. After spending time in the Netherlands earning her masters degree in Design and Culture studies and researching users of one of the world’s biggest sports brands, Jacqualyn has come to Zen Media with new ideas on how to gather and utilize insights across a digital landscape.
Zen Media possesses a 360° understanding of the connected consumer—their devices and psychology—and excels at helping b2b and b2c brands make smart, innovative choices that yield the highest ROI. Its services include experiential design, digital marketing and customer service solutions, and thought leadership and PR.