THERE ARE WHOLE INDUSTRIES built around marketing research—finding out what makes the consumer tick, what motivates people to buy, emerging trends in consumer behavior. Certainly you can spend big bucks to learn definitively what people think. And while this type of formalized research is useful in making business decisions, it’s not always necessary.
Sometimes all it takes to refresh your brand—breathe new life into a stale marketing strategy—is to be nosy. Mingle a little with your customers. Watch how people interact with your product, or with your competitors’ products. Talk to people who are representative of your target clientele. Ask a few simple questions about what they think—what they like and don’t like. Most people are glad to offer an opinion if they’re asked the right way. Of course, they have to feel free to speak candidly—you don’t want people just to tell you what they think you want to hear. Invite honest feedback.
You also might want to do a little mystery shopping—observing customers or prospects incognito. Or send out others (friends or professional consultants) to pose as customers for you. This type of guerilla marketing research can provide a whole lot of insight at very little cost. With the wealth of electronic information available through social media and website analytics, you can add another layer of consumer knowledge and understanding with a little digging.
As marketing strategists, some of our best insights into clients’ brands—and memorable creative inspiration—have come from these simple tactics and insatiable curiosity. So it turns out that in marketing, Mom wasn’t necessarily right—the best way to mind your business might not be minding your own business. Talk to strangers. You’ll be amazed at what you can find out!
Laura Tobin is the Vice President of Gallinghouse Marketing + Creative. She is a 25+ year veteran of the ad industry with regional and national experience in marketing. Gallinghouse is located at 409 W. 21st Ave., Covington. For more information call 985-893-7631 or visit gallinghouse.com