The answer is of course is that each market is unique, with different customs, competitive pressures and customer expectations. This is true not only for large international brands, but for small to medium sized businesses as well, where the needs and expectations of its various target markets can vary substantially.
As a marketer, how do you obtain a good understanding of each target market and adapt your product/marketing offerings accordingly? Market research is the answer but how do businesses conduct market research with little or no budget? Here’s how.
Let’s look at a typical Photography business. Most photographers I know run businesses where they are the main owner operator/boss. Let’s assume that this photography business under review would like to increase its ‘People Portraits’ sales and has noted a number of possible Target Audience Groups – these include
- Executive level/corporate market
- Professional Speakers
- Small business owners
- Young families
- High school children
The business owner has identified that the Executive/Corporate market is a very lucrative market and therefore is the ideal group to target for this product offer/business. Sounds like a good start. But, what is the next step before any marketing and sales materials are produced? The answer is market research. The photographer needs to get to know this market better and what ‘hot buttons’ are relevant to the people making decisions about purchasing photography services. While you can do market research online, picking up the phone is still one of the easiest ways to go about it. Here is an example of how it could work.
Ring a number of large companies and ask to speak to the CEO Personal Assistant (PA):
It would be quite rare to ring the main switchboard of a company and get to speak to a CEO directly. That is, without having met them prior. However, it is much more likely that you would be able to speak to the CEO’s PA. Although this is not guaranteed, it is worth a try.
The reason why a PA is a good person to obtain market research from is that they are often the eyes and ears of a business and know ‘lots of stuff’. They are also the people in a company likely to book ‘people portrait’ services. When embarking on a Market Research activity, try to speak to the person/people in a company who make the purchasing decisions.
Before you make your first phone call, ensure that you have a list of questions ready to ask. Also have a pen and paper handy to make as many notes as you can during and after each call. The sorts of questions to ask include – what is important to them, when they last had pictures taken and what they liked or disliked about the pictures or process. Think of open-ended questions. These insights will provide important information for you to consider when preparing your marketing materials or direct sales strategies. For example, if you notice that all the PAs say that being on time is one of the most important aspects of this work, make a note in your brochure about your reliability and perhaps offer a guarantee that you will be on time.
Keep in mind that PAs are busy people and may also be unwilling to talk to you. Stay focused. You may only need to speak to a handful of people to get some good insights/market research. Perhaps set aside a few hours a day for a week and review what you have achieved after that.
I am a firm believer that market research does not have to cost thousands of dollars and be out of the reach of small businesses. It is important though that all businesses invest in it to get a better understand their target market. As shown in this example, it does not have to be overly time consuming or expensive!
The post In Marketing One Size Does Not Fit All appeared first on Next Marketing Agency.