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Knowing your audience is the backbone to business success. And to know your audience, you need to do some all important market research. But what’s the best way to go about doing that? Easy answer? Use GWI, of course… 

Or, you could conduct a good ol fashioned, market research survey. 

What’s a market research survey?

Glad you asked. A market research survey is a way of gaining information, insights and attributes about your target consumers, so you can better understand them and what makes them tick. More information, means more knowledge, means more understanding – helping drive more successful campaigns.

But market research surveys don’t just help you improve your targeting and create a campaign that has impact. They provide valuable insight into the feelings, attitudes and preferences of your audience – guiding everything from concept testing and launching new products to the solidification of your brand positioning and customer satisfaction.

But what does it really take to conduct a market survey that works?

7 steps to a successful market survey

1. Set a clear goal

Start by setting a clear objective of what you want from your market research. This will be determined by your marketing goals. If you’re launching a new product, for example, you’ll want to know what the demand is, how aware people are of it, if they currently buy from a competitor, and how frequently they buy.

Be precise about the outcome you’re looking for so you can get the answers you need to nail your future marketing campaigns.

  • Why are you doing the survey?
  • What do you want to find out from your research?
  • Is it for product improvements with an existing audience?
  • Are you looking to launch a new product into the marketplace and therefore need to know if there’s sufficient demand.
  • Are you looking to improve your customer experience?

Knowing what you want to find out will help you identify what information you need. And help you determine whether a qualitative or quantitative approach works best.

Whichever you choose, the aim is the same: to find out what your customers are looking for and improve satisfaction with your brand. Uncovering consumer attitudes could reveal some invaluable insights that will guide your strategy with the customer at the heart.

2. Know who to survey

Market research starts with identifying which market you’re targeting. Who’s your audience? Are you looking at existing customers? Or are you looking to find out more about potential customers? 

Think back to your goal here, keeping in mind what you are looking to achieve from your market research can help guide who you survey. For example, if you want to build on your customer offering by introducing a priority service, for example, you may just want to gather information from people living in a certain area or earning over a certain amount.

Use regional data to attain precise information about the target audience whose data you need, and narrow it down to support your ultimate goal. 

Determine key demographics of your target audience like where they live, their age, gender or income bracket. You’ll also need to establish the market size of your target market in order to calculate your sample size.

3. Get help from some survey savvy people

Who knows about surveys? We know who. GWI. 

Getting access to an established panel by turning to the market survey data experts means you can ensure you ask the right questions to the right people, and get a sample size that gives you the most accurate insights.

GWI data spans 50 markets, asking questions of over 2 billion internet users, making it the world’s leading market survey on the digital consumer. We provide a level of detail you can’t find elsewhere. 

Survey research is tricky. And time consuming. So why not leave it to the marketing research experts?

By leveraging this panel with the help of in-house data wizards, you can be sure you gain the valuable insights you need within the right time frame.

4. What’s the best way to get answers to your survey?

Cast your mind back to steps 1 and 2,  thinking about who you are looking to survey and what you’re looking to gain will help determine how you get those answers from the right target market. 

Knowing the difference between primary research and secondary research, as well as qualitative and quantitative, can go a long way to helping you figure out the best approach. 

Surveys can be carried out in a number of ways, no longer exclusive to telephone surveys and focus groups, the online survey is another option that allows you to take a step away from the time consuming paper survey.

Market surveys can also be carried out in groups or on an individual basis.

Once again, the optimum approach for your brand will depend on your goals and the information you’re trying to capture, as well as your target audience, market share potential and their overall preferences.

If you want to gather in depth information from mums of toddlers in a particular town, for example, face-to-face interviews in the vicinity of a play area might work well, allowing the interviewee to provide detailed answers, and enabling you to ask follow up questions that dig a little deeper.

Using quantitative panel data to back this up, market researchers can come away with powerful insights and market analysis you know you can trust.

 5. It’s all in the execution

Once you’re clear about your goals, the data you need, the people you need to talk to, and the best way to gather your survey data, it’s important to maximize the sample size. 

This means reaching people at the right time, setting a realistic timeframe for them to share their thoughts, and checking out where they’re likely to be. 

You’ve got to really keep your target audience in mind here. If you’re physically interacting with people, think about the places they’re likely to visit, and at what times they’ll be there. There’s no use setting up camp at the mall on a week day if you’re looking to talk to corporate big fish.

If it’s an online survey, understanding which social media platforms or websites they are likely to hang out on, and at what times they tend to be online is vital to getting those survey form completion numbers to hit the high notes. 

Data analysis ahead of the survey can go a long way in helping make the survey easier to reach the right audiences with. Take the guesswork out of your marketing research.

6. Analysis is the answer

Once you’ve gathered your market survey responses, these need to be analyzed thoroughly to pull out key trends and findings to allow you to gain some tasty, actionable insights from the data. So, what do you need to be looking at?

  • Examine qualitative answers for stand out quotes and detailed feedback about attitudes and behaviors.
  • Calculate averages from your quantitative answers.
  • Compare results against global and local data with large-scale market surveys.

There are plenty of ways to cross examine and analyze your market research data based on the type of data you’ve collected and what you’re looking for.

7. Uncover the bigger picture

Conducting a market research survey is invaluable to brands, but when carried out in isolation, market research can lack the real-world relevancy to action results with confidence.  

To get more from your analysis, large-scale market survey data allows you to compare your findings across multiple data points. You can cross-reference with local subgroups and compare against global averages, to see clearly where the value truly lies.

Use case: Identifying affluent consumer behaviors on social media

Here’s a hypothetical example. Let’s say you sell a luxury product. You’ve identified from your own survey results and analytics that social media is prominent in your customers’ lives. 

But you need more detail to target high-earners on the channels where they’re most active.

By using a deep data set to dig down into their activity on social media, you can uncover exactly where they spend their time:

Chart showing percentage of affluent consumers who use social media monthly

Combining this with questions designed to reveal their motivations for using social media takes your understanding to the next level:

Chart showing top interests of affluent consumers on social media

Here, affluent consumers are 28% more likely than the average consumer to follow companies relevant to their work, so we can say they’re more inclined to use social for career purposes.. 

Uncovering insights like this is key to delivering a well-positioned message that sticks. 

Now, you can create a campaign specifically targeted to hit your ideal target market, where they hang out and in a way that speaks to their interests.

Market research surveys are pivotal to success

Market surveys can be used in a variety of ways to help a brand focus more on its target audience and take a more people-based approach.

From getting a better understanding of the perceptions around your brand to testing the appetite for a new product; from finding customer demographics and purchasing power, to getting under the skin of a new audience to knowing how to accurately pitch a marketing campaign. A marketing survey enables you to gather information about your audience, and help to build a buyer persona for each sector of your target audience for more personalized, effective marketing strategies.

Data holds the answers you need to achieve almost every business goal.

But data is powerless without effective analysis. And without effective analysis, no insights can be drawn. So it pays to have third-party survey data sets at your disposal to contextualize your findings. 

A skilfully planned market survey that catches customer feedback and experience will deliver findings that could spell the difference between success and failure in a marketing strategy. Leveraging GWI’s data platform means getting clued up on your audience fast, and making decisions you can stand behind.

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