The scope and depth of research depends on resource constraints, time constraints, and the overall corporate/business/function’s purpose.
Maximising corporate value creation divides into 2 dimensions:
- Market attractiveness (the potential opportunity that exists within a certain market)
- Competitive strength (the organizations competencies and assets available to capture those opportunities in the face of competition)
Each of these areas of research are relative to eachother and highly overlap. We divide them in order to create a focussed view from each perspective.
- Market Research
- Niche Research
- Competitor Research
- Product Research
- Prospect or Customer Research
- Internal Research
Research your target market so you know exactly where, when, and what to ‘hit’ with your marketing campaigns.
What is the real big picture of the marketplace in which you are marketing? What are the possible niche areas within the broad market?
E.g. If your project is in the area of ‘how to invest’, what broader marketplace does that fit into? Is it Personal Finance or Financial Investing or is it simply ‘Investing’ or maybe ‘Stock Market Investing’ is the more accurate Market.
How big is that market? What demographics and psychographics can you learn about it?
I generally begin market research with the big picture. And then move on to…
Once you know about your broad market, its time to pick and choose your target niche. Perhaps your product is about ‘how to invest in the stock market – for short-term day traders who want maximum leveraged, that have high net worth and are happy to take on a lot of risk by trading on margin’.
Now that’s a specific target niche
And one that I am quite familiar with at the time of this writing as my major client has a project in this area.
So what can you find out about your target niche? Where do people in this niche hang out?
Forums, discussion groups, etc.
- How much money can you determine is spent in this niche annually?
- What are the major changes happening in this niche market at present?
- What is on the horizon?
- What are the biggest challenges that people in this niche face… both generally, and at the present time?
- What are the biggest news and information sources for this particular niche?
Use sites like:
- www.clickbank.com (http://www.cbengine.com)
- Amazon: Kindle best sellers and All product category best sellers
How big and powerful are the competitior businesses in your chosen market/niche that you will be competing against for customers? Who are the largest players in the market categories space? What are the opportunities (market gaps)? Can you cherry pick tiny but profitable niches that the major competitors do not bother with, or do you have the same level of resourcing taht you could go head to head with the competition and fight them openly for broad market share? What do the competitors do well? What are their weaknesses?
Next comes the Product Research. Here you want to find out any of the comparable products to the product you are planning on selling? Or perhaps you have uncovered good information from your niche research that you have ideas for a new industry product.
Buy available products for the niche. Read all promotional materials used in this niche that you can get your hands on. Understand the history and current status of products being sold to the target niche. This is genuine marketing power for effective aggressive marketing.
- What is your market categories major inherent wants and needs?
- What “miracle product” would deliver their biggest desire, achieve their ultimate
outcome, and eliminate their biggest problem or frustration?
- How would this miracle product work? What would it do, specifically? What would it
look like? What would you call it?
- In what way does your product fulfill that ‘miracle product’ description?
Don’t just make stuff up. I’ve been guilty of that in the past. I get a ‘big idea’ and run with it, only to find that with some more diligent niche and product research, I could have made a much stronger product and promotional offer.
For information products a good way to review various offers and glean ideas is by sifting through the popular ClickBank market place. Try http://cbengine.com
Prospect or Customer Research
As a Direct Response copywriter I begin examining my prospect insight by taking what I’ve found out about the market, niche and existing products, and then writing about my prospects beliefs, frustrations, and desires, (BFDs) in relation to my findings so far.
Here’s a great question to use:
If my prospect could have the absolute magic bullet that would deliver every possible feature, benefit, and advantage to them with regards the product/market/niche area, what would that ‘magic bullet’ be like? Look like? What would it do? What would it include?
If you are marketing to businesses, then the ‘prospect’ will be a DMU (decision making unit) often including more than 1 person, each with their own agenda, needs, and thus ‘hot buttons’. You need to account for everyone that will have a hand in making the buying decision, to communicate appropriately in your marcomms (marketing communications).
Use the Prospect Insight page for a more thorough process of prospect research..
In SMEs or Large Enterprise, an Internal View of the organization, including culture and capabilities is a serious consideration for any business plan.
If you are running a SOHO, then that internal view will be a little more personal, as everything depends on you.
Summary of Research:
And with that information, you have done your research.
- You know the broad market place you are dealing with, general demographics, monetary value of the market, etc.
- You also know the possible niche markets you will create your marketing campaigns for. The specific topical areas within the market that your product offering will focus on.
- Then you have researched the existing range of products currently and previously available to that niche market.
- And you have done the vulcan mind meld with your target prospects to determine their beliefs, frustrations and desires.
Now you are ready for the next aspect of the Marketing Matrix… Development.
Tools for Research
- Competitor intelligence strategy cash-map.
- I’m very impressed with the professionalism coupled with the coverage of genuinely important topics for small business marketing, that is inside the Duct Tape Complete Small Business Marketing System.