Before you start putting marketing dollars behind a campaign, you have to know who your target customer is. Not only is defining your customer an integral part of identifying goals and benchmarks, but with so many avenues and opportunities to reach audiences today, it’s important to dig deep and understand who your audience is, what their habits are, where they spend their time and much more.
That way, you’re utilizing the media channels that will get you the most bang for your buck.
So how do you learn more about your target audience?
Here are four different types of research (that we use almost daily when researching brands, consumers, audiences) you can use to gain insights into your target audience & their habits:
1. SYNDICATED RESEARCH
Example: Simmons, MRI, ComScore
These vendors offer access to troves of data they’ve collected from U.S. Census studies and their own large, privately-fielded research studies. Though quite expensive and subscription-based, the ability to query this data in order to see demographic, psychographic and technographic information is unmatched elsewhere. This helps build a core target, inform creative messaging, guide where and when you try to connect with them and more. If you love data, this is the place to start.
2. PRIMARY RESEARCH
Example: SurveyMonkey, Craigslist, Man on the Streets
If you’re building an application, you’re likely already doing lots of primary research. But perhaps you haven’t really done the research to understand your audience beyond the product. Conducting surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc. yields great insights into your audience, from what’s important to them to the type of content they consume, how they behave online and even where and what type of media they consume. These insights help further inform personas and journeys as well as your actual media approach to drive discovery and fill the funnel. There are plenty of ways to recruit and conduct this research. We tend to skew toward the more informal methods in most situations.
3. SECONDARY RESEARCH
Examples: Pew, Mobile Marketer, Google Think, Vendor Research
There are plenty of other valuable research reports produced regularly. This can be extremely valuable in providing further information into target audience behavior, technographics, and even media consumption habits. All of these can help shape messaging and media approaches. The Pew Internet reports have the least bias and provide excellent insights. Others are also valuable, we simply recommend taking them with a grain of salt, as they are often produced by vendors looking to sell you something.
4. EXISTING CUSTOMER DATA
Examples: C.R.M., Analytics Platforms
Many clients we work with have existing businesses that are now launching mobile applications. In these situations, existing customer data from analytics platforms and C.R.M. systems can provide an excellent starting point from which to build a profile of your ideal customer.