Behind every customer interaction—every sale, every return, every like on social media—is a person who's made the decision to engage with your business. The more you know about that person, the more ways you can connect with them. Market research is one way to get the information you need to start forming these connections.
But once you have the data, how do you use it to better your business?
Consumers are looking for more than just products and services from businesses and brands. They want relationships.
You can use data in various ways to form those relationships and connect with your customers more meaningfully and authentically.
1. Build your products and services around them.
People buy products and services that serve a need or that they simply like. When you tailor your offering around the things that are important to your customers, you increase the chances those customers will return.
It sounds simple, but a lot of businesses lose sight of it. Your customers want value, and market research can provide you with the tools you need to ensure everything you offer meets a particular need.
2. Provide better customer service.
Your customers are human, and every one of them has something going on in their personal life. And understanding where they are in life's journey can help you figure out how to provide better customer service.
At my consulting agency, Tote + Pears, we use the results of our market research to create journey maps that help our clients understand not just who their customers are but where they are in their journey.
From creating customized marketing campaigns that speak to the challenges of raising families to asking relevant, considerate questions during support calls, showing some empathy for where a person is in his or her journey goes a long way.
3. Add personal touches.
Regardless of whether you're running a business-to-business or business-to-consumer company, the first thing to remember is that people are people. Our lives don't stop when we enter a retail store or clock into a job.
The most popular brands understand this and have created marketing strategies that connect them with their customers in a human-centric way.
A good example of this is grocery stores. After realizing that women with children were their primary market, many stores started adding elements that got their attention by considering their kids—for example, stickers at check-out and small grocery carts to keep kids engaged while their parents shop.
4. Customize your content using market research insights.
Content is king, but all content isn't created equal. Instead of just writing a blog post about your products, try creating content that resonates with your target audience and talks to the things that interest them.
For example, if during your market research you find that most of your customers have young children at home, consider designing a content strategy around parenting. The lack of sleep. The overwhelming feeling of having to manage it all. The fear of returning to work.
A business that can connect with people on a human level at important milestones and throughout their life's phases can create impressions that stick.
5. Design meaningful experiences.
We live in the experience economy where people are drawn to brands based on what they experience during the interaction, both in person and online.
If you want to find more ways to stay connected with your customers, consider creating recurring experiences they can engage in. Think about the zoo that has a playground and splash pad, malls that offer live music and events. These businesses are using market data to go beyond their typical offerings to create spaces where their customers want to be.
It's a popular strategy among big brands and one that more small businesses may want to consider to keep their customers engaged for the long run.
Customized offerings, good customer service and meaningful experiences are a few ways you can deepen your relationships with your customers. Market research is the glue that helps make sure what you create sticks.
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