Defining Audience Research In Digital Marketing
In my previous articles, I have talked about how to plan your digital marketing campaign, and how the main digital marketing features works. We now know how to define objectives and focus on the target audience to develop relevant messages and take better decisions in term of channels and budgets.
As we have seen, a lot of the decision-making process is to be done using research. Research is central to all decision making, from channel to audience selection.
A marketer should never assume that his target audience is one thing over the other or behaves a certain way without insights. Insights are uncovered through research and data analysis. These can be made from the business’s own data with the research department studying the existing database information, or they can have external research done by a third party.
In this article, we are going to dive into the different types of research that are used throughout the planning stage, but also what can be used along with the execution of the strategy, if necessary.
I am going to focus on digital research and the tools available to marketers to do research and gather data.
The main research that all marketers use before even thinking about the campaign is audience research. This and the objective development work hand-in-hand and influence the rest of the digital strategy. Audience research is designed to establish the size, composition, and characteristics of a group of individuals that are, or could be, potential customers. It’s important to note that this research is about the people and individuals that make up your target audience.
The goal of all audience research is to find consumer insights. Because the goal of a digital marketing strategy is to influence the buyer’s journey, marketers need to connect with the audience by knowing what they think, how they behave and how they live their lives. You should know your audience as well as you know your best friend. In the inbound marketing methodology, it is common to practice to set up what is called a buyer persona.
The buyer persona is a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer. There can be one or multiple personas depending on your target audience, but this a good way to keep in mind who you are talking to.
Audience research in digital marketing has multiple benefits:
#1 Identifying obstacles
It helps identify obstacles by knowing what your audience dislikes, what they avoid, what stops them from buying your brand, how they buy, etc.
#2 Developing personalized contents
- It helps develop appropriate and personalized content. If you know your target audience, you know how to address them, in what language, which term better resonates, what visuals, influencers, and colours they are sensitive to, thus you can better attract their attention.
#3 Current and future needs
It also helps you identify current and future needs. Because you are selling your product to this audience, you have to understand what needs your product is answering to. What problem it is solving. Moreover, if you know your audience well enough, you can predict their future needs. For example, if you are selling to middle-aged women, you know that in the near future they might become grandmothers and that allows you to stay relevant to the evolution of their lives.
Having insights is a real competitive advantage when it is different from the insight your competition is tapping into. In that perspective, it is interesting to conduct primary research which is a research that is tailored to the specific business need, as opposed to secondary research that will be performed and then sold as syndicated research. Within the digital landscape, research has taken a turn with the development of analytics and we will see how these new tools help research in the next few slides.
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