The Importance of Digital Marketing Research
No two companies are the same and therefore no two digital marketing strategies should be the same, but every digital marketing strategy should be based on thorough Digital Marketing Research of all available and accessible data. ePresence, a professional Digital Marketing Agency in Cork can help you achieve your Digital Marketing goals.
You wouldn’t start a long journey without first researching and planning the route, modes of available transport, where you are going to stay, what resources you need to take with you and what it is all going to cost you.
Business and Digital Marketing are the same, it’s also a journey. You need to know all the basics of Who, What, Where, When, How and Why before you can develop an effective Marketing Plan and embark on your successful Business Journey.
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What is Digital Marketing Research?
Digital marketing research is the collection of relevant information and data about your company, industry, competitors and most importantly your customers to enable you to make better business and marketing decisions.
Digital marketing research can be broken into two main categories or sources:
This is active research unique to you and your company, this is first-hand information collected directly from your customers and within your organisation. This data is obtained by interviewing existing customers either in person or by means of online surveys. Primary research can also include interviews with sales staff who have direct contact with and have intimate knowledge of your customers.
The benefit to Primary Research is that not only will you determine Who your customers are in terms of demographics, but you will also be able to understand Why, why your customers employ your products or services over that of your competitors or alternative products.
This level of primary research into your customers helps build an accurate Buyers Persona of your ideal customer or customers. The more you know your customer, who they are, why they make use of your products or services, what motivates them, their likes, dislikes etc the more accurately you can target your marketing message towards them.
In fact, the Buyers Persona is a vital piece of information that should be shared throughout the organisation so ALL departments know and understand who they are targeting and why.
Secondary research is making use of existing data obtained from other internal and external sources and tends to be historical in nature.
If your company has been in business for a while then you probably have a mountain of data and records just waiting to be analysed. This could include:
1: Google Analytics which can provide a wealth of data on your website visitors, gender, age, region and interests.
2: Your Social Media platforms can provide similar information.
3: If you have a CRM it can provide valuable information on past, present and possibly even future customers. Even if you don’t have a modern CRM you probably have various records of past and present customers on file in your accounting system or other internal records.
4: Google Trends can be used to get an overall picture of the level of interest online for specific searches and topics.
5: Google Ads provides a powerful tool to research the potential traffic for keyword searches.
6: There are numerous services available that provide Marketing Research data for a fee, such as Statista.
7: Your competitors can be a valuable source of important data, and monitor their online activities using tools like ubersuggest or similarweb.
8: The internet is full of information and data, but stick to reputable websites.
Secondary data will give you a better idea of what is happening in your industry, trends, competitor activity, what platforms your customers are active on, and device usage.
Secondary Research can help you analyse your macro environment to recognise any potential opportunities and possible threats when performing a SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats.) or PESTLE (Political – Economical – Social – Technological – Legal – Environmental.) analysis.
Factors that affect your Digital Marketing Research
There are numerous factors that will affect your Digital Marketing Research. Below are some of the factors that will affect your Research:
1: Management buy-in. It’s imperative that management buys into the research process, unfortunately, I have seen too many cases where proper research is pushed aside for various reasons, smaller companies think it’s only the big companies that need, or can afford, to perform research. Management sees it as a Nice to have and not a necessity. Often research is sacrificed in the rush to get instant results to keep the board or investors happy and sometimes it’s just pure ignorance.
2: Time. Effective Marketing Research can take time, how long it may take depends on the size and nature of your business, but for a micro company, a week is probably enough time to perform sufficient research.
3: Budget, while a large company may spend large amounts of money on external experts and paid tools a small company can perform fairly in-depth research with minimal spending.
Available resources performing proper quality research requires certain skills and abilities that small companies may not possess, a marketing consultant can assist with this function.
The Benefits of Digital Marketing Research.
The ultimate goal of marketing is to get the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time, this is a phrase you will read on numerous pages throughout this website. In order to achieve these three simple requirements requires a lot of knowledge and getting things right.
1: Digital Marketing Research will help you identify the WHO, and who is your customer, the more in-depth knowledge you have of your Buyer’s Persona the better you will be able to target them.
2: Research will enable you to ascertain WHY, and why our customers buy our product or service and not that of our competitors or an alternative solution. Knowing the WHY assists you in positioning your product accordingly and getting the message right.
3: WHERE, WHEN and HOW, effective marketing research will help you understand where your customers are and when to reach them. What digital platforms are your customers active on, how do they search for solutions, and what devices are they using? This will enable you to develop a better marketing strategy as you will know HOW to reach them.
4: WHAT, what are your customers interested in, what products are they buying, and what message do you need to be sending them?
Taking the time to perform quality digital marketing research is an investment that enables you to develop a better-optimised Digital Marketing Strategy from day one. It helps you eliminate potential errors you might otherwise make and improve your ROI from the outset.
Marketing research is not a one-time function, but something you should be performing on a constant basis. The digital era is a fast-moving and ever-evolving landscape, technologies improve, devices change, new platforms are developed and people’s habits evolve. Marketing Research must be current for it to be useful, data more than a few years old may be outdated and should be ignored in favour of new data.
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