Archives for category: Market Research

Imagine you have a big watermelon. Now imagine you’ll try and get the whole watermelon into your blender to make a nice watermelon juice. It seems like a good idea.  Ermm, not so much, unless you have a very small watermelon and a very big blender.

Now imagine you also have a knife, with which you can slice the watermelon, so it’s divided into manageable chunks. With some of it, you’ll make some juice, with the rest, you’ll make a dessert and with the peel you will feed your backyard animals. That’s good usage of your product and enables you to serve different ‘markets’.

Market segmentation is just like that.

You may think you have a big market, but you can’t be everything to everyone. You have to slice it into chunks that you can handle, that you can understand and that you can work with to concentrate fully on squeezing the juice out of each individual piece. Segmenting your market is the key to your success as a business. ‘No one can please everyone all the time’, someone once said, and nothing could ring more true when it comes to targeting marketing.

By going after segments instead of the whole market, there is a much better chance to deliver value to the consumer and, consequently, increase your profit margins. By segmenting the market, you will be separating groups of buyers with distinct needs, characteristics and behaviours, who might require different products and a different marketing mix to match their requirements.

To segment your market you have a very sharp tool in the draw: market research.

You need to ask, you need to observe, you need to read between the lines, you need to interpret it. And once this research is done and you have a few segments that look appealing to your business, how do you know which one to target?

Here is a test you can perform, 5 simple but extremely important questions that you have to ask about that segment, so you can decide if you should invest in it. Here you go:

1. Is the segment substantial?
The market needs to be large enough to be profitable.

2. Is the segment measurable?
We should be able to measure the size and characteristics of the segment through different data sources.

3. Is the segment differentiated?
We should be able to distinguish between this segment and other segments in terms of the way they respond to the marketing mix elements.

4. Is the segment accessible?
We should be able to reach the segment in terms of communication, media and distribution.

5. Is the segment actionable?
We should be able to develop ways to attract and service the segment.

Ok, so now you have 5 ‘yesses’ and you have decided that you have a brand new target market for your product/service.

Well done, great stuff. But, how do you position your offering to this brand new market?

Here’s how to start: go back to your research. Remind yourself about how this market wants to be communicated to. Analyse their answers. Again, read between the lines.

Positioning involves placing your brand and everything that is unique about it in customer minds. A product or service’s position in the market is a complex set of perceptions, impressions and feelings that consumers have towards what you are offering them. It’s how they see it and how they see it fitting into their lives.

To position successfully you must have thorough knowledge of the key benefits sought by the market, so the more time and effort you invest on the market research, the more equipped you will be to come to the USP, which will be the pillar of your communication.

The unique selling proposition is about what makes the product special and different to the competition and it’s what makes people buy and buy again.

Invest in it, communicate it and promote it through your marketing mix. But overall, if you do one thing and one thing only, make sure you have taken the time to segment your market and got to truly know every pip.

Without that, all your efforts might just follow the watermelon juice down the drain or splashed across the kitchen walls. And that is one big cleaning up job.

Marilia Spindler is an Account Manager at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

Hello my name is Declan Tate and I am currently on a work experience placement at Happy Creative. My interest in graphics started in Year 7 at my secondary school and was amazed at some of the roads graphics can lead to. When Year 10 was approaching, I was given my options sheet for my GCSE’s. I saw graphics on the available slots and picked it instantly, along with media, French and ICT.

I have just finished Year 10 and I am half way through my graphics GCSE project which is, (to my enjoyment) Peter Pan movie marketing. This involves me designing and creating posters, point of sale stands, cinema tickets, and a smart material piece of merchandise. I must admit picking graphics was one of the best decisions I have made and has made me much happier at school.

I love graphics as it is much more fun than a maths lesson and is something I am really interested in. In graphics there is much more to do and create than in a normal, boring lesson. In the future I hope to obtain all of my GCSE grades and progress on to college. My dream job would be to design merchandise for a movie or a company, which is the reason why I also picked media studies and French for GCSE.

This week at Happy Creative I have been given lots of small projects to do. One of which was to design a logo, cd cover, tour poster and clothing for my friend’s band. The other project was for me to learn how to use illustrator, so that I could trace my favourite comic book heroes and also make a movie poster for The Dark Knight Rises. I have really enjoyed working on these projects as they revolve around the things that make me happy and that is what Happy Creative is all about.

After 5 days at Happy Creative, I can say that I have learnt so many new skills and techniques that I did not have before. I am so glad that I got the chance to work at Happy Creative for my work experience because the activities are fun, the atmosphere is always filled with jokes (*cough* mike) and the people are always friendly.

Declan Tate has just completed his work placement at Happy Creative. He is 15 years old, happy and is very creative indeed. Good start, Declan!

So you think you know your market, eh? Ok. Say you have an insight of what your target audience’s wants and needs are. And then you plan your entire marketing activities based on a “guesstimate”. Uh-Oh… not so advisable.

You may have a lot of data coming from different sources, but that means absolutely nothing if you don’t look at it properly and analyse it thoroughly. By properly researching your market, you get one step ahead. You have an advantage against your competitors.

Market research is a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, competition, and/or environment and your goal should be to increase your understanding of them. What most people forget is this: market research is not an activity conducted only once. It is an ongoing cycle, or at least it should be if you are really going to benefit.

The power of information is outstanding when it comes to market research. The information you find can guide your most important strategic business decisions and usually, if done properly, the findings and conclusions you reach have a value that exceeds the cost of the research itself.

So here are my top 10 benefits of market research:

1. Market research guides your communication with current and potential customers.

Once you have your research results, you should have enough ammunition to formulate the most effective way to communicate to your customers. You should know what they like/don’t like to hear/see/do. Then you can tailor what you say to them to make them take action.

2. Market research helps you identify opportunities in the marketplace.

Research might make it obvious that a new product you have planned may not be what your market wants or needs. You may then decide to make modifications on what you are going to offer to suit your audience.

3.  Market research helps you minimize risks.

Through market research, you may find all the information you need to decide whether to take action on a particular subject. For example, you may find that the particular location where you wanted to open a shop already has a saturated market in your line of business, which should make you refrain from making that decision and look for a more appropriate spot.

4. Market research measures your reputation.

It’s always good to know how you measure against your competitors. Market research finds out just where you are and then, according to the results, you can take action to change perception.

5.  Market research uncovers and identifies potential problems.

You can get consumers’ reactions to a new product or service when it is still being developed. This should enlighten any further development so it suits its intended market.

6. Market research helps you plan ahead.

Research can estimate the likely sales of a new product/service and also the advertising expenditure required to achieve maximum profits.

7.   Market research can help you establish trends.

If you treat your market research as an ongoing exercise that you do periodically, you’ll find that you’ll have a lot of data to be able to analyse your customers and establish any particular trends.

8. Market research helps you establish your market positioning.

It’s important to know the position of your business at particular moments in time. Information from market research helps you benchmark and monitor your progress, which can be useful to make decisions and take action.

9.  Market research can determine the most persuasive ‘promise’.

Every brand needs to make a promise. If you think of the most known brands, they all make a promise to you and you usually know what is by just looking at their logo. It can be security, a fast and tasty meal or the assurance of top technology. It needs to be simple and market research can help you define what your brand’s promise is.

10. Market research can find that compromise.

The team involved in the launch of a new product/service all have their individual perceptions and gut feelings.  These certainly should not be ignored, but by going straight to the target audience, you will gain thoughts and opinions from people who may be less biased or less emotionally attached to a new development or service.  It helps gain a new angle, hopefully a compromise in just how you are going to go about a new launch, a new brand or a brand repositioning.

In a nutshell, market research is an invaluable tool that, at first, might seem expensive and slow, but it’s nothing more than an investment. As one of our very good clients always says, “ Best to measure twice and cut once to maximise your returns”.

If you had the choice of speaking to a good sample of your customers or be left in the dark only with your assumptions, what would you choose?

Marilia Spindler is an Account Executive at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: