I woke from a bad dream the other day. I was working with a large group of people and suddenly I realised that they were just making up things about their target groups, rather than having any real information. And it reminded me of something I have always known, but one tends to forget. None of us can read minds! (If I am wrong, and you can, please get in touch because I really really really want to talk to you! :)
Not only did I assume that they knew they had to do some research to get to know more about their target groups – and thereby assumed they could read my mind – they also assumed they knew everything there was to know about their target groups – and thereby assumed that they read minds and knew all kinds of things about people they had never even met!
So what? Does that matter? Yes. It matters. It matters a lot! Marketing is all about reaching people and establishing a connection. Building a relationship. If you make assumptions about people that then are not right, and communicate with them based on those assumptions, you are really not going to get through to them, are you?
It’s like being a guy and walking up to a girl at a bar and spending ages trying to get her to go out with you when you could have saved yourself the time and effort if you had bothered to find out a little bit about her. Then you would have known that she’s not in to guys, but prefers the fairer sex ;)
It is always good to remember:
“But I only run a small business and I can’t afford market research”, you may say. No worries. It doesn’t require you to fork out huge sums of money. Some academics may disagree, but I find that it is better to do some simple research on your own to get some indication, rather than do nothing.
Here are a few simple things you can do to learn more about your target group, without having to break the bank!:
- Have a look at existing data out there. There is a wealth of information on the internet. Try checking out Google Public Data, World Bank Data, Globaltrade.net, OECD data, Datamarket, The World Bank Group, Statistics offices, Info Please, The Federation of International Trade Associations Database, World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies, and local resources such as your chamber of commerce, ministries of industry and commerce etc. etc.
- Examine your own data. Sales figures, CRM data, journals, registration and booking data and any other information you may find inhouse.
- Talk to your frontline personnel (if that is not you). Those that service your customers every day. Who are your customers? Who are your best customers? What are they like?
- Do an online survey using tools like Google Forms.
- Do some field research, put together a focus group or interview people – even better, get someone you know to help you do that.