Marketing Research and What Types are Critical to Market Success
“Research-driven SEO” completely out-performs “Guess SEO”.
Market research tells us how consumers make purchase decisions and informs digital marketers on how to improve a website’s usefulness to gain sales.
It includes a structured plan to gather information about specific markets or customer groups. It is a very important component of business strategy. It is the method and means that entwines the producers, customers, and end-users to the marketer through information used to decipher and define the best marketing opportunities. That may be Google Maps Marketing, or learning how to improve your effectiveness reaching local shoppers.
The digital marketing landscape continues to radical change: consumers are demanding better experiences, privacy, trust factors, and factual content. Businesses can utilize the powerful convergence of marketing and technology to conduct vital research to propel creating the best content to meet emerging consumer preferences.
A well-crafted researched content piece can impact SEO campaigns, GoogleAds, and help a business differentiate their brand. Even more important, it protects you from investing in developing a product that no one or few shoppers are interested in.
Following the best marketing practices can improve online visibility and cultivate credibility to capture the interest of consumers and the trust of search engines.
First, let’s start with clear definitions of our topic.
What is Marketing Research?
Marketing research is the parent of market research and has a broader scope. It may include promotion research, pricing, advertising, public relations. the industry as a whole, your direct competitors, and anything that impacts your marketing world.
Marketing research is imperative to the realization of a company’s search engine optimization and content marketing strategies. The in-depth analysis may uncover a much more well-rounded view of digital data and allow businesses to glean more insights from the information they have collected. This leads to pinpointing which content types or mobile ads are gaining purchase power. This collection and marketing research data analysis are essential for businesses to reach the goal of improved ROI for their digital marketing campaigns. It includes all other methods to reach their target audience.
What is Market Research?
Researching a specific market space is the process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about an industry with niche marketing research and SEO. It covers specific product or professional service to be offered for sale. It assesses data insights from past, present and future potential buyers for the product or service. It includes research about the characteristics, preferred buying patterns, spending habits, location, purchase channels, and needs of your business’s target audience.
“The basic difference is that market research is concerned with investigating markets (customers, consumers, distribution, etc.) while marketing research is concerned with investigating any issues related to marketing (consumer behaviour, advertising effectiveness, salesforce effectiveness, etc. as well as everything” – Marketing Insider
A well-executed marketing research project will let you know:
- Who your best customers really are.
- On what platforms they prefer to conduct pre-purchase research.
- Key insights on what stage in the buyer journey they prefer to make a purchase.
- Which of your existing and products-in-development have a strong buyer interest.
- What information or product features you need to feature.
- Which final factors determine a purchase or abandoned shopping cart.
- Where your target buyer prefers to make purchases.
Conduct Research to Provide Value; Then Research for the Sale
The average B2B purchaser has limited time and therefore has less tolerance for lackluster and the-all-too-familiar content and pitches. Marketing that sniffs out as all about the sale rarely capitalizes on the small window of opportunity to secure prospective clients by providing value first. According to Lysa Miller in her April 29, 2019 The Importance of a Website Portfolio article, the latest industry statistics offer several insightful statistics:
- Nearly all B2B buyers (89%) use online search during their buying journey.
- More than 70% of B2B buyers start their online search with a generic keyword.
- On average, most B2B consumers perform 12 searches before even contacting a vendor.
- Most B2B buyers are at least 60% through their sales journey by the time they reach out to the first agency on their list.
TOP TYPES OF MARKETING RESEARCH TO CONDUCT
* Consumer Research
This is also called “user research” and “the users journey research”.
1. Determine top audiences visiting Your Website using GA. Once you identify who is arrives at your website and engages your content, then you are assured of having the correct audience in mind. Google Analytics offers the insights you can get started with. Enable the Demographics and Interests reports to assess a rich range of user information, including age, location, and interests, and which sources they arrive from.
2. Set up conversion tracking on your web pages. Pixels can help you identify how shoppers on your site go about gleaning information before adding an item to your shopping cart. An October 2019 “study shows that Google is the first place consumers go to research a purchase”. When researching a purchase that a consumer plans to make, whether online or in-store, they turn to search for product reviews. Today shoppers are increasingly inspired by images, with 50% of digital shoppers saying images helped them decide what to buy. You need to know what naps your targeted audience’s eye and what entices them to click on a link to navigate to a site.
SEO and SEM involve more than just a numbers game (such as keyword ranking positions, page rank, backlink profile, web traffic, etc.). It is also about knowing and catering to the audience and crafting organic SEO campaigns and Google Ads campaigns around that information. It can also inform your paid search marketing on social; consider how important it is to know your target geographic areas for Facebook advertising.
When you focus your content around the right consumer audience, targeted traffic increases and leads to more relevant conversions.
* Advertising Research
This type of research will provide digital marketers the knowledge as to whether or not your advertising is effective. The intent here is to obtain information about which media formats and channels are most effective, which advertisements are worth replicating, and which messages best engage desired customer actions. Advertising research involves the perceptions, patterns, and moods of customers. Consequently, it will build on your customer research.
One comes to the best advertising research conclusion only after evaluating the results of your current advertising and opportunities. This means not only knowing what volume of gaining sales leads you are currently gaining, but what adjustments could mean improving on those numbers. Field research is often used in addition to secondary research to uncover marketing approaches that you may have never thought of.
* Content Research
What is content research?
It is a research method for studying documents and communications for content analysis whether from texts of various formats, images, audio webcasts, or video. Content creators look for direction from a search marketing strategist for content analysis to establish a framework. By examining patterns in communication, a digital marketer can find a replicable and systematic manner to use in outlining new content pieces that are the heart of the brand.
It takes time to identify both evergreen content and support content that you need to publish to reach your target audience. But it is too important to neglect.
High-quality, unique customer-focused content that is well-written to meet queries with high search volume and frequent search-demand takes a lot of time. And too often insufficient research was conducted beforehand to know what specific topics are most important to readers. That investment of your time, efforts, and money that it will require tell us that researching ahead of writing will pay off.
Content that sits there is of little value to anyone. The opposite is true of exceptional and needed content. Your target audience will both benefit and be pleased to see that you catered to their needs.
- Share your content on social platforms where and when it benefits your followers.
- Link to your best content from your Google My Business Posts.
- Publish your content in white papers to offer topic specific rich information on platforms where readers will find it.
- Use your related content pieces as a reference point during workshops and presentations.
- Convert your content into video clips that offer readers and easy to consume format.
Artificial intelligence models can be used to learn how stocks are influenced by textual big data of user-generated content from social media in B2B settings.
* Keyword Research
Now that you know your content topics, you’ll want to build those pages and articles with wording that users can relate to. Keyword ranking reports are not useful in the same way that they were in the past. Search has become more temporal, contextual, environmental, and personal. While today personalized search switches up how keywords are used, they still hold an important place.
1. Use Keywords to gain demographics data. Keyword research will remain a core task of SEO as long as the Internet we know today is query-based. The keywords you research should be relevant to your products or services and fit the way your target audiences conduct searches for answers. Once you have a list of keywords that reflect how you can best reach users seeking information on your topic or products, start with the top five that best align with your brand. Then include these keywords and schema markup on your product landing pages.
2. Research each keyword’s SERP space. Learn about a keyword’s effectiveness by studying the SERP space it occupies in Google’s immediate search results. Most of the hints and clues as to why it ranks may seem hidden but are really in plain sight. Most of them rank for a reason that will sustain itself over time. Digital SERP spaces for keywords offer so much fresh data to learn from. They are drawn from accumulative searchers’ history, making them an instruction guide to predictive search.
3. Validate your search query research sources. Your research will only be as good as its source and your ability to find the gold nuggets in it. On our free open web, anyone can say anything. Your content needs to resonate as true and accurate. Our tips can help you avoid a glorified form of “look-good” click-bait that plays on users’ baser instincts when conducting a search. It takes more than just putting on your Sherlock Holmes cap! Your content needs to look and be genuine, not just full of certain keywords. When you write to meet the real needs of the user, they can also feel that emotional connection when reading a piece.
* Competitive Analysis Research
What is competitive research?
Competitive research or competitive intelligence is a form of tactical research that concentrates on the collection and study of information about rival companies. It involves exploratory research to uncover the companies that you compete with for users’ clicks.
This is about which other businesses live in your online market space and may be taking the clicks on the topics you provide. With new emerging and improved software and technology sniffing tools, marketers, and business owners can now know more about their competition than before. A thorough competitive analysis needs to be built into your monthly task in order to stay in the lead.
Your competition may also hire a competitive analysis expert to know what’s changed and how to steal back a lead they lost. Keep tabs on one another is both legal and vital research work. If you want to keep up your revenue streams or gain more sales, you must know what threat they present to your long-term business goals.
Once you know what content pieces are providing digital leads for your competitors, you can improve the quality of your content and publishing something better. If your competitors have published highly engaging case studies or video content, this may be contributing to why your quality leads are going to your competitors. Your study of the competitive arena you are in is vital to fresh content creation strategy tweaks.
* Product Research
Product Research really is about what your customers want. Research your customers and build out personas to better align with consumer behavior preferences. Quantitative user research represents data about user behavior. SEO is about solving consumer’s problems and barriers to finding the best solutions and products.
“More and more, today’s research-obsessed consumers aren’t letting price get in the way of aspirations. They realize they have the tools to find something similar to that aspirational product, but more practical for them.” – thinkwithgoogle
* Google Algorithm Update Research
We don’t think this is often rolled in the marketing research mix, but believe it fits.
“The SERP is a living, dynamic space home to vast collections of entities and their connections. The number of ways you can filter and refine the SERP shows how quickly we’re moving away from absolute rankings and more towards structured entity placements. Pretty neat.” – Izzi Smith
These algorithmic changes mean that if your marketing team researches these living entities of “user intent”, you’ll better align with their:
- ⭐️ Aspirations
- ⭐️ Immediate Needs
- ⭐️ Ultimate Goals
“Busy B2B buyers have limited time and are constantly bombarded with lackluster and irrelevant content and pitches. Marketing that revolves solely around the hard sell rarely capitalizes on the small window of opportunity to secure prospective clients.” – The Marketing Blender
“When you conduct marketing research, you can use the results either to create a business and marketing plan or to measure the success of your current plan. That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions, in the right way, of the right people. Research, done poorly, can steer a business in the wrong direction.” – Entrepreneur**
To complete informational research tasks, it helps to learn how to engage with the systems that supply and surround them. If you think of online research as a pedestrian skill that shouldn’t need any teaching, you are missing its intrinsic value. Research and its native learning experience have the user experience at its core.
Now that we’ve covered a summary of various forms of marketing research, let’s look at how to approach the research process.
Tips for Conducting High-Value Digital Research
Use the Google commercial API for identifying things in objects and text on images. But didn’t think of using Google images to understand the topic. A Google patent doing this came out around a month or so ago, and it has been implemented fairly well.
Diversify your information sources:
- Follow other disciplines (computer science, AI, info arch, content strategy, UX)
- Participate in digital conferences to learn from the best researchers.
- Break the filter bubble to discover new datasets.
- Broaden your perspective with by taking courses and following influencers.
- Set up Google Alers for topic relevant news released by edu’s, governments, and proven sources.
By now you many have more questions. Hopefully, this inspires you to dive in more market research.
What is a Marketing Research Analyst?
Or “how to become a marketing research analyst?”
A marketing research analyst is a specialist who helps businesses understand what products or services consumers want and what those individuals are willing to pay for them, as well as the full scope of their market space. The chief job is to improve online sales volume.
A good research analyst will have a solid grasp of how Google algorithms use entities. They will benefit from a degree in market research, but a master’s degree is not essential to collect and analyze data. How these entities translate to your business’s data set to be used to reach consumers. For example, some algorithms can use medical terms, like Project Owl will rely more on it. The right research can reveal what content and marketing opportunities will build a companies brand authority, which leads to increased sales volume.
They will need to understand what it means to have good E-A-T. Market research analysts are the ones who typically have firsthand access to current happenings and upcoming trends in the market. This requires dedicated time on a daily basis. It’s a form of being a modern-day storyteller; it means conducting a lot of interviews and turning numbers into meaningful recommendations for clients to act on.
As part of crafting your marketing research plan, first ensure that you have access to everything the organization has already amassed about its customers. It lets you start out more informed, as well as saves the client time and money. Now it is easier to identify gaps in their existing knowledge and where you can move them forward with gaps in their past user research.
Top Uses for Marketing Research
Primary uses for market research always involve data collection methods to help you benefit in the following ways.
1. Surfacing the best way to meet the current unmet needs of your target market.
Primary market research always comes before developing new products that are successful after being launched. Once you know which features and benefits sell your product best, ensure that your company has the capacity to extend itself to meet the demand. Focus groups are ideal when you want to learn about user preferences and how those needs might be met. Run your ideas past them. At the same time, ask them what they would need to use your services and what they would pay for them.
2. Discovering fresh opportunities to serve new customer groups.
Now that you've identified the unmet needs of a specific consumer group, It is easier to ask open-ended questions so that you show up with the best answer in Google Search. A top digital marketer knows how to help you by interviewing customers and investors. They may set up alerts to catch relevant library publications, and listening to what clients are saying in reviews and elsewhere online. This could lead to a pilot product or service that has a greater chance of selling.
3. Inform you of your market size and risk level.
We know that every dollar you spend is important. So knowing the scope of your overall retail market can either set your off on the right foot or spare you from blowing your marketing budget on lesser things. Our breadth and depth of trusted data analysis and coming up with the best marketing strategies can assist you. It takes time to look around, read up, compare quality scores, market engagement, study ads, and offers in newsletters and on other sites. This cumulative research will help you to better predetermine if you have the funds, energy, and staff to compete in a specified market.
4. Refine your company’s unique value proposition.
Sending out questionnaires, developing and conducting a product field tests are ways to shape your value proposition if you're unsure it is doing its job. Find a way to ask potential clients what they think about your ideas. See if they think it's clear. Be willing to use your research to chance what you previously thought was ideal wording.
5. Data Structuring - Typology
Understanding of the long-range trends and predictive market changes that will impact you down the road will avoid disappointments. Gather trend information and put it in the form of qualitative data or a dataset. This information may trickle down from your secondary research. What consumers what in packaging types or shipping methods will evolve with emerging products and services in those service areas and is important secondary information. Once the trends information is in hand, you can begin structuring data by product group or theme. Typology is a marketing strategy for qualitative data research that identifies distinct categories in order to identify data entities.
Some of Our Favorite Tools for our Marketing Research Process
The goal of most research is to create a highly-converting evergreen sales funnel.
There are many tools and methods that you can use to help you research and analyze your audience in order to obtain the best reach. They will help you find updated data, statistics, and analysis on the Internet, e-business, digital marketing niche competitive levels, media and emerging technologies.
* Ahrefs is now the second-most active web crawler world-wide. Search marketing experts have full access to data about what individuals search for online, what they click on, who's got paid ads, what type of content competitors are creating and more. It's exceptional for reverse-engineering your current and future competitors. Above we are looking at the organic traffic a competitor gains and where their dofollow backlinks are come from - live.
* SEMrush is a key tool for search marketers when performing market research. It's Traffic Analytics Tool displays historical data over long time periods, which empowers monitoring seasonality, user preferences, niche market shifts, and major marketing campaigns.
* Google Trends offers many filters that you can use to drill down and find demographic information tied to the location and reveals how a specific keyword has trended over time. Below are some results when using the phrase, “digital marketing.” Local demographic information, including age, gender and location can assist you in your SEO and paid advertising in many ways. You can target your messages for searchers' local intent, find local linking opportunities in specific geographic areas, and learn the terminology those individuals use.
It will lead and tweak your SEO techniques to better engage site visitors. Once you have age and gender insights, it's easier to segment topics, interests, and patterns of buying habits that are unique to each group.
* Statista walks you through a starting point for research and draws from market analysis across 150+ countries. The company provides data about user interaction with brands, explores product consumption and media usage on a global basis. Hill Web Marketing has often used their charts for various client and our articles; they are very effective at telling data stories in a vividly visualized format.
* Google Datasets
Google Dataset Search is a beta phase tool which contains a wealth of public data sets. For example, if you search by populations, you may gain Federal Reserve data. As with anything that one reads online, searchers need to be aware of the coverage and limitations of the resources searched. Google Dataset Search is striving to provide more factual and trusted sources, yet the data uploaded comes from varied sources.
Ongoing research and experimentation with these queries will be a litmus test of their validity. Questions of scope and comprehensiveness have been a long-standing point of friction between Google representatives and the information profession. Blogs require an ongoing commitment for sustained engagement; like fact-based educational guides can become trusted go-to resources for topical content that remains valuable for long periods and needs only occasional updating.
* American FactFinder
When needing demographic info as part of your marketing research, American FactFinder offers industry codes from the NAICS/NAICS Based Industry. It culls data from the U.S. Census, The Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the US Department of Labor. Filter your searches among a variety of different demographics; I like the Occupation Code Filter. It lets me search by "Physicians and surgeons", dentists, etc.
The Real Value of Marketing Research
The real value that you can attribute to your marketing research, in the end, depends on how it’s used with the data insights each type of research provides. Companies are creating research teams that often include a customer insight team to collect needed market information. They use the information they glean from their research to create more value for the company's customers and stakeholders.
You can easily get started by becoming more familiar with key FAQs and search marketing terminology.
If your company is seeking help to create marketing content that connects with customers to drive sales call us. Hill Web Marketing can take a close look at all of the above to make sure there is not a misalignment in your overall digital marketing plan.