If you want your company to maintain a clear competitive edge over other businesses in its niche, then you need to create a unique brand story for it, one which will resonate with your customers in a way that fulfills their needs, desires and passions effectively through carefully researched knowledge.
This is where market research and how it relates to something called strategic planning come into the picture.
These subjects and much more are covered in detail in this ebook from the folks at Insights into Marketing, but we’re going to summarize some of the most important points you can use to create a knowledge based marketing campaign that causes your business to grow and dominate its niche.
Marketing Research and Strategic Planning
The core quality that goes into a powerful strategic long term planning initiative involves getting to know your customers’ needs so well that your long term strategies become adaptive and anticipatory instead of reactive and behind the curve. In essence, by really digging into what makes your target market click and respond, you’ll learn to service them so well that you can anticipate what they would buy next and thus make them loyal to your brand.
Strategic planning in your market will let you be perceived as a cut above your competitors.
Fundamentally, this involves asking questions that help you define your long term business goals and then answering those questions with careful research of your market dynamic, customer behavior, and ideal marketing mediums.
By doing this, you’ll get to know your customers not just in a simple sense as consumers but also as people in a much more fleshed out picture. The end result of this could be a newfound ability to predict their likely buying choices to your company’s benefit.
Understanding your Customers better than anyone else
Knowing your customers’ needs to be an ongoing process that your company lives and breathes every day. It isn’t enough for you to simply know how old they are and what they’re willing to spend (for example). No, instead, given the tools available on the web and elsewhere today, you need to gather any information you can about your consumers and piece it together into an integral picture that evolves on a constant basis.
This kind of research depth will let you anticipate your customers desires ahead of other competitors and respond to them accordingly in a strategic instead of a reactive way (Think how Apple Computer spread its brand to get a clear image of what we’re talking about)
Useful customer information points you might start with:
- Their daily habits (on and off the web if possible)
- Information about their professional, personal and family lives
- Interests, hobbies, memberships and personal passions (that last quality being extremely important)
- Communications, media and social media preferences
- Advertising awareness and ad viewing habits
- The dynamics of their buying, browsing and web searches
The more of this kind of information you gain about your consumers, the better your long term strategic planning can become and the more thoroughly your marketing will be able to trigger their emotional responses and desires.
Not letting your Company Become Reactive
Reactiveness is a dangerous zone to fall into. It signifies that your company is reacting to its business environment instead of leading the game and creating innovative new product or service trends that build customer loyalty and interest.
Furthermore, being reactive and constantly playing catch-up with your competitors means that the time margins in which you can adapt to new trends and needs are that much shorter. Instead of thinking ahead and planning action based on strategy, being reactive will make you flair forward in a hurry.
Strategic marketing that’s based on a foundation of solid and constantly evolving customer research will help your business avoid the trap of being reactive. Instead, by really living and breathing familiarity with your consumer niche, your company can be turned into an informed and highly agile performer.