Market research is a critical component of any company’s ongoing business strategy. Whether it’s releasing a new product or measuring the current effectiveness of business practices, market research gives companies the valuable data they need to compete successfully.
There are different datasets that companies mine to create a market analysis report. Often, these data are plugged into market research templates to create dashboards that executives use to derive insights. These datasets serve as mandatory raw material for market analysis.
In no particular order, here are a few critical datasets that market research analysts rely on to derive insights that steer overarching business strategies.
Customer Behavior Data
Thanks to the proliferation of digital selling, companies can gather mountains of data that inform them of their customers’ behavior. For starters, analytics data provide insight into how prospects behave on the company’s website. These datasets are especially critical for ecommerce firms, since it tells them what’s working with their conversion rate optimization efforts.
For instance, if a significant volume of users visit a product page but don’t add it to their carts, analysts can determine what the cause is by isolating various user experience (UX) components of the page design and copy. They can change the text and measure results while creating another version of the page with the original copy but different images, running A/B tests.
Keyword search volume data is likewise a staple component of market research, since it tells companies what their prospects are looking for. Tailoring on-page content to these searches allows companies to present their products in the best light.
While keyword research provides insight into user behavior, survey maker tools allow companies to ask customers questions directly. By pairing customer answers to behavior, companies can figure out a customer’s most pressing issues and tailor their offers accordingly.
Every business has competitors, and keeping an eye on them is critical for long-term success. A competitor can gain market share by offering new products, rendering others obsolete. The iPhone is a good example of this phenomenon.
While revolutionary products don’t come by often, incremental improvements in a competitor’s product can also hobble a business. Competitor data such as revenues, profit margins, and efficiency ratios offer insight into how well a competitor is running its operations.
Monitoring their social media activity and tracking metrics such as social share of voice (the percentage of engagement every company in a given category receives) offers analysts insight into what’s working. Social media can be fickle, with each platform catering to different demographics and the conversation across all platforms constantly evolving. A shift in a competitor’s strategy, to a new platform for instance, can signal changing trends that companies must note.
Comparing competitor performance to your own can help you benchmark your gains and losses. For instance, if your company sold 1,000 units of a product but the competition sold 10,000 units, it’s a pretty bad look. However, if the competitor sold 10 units, it’s a great result. Benchmarking puts data into context, and competitor data is its bedrock.
User Engagement Data
Companies interact with their users through multiple channels and platforms these days. Social media offers businesses a direct feed to their prospects’ thoughts and opinions. For instance, if a company’s advertising strikes a controversial note, social media is the first place they can look to for feedback.
Social media data is also great for testing marketing campaigns. For instance, a company can run a poll asking users to decide which option works best. Some companies even use social media polls to dictate product design, with the choice voted the highest going into production. Pre-rollout product validation thus becomes far easier.
Engagement data such as likes, comments, and shares offer valuable insight into the connection between a brand and its customers. Many companies launch branded hashtags as a part of marketing campaigns to drive awareness, and the extent to which the general public picks up on your branded hashtags can likewise yield insights.
User engagement can also be measured on a company’s website. For instance, a landing page might receive low conversions despite initial data indicating huge demand for a product. This is a clear sign that the messaging or design elements of the landing page are off. Analysts typically use customer data to create campaigns and then use engagement data to measure effectiveness.
A shift in engagement can highlight changing trends that companies should take note of. For instance, older campaigns might receive lower engagement because the tone of voice doesn’t match new user demographics.
Customer Journey Data
The ultimate aim of gathering data is to establish better relationships with the user. A critical piece of information businesses must gather, especially in B2B industries, is understanding the buyer’s journey. Typically, big-ticket items require multiple approvals. The decision-maker isn’t always the person evaluating the product in these cases.
Companies rely on interviews and surveys to figure out the buying decision process and create marketing collateral to cater to the various stakeholders. Even in B2C ecommerce, figuring out the customer’s journey via data analytics gives companies the ability to address shortcomings in the flow, across touchpoints and within the website.
For instance, customers might be abandoning their carts at an alarming rate. This likely indicates a poor checkout experience or a product that is too expensive. Alternatively, the company might not be offering the right payment options. Another product might not be converting enough, and adding it to a cross or upsell list might boost sales.
Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Market Research Reporting
Market research reports boost a business’ ability to increase its bottom line. These reports are founded on a stable base of datasets that give analysts the raw material they need to bring insight to their companies.