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This worksheet covers 6 key areas to consider when planning your next project.
Start organizing your existing data files with this inventory checklist.
Customers that leave a brand for a competitor usually have specific reasons for doing so; whether tangible or intangible. In the case of a lost customer, it’s extremely valuable to understand WHY and WHAT (if anything) would bring that customer back. Sometimes nothing can be done and the customer is simply lost; but other times a simple adjustment can make a big difference. It might feel awkward at first, but reaching out to lost customers is actually beneficial in more than a few ways. For starters, you show customers that you care about them and that you still value their opinion. This is a strong gesture and it’s a way to passively reengage consumers who might consider returning.
Digital platforms, both social and shopping, have forever changed the consumer experience. At the same time, in-person experiences are still relevant and need to be aligned with the online experiences to provide a seamless, fluid flow between the real and digital worlds. Furthermore, consumers want personalized experiences that adjust as quickly as their preferences and favorite trends. This can be an overwhelming ordeal, or it can be as straightforward as direct and open two-way communication with your customers. This is the power of an ongoing Voice of Customer satisfaction program. By understand what your customers want, listening to how they feel your brand is performing, and being open to improvement suggestions, you will have all the data-driven insights you need win customer loyalty.
In addition to marketing reach and visibility, it’s important to consider the impact of specific brand messages. If the goal is to shape or reinforce brand image, customer feedback is the only way to measure marketing effectiveness. If the goal is to motivate action, such as visiting a website or purchasing a particular item, then sales tracking is one way to measure marketing effectiveness. However, transaction data doesn’t address purchase decision drivers so it’s difficult to attribute a sale to a particular marketing campaign. Again, direct customer feedback is required to identify their decision drivers.
For up-and-coming brands, or even established brands looking to expand their products/services, it’s important to answer the question, “Are consumers aware of our brand?” This is the first step in developing a strong, long-term marketing strategy and will provide a reliable benchmark for future reference. By segmenting awareness and perception data, you’ll have a clear indication of your current standing within specific markets and customer demographics.
It’s easy to become narrow-sighted and overly focused on one objective to the point where surrounding activity is unnoticed; especially with the rapid progression of technology and emerging consumer trends. The most successful brands will occasionally take a step back for a high-level, impartial look at the overall market landscape for a refreshed perspective on how their business fits into the bigger picture. Detailed Market Mapping not only acts as a preventative measure by exposing threats and potential danger, it will also uncover secondary variables that may be flying under the radar. This dual-benefit will swing the competitive balance in your favor by equipping your organization with the insights needed to make confident decisions; both short-term and long-term.
There’s no way to predict the future with absolute certainty but there are ways of applying market insights to improve success probabilities. Rather than conducting a series of trial-and-error initiatives, conducting research prior to forward-thinking strategic development will support informed decision making today and establish benchmarks for comparative analysis in the future. Just like having a map on a road trip, Market Mapping defines the surrounding area so decision makers can see where they’re going, stay on track and safely reach their destination. A clearly illustrated framework of your competitive environment enables your team to run through possible scenarios and how the market might react under specific circumstances.
Consumers are complex and unique individuals whose purchase decisions are influenced by a broader spectrum of attributes than the traditional price, product, placement, and positioning. Of course these are still relevant, but modern consumers are looking for more. Factors that may not seem to align at first glance are now connected (i.e. Health Concerns and Retail). The Market Mapping process will not only uncover the pieces it will act as a guide to reveal how the pieces fit together. Brands that understand their surroundings and create action plans based on market insights are best equipped to take proactive rather than reactive measures.
Understanding the past is a great place to start when strategically planning for the future. Consider market conditions and consumer preferences as they exist today, then examine the historical timeline of economic, social, political and technological shifts that have impacted your industry. By highlighting the environmental factors that have shaped consumer behavior, your brand will be equipped with consumer insights explaining the why, how and when of significant market shifts.
Imagine each existing dataset is a brick. If the bricks are haphazardly tossed in a pile then standing on that pile won’t be easy, But if the bricks are organized and positioned in a way that they work together, then there’s a foundation to not only stand on but to build on. Treat your existing data inventory as building materials rather than the byproducts of past efforts. No matter when or why data was collected, it still holds considerable value. After completing the Data Inventory Assessment, ensuing efforts will continue building on a solid foundation rather than merely adding more bricks to the pile.
Every company has its missing puzzle pieces, but not every company is willing to do something about it. Actively searching to identify the gaps in what you know about your customers and your market is an important part of strategic brand development. There’s also the benefit of ensuring that any steps taken are covering new ground rather than repeating what’s already been done. Pursuing the missing pieces will build upon the bigger picture and add cohesive value, but the only way to pursue the missing pieces is by knowing with certainty which pieces are missing.
By organizing and analyzing the existing customer data, brands will gain a clear picture what is quantifiably known at that point in time. This process will also itemize the types of data being held and it will establish benchmarks for future comparative analytics. Identifying the metrics that are most beneficial to current goals and objectives will produce the actionable insights needed to guide decision making.
Market research and data analytics are commonly applied on a “need-to-know” basis; meaning individual projects or initiatives are launched to address a specific set of questions for short-term application. After serving their intended purpose, these data files usually go into the vault and are rarely (if ever) seen again. But our Data Inventory Assessment digs into this data vault and offers a second life to the dormant files within.