As a business owner or marketing director, you’ve likely heard of the Customer Avatar or Customer Profile. The idea of hyper-specifically defining your exact ideal customer:
- What age is this person?
- How much money do they have?
- What kind of spending habits do they have?
- What motivates them to try (or buy) new products?
- What are their pain points?
- How do you solve their problems in a way no one else does?
This understanding of your ideal customer helps you:
- Maintain your voice throughout your multi-marketing channels. Think: print, social media, email, newsletters, a feature in a local magazine, etc.
- Attract the right audience with tailored language, use of humor, and even the types of specials you offer
But it doesn’t end there.
Customer avatars are great (and arguably necessary), but they’re often based on ideas we’ve created about who we serve, instead of data. This can quickly become an issue. You might lose out on opportunities based on what you think your customer wants versus what your customer actually wants.
That’s where market research comes in.
What is market research?
Essentially, market research is gathering information about your target audience to understand how to sell to them based on their demographics (age, income, location, etc/), psychographics (attitudes, beliefs, lifestyle habits, values, etc.).
It also entails understanding the competitors in your market. You may consider questions like:
- Do they have the exact same target audience as you?
- What’s their price point?
- What kind of sales or promotions do they have?
- Based on reviews, what are their customers satisfied (and dissatisfied) with?
Rather than relying solely on a customer avatar, which is usually a “dreamed up” person you wish is your customer, market research gives you data from real people that actually can and do buy from you. While having an avatar can guide you on decisions, market research gives you the ability to test if your message/packaging/offer actually resonates or not.
Which is good. You’d be surprised how often your guess gets it wrong.
We’ve highlighted an example – from our own experience – that shows you how powerful market research can be. It can (and should) change the direction of your business!
To Wine Club or Not To Wine Club
That really is the question.
One of our favorite examples of effective market research is from our very own client. We suggested they start their very own wine club.
For one, a wine club is a great way to gain consistent income year-round – a concern most small wineries have. Plus, many consumers have come to expect a level of ease and “done for you” type shopping. A wine club can provide flexibility to your customers to try new wines that you’ve selected based on their preferences, or what you’ve deemed appropriate for the season as an expert.
Understandably, our client was hesitant. They didn’t want to come across as “too pushy”. They thought their customers valued coming into the winery on special date nights or purchasing a bottle on a Friday night at the local fine wine and spirits store. They were doubtful customers willing to pay ongoing subscription-based fees to have their wine selected and shipped to them.
But they were wrong.
At our suggestion, they polled their customers using a survey we expertly crafted with Survey Monkey. Turns out, their customers wanted a wine club!
This client was able to start a wine club that increased customer retention and yearly revenue simply because they asked their customers what they wanted instead of assuming!
Survey Monkey Makes It Easy
This isn’t the only example. We’ve used Survey Monkey for our clients and ourselves many times to understand what customers actually want.
Even if you’re a new brand, or trying to reach a new target audience, this approach makes it easy.
For example, another one of our clients was in the process of creating new packaging and labeling. We weren’t sure what wording would resonate and increase interest with new customers. We decided to create a survey to A/B test two options. The client bought respondents on Survey Monkey (which you’re able to segment based on demographics and psychographics) and had over 1000 answers by the end of the day. We had a clear winner.
We recently used this approach with our own audience for Bauerhaus Design. We polled our audience to see what kind of content you actually value and look forward to. This helps us make decisions for our content calendar for the year!
It’s a win-win.
You get information that’s actually helpful. We use our time productively creating content that’s wanted.
This method also helped us determine that the best way to gain responses is to offer a gift card to a popular store like Starbucks or Panera. This increased our entries dramatically and helped provide enough data to meaningfully guide decisions.
For more information on market research and the top 4 reasons you should do it before launching a product into a new market, read our article How Market Research Can Help Your Wine, Spirit or Food Brand Import To The US. Even if you’re a domestic brand, the tips here will help you make an actionable list of information you need to know about your target audience.
If you’re ready to start your market research journey, partner with Bauerhaus Design today. We offer full-service marketing packages that include branding, packaging, web development, market research, and digital marketing specific to the Food and Wine Industry. Book a free 30-minute call with us today.