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Monday, November 3, 2008

Looking for a signal...

...& how a little bit of market research can go along way!
by David Bookout

For those of you that have seen the movie “Ray”, you might recall the scenes in which Ray Charles feels the wrist of young ladies he has been introduced to. Singer, musician Ray Charles was blind.

Today, we are all a bit blind when it comes to how we are doing relative to fundamental marketing goals, such as; Generating Awareness, Building Interest, Facilitating Trial Sales and Sustaining Repeat Sales.

So, like Ray, we are looking for “signals” from which we can design. But, how do we get those signals? In many cases there simply is no wrist from which to assess the situation, or even check for a pulse. Much has been written over the past several years about the unparalleled power customers now have, and it may seem to owners, executives and managers that are trying to grow businesses, that their desired audience is actually hiding and doesn’t want to reveal themselves.

Customers and members of a company’s desired audience are not the only ones with new powers. Desktop publishing, the internet, eMail, video and a variety of other new ways exist for companies to attempt to “connect” within a variety of venues relatively quickly and easily. But, which is the best?

Ultimately, like Ray, we need to design ways in which we can receive and interpret our own signals to develop a keen sense of how we are doing in our efforts. Within this, a constant effort to really understand your customer’s / desired audience’s concerns, and effectively address them is essential.

From this perspective, here are four ideas to help alleviate some of the dillemas produced by these new found powers; First, figure out “who” your desired audience is. Demographic profiles can be very helpful, and developing customer characterizations can be fun.

Then, spend some time discovering “what” this group, or groups care about. Sometimes it is easier to get this process going by listing what you, and your team know they don’t care about. It is also important here to understand economic drivers and value perceptions.

Follow this by doing some concept testing. Actually ask customers, and members of your desired audience what they think about your message. Include questions that relate to message style and platform. This doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive. You just need to have a few people you can trust, that fit the considered set(s), give you honest answers. You also need to use some common sense. For example, don’t start with your most important customers, and DO NOT SELL in this process. Instead listen, observe, and don’t extrapolate, or “stereotype” what you hear. Most importantly note what people “do”, as this is often different from what they say.

Finally, based on the responses, move the message components; positioning, look, feel, tone and manner, or change the audience demographics until things begin to resonate with what you think is a large enough transaction pool (actual purchasers) to make your financial pro forma work.

Sound daunting? It is a bit of work, but well worth it, and perhaps important to remember that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the carbon filament light bulb on his first try. Instead, he simply designed a way to continue development and assess directional improvements that ultimately led to success.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The title "Looking for a signal...", article, and contents herein, unless specified otherwise in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.


The image of Ray Charles and the name "Ray Charles" are either copyright to ( 2004 ), or a registered trademark of Ray Charles Enterprises, Inc.

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