When is the last time you invested in market research for your brand? If your answer is never or you can’t remember, we need to talk. While marketing research might have been the bane of your existence back in your college days, it’s actually one of the most under-utilized but useful tools available to marketers. Plus, there’s no law that says market research needs to involve an expensive panel and confusing statistics.


Here are the four simple tactics to incorporate into your marketing plan right now:


1. Distribute a customer survey. The customer always knows best, right? Survey customers to understand what they see as the main benefits of your product or service. Ask what matters most to them, and what they could care less about. What you learn may surprise you, not to mention it could lead to an entirely unique messaging or branding campaign.


2. Utilize feedback from events. Many organizations have annual internal events, such as dealer or sales meetings. Be sure you’re capturing feedback after the event. For instance, you might be spending a lot of money on a speaker that your employees found dull — don’t invite that guy back! Or maybe they like the breakout sessions but they dread attending because there are not enough breaks in the day. Ask attendees what well went (and what didn’t) and utilize the feedback to get the most out of your event each year.


3. Review new creative with key customers. You wouldn’t buy a house without asking your significant other or a friend to look at it first, so why do the same with your ad creative? Your customers are your brand’s family — their opinion matters. Show new ad creative to a few customers to make sure they’re understanding the key message and that their eye is being drawn to right spot — whether that’s a photo of the product, a call to action or your logo. Make sure everything translates correctly before you invest big dollars in a billboard or full-page magazine ad.


4. Monitor social media accounts. It’s true that social media can be a place where a lot of negativity comes out of the woodwork — everyone is braver behind a computer screen. But, monitoring and analyzing social media conversation surrounding your brand or industry also gives you a peek at what customers truly think. If you’re consistently getting complaints about customer service experience, it might be time to invest in staff training. Or maybe a customer loves your product but wishes it had an extra feature. Sometimes you just need to pull back the curtain a little to discover what’s really going on.


Interested in learning more? Lessing-Flynn can help!