[How To]: Conducting Market Research

Posted on October 26th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

Companies have been known to spend a lot of money on market research before launching a product. The flip side of the coin is that they also spend little to no money or time trying to understand their consumer’s needs and wants.


For the start-up entrepreneur with a terrific product idea, market research either may not be a priority or the idea of market research may be too overwhelming with too many venues and options to consider. Little details like research techniques and sifting through data may end up being pushed aside in the interest of product launches.


Yet this step is extremely crucial to gain a solid understanding of the market, the audience and its behaviors.


1. Old School – As much as the norm has become to turn to online search engines for immediate answers, sometimes a trip to the library is the most productive way of conducting market research. Surprised? Reference librarians are trained to help people sift through relevant and unnecessary information. And they can point you towards the most current publications and trends your potential clients are featured in.


2. Neighborhood, Community and Trade Associations – Not only do they come with rich statistics as a built-in perk, the networking opportunities through these associations offer ample opportunity for informal and qualitative data gathering.



3. Crowd Sourcing – If you’ve ever spent any time on a social media website – Yelp, Facebook or Twitter – you’ve seen high rates of engagement within an existing community. And it’s where your personal network thrives as well; making crowd sourcing an effective way to garner attention, and more importantly, feedback. Fold in a rewards-related call to action and you have the beginnings of two strategic concepts for your marketing plan.


4. Primary ResearchThis method paves the way for the gathering of quantitative data for your company. Since no one method comes with foolproof data, combine focus group testing with questionnaires, surveys and interviews for an exhaustive list.

Affecting Social Good with Social Media

Posted on October 19th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

With 750 million people worldwide engaged and plugged into social media platforms, non-profit and social good organizations are beginning to see the sun shine down on them in a bigger way than ever before.


Organizations like the United Nations boast well over 500,000 followers on Twitter with significant engagement numbers to bolster their presence on the SM landscape. Perhaps it is a portal where can all just get along. But what’s driving those numbers is worth delving into.


SM Attractions for the Non-Profit World


1. Accessibility for one. Organizations that need to drive their operations through donations and grants often find themselves strapped for cash and working through shoestring budgets.


With a wide range of SM platforms accessible at a great price – free – their accessibility and affordability is a welcome relief.


2. Empowered Audiences In our traipsing across the world wide web, we found quite a few stellar examples of Social Media Marketing being used to engage non-profit audiences in an empowering way.


Consider the example of a corporate sponsor driving the funding for breast cancer awareness. With every RT of a picture with a breast cancer awareness hash tag, the company donated a dollar to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.


People want to feel good about themselves.


With a low involvement, quick-response call to action like that, there are plenty of audience members who walk away feeling like they’ve contributed to a cause for the greater good.



3. Transparency A maxim that may debunk the “Location, location, location” mantra of marketers. The interactivity of the Internet demands accountability. As does the breakneck speed of information dissemination.


In this climate, any organization willing to leave itself open and transparent builds the foundation for itself for a loyal following. And honestly, who doesn’t love a really good story that defeats all odds, fills a niche and affects positive change?

Effective Lead Generation

Posted on October 12th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

We’ve said it before – many times – and we’ll say it again. The most important factor in marketing is the human element. Success, very often, is found in way marketers help people connect with each other by building on the relationships they’ve fostered.


Successful lead generation is no different from conscientious relationship building. In fact, in an economic downturn, where advertisers are constantly met by technology that blocks their aggressive outreach techniques, long-standing relationships can provide a buffer and a competitive edge at the same time.


Inbound Marketing


Over the past decade or so, advancements in technology have created a significant padding between ad-saturated consumers and marketers. The TIVO helps weed out an endless barrage of video ads. Caller-ID took care of blocking cold calls many, many years ago. Emails are equipped with strong filters to block spam.


Clearly, push tactics have little room to make an impact. Instead, inbound marketing is making inroads into peoples lives by producing content that attracts clients instead of adopting a one-way mode of communication with them.


Think SEO tactics, Google AdWords, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube videos. Think key-word rich blog posts. In an ideal world, our potential clients would lift a rock, discover us and then put us on a pedestal. Until then, we’ll have to put in a little more effort to make sure we attract the right clientele.


How do you move forward if newer leads are running out or if the company’s facing a dry spell?


1.    One of the best ways is to fall back on your existing network to generate future leads. This is also why relationship building is extremely important – at some point in our careers, we all need a little help from our network and people are more likely to help us along if they’ve left the last meeting with a pleasant memory.

2.    Keep an ongoing, open dialogue running with existing clients.

3.    Ask for client referrals and attach a reward or a “thank you” gift in exchange.

4.    Tweak your message to help your organization focus on leads that aren’t able to turn into a long or short-term commitment. Focus groups and message testing help in determining the impact of your message before you release it to a larger audience.


Running on a tight budget? Make your coworkers and employees your focus group. There’s nothing like a good brainstorming session to get the creative juices flowing.



Before we leave, we’d also like to say “thank you” to everyone who’s been reading our weekly blog posts. We truly appreciate your interest in stopping by and beginning a conversation with us.


Let us know in the comments how you’ve generated new leads for your company, whether you were successful in generating business from those leads and how you were able to emerge from a dry spell.


We always look forward to hearing from you!

Marketing Within the New Facebook

Posted on October 5th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

Within the past two weeks, Facebook has seen a flurry of rapid changes to its layout and the way people interact. Many people have complained about them, others have been more receptive, but the bottom line is that change is here to stay.


Philosophers and tech gurus would argue that it has always been around, but really, we’re just going to have to adapt to the way Social Media and Marketing are changing within the new parameters.


A few weeks ago, we mentioned a paradigm shift in the way corporations are changing their marketing efforts, regardless of B2B or B2C communications. The good news is the new changes don’t come with a steep learning curve.


The better news is that regardless of changes, the need for good quality content – excellent writing skills, great visuals and clear sound-bytes – doesn’t ever go away.


Social Media isn’t just media – it’s also extremely social. Which means that the way people behave online is very much like the way they behave in their social circles.



Human Touch Since we’re interacting with people in a technology-heavy setting, we need to keep reminding them about how human we are and build connections by showing our “real” selves. Eating a spectacular dinner? Post a picture.  On a vacation by the beach? Been skydiving or bungee jumping lately? Bring that over online. The little bit of an effort will make you more real and human than a distant administrator or executive.


Engage with People Leave a strong call to action by asking your audience for their opinions, asking open-ended questions (Why? How? What do you think of?) or posting genuine polls for them to interact with.


Mix it Up Use your Facebook page for more than company-related announcements. The space is a valuable opportunity to source new content and highlight your own. You can also use links from your blogs to drive-back traffic from your Facebook posts.


Design Promotions Around Your Fan Base Give people what they need from your organization. Sounds simple enough, but it’s very easy to get mixed up in the details. For instance, unless you’re endorsing a trade partner, a $5 discount towards a massage from an ice-cream company may not bode too well for your fan base.


Be Patient A successful Social Media campaign requires time and space to evolve a consistent and wide reach, despite the rapid changes streaming through the pipelines.