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How to know for sure they’ll come if you build it

By October 19, 2012December 29th, 2016No Comments

Movie: Field of Dreams. “If you build it, he will come.”

Whoever said build it and they will come wasn’t responsible for PR and marketing.

After working on a project and not seeing the desired results in a particular area, I asked a retired member of the this audience what was missing. What exactly was this audience looking for?

The answer floored me.

With a few adjustments to our structure, this particular audience member will come knocking down our door. My retired audience member guaranteed it.

This goes back to the seven-fingered glove. No matter the material, no matter how well made, if you don’t have a market for seven-fingered gloves you won’t attract the five-fingered audience.

It’s been said that the customer doesn’t always know what they want. Did any of us know we wanted a smartphone or iPad? But sometimes the customer knows exactly what they want—in my case “the customer” knew exactly what they wanted and it was up to us to deliver.

Marketing research is a must if you want to understand your audience and here are a few tried and true methods to get the feedback you need.

Survey says!
Surveys (known as quantitative research) are a fairly easy and inexpensive method of getting the information you need. Survey questions must be well crafted because it’s quite easy to write leading or loaded questions if you’re not careful. Survey Monkey, the free online survey service, offers great tips on writing balanced survey questions. You can find the entire list here.  Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to have a relationship with a retired member of the desired audience and simply made a frantic phone call. If you don’t have such a relationship, you’ll need a list of audience members to whom you can send your survey if you’re going to distribute through the Internet. You can always hire a firm to make survey calls on your behalf and deliver detailed reports. This service will be more expensive than online surveys but if you have the budget worth looking into.

Focus groups
Typically when you hear the phrase focus group you think of people in a room with a one-way mirror while executives watch and listen. This is known as a traditional focus group. Recently a less traditional focus group emerged and these groups can meet online and be observed by researchers and clients from a remote location. They can also take place in different locations such as the park and have as many as 50 participants whereas traditional focus groups typically have no more than six to twelve people.

Focus groups will give you fresh ideas and help you understand reactions to the “structure you’ve built.” The downside of such groups is that it’s sometimes difficult to interpret the results and because of the small number of participants you can’t generalize any findings.

So our marketing lesson for this week is before you build it, have a conversation with your target audience first; use surveys and focus groups if feasible.

This will keep you from making seven-fingered gloves in a five-fingered marketplace.

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