How To Do Customer Research for Business or Marketing

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Are you looking to know how to do customer research for business or marketing?

Understanding your customers is crucial for the success of your business or marketing. Customer research helps you gain insights into their needs, preferences, and behaviours, allowing you to tailor your products, services, and marketing strategies to better meet their expectations.

In this post, we explore ten effective methods for conducting customer research.

If you’re not doing customer research or looking at data, you’re guessing.

1. Surveys and Questionnaires

Perhaps the most obvious form of customer research is through surveys and questionnaires. They are powerful tools for gathering feedback from your customers, and relatively quick and easy to do.

They allow you to ask specific questions about their experiences, preferences, and opinions. When creating surveys, it’s important to keep them concise, relevant, and easy to understand. Use platforms like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, or Typeform to create and distribute surveys.

Consider offering incentives to encourage participation. If you’re not getting the participation you want, try upping the incentive.

I once offered CTOs $100 to provide feedback on a client’s new SaaS tool. I ran a targeted LinkedIn ad. Not a single CTO replied. Why? It was because $100 wasn’t a big enough incentive for these busy and high-income earning professionals. I had to continue to increase it to $500 before I got my first bite.

Here are some questions I love to ask:

  1. Reasons for Leaving:
    • What were the primary reasons that led to your decision to stop using our product/service?
    • Were there specific issues or challenges that played a significant role in your decision to churn?
  2. User Experience:
    • How would you describe your overall experience with our product/service?
    • Were there any usability issues or challenges you faced while using our platform?
  3. Features and Functionality:
    • Were there specific features or functionalities that you found lacking or unsatisfactory?
    • Were there features that you expected but did not find in our product/service?
  4. Customer Support:
    • How would you rate the level of customer support you received while using our product/service?
    • Were there any instances where you felt our customer support could have been more helpful?
  5. Competitor Comparison:
    • Did you switch to a competitor’s product/service, and if so, what factors influenced that decision?
    • How does our product/service compare to others you’ve used or considered?
  6. Value Perception:
    • Did you feel that you were getting enough value for the price you paid for our product/service?
    • Were there any specific areas where you felt the value was lacking?
  7. Communication and Updates:
    • How satisfied were you with the communication and updates you received from us?
    • Were you aware of new features or improvements we introduced during your subscription?
  8. Improvement Suggestions:
    • What improvements or changes would have encouraged you to continue using our product/service?
    • Is there anything we could have done differently to better meet your needs?
  9. Future Consideration:
    • Under what circumstances would you consider coming back as a customer in the future?
    • Are there specific changes or developments that would make you reconsider using our product/service?
  10. General Feedback:
    • Is there any additional feedback or comments you would like to share about your experience with us?
    • What aspects of our product/service did you find most and least satisfying?

2. Interviews / Fireside Chats / Podcasts

Interviews provide an opportunity to have in-depth conversations with your customers. They allow you to ask open-ended questions and delve deeper into their experiences, needs, and pain points. Interviews can be conducted in-person, over the phone, or through video calls. Prepare a list of questions beforehand and listen actively to gather valuable insights.

Want to know a customer research hack… Invite your customers on your podcast. Spend 20 mins asking them everything you want to know. Of course, you can post that interview, plus segment it up.

As an added bonus, you now have the exact language they use to describe their problem states, their frustrations with alternatives, desired outcomes, how much time and money your solution has saved them…

You can then pull out those quotes for all kinds of purposes:

👉 Case studies
👉 Website testimonials
👉 Ad copy
👉 Product enhancements
👉 Competitor comparison tables

Plus, this will surely strengthen your relationship with them.

3. Focus Groups

Focus groups are small group discussions with your target audience. They provide a forum for participants to share their thoughts, opinions, and feedback on your products or services. Focus groups can uncover insights that may not be apparent through other methods. To conduct a focus group, select a diverse group of participants and facilitate a structured discussion.

4. Observation

Observing how customers interact with your products or services in real-world settings can provide valuable insights. This method allows you to see firsthand how customers use your products, what problems they encounter, and how they make purchasing decisions. Take notes and look for patterns or trends in customer behavior.

5. Social Media Monitoring

Social media platforms are rich sources of customer feedback and insights. Monitor platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see what customers are saying about your brand, products, and industry. Pay attention to sentiment, trends, and common themes. Use social listening tools to track mentions and keywords related to your business.

6. Competitor Analysis

Analyzing your competitors can provide insights into their customer base, marketing strategies, and product offerings. Identify your main competitors and research their customer reviews, social media presence, and advertising strategies. Look for gaps in the market that you can capitalize on.

7. Website Analytics

Website analytics tools like Google Analytics can provide valuable data on your online audience. Analyze metrics such as website traffic, user behavior, and demographics. Look for patterns in how users navigate your site, what pages they visit, and where they drop off. Use this information to optimize your website for better user experience.

8. Customer Feedback and Reviews

Customer feedback and reviews are valuable sources of insight into customer satisfaction and areas for improvement. Monitor platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, and social media for feedback related to your business. Respond to customer reviews promptly and use feedback to make informed decisions.

9. Purchase History Analysis

Analyzing the purchase history of your customers can help you understand their buying patterns and preferences. Look for trends in what products or services are popular among your customers. Use this information to tailor your offerings and promotions to better meet their needs.

10. Industry Reports and Studies

Industry reports and studies provide valuable insights into market trends, customer behaviors, and competitor analysis. Look for reports from reputable sources that are relevant to your industry. Use this information to stay informed about industry developments and make strategic business decisions.

Conducting Customer Research is Essential

Conducting customer research is essential for understanding your target audience and making informed business decisions. By using a combination of methods such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and social media monitoring, you can gain valuable insights into your customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors. Use these insights to tailor your products, services, and marketing strategies to better meet the needs of your customers and drive business growth.

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