1. Market Research: Every industry and function have a list of trusted sources and research firms to uncover benchmark trends. If you’re in retail, for example, there are a multitude of research organizations, analyst firms and even tech companies releasing their own proprietary research. You can use these sources to benchmark your industry or audience and get a baseline understanding of your target audience, industry trends and umbrella themes that may be guiding your decisions.
2. Proprietary Surveys: To that end, your team also has the option to run its own survey. Many brands do this to gut-check their decisions and look for new ways to improve the brand experience. You can use a tool like Typeformto create a survey and promote it across email, social media and even on your website. We recommend keeping these surveys short and sweet, and opening the opportunity for them to share more details in a follow-up interview. And, if you have budget, provide an incentive! Even a $5 Amazon or Starbucks gift card can show your audience that you appreciate their time and attention.
3. Consumer Panels and Interviews: If you don’t have the time or budget to do a large-scale survey strategy, start small with consumer panels, communities and one-to-one interviews. Digital-first brands like Glossier cultivated a loyal fanbase by creating exclusive communities in tools like Slack. This was a quick and efficient way for them to bring their best customers together, inspire collaboration and use them as a sounding board for brand feedback — and even new product ideas. Aggregating your best consumers into an exclusive group can pay off for your brand in the long run; you can cultivate these relationships, drive loyalty and even boost bottom-line results.
4. Social Polls: Whether you use Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or TikTok, social media is an incredible sounding board for your creative team — and your entire business. Through LinkedIn, you can run polls or through Instagram you can do side-by-side comparisons of proofs and ask people to share their feedback. Depending on what you’re seeking feedback on, there’s a way you can use social media to get immediate response. Sure, the sample size may not be as large as a survey, but the fast and honest feedback of your community will present big benefits for your team. After all, the faster you can get this input, the faster you can put it into action!
5. A/B Testing: In the mood to get your hands dirty? Want to collaborate more extensively with your colleagues in marketing, content and even product? This is where A/B testing comes into play. If you want to see value from these exercises, these tests have to be focused and controlled; you have to align with your team on your objectives, the elements you want to test and that each “group” has an equal number of recipients. With each test, you’ll be able to understand which color combinations, design elements, photo choices and even messaging points resonate most.
6. Audience Analysis Tools: This particular space is evolving rapidly and encompasses a variety of different areas of the marketing “mix.” There are social listening tools like HootSuitethat allow you to look at social performance over time and understand which content and creative resonates. There also are SEO tools like SEMrush that help you dig into search behaviors, keywords and phrases used, and even the questions that people ask on search engines. But if you want to get a broader spectrum of insights that you can share with your entire marketing team, consider tools like BuzzSumo and SparkToro, which allow you to dig deeper into your target audience, key influencers and top-trending content.