The Big 3 is a David Reid Group blog series designed to give you insight into the big issues in branding, marketing and selling. We break each topic down into 3 straight-forward points, so you can get the picture and get on with your day.
Now that we’ve established how and why we conduct research, the second of this Big 3 series will focus on the information we’ve gathered. The feedback we receive about a business from its customers, staff and suppliers is necessarily varied depending on the industry and the size of the company. Nevertheless, patterns and themes have emerged over the thousands of interviews we’ve conducted that highlight the benefits of both quality research and good marketing – this Big 3 post lays them out.
1. Views of the business often differ within a company
While this isn’t surprising, it’s a reality that can often go unnoticed. Research uncovers the disparate ideas that staff quietly have about the strengths and weaknesses of the business and its future direction. Views between employees may vary; sometimes people are too confident, sometimes they’re not optimistic enough. Most importantly, these views may be very different from the business owner’s vision of the company. These are never negative revelations but for any business to move forward these differences must be acknowledged and valued for their insights. Then everyone needs to understand and accept a shared vision for the business. One-on-one, thorough, anonymous interviews with staff also reveal many useful gems that would otherwise remain hidden: product and service improvements, insights into target customers, reflections on staff roles and potential market opportunities.
2. Customers want to help
Every customer we’ve ever interviewed has been very willing and happy to share their perspectives on the business concerned. Even if they’re critical, they’re open and honest with their comments and eager to help the business improve; it’s almost as if they’ve been waiting for someone to ask them for their opinion. Customers consider it a positive reflection on the business when they’re asked for feedback, especially when the in-depth style of the interviews make it clear that their opinions are highly valued. Why is their perspective so important? From their unique position, customers help you understand both who they are (your target market) and who they think you are (what your position in the market is). What they tell you about themselves is their pain points, what they want, what they value and what they need. What they tell you about your business is what you’re good and not so good at, how that compares to your competitors, and how your brand is perceived. Sometimes customer feedback leads to immediate practical improvements in a service or product, sometimes it hints at deeper problems, but it always uncannily pinpoints the issues in a business.
3. Customers want more and better marketing from the businesses they deal with
This is a strong theme that may seem surprising to some business owners. Clearly the businesses working with DRG know they could improve the quality and maybe the volume of their marketing. But time and time again we hear the same response from customers when asked about the businesses we work with: “They’re good at what they do, but they need help with their marketing.” They generally hold a firm belief that these businesses need to ‘get out there’. Customers, by their nature, like the companies they deal with and feel frustrated for them because their good product or service isn’t being recognised in the market. They also want to know more about these products and services themselves, and what else the company can offer them. This pulls against what we hear from business owners in our research; they often think that if they just focus on doing a really great job, they’ll be ‘discovered’ and won’t need to market themselves. Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen and customers know it, so don’t be afraid to invest in branding and marketing if you want to reach the people who want to hear about you.
So there’s a lot to learn from research and these are just the common themes – what it reveals in your business could completely transform it. The final post in this series will look at the exciting results businesses have achieved using the insights gained through in-depth research.
Read Part 1 of this Big 3 series: DRG Research – Reaching business insight
David Reid Group are a branding, sales and marketing consultancy in Perth, Western Australia.