Use Market Research to Drive Your Customer Experience Strategy

Ryan Gould
Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services
Elevation Marketing

Differentiating yourself in a sea of similar businesses is hard.

In fact, now we’re living in a one-click, mobile-friendly landscape where the next best thing is always just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to create a customer experience that keeps people coming back for more.

To do this, you need to understand your customers - something that a lot of businesses get wrong. In fact, 80% of CEOs are confident that they deliver an “excellent” customer experience, yet only 8% of their customers agree. Ouch.

Most exciting business opportunity
Source: SuperOffice

If you don’t know who your customers are, what they want, and what their biggest pain points are, you’re going to struggle to create an experience that truly resonates with them.

This is where market research can swoop in and save the day.

Why Market Research is So Important for Customer Experience

Know Exactly What Your Audience Want

It’s easy to assume you know what your customers want, but what are you basing that on?

To create an effective customer experience, you need to know the thought process prospects go through and the entire journey they go on to get the end result.

It’s important to note here that this journey might not be the same as your personal experience.

For example, airline customers’ experience begins the moment they decide they need to fly. From there, they must choose an airport to fly from, an airline to use, and everything else that goes into booking a flight. Someone who works for an airline will have a different experience because the decision-making process is far simpler.

When you carry out market research, you can better understand the problems and dilemmas your customers face and, as a result, create solutions that tap into those.

Find Out What’s Working and What’s Not

Market research gives you information straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

You can quickly find out what’s working on your website and throughout your sales funnel and what could be improved. This saves you time testing things out and guessing what steps your customers will take next.

Establish Your Positioning

When you know who your customers are and what they want, you can position your business in the best spot to reach those people. This will help differentiate your brand from your competitors and give you a solid brand image.

Build Relationships

Finding out what your customers like and don’t like is the first step in building lasting relationships with them (you want to create a following of loyal fans after all, right?).

But, with the help of market research, you can then engage prospects further because you’ll have access to information about their other interests and habits that may not necessarily relate to your business.

For example, you might find they use Instagram more than Facebook, which means you can focus your efforts there. Or you might find that the majority of your customers are devout dog lovers, which means you can weave that narrative into your marketing spiel to create stronger connections.

How to Use Data From Market Research to Fuel a Customer Experience Strategy

This survey by Econsultancy and Adobe found that marketers had three top goals for using market research data in their marketing:

  1. 38% wanted to use it to create better customer experiences
  2. 37% wanted to use it to identify new audiences and customers
  3. 37% wanted to use it to retain and upsell to existing customers

For best results, you ideally want to use a combination of existing data you already have (like website statistics, social media insights, and purchase information) along with qualitative insights.

Utilizing both of these means you’ll be able to make more informed decisions when improving your customers’ experience.
Create a Journey Map

First of all, you need to know the exact route customers take when they land on your site right through to the moment they click the buy button (and afterwards, too).

Source: Bright Vessel

Use website data to determine which pages your customers are navigating to and in what order, along with the interactions they’re making with your brand along the way.

This will help you generate a list of key questions and hypotheses on how you can make your customer experience better.

Think about what you want customers to experience when they interact with your brand, too.

What experience do you want them to have on your website? What about when they interact with you on social media? How about when they reach out to your call center?

All of these touchpoints need to be accounted for as they come together to create the overall brand experience. 

Understand Who Your Customers Are

Next, you need to find out more about the people who are going on that journey and making those interactions with your brand.

You can use your market research to bring to life the different kinds of customers you have. The best way to do this is to create a series of customer personas that go beyond the basic age, sex, and location of your buyers.

Think about what their biggest challenges are, what media they read, and how they spend their weekends. This kind of information will provide a more rounded picture of your customers which means you’ll be able to serve them a better experience.

Capture Customer Feedback in Real Time

It’s unlikely you’ll create the perfect customer experience with your first try, which is why it’s important to continue to get feedback from your buyers.

The only way you’ll be able to tell if your customer experience is as good as it can be is if your customers are actively telling you (or showing you, by investing more in your products and services).

The easiest way to do this is to ask for feedback. There are a number of ways you can do this, including:

  1. Sending a follow up email to anyone who has interacted with your brand
  2. Integrating a pop-up survey onto your website that appears when someone has taken a defined action
  3. Reach out to your best customers and ask them what keeps them coming back for more

Monitor and Tweak as Needed

Like with any kind of strategy, you constantly need to be monitoring and tweaking your customer experience to fit the needs of your buyers.

Continue to dig into data and carry out market research to get real-time information from your customers. This will help fuel your strategy and ensure you know exactly what’s working and what’s not so you can keep improving the experience.

What Experience Will You Give Your Customers?

As you can see, customer experience is incredibly important and market research plays a huge role in making sure you get it right.

Start by getting to know your customers and delve into the journey they take with your brand. From there, you can continue to glean insights from customer feedback so you can serve your buyers the best experience possible.

Ryan Gould, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services - Elevation Marketing
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively align sales and marketing teams within organizations.

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