This Data’s Got Game
Understanding customers and their needs and wants is the primary driver of successful multichannel businesses. This industry hallmark is one of the reasons we’ve successfully gained wallet share over the past 30 years. Yet how many great research projects end up collecting dust in some filing cabinet?
While database research can be eminently useful in understanding the composition of a database and the purchase behavior of customers, it doesn’t provide the complete and nuanced knowledge required for developing successful strategic change. Insightful primary customer research adds tremendous knowledge, even to those companies with sophisticated databases, and artfully created primary research informs a company’s strategic direction.
Primary research adds qualitative information, or the “why.” It adds customer attitudes and intent about companies and their competition, as well as insight into the “how come,” “where else” and other qualitative measures.
Primary research allows you to ask about customers’ decision-making processes, their influencers, barriers to loyalty, motivators of response, why they decide to shop with you vs. the competition, and even their views of the economy and the future. It’s amazing the things customers will tell you if you just ask.
Unlike secondary database research, primary customer research can be tailored to answer precisely the question you want answered. It also gives insight into both prospects and customers, if prospects are included in the research pool. This will provide insight into those who don’t buy from you as well as those who do, which can inform positioning, strategy and tactics in a powerful yet precise way.
Primary research can be cost-effective and fast. Many direct marketers fear primary research will be cost-prohibitive. However, e-mail can deliver surveys inexpensively and quickly. Customers do their own data entry, and it’s easy to survey many segments of your database — including current and lapsed buyers, as well as prospects. The most relevant responses return within a few days.