I have been browsing through my wardrobe in preparation for the upcoming holiday season and I realize I need to go shopping for denims and some winter wear. Going through the newspaper on Saturday morning, I see a few advertisements by apparel stores in town. Before heading out, I check my smartphone and see a message by a leading retail chain ABC that says ‘Awesome offers on denims and winter-wear for the upcoming holiday season! Visit today to encash your voucher No XXX and grab the best pieces!’ I call up my friends and tell them about the SMS and we all end up shopping from ABC to avail the really great offer!
What’s going on and how?
Now, if you are the manager of one of the stores who did place costly advertisements in the newspaper but are still losing customers to ABC, you might be wondering what’s going on. Well, what is really going on is that ABC is spending wisely. It might not be running advertisements in dailies (aimed to target everyone for everything), but it is using its customer data and market research tools effectively to target appropriate consumer groups for the right product related promotions.
What it does? ABC is maintaining an updated customer and prospect database, which is routinely analyzed and also segmented into different groups based on buying patterns and preferences derived from historic sales data or other sources. Further, it uses market research to determine which products are going to be fast moving in the upcoming season and maps relevant products to appropriate target segments from its database. Based on this research and analysis, the head office comes up with different offers in different product categories; and the marketing team then uses interactive and often social media channels to reach out to the desired target segments and promote the offers they are interested in. This way, a 25-35 year old young working professional like me receives offers related to denims on my smartphone, while my 60 year old neighbor receives offers related to lawn mowers and garden equipment on his email.
Which tools to use?
What I am saying is not that brand level advertising in mass media like newspapers and TV channels don’t work or have become redundant. Of course not, they are required from time to time to add to your brand’s image; and to retain its Top of Mind recall (TOM) among the audience. But I am saying that, social media and other new-age communication channels that can deliver targeted campaigns are much more effective in triggering action and generating immediate sales if used properly. And for generating the maximum output from these communication tools, they need to be combined with and backed by solid market research and analysis. Together, they can provide you the desired competitive advantage over others in your business and help you stand out from among the crowd.
In short, business and market research tools and analysis, used effectively and in combination with the right media can provide you the desired edge over your competition. So, unless you are the type who likes to make your own mistakes in order to learn from them; act now and invest in the right tools to convert you data into information that you can use.
– Research Optimus