As field marketers, we aim to give people what they want. But all too often we presume that we know what the consumers wants best without actually asking them. This article will discuss how we can use field marketing campaigns to develop marketing strategies and understand the needs of different consumers.
A marketing campaign without proper market research can fail spectacularly. Companies have caused huge offense through a lack of understanding of their market in the past, so unless you want your company to be a household name for the wrong reasons then an acute understanding of the market is needed.
Pre-campaign research is usually carried out in two ways- through focus groups and questionnaires.
Focus groups represent a sample of your buying public, and can be from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, gender and ages, or from one particular target audience. It is advised that researchers take both a broad and a narrow view, as untapped markets may be discovered by wide sampling and different marketing phrases may be preferred by different groups.
Focus groups can be problematic because the participants may try to 'please' the focus group leader or change their opinions through a desire for social inclusion, so alternate research methods need to be used in conjunction with this.
Questionnaires can be filled out electronically, on the phone or by post. As the participant completes the questionnaire on their own a group/authority bias is less likely. Some companies offer a financial reward for completed questionnaires- but this approach should be treated with caution as the monetary incentive may entice less trustworthy applicants.
Both research techniques are valid and useful; we suggest that you use both for a balanced view of public reaction to your campaign.
• During and After the Campaign
Feedback can be collected during the campaign through feedback forms if practicable. If your campaign is roaming (e.g.: samples/literature distributed on foot) this may not be so easy. But if you have a stall, it is completely realistic to have some forms to hand, either to be filled out by the consumer or by the staff on behalf of the consumer. To ask a couple of questions after a sample has been taken is completely reasonable and most consumers will usually be more than happy to oblige.
During and after the campaign responses can be collected using social media, a prize draw incentive can also be used to encourage people to contribute. This is a effective way of collecting responses as people are sometimes more honest and vocal online than they are in real life.
Split-testing your campaigns can be enlightening. By running two different campaigns at the same time or shortly after one another you can determine which marketing style works best- which is something you would never have known without running two campaigns.
Listening to the public is one thing, analysing and making sense of public response is quite another. Even if some of the responses to your campaign were negative you will learn valuable lessons from criticism, along with praise, so remember to take a balanced view.
The customer is always right- if they don't engage with or like your marketing strategies you have done something wrong. This is usually through either targeting the wrong market for your product, or approaching the market in the wrong way. If you have collected research throughout your campaign as shown above, areas for improvement will be easy to spot and correct.
We wish you the best of luck in your own campaigns and remember- your best customers know best, so listen to their wisdom and let the sales roll in.
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