Strategic listening and client perception


BNBranding logoI’m a giant proponent of small enterprise market analysis. For me it’s perception first, THEN execution.

Perception is the muse of each ground-breaking concept in historical past. Perception drives the technique that directs the execution that produces outcomes. How do you get that perception you want? By finding out, listening and asking the precise questions.  And small enterprise market analysis is less complicated than ever with all the net instruments nowadays.

I’ve seen how analysis perception leads some manufacturers in worthwhile new instructions, and others again to their roots.

I’ve seen, first hand, how analysis will be built-in seamlessly into the operations of a rapidly-growing start-up.

And I do know that among the biggest advert campaigns of all time had been constructed on tidbits of data from surveys and focus teams.

Are you able to say, “Obtained Milk?”

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However I’ve additionally executed my share of branding methods and advertising and marketing campaigns primarily based on nothing greater than intestine intuition and the consumer’s opinion.

It may be executed when the funds calls for it, however imagine me… it’s a lot tougher and riskier.

I don’t suppose small enterprise house owners do sufficient strategic listening. (And their branding methods normally replicate that.)

They usually skip the analysis as a result of they suppose they already know all of it. The gross sales supervisor says “I’ve been on this enterprise for 25 years, I do know what prospects need.”  Or the proprietor says “We tried that already, it didn’t work.” Or the advertising and marketing assistant says “We now have some information from Survey Monkey on that.”

Don’t guess on it. Typically instances, prospects don’t even know what they need.


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Listed below are 5 widespread issues that enterprise proprietor run into when doing market analysis for small enterprise:

1. Questions are written from an insider’s perspective.

2. They ask the improper questions.

4. They query the improper folks.

5. They don’t know what to do with the information as soon as they’ve it. Or they only don’t need to hear it.

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First, let’s discuss perspective. (Or lack thereof.)


Because the previous saying goes, you may’t learn the label should you’re caught contained in the bottle.

Most individuals are so wrapped up of their day-to-day enterprise they will’t see the larger points properly sufficient to ask the precise questions. Their very own bias creeps in at each flip.

An outsider’s perspective — and the objectivity {that a} skilled brings to the desk — is actually the one option to get analysis that you may take to the financial institution.

That lack of perspective leads on to:

Drawback quantity two for small enterprise market analysis: The content material of the analysis questions themselves.


A number of money and time is wasted asking analysis questions which might be dumber than a rock.

As an example, I not too long ago ran throughout a survey in regards to the present plight of personal nation golf equipment. It’s no massive secret that they’re hurting, and but the survey began with a ineffective collection of questions that simply rehashed generally recognized trade information.

Don’t waste time asking questions you already know the solutions to.

Make clear your goals earlier than you begin. Spend some high quality time framing the issue so you may ask higher questions. Keep on with topics that actually baffle you.

Small business market research and strategic listening - BN BrandingDrawback quantity 3:  The difficulty of semantics in market analysis questionnaires.


There’s unimaginable nuance within the wording of questionnaire. In actual fact, the way you ask a query can usually assure outcomes, a method or one other.

Polling corporations have recognized this for 75 years. That’s why there are Democratic pollsters and Republican pollsters. They’ll at all times get the outcomes to skew of their most well-liked path. Left or proper.

Right here’s a narrative that illustrates my level completely:

There have been two monks who each needed to know if it was permissible to smoke and pray on the similar time. In order that they wrote to the Pope for a definitive reply.

One priest phrased the query on this method:  ‘Is it permissible to smoke whereas praying?’ and was informed it isn’t, since prayer ought to be the main focus of 1’s complete consideration.

The opposite priest requested “Is it permissible to wish whereas smoking”  and was informed that it’s, since it’s at all times permissible to wish.”

Likelihood is, should you’re writing your individual questionnaire, you’re not being as clear as you ought to be. And readability is without doubt one of the cornerstones of constructing an iconic model.

The fourth drawback arises once you ask good questions of the improper folks.


Many corporations have suggestions techniques for his or her prospects, however they by no means hear from their non-customers. Typically it’s extra helpful to ballot the people who find themselves loyal to your competitor’s model. Why they don’t purchase is simply as vital as why they purchase.

While you do analysis be sure to have a consultant pattern of individuals on all sides of a problem. For those who’re working with a analysis agency, insist on samples of actual folks, not skilled focus group respondents.


The final, and possibly greatest drawback with small enterprise market analysis is your means to do one thing with the information upon getting it.


In most corporations there’s an enormous hole between perception and execution. Available in the market analysis trade, that’s the commonest criticism: Very often, complete research find yourself on the again shelf, filed underneath “that’s attention-grabbing, now get again to work.”

All types of issues can sabotage your finest efforts. Typically company tradition will get in the way in which. At HP the engineers run the present and even essentially the most analytical advertising and marketing guys take a again seat. Innovation is a core worth, so they may ignore market analysis as a way to launch shortly and display their engineering prowess.

small business market research and strategic listening- BN Branding

It’s just like the software program enterprise. After they launch a product everybody is aware of it’s simply v.1.0., and it’ll shortly to get replaced by v1.2 and 1.3. Their mantra: Launch first, ask questions later.

So be sure to’re within the place to behave on the knowledge you collect. In any other case, don’t trouble. Ask your self some robust questions forward of time…

• Do you could have the brainpower inside the corporate to investigate the information and perceive its implications? If not, are you able to rent somebody who does?

• Do you could have the monetary sources to implement adjustments primarily based on the evaluation?

• Is the topic you’re researching vital sufficient? Is it a C-level initiative, or only a mid-level administration factor?

• Are you empowered to behave? If not, who’s? Do you could have the allies you must get issues executed?

research for branding strategiesFor those who can reply sure to most of these questions, nice. Right here’s a reasonably easy (simplified) method that may produce info you may really use.

On the whole, there are two varieties of analysis the everyday enterprise proprietor or supervisor can do:  Listening and asking.

It’s finest to start out with strategic listening as a result of that may preserve you buyer targeted. (And branding methods which might be customer-facing are virtually at all times higher than inward dealing with methods.)

Put your individual agenda apart and take heed to what your front-line workers need to say. They hear all of it. Revisit the shopper suggestions varieties you’ve been gathering. Get out of the workplace and have in-depth discussions with actual prospects.

And by all means, faucet into social media and different on-line sources. That’s an effective way to “hear” what individuals are saying.

“I’ve quite a few examples the place we’re discovering key nuggets, insights, aha moments and watch-outs coming from numerous on-line sources,” stated Kristin Bush, Senior Supervisor of Shopper & Market Information at Procter & Gamble.

“It’s positively an space that we’re exploring fairly closely… we get the unprompted voice of the buyer, the true sentiments, the true factors of view.  I believe there’ s an enormous alternative on this area, and the businesses that actually determine tips on how to hear and reply in significant methods are going to win within the market.”

When you’ve tapped all the present traces of communication, then observe up on with conventional market analysis strategies. Surveys, focus teams, and in-person interviews are helpful for asking particular questions and probing deeper into subjects that come up on the blogosphere.

New on-line instruments make it simpler than ever to get a survey executed. However the do-it-yourself method of Survey Monkey gained’t cross the muster until you observe the rules above.

Need extra perception on branding methods and small enterprise analysis?

Need some assist with small enterprise market analysis? Give us a name. 541-815-0075.




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