How to save money by
investing in research

Save money on marketing
by answering these three questions first

Building customer profiles is key to effective marketing. You can do this by working out who your target market is, what motivates them to make a purchase, and where and how they discover new products.  

For accurate answers, it’s best to go directly to the consumer. Research such as surveys, focus groups, and accompanied shops can give you incredibly valuable insight into your audience. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either, with desk research starting as low as £350 +VAT.  

By ring fencing a portion of your marketing budget for research, you can ensure that the rest of your marketing spend works as hard as possible for you. This can help you get more for your money.

1. Who is your target market?

When it comes to products for families, the more specific you can be, the better. For example, there is a huge difference between the needs of a parent of a two year-old and a three year-old. Parents may also have multiple children, so it’s useful to know if your product is intended to be used by different age groups, or handed down from sibling to sibling. You might even find you need to tailor your marketing more towards grandparents, who are known to splash out a little more money to treat their grandchildren. 

Our research with Wildbrain (formerly DHX Brands), for instance, found that parents would find it much easier to choose products with more refined age guidance for the under-threes. This is because it is a period of some pretty huge milestones, from learning to walk to using the potty. Focus groups and surveys showed that parent pain points revolved around every day tasks – such as handling the mess created by their child learning to use cutlery! – rather than skills such as letters and numbers. 

Depending on the type of product, at some point your target market is likely to switch from the parent or grandparent, to the child themselves. For example, children may have more influence on the choice of toys for big celebrations like Christmas or Eid, and a little influence on clothes, bedding, bottles and so on. Parents may also factor their child into the decision-making process when making purchases such as household cleaning products, for example, if their child has allergies or they need something quick and convenient for lots of little messes.

2. Where does your target market find out about new products?

Once you know who your target market is, it’s time to get to know them better. This allows you to direct your marketing spend more efficiently, rather than watering it down across multiple TV, on-demand, social media, influencers, and POS advertisements.   

Remember, just like TV channels, every social media network will invite a particular audience. For example if you’re targeting children, what social media are they using at the moment? Keep in mind this changes frequently. Older generations may prefer Facebook, while many parents are now on Instagram. 

Children are likely to hear about products from influencers, but it’s also important to find an influence who aligns with your brand. The younger generation are becoming more savvy about advertising too, so it’s important that this is as genuine as possible. 

Meanwhile, parents and grandparents often value the opinions of others quite highly. Online reviews are great but are getting increasingly bad press due to the sheer number of fake reviews out there. Independent review websites therefore may be seen as more trustworthy by consumers.

3. What motivates your target market to make a purchase?

Ah, the finish line. The ultimate goal. You know who you’re targeting and where to target them, but how can you convince them they need your product? To show consumers that your product meets their needs better than your competitors, you have to know what their needs are. 

Again, the more specific the better. As well as finding out what your target market’s needs are, try to find out why. For example, we helped Kuato Studios carry out a survey with their US audience to plan the ideal pricing strategy. We were able to find out whether parents preferred to pay up-front or sign up to a subscription, and what they would expect from both options.

Most purchases fall under one of two categories – they either improve someone’s enjoyment of life, or make a task more efficient. Which one does your product fall under, and why? Are you selling to a stressed parent who is impulse-buying while at the supermarket, to distract a grumpy child? Or are you selling to a parent who wants to spend some time with their family, playing games together? 

This can help you refine your marketing to appeal to the consumer. For example, a toy being bought as a distraction should ideally be easy for a child to use on their own, so the parent can get their tasks done with as little hassle as possible. A game being bought to entertain the family could focus on fun for multiple ages.

How to find the answers

Investing in research at the right time can get the answers you need for more targeted advertising, so you can avoid marketing to the wrong audience. This means that you can save money or invest more strongly into the marketing you know will be the most effective. For example:

  • Surveys can help define your target audience from a broad sample, and create customer profile(s) – perhaps your product appeals most to parents who travel a lot, have a child with Autism, or work full-time.
  • Focus groups help you gain a greater understanding of your target audience’s preferences, including why they might make certain purchase decisions.
  • Product testing can help you understand what your target audience likes about your product, so you can highlight this in your marketing.
  • Accompanied shops allow you to see what your customer’s real-time thought process is when browsing, so you can identify what will help your product stand out from competitors.
  • Desk research can be a cost-effective way to have your product compared with others on the market, to highlight the most unique features. You can also have your product assessed by experts, such as child development specialists, who can link the features of your product with up-to-date research describing the benefits.

Key takeaways

  • To save money on marketing, it’s important to be as targeted as possible with your advertising.
  • You can target the consumers most likely to buy your products by finding out who they are, what influences their purchase decisions, and where they tend to discover new products.
  • Well-time research can help you answer these questions, helping you use your marketing budget more efficiently.

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