Let’s face it, the word market research doesn’t usually excite and inspire many. In fact, we’d argue that the term can make some people yawn, almost immediately.
The idea of spending thousands of dollars on focus groups, and hours of time looking at articles, feels daunting. However, that’s an outdated look at what market research is.
In today’s world, the most powerful kind of market research is more of a conversation than anything.
That’s why we invited our friend and former Social Media Week Lima speaker, Craig Severinsen onto Magnet Marketers to dive into the topic. Craig is someone who has a ton of energy and will inspire you to lean into the power of market research to scale your business.
Craig Severinsen is a business consultant that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses and reclaim their life. He is on a personal mission to end entrepreneurial burnout and help every business owner live life to the fullest. Fun fact, he can play the Ukulele like you wouldn't believe.
How To Shift Our Mindset About Market Research:
Think of market research sort of like the foundation when it comes to building a house.
If you want to grow your business, you’ve got to start with a really solid foundation.
We need market research; it’s critical to our success, so the first thing about transforming our mindset is to understand and commit to the idea that it isn’t complicated.
“When we talk about doing market research, don’t think about finding an organization and paying a huge sum of money. It’s about leveraging your most underutilized resource which is your current clients.” @Craig_sev (click to tweet)
Great market research is honestly very similar to relationship marketing, in that it’s about building and strengthening relationships with our customers more than anything.
When done right, great market research involves having authentic conversations with people that truly care about your business. It includes both informal and formal ways of including customers in the conversation and then building the conversation around those brand megafans.
In other words, it’s all about Co-Creation, which is exactly why that’s the theme for SMWL.
Co-Creating is what allows businesses to grow in mutually beneficial ways.
When we understand that our market research assignment is to actually listen to our customers, it becomes a lot more fun!
Listening to your customers is truly what will lead to the most important and beneficial information that can be used to scale your business.
Applying The New Market Research Mindset:
Now that we understand that market research is about starting meaningful conversations, we can take action to create 2-way conversations.
The goal is to listen to your customers so that you can truly understand what it is they WANT as well as what problems they are facing. This allows you, the expert, to create a solution that caters to what they want AND includes what you know they NEED to get where they want to go.
What does this look like in action? >> Not just delivering on what clients say they want. It’s using your knowledge as the industry expert to guide them.
It also involves getting honest about what clients you truly enjoy working with and why.
It’s up to you to figure out what truly matters to you when defining your ideal client; some businesses value money about all whereas some care more about culture fit. You have to take the time to figure out and define the true criteria that matter to you.
Try This Exercise:
Write out a list of all of your clients and then write down the things that you love - AND don’t - about working with them. Write down attributes about the client and get specific. This way, you start to have the ability to create a true “matrix” of criteria that are truly important to you when searching for the right kind of client.
Understanding who your ideal client is is just as important as finding out how to best serve your current clients.
Without an understanding of who you want to work with, you end up taking on costly clients that suck your energy and drain your drive. The wrong clients or teammates create culture debt.
On the flip side, when you do understand who your ideal client looks like, you create culture credit and can grow your business in a way that’s not only sustainable but feels really good.
What The Goldilocks Zone Of Growth Is:
Craig’s area of genius is all about growing businesses and he likes to use the term the goldilocks zone of growth. The concept comes from NASA which essentially describes the space from a star where it’s not too hot or too cold, where life can truly flourish.
Business is similar; we have to find the area where things aren’t too hot, or cold, for us to grow our brands.
If we want to scale our business, we need to get crystal clear on who we will, and won’t, be in business with.
By getting to know our best customers so well, meaning we know what they buy from us, what they care about, and where they hang out, we can easily identify more of them; we can hone in on our search for more of the best kinds of customers.
Here’s the hard part. >> It comes at a cost.
“As a general rule of thumb, I like to lean into a principle of fung shui which is if you want something new in the room, you have to remove something. If you want better clients, you need to clean house.” @craig_sev (click to tweet)
By no means does this entail firing all of your clients; rather, it’s a slow, gradual and incremental process.
Ideally, you want to bring on more of the right clients so that you make it easier to say goodbye to the wrong clients.
Think of it as spring cleaning!
Doesn’t it feel SO good after you finish?
You feel lighter and more aligned. Well, we need to do a spring cleaning for our business so that we can continue moving forward with ease, clarity, and conviction.
A spring cleaning of clients can allow you to shift into a more aligned headspace in your business because you have complete clarity around who you want to work with, therefore making space to bring in more of these people.
How To Get Started:
To get started executing market research, understanding your audience, and doubling down on the right clients to work with to grow your business, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and do some work.
Here are the steps we recommend you take to get started:
Have a systemized and structured way to get information from your top 20% of clients.
Perhaps you send out a survey every single year, and/or a personalized email, that asks questions such as what they buy, what their goals are, what pain points they’re experiencing, what they enjoy, and why they like working with you.
This audit should also include a client audit where you take the time to see what clients you might be working with that aren’t a fit anymore. If there’s a client that is sucking the energy from you or your team, it might be time to end the relationship so that you can both move forward with more ease.
Make questions a part of your regular lexicon; start to consistently measure and look at, in real-time, what matters to your audience so that you can spot opportunities to respond and co-create with them.
Ask your audience what they want, what they’re struggling with, how they’re using a specific tool, and then use their feedback as information to help shape your content.
Start having conversations with your audience as a way of understanding them, getting amazing information that allows you to best serve them, and truly building a relationship and lasting connection.
Take Your Best Client Out:
Seriously, take your best client out for lunch and ask them some questions in person. Ask them what they don’t like about your industry and others that provide a similar service to you. Ask them what their goals are, what they are working on, and how you can better support them in reaching those goals.
This is a great way to build a relationship and develop an understanding of your best customer, which is truly the most important customer for you to serve.
Putting It All Together:
When you start engaging people in conversations, you understand how to show up for them in ways that are valuable and meaningful; this is what allows you to go on easy mode with your business.
By stepping into the mindset of continually engaging our audience, we have the opportunity to tailor our content and messaging to better serve our audience. This is truly what allows you to amplify your impact and scale your business.
At the end of the day, it’s a major mindset shift and while it’s not easy to move away from working with the wrong clients, it’s the thing that will truly transform your business.
Working with the wrong people only holds your business back, and this is truly the recipe to start to take action to change that so that you can move forward with more ease.
When you work with the right people, it becomes natural to engage your audience in a meaningful conversation. This is the kind of content that truly helps to skyrocket your business growth.
If you’re looking for someone to help you get started in the journey of shifting your mindset about market research and using it to identify your best, and worst, clients then Craig Severinsen is the person to connect to!
What do you think about this process? Do you have any questions about how to use market research to truly scale your business?
We’d love to hear from you!