Make the Most of Market Research
Knowing the language of your audience allows you to speak to them in terms they can understand, relate to and believe, which can be the difference between a message that resonates and one that falls on deaf ears.
Friesen agrees in the power of candid comments: "I look for words that are unique or give me a hook to tie into. That's more helpful than a thesaurus."
Another way to get at these user expressions is to do some research yourself, conducting informal interviews of customers and prospects. "If you get on the telephone and call up 10 prospects in order to find out [their feelings] and concerns," says Marlow, "it will always improve your direct response."
Other valuable interview sources include anyone in the company who deals with customers on a daily basis, such as sales people, who can tell you the questions and concerns people have prior to purchase, and customer service representatives, who can tell you what kinds of problems and complaints customers have after purchase.
You should, however, review all of these customer comments with "a grain of salt," warns Livingston, differentiating between the content of what is being said and the feelings involved. While some purchasing decisions are made on an emotional level, others are made based more on rationale. It is important, she states, "to look for the feelings that translate to brand differentiation and sell your product."
All of this anecdotal data can give you an enhanced perspective on the more quantitative research. After Friesen has had a chance to talk with prospects and customers about why they made the buying decisions and what kind of comparison searching or research they did, she then relates that information back to the market research she was given. "It really does give me more of an idea of what the customer thinks about."