How Market Research Makes your Marketing Strategy on Point | Furlough Mastermind

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Join us every Friday at 12pm EST in the Furlough Community Discord for our Mastermind session hosted by Joe Casanova & Ophir Gadot. Our guests change every week and range from experts, entrepreneurs and creatives to influencers, brands, nomads, investors and more!

 

In this session Joe Casanova, Ophir Gadot and Sam Hebda take you through the steps of how market research can make your marketing strategy on point.

In this session Joe Casanova, Ophir Gadot and Sam Hebda take you through the steps of how market research can make your marketing strategy on point.

 

You can also watch the replay of the mastermind here:

 

Joe Casanova 

That is the whole premise behind marketing strategies to achieve those goals. And today we’re going to talk about how market research makes your marketing strategy on point with none other than the wonderful strategist himself Ophir. And of course, Sam Hebda, as a co-host in this session.

So marketing strategy is a plan for reaching prospects and turning them into customers

So marketing strategy is a plan for reaching prospects and turning them into customers, no matter what your business or venture is, whether it’s a service based business or product based business, businesses are based off of their customers, right? And they say their customers are the most important part of any business that defines your business. So why is the research so important? And it goes down to the strategy level. And this is your marketing plan focus points.

 

Marketing Plan Focus Points

Marketing Plan Focus Points

 

Ophir Gadot 

Taking actions without tying them to goals makes no sense, especially not in a business sense when I put money and resources into achieving those goals. So goals and projections, which are just a tight metric based on the resources, I’m pushing towards these goals, you cannot have a marketing plan without budgeting, even if you don’t have money, and you work on a startup based on equity, and you give 10% of your CTO and 20% of your SEO guy or whatever distribution you’re doing. This is still budgeting. They give them equity worth of money. And here, I want to show this so I can evaluate if the resources I pushed this year were worth it. Marketing Channels, the piece basically that goes down to the tactic, where do I chase those customers? Where do I find them? How do I communicate with them? and what level on each and every marketing channel? … messaging is basically two parts, because we have an assumption part. And we have a research part because you can never tell who is your target audience, especially when you dive down into this specific niches and segmentations. We have assumptions, they’re based on research, but they’re not validated. So we want to validate these audiences for different messaging that makes sense to that audience in that specific marketing channel.

 

Joe Casanova 

Obviously, your goals, then you have actual, you know, measurable key performance indicators to see where you’re at the budgeting, seeing how much you have to spend making sure you don’t run out of money, because that does happen in startups, especially the bootstrapped ones, and prioritizing the impact versus the effort you put into it and the resources that you allocate to towards it, the marketing channels. For a t-shirt brand, it might not make sense to be on LinkedIn, but maybe allocating those resources that you would put on LinkedIn into a channel like Tik Tok into a channel like Instagram or visual channels versus something like Twitter. And your audience and your messaging that kind of ties it all together, because your audiences depending on what marketing channel they are on, then you know how to speak to them. But as Ophir said, you aren’t sure this is all hypotheticals, you need to validate this, and that’s where a lot of testing comes into place. And especially with advertising campaigns, right? You’ve heard me say this before, and it’s your best advertising campaign might end up being your worst one. And your worst one might be your best one. Because what you think is creative and a messaging that might convert towards an audience might not be, you know, I go back to saying this humans, they lie, data doesn’t. And data in this digital world that we’re in a lot of these things are trackable, and you can see what messages to which audiences are actually working and pushing the needle.

 

Ophir Gadot 

And one comment about it, I would say that, you know, if you have a good brand owner test their reaction to budget to testing, the brand owner doesn’t open up a budget for testings, my recommendation is not the place to work, because they expect immediate return on our investment on all channels. And this is simply not doable.

 

Research is the key to making decisions

Joe Casanova 

Research is a key to your decisions to be based on. You look at the marketing channels, the target audience, and the projections of what you can do, you know, I had a publishing company way back when on Amazon, where we space, which is print on demand services. But before we released the book, what we did was we made a cover, that was $5, we made a landing page, that was free labor, because we did it. And we then bought from the target audience, we targeted them and traffic that would probably be interested in this book. And what we made them do is sign up for the book. And we gauged interest. And we could validate from that in that sense. And that’s a little bit about how research can then back your strategy. Because if no one was signing up for this book, well, then my cover isn’t good. The topics are not interesting. Now I don’t need to allocate more research and resources to actually get in this venture, complete. And then I go back to the strategy and fine tune it.

 

The better your research the better your target audience planning

Ophir Gadot 

And also one thing I want to say here is you can never define marketing channels and projections with no research. Like you can do target audience based on brainstorming in a way, but projections and marketing channels, if you’re doing it on any other assumption or guesswork or brainstorming is worth as gambling,

 

Sam Hebda 

The key thing you said you know, keeping your budget in mind and the KPIs when you’re deciding which channels to focus on is really important. And I mean, you don’t want to be pouring money in the wrong places. That’s the last thing you want to do that’s gonna completely stunt your growth. For example, like with travel, we didn’t invest anything until there was significant interest. And we were over 300 members, it was just …., there wasn’t money we were just building, we were building the product. And that’s really important is to focus on finding the interest before you’re investing in those channels.

 

Joe Casanova 

And you know, sometimes, especially with Bootstrap startups, the budgets aren’t necessarily in place, but you have to consider your labor, your time that you put into it also, as a resource is …

 

Sam Hebda 

Your time is money.

 

Joe Casanova 

Yes, it really is.

 

Sam Hebda 

Getting that founder mindset, your time should be worth, you know, $100 an hour, if you’re putting in 20 hours, there you go. I mean, you’re putting money into the company there, don’t put an hour in the wrong place. So even if you’re not dealing with a lot of money, you’re dealing with your time, you got to think of it like money.

 

Ophir Gadot 

A big part of understanding your audience comes from internal research, meaning customer service, communications, being with hand on the pulse on what’s happening with customer service, all the time we engage with customers, I’ve been in brands where we were getting a percent of the calls of customer service. Owners! to understand their voice, their experience, what they’re going through, and so on, can never get a better sense of your customers than that. Another thing is trying to understand what takes your customers or similar audiences when they shopped with a competitor, meaning how they define positive experience of a third party is your best guess of understanding how to better improve your customer journey and your customer experience. The next step once you’re doing all that and combining with analytical resources, like Google Analytics, like Google search is mapping all your target audiences and creating personas. Now here, it’s like it depends on what kind of strategy you’re doing, always do a minimum you need to do meaning, once you over research and you mapping like 78 segments, you can do that. I can pay on our personas, but be mindful of what it means. Every persona has different assets, different messaging, different funnels, and different advertising budgets. So if I’m putting five personas or 50, it’s pretty much 10 times my budget. To the minimum you can obviously if you’re representing Hello, Asda, and you want to increase your sales all over the world, and you want to attack multiple segments, and you have a marketing budget of $2 billion. Sure, you can do that. But it’s not the best approach for a startup, or you want to go for the immediate best target audience for you. And map them.

 

Joe Casanova 

That was very spot on Ophir.

 

Question to Ask: Who is Your Audience?

Question to ask, who is your audience

So question to ask, who’s your audience, right, you have an idea of who these personas are. And as Ophir said, respend time with customer service. Customer service is the frontline of your business, speaking directly to the customers, that’s why they service to customers. So understanding this, and a lot of these questions can actually come from customer service. Also, you could probably find some of these and those tools like the Google Analytics and spying on competitors, and seeing what you know, where people are coming from, what they’re doing, what they’re doing, when they’re on your website, what pages are spending time on, or even what sections they tend to read the most. So some of the questions that you should ask your audience and understand your audience. What are their pain points? What problem are you solving? What is it that they’re coming to you and hoping that you can accomplish, achieve and provide them?

 

Ophir Gadot 

I have one great example about the pain point. Issue one brand, we just went and reached out to customers who gave us one to two stars reviews, and wanted to understand what made them experience such a negative experience with the brand. And something we found repeating is we had a policy in this ecommerce brand of restocking fee. In case of they using the warranty once we removed the restocking fee, we got almost 20% price and conversion and customer satisfaction like blew up on the brand perspective, it was less than $200 a month from a brand objective they’d like it grew the brand, it grew sales, improved customer satisfaction, improve user generated content.

 

Sam Hebda 

It’s a barrier for yourself, for your company. But on the other hand, you know, just removing that one little factor improved the whole brand’s position. That’s gonna make them way more than $200 a month in the long run.

 

Ophir Gadot 

For what? To save those shipping fees for those customers who didn’t buy. If I’m keeping him happy there the chances of them buying me and not for me another product because they know I will return it. No processing fee or restocking fee. The different positions.

 

Joe Casanova 

People don’t really realize the power of what a money-back-guarantee can do, especially when it comes down to a 90 day satisfaction guarantee policy, you know, helps increase conversions and surprisingly, not a lot of people actually leverage the opportunity to have a full refund. So definitely part of the strategy to keep in mind now going back to your audience, right, understand the questions you want to ask. “What are their pain points?” “What are their interests?”, understanding their age and sex. Because how you speak to a woman is going to be very different from how you speak to a man, especially how you speak to a child, to a senior citizen. “What do they consider a positive experience from a competitor?” And this goes back to the actual customer journey. This is all about knowing going deep into your audience and what is the customer journey, preferred websites, social platforms, devices, and so on. A lot of this information can be given by tools so you could understand. Like this person came to this page from Google, this person came from this page from typing this specific keyword in Google. That’s what led them there. This person came from social media, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, so on and so forth. Understanding the customer journey, very key and the strategy.

 

Marketing Channels Selection

Marketing Channels Selection

So let’s talk marketing channels. The first thing he says, you want to be where your customer competitors are thriving. And it seems to be a common objection in the Ecommerce world, companies are doing a great job in Shopify, they’re so hesitant to jump over to Amazon. But the reality is Amazon, being the behemoth that it is, is definitely where a lot of people and especially their competitors, are making the most of the platform, finding new customers, getting in front of new eyeballs.

 

Ophir Gadot 

Yes, my competitors bring the most of the traffic on Facebook, and I don’t push traffic on Facebook, meaning I’m losing a huge part of the market. I cannot ignore the marketing channel that all my competitors are thriving in, I cannot. Identify has solid marketing channels, even if my … is going to be negative in the beginning. Otherwise, I’m just refraining from competition, it just makes my brand go smaller and shrink. Rather than grow.

 

Joe Casanova 

Conquest campaigns are something to put out there. But definitely understand what is working for the competitors. A lot of people are scared saying all this person’s copying my idea. I actually personally embrace competition. Competition is reassurance that you’re doing the right things. And there’s definitely people that want to jump in and try to take that market cap. But at the same time, you should come into your business with an abundance mentality.

 

Ophir Gadot 

You intrapreneurs of startups always tend to ask for an MBA signature before they speak with you about the startup from fear of competitors. So just one thing to be clear, even if you invented the first time machine, you will have competitors within six months to a year. You will have competitors and good ones, because they will copy from you. That’s a fact. So understanding that, being mindful of that and not being afraid of that. It’s just the only way to do marketing. Otherwise, you’re going to be paranoid and not push anything,

 

Joe Casanova 

I cannot disagree with you, that is spot on. I like to think that whatever idea you are currently working on, there’s someone else doing the exact same thing. The only difference is he’s waking up an hour before you and going to bed an hour later.

 

Ophir Gadot 

It’s all about execution.

 

Joe Casanova 

Period. Take this next point

 

Ophir Gadot 

You need to be one of the audiences that… So, a good example that I’ve experienced in that was, I was serving a lot of financial and I met a publisher from Business Insider, it got the option to get an exclusive placement on public and Business Insider for $10,000. I was told many times I’m crazy for doing that. I paid and we drove customers at worth more than 200,000 from this placement. Then the same goes for an Ecommerce beauty store, you want to have an Etsy. A visual brand wants to have Instagram, even if these channels are not working for your competitors or yourself you need to be there at a certain minimum. For example, in the hair styling tools niche which I was very active in until a few months ago and weren’t pushing Pinterest for some reason just because of the way this industry goes. And what you see in industries most of the time you have like one two brands and all the other are copying from them. So what happened? You have voids. And Tik Tok was underutilized. Etsy was underutilized. And Pinterest was underutilized by all of our competitors. So we pushed the campaign on Tik Tok more than 20k with a PR company, it paid up big time. Same thing with Etsy, the fact that your competitors are not doing something doesn’t mean that you don’t want to go there. It just needs to still find the fit between your audience and the place. And if there is kind of a void, this is your place to be as aggressive as you can, but also be open for that negative Ross, in every new marketing channel for the first year.

 

Joe Casanova 

First year. That is a little tough, but I gotta say that that is definitely some wise…

 

Ophir Gadot 

I mean, you gotta pay to play.

 

Joe Casanova 

It seems like all these businesses want to be on Facebook and Instagram for obvious reasons. But that does not mean that there isn’t a huge opportunity to dominate a smaller platform like a Tik Tok like a Pinterest, like an Etsy. So let’s talk about some tools that we can use to help support market research. Of my personal favorites on this list, of course, is Google. People really do not appreciate the power of Google between Google Trends between just typing the words in the search bar and watching it autocomplete for you. And of course, Google Keyword Planner and all the additional Google Analytics, Google Search Console, all these fantastic tools, but I’m just referring to Google itself.

 

Ophir Gadot 

All these tools, I selected them specifically because they have a free version, so you can use them yourself. They’re super easy to use, you just put in a domain name and you go with it, or a keyword or subject on Buzzsumo and Semrush. Similar Web is very powerful for marketing research. Because you can see traffic breakdown of brands, you can see countries of brand traffic volumes, you can see marketing channels breakdown and third party breakdown. So it just helps you understand if it’s affiliate-focused or referral-focused or SEO-centered or social-centered, and just gets you very focused in terms of the marketing channels you want to address.

 

Joe Casanova 

And Buzzsumo is a very, very great website when it comes down to… You type a keyword that you’re looking for, it will pull up all the infographics, all the content, all the pictures, everything that relates that keyword and is a great place to seek inspiration.

 

Ophir Gadot 

Buzzsumo is just great for this supplement for Similar Web in terms of understanding what contents works for whom and where. And it’s just kind of another layer to that piece, allowing you to really get all the information you need to push this. Similar Sites, the biggest strength of it is the ability to find competitors, find similar websites. And it’s so easy. And it’s so intuitive. And I mean, you never imagined how many competitors you have. Like Joe constantly asked me when I shared with him a link. Where did you get it from? How many times he asked me that.

 

Joe Casanova 

The secret’s out. Now we know where they’re from, what works for them, where it works for them, what’s performing what’s not, and what audiences are being targeted. Right. Now we talk about most importantly, and this is a big part of your strategy is the actual position in the market.

 

Marketing Positioning

Market Positioning

 

Ophir Gadot 

You can never set the market positioning, about understanding your competitors, understanding your audience and understanding the messaging. This is a research task. By definition, once you understand a position you need in order to confer to the consumers and engage with them. This is where you can get the branding specialists to kind of put that content in place to fit that mold, or understand what is lacking in the market in terms of engagement for consumers. CBD is a great example for that. When we started in CBD, the market positioning of all the brands were identical, and how the market evolved, it started going into segmentations and market positioning. And if you’re going to check which brands survived over the last few years, those brands survived, because they were able to position themselves towards that specific audience. With a good messaging that comes in play,

 

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

Joe Casanova 

And the beauty about all this stuff, you can do it all yourself, right? We have our guiding principles, or you’re going to go one by one.

 

Ophir Gadot 

The first thing is, nobody owns knowledge. So you need to come to any research you’re doing with an open mind. I mean, otherwise, you’re not doing research or you’re only affirming you’re guessing. So when you counter research, you have to be open minded and understand that you don’t have the information. Obviously, the next step is to ask as many questions.  A lot of people are stuck with that point where, okay, I’m gonna ask the obvious questions like who is my customer? And where is he from? And what age is he? And what’s important for him and what’s not? And what is average income and so on. But don’t ask the questions that move the needle, meaning, do I even care about your product? Or do I buy because someone else bought it? What do I see on a customer when he goes somewhere else? What is important for them? I think this question is the most important question to ask. What the customer does when he engages with third parties within your niche. This is like a question that most brands don’t ask. Looking for opportunities against going back to where your competitors are lacking or have weaknesses. This is your place to shine and get more exposure. You can stand out, you can obtain new customers flatout and learn from our competitors and think this is like the general notion “never reinvent the wheel”. Other smart people at least like yourself searched, tested, put money down and actually started from scratch. Do you think the Wright brothers when they built the first airplane, they reinvented the wheels? No way, they just added another layer on it. And this is the approach you have to do.

 

Joe Casanova 

That’s the important thing behind market research and actually setting things up. So you can position your brand in order to win. And you know those who don’t “who fail to plan plan to fail”. So make sure you have your strategy on point and one more time. And if there are certain topics of things you guys want to discuss, of course, we’re here to provide as much value to you guys. So a question for Ophir. What qualities and characteristics do you look for in a starving market?

 

Ophir Gadot 

The first competitive analysis I did for my first startup and got no competitors, and you know what it means? I didn’t do my research good enough, because there is no market in this world without competitors, even if they’re far from you. Even if there are differences, you still want to list them down. So the problem is not the starving market but the fact that you excluded betters irrelevant if they don’t bring other features or the exact same product. Let’s say you’re a massage therapist, there’s capacitors, there’s painkillers, they’re doing different things, but they’re sort of competitors. So this is where I would go or speaking on such a competitive market right now, especially digitally, there’s nothing you can think of. It doesn’t has other salaries or other service providers. There’s not any if you have found it, please pitch me. I’m going to invest in your business.

 

Joe Casanova 

Love it. Amazing. Thank you Ophir once again, I’ll talk to you, Sam, this is your opportunity. Any closing remarks, talks you’d like to add to our wonderful close out to our mastermind session today.

 

Sam Hebda 

Thanks so much for having me here. Ya know, I love everything you guys have gone over. Being open to change and not looking at your competition as a scarcity market, but rather as opportunities to learn and grow alongside them. I think that’s really crucial. And what we’re doing as well through Discord and through the community development like that, that all really applies there. Asking the right questions, looking for opportunities to collaborate, looking for opportunities to learn from each other, and learning from your competitors because you know, if you’re looking at them as opportunities to learn not gonna look at them as opportunities being taken away, but rather opportunities for you to get more opportunities. So it’s kind of a chain reaction there if you look at it the right way. That’s kind of framing there. So I really liked what you guys are doing. This is great, very educational, learned a lot myself and just appreciate being part of the masterminds.

 

Joe Casanova 

Of course we’re glad to hear from you and hopefully not the last time. With that being said that has been our mastermind session. Much loved and appreciated. Of course, the stream ends now but the Discord stays alive. So we invite you to join if you haven’t already. I appreciate you guys tuning in, and we shall see you in the Discord. Take care everybody. Take care.