When it comes to market research reports it's easy to get lost in charts and graphs.
When market research companies like Drive Research work on reports, we balance comprehensiveness with brevity. It's important to provide the detail to the clients who want it but also provide highlights to the clients who want a quick overview of results.
Our clients value the detail and comprehensiveness of our market research reports. This may include the question-by-question breakdown of each question, the coded open-end data, participation packet information from focus groups, or transcripts from in-depth interviews (IDIs).
However, the brief overview pieces of our market research reports include the executive summary of themes with recommendations, infographics, and customer personas. We ensure our full reports are the best of both worlds.
Some brands care more about topline summaries while others want to get into the weeds. Both styles of reports offer separate benefits.
Rather than getting lost in the analytics, customer personas create a face for your data.
Customer surveys offer a wealth of information for a brand. They can often tell the story of what customers love and hate, what drives overall satisfaction, what needs to be improved, how satisfaction compares to competitors, and so on.
However, the behaviors, demographics, geographies, and attitudes of customers are an often undervalued piece of market research or a survey. Developing customer personas or ideal client avatars (ICAs) help brands better understand key customers and segments of customers.
What is a customer persona in market research?
After reviewing the findings and themes from our market research, we create a composite persona of a typical customer.
The customer profile is compiled based on specific profiling and behavioral traits from the market research data.
It is important to note this persona is not an actual customer or an actual respondent, but rather a representation of a typical collection of attitudes and traits based on findings from the completed surveys.
With a basic customer persona, the data is summarized into one customer story. It is presented in order to help give a real face to the data and discuss a typical customer experience as the respondent works with the client and makes decisions about products and services.
In more involved customer personas and segmentation, the data is built into a number of different customer segments using cluster analysis. An end result is often a typing tool that highlights 5 or 6 key attributes that separate customers into different segments.
What does a customer persona look like in market research?
The first step of a basic customer persona is to find a name. To the prior point about making the customer persona feel real, first, you have to find a name.
Choose wisely here.
We've found our clients love personas so much we'll visit their offices months later and still hear their marketing teams throwing out names of personas (e.g., Why would "Bill" buy this? What would "Bill like most about this ad?")
Some larger Fortune 50 companies go as far as leaving chairs open at boardroom meetings to save a seat for their key customer. See Jeff Bezos at Amazon.
The next step is to pull out the demographic and behavior highlights from your market research. Give Bill an age, household income, profession, etc. Use the demographics and business demographics from your research to add some more context to this typical customer. In cases where you are developing one common customer or one persona, we choose the demographics that are most common. So if the mean age of your customers is 43, Bill should be 43.
The rest of the customer persona is built through the survey, focus group or interview data.
Use the persona to answer key questions. Make claims like "Bill views price, customer service, and availability as the 3 most important items when selecting a company".
Use the market research findings to create and structure your customer persona using majority data or common themes.
Customer personas can add a fresh look, save time, and translate across departments at your organization.
Why is a customer persona valuable in a market research report?
Market research can get stale, especially trackers studies that are conducted time-and-time again.
We've found clients we work with on a regular basis value fresh looks and data visualization techniques.
Customer personas are nothing new in marketing or the market research industry, however many clients with smaller teams or minimal experience in market research have never dealt with customer personas before so they find them extremely valuable.
As stated above, there are inherent time benefits. If the executive team only has a short window to review the key findings of a report, a customer persona or several key customer personas is a great way to tell short stories. Rather than reading through an entire deck or several page executive summaries, a customer persona works very similarly to an infographic.
Customer personas also add value because they are translatable across departments.
When someone reads a customer persona they understand the key takeaways, customer experience (CX), and customer journey without having to look at a single chart or graph. Customer personas are understood by accounting, finance, management, marketing, operations, supply chain, etc. They translate across all departments.
How can Drive Research help you with customer personas?
Interested in learning more about our market research company in New York and how our team can help your business or organization?
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