Guerilla Market Research: Discover Your Prospects on a Budget

Who drives the marketing messaging in your company, really? The engineers? The marketing people? The CEO? The company mascot? The web master? Hopefully your answer to all of the above is "no" and many of you are answering, "our prospects, our market research methods, our online media results". So what's wrong with the technical writers deciding what to call a product?

I find over and over again that companies, especially small and medium size ones, drive their messages and venue approach to their prospects based on who they are and not on their targeted market. We are all better off asking  "Are our prospects watching TV?" "Reading online content?" "Blogging?" "Where are they found?" "What language do they speak these days?" "Do you use that language?" "Are we in their venue?" Or are they trying to find usand once they do they don't understand the language we are using to reach them?

No one has extra market research dollars sitting around these days, so here are some simple steps to take to get to the prospects you are after in their language and in their venue.

1. Online media results. Paid search, web site clicks, banner clicks etc. Which clicks turn to sale? What was the verbiage of the ad that got the click? Or the image? Paid search ad testing is a gold mind for new messages that work in other media t ypes.

2. Talk to your prospects. Have you called back the people who called you last week and didn't buy? Find out why they didn't or who they bought from? Did your process turn them off? Was your web site too confusing? These are all valuable questions to have answered.

3. Surveys Survey Monkey is inexpensive and easy to use. Use it to create simple surveys that survey your prospects and clients on their opinion of your brand and work. Be ready for he honesty the written word brings and put what they say to work for you.

4. Use social media to casually survey your prospects. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites can provide a wealth of detailed insight into your customers wants and desires, irritations and even feature requests for your product!

Do you have a Twitter account yet? Think it is a waste of microchatting? Thank again. Search on Twittersearch for your brand name and industry terms. What are people saying on those topics? Once you have a Twitter account, search people to find your typical prospects. Follow a few of them for a week. What are they talking about?


Are your prospects runners? chocolate lovers? vacation takers? Fan a few of those types of pages on Facebook and observe and participate in the discussions. Where are their passions and motivations? Are they spending according to those online and in retail outlets? Yes.

There are many other means of surveying your prospects interests – these are a few low cost methods to get you thinking their direction, and have a little fun with social media outlets while you are at it. Have fun!

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