How To Do Market Research Audience Intelligence w Rand Fishkin
Delve into the exciting world of market research and audience intelligence
How can we truly know our customers in this age of surface-level insights? As marketing pioneer Rand Fishkin reveals, going beyond basic demographics and psychographics is key. By blending tried-and-tested traditional market research approaches with modern digital tools, we can dig deeper to uncover our audience’s emotions, motivations and unique circumstances.
Join us as we explore the evolution of market research and why SEO rankings alone can’t solve our marketing woes. Learn how customer research processes can be enhanced to drive meaningful brand connections, and discover the power audience intelligence tools have in revealing where your target market pays attention.
The insights you’ll gain from this article will help you craft marketing strategies that stand out from the competition. Let’s dive in!
Understanding the Evolution of Market Research
Market research has transformed dramatically since the 1960s. Where Ogilvy and Mather once relied on broad demographics and psychographics to place Coca-Cola’s ads, search engine optimization has since revolutionized the field. Yet SEO alone cannot solve today’s marketing problems.
Indeed, high search rankings fail to create demand for products lacking existing interest. As Fishkin explains, “Search is terrible at going out and creating demand for you.” SEO informs where to market yet does little to spark desire. This highlights the persistent need for traditional tactics like surveys and interviews. Only through engaging dialog can brands truly grasp their audience’s emotions and motivations.
Still, SEO imparts invaluable direction. The granularity of online data aids enormously in pinpointing optimal channels and partnerships. As Fishkin reveals, ingeniously combining digital crawling with creative human insight unlocks game-changing opportunities:
- Agencies crawl target customer email lists, identifying key social profiles and influencers. This allows tailored outreach at scale.
- Content marketers learn the resonant topics and phrases within their industry. This guides impactful messaging.
- Advertisers discover the podcasts and YouTube channels captivating their niche. This enables laser-focused promotion.
So while SEO alone cannot solve the marketing challenge, its role in enriching audience intelligence remains profound. The technical and the creative stand strongest together – locating desire while sparking interest. Our task lies in artfully blending both approaches, embracing empathy alongside data to truly know our customer.
Modern vs Traditional Market Research
Search engines and surveys stand miles apart in gleaning customer insight. One mines behavioral data with unmatched scope and efficiency; the other reveals emotional truths through intimate conversation.
Modern tools crawl at scale yet skim the surface. Keyword tracking, web analytics, social media monitoring – these paint a pointillist portrait of our audience through fragments of online activity. Such data dazzles in its breadth and specificity:
- 82 million social profiles analyzed in seconds
- Precise psychographic and demographic segmentation
- Top industry podcasts, influencers and hashtags ranked
From such mosaic portraits, patterns emerge. We trace the digital footprints of our niche, learning where they gather and what resonates. This grants an invaluable roadmap for tailored outreach and messaging.
Yet for all its scope, the digital lens lacks focus. As Fishkin notes, no crawler can reveal the true “why” behind our audience’s choices. Surveys and interviews alone access such empathy and motivation. Through open-ended engagement, we befriend the humans behind the data, embracing their emotions, challenges and aspirations. This grants a depth of wisdom no algorithm can match.
So the strengths stand clear: automation’s objectivity versus humanity’s warmth. Fishkin thus advocates their combination – using digital signals to locate your tribe then qualitative insight to truly know them. Each approach alone leaves half the puzzle unfinished.
Together, the technical and creative unlock something greater – a holistic view of the customer where strategy meets empathy. We survey to spark dialogue, then mine that discussion for resonant language and channels. In this blend of art and science, brand builders find their edge.
Beyond Demographics: The Power of Empathy
Psychographics and demographics set the stage – age, gender, interests, behaviors. Yet true connection requires peering behind such labels. What circumstances shape those listed traits? What emotions color their choices? Through open-ended inquiry, we access life stories over statistics.
Surveys and interviews thus remain essential, no matter the digital assets at one’s disposal. As Fishkin notes, “unfettered capitalism” fixates on surface-level data, missing the humans behind it. A cold numeric view risks losing empathy.
We counter such detachment through simple acts of listening and understanding:
- Asking “why” to unearth motivations: Why choose Product A over B? Why trust Influencer C? The reasoning reveals deeper needs unmet.
- Exploring frustrations that competitors overlook: Where do they struggle? What relationships or assets feel out of reach? Our solution can fill gaps others miss.
- Seeking shared challenges and experiences: How can we frame our offering to resonate with their reality? Where will our message feel most relevant?
- Embracing openness to identify opportunities: Judgment closes doors – empathy spots potential. Letting go of assumptions allows us to see their world and spot openings through fresh eyes.
In this spirit, Fishkin advocates qualitative inquiry before quantifying results. First understand the people, then confirm patterns at scale.
Survey responses summon stories; data analysis uncovers where those stories travel. Human truths, not surface traits, forge authentic bonds between brand and customer. Our analytics tools should serve that aim – revealing channels and content where vulnerable exchange thrives.
With care and compassion, we call forth our audience’s voice. And in listening, position our solutions within the context of their lives.
Targeting Made Tangible: The Power of Audience Intelligence
In a fragmented media landscape, grasping where one’s audience gathers takes guesswork out of growth. Yet compiling such intelligence manually at scale nears impossibility. This makes tools that expose the public trails our customers leave online invaluable for tailored outreach.
Enter Sparktoro, an audience intelligence database housing over 80 million identifiable social media profiles. Founder Rand Fishkin demonstrates how, with a simple search, the platform surfaces media channels and influencers resonating with niche groups — intel once demanding months of engineering work to procure.
We can now instantly glimpse demographics, hashtag and word use, top podcasts and YouTube follows for a given audience segment. Interior designers on Sparktoro, for example, point to architecture blogs, space planning accounts and lighting content as relevant sites to monitor, guest post on or advertise against. No more relying on broad industry assumptions.
Such visibility allows us to:
- Validate marketing hunches with data on where those customers actually engage, rather than guess where attention lies.
- Discover new influencers and partnerships tailored to our audience’s interests.
- Benchmark our content performance relative to channels that currently captivate our market.
- Inform budget allocation across media buys and owned platforms, directing spend toward high-value digital real estate.
- Uncover emerging themes and trends within niche communities that present new messaging opportunities.
In this way, Sparktoro transforms audience understanding from a conceptual exercise into actionable strategy fuel. The tool’s breadth connects target psychographics to tangible channels and contact points for outreach.
As Fishkin notes, we best serve customers by meeting them where they already are — not attempting to divert their attention elsewhere through sheer ad spend. Audience intelligence platforms reveal where relationships thrive, opportunities for value creation abound and our voice deserves a seat at the table.
Beyond Surface Insights: Connecting With Customers’ Realities
Traditional demographic and psychographic analysis skims the surface of customer truth. While helpful for broad targeting, such data misses the emotions, frustrations and situational contexts driving purchase decisions.
Surveys, interviews and conversations access these deeper insights missed by big data. Asking open-ended questions about motivations, thought processes and pain points unveils the human stories behind the stats. We access empathy for customer realities beyond transactions.
Interior designers, for instance, often battle strained relationships and mismatched expectations when working with construction firms. Yet most vendor messaging targets end home buyers rather than addressing designer needs. Here lies an opportunity to forge new, mutually beneficial partnerships between companies and contractors.
Such qualitative techniques help us:
- Uncover and validate emotional triggers driving customer behavior change.
- Spot unarticulated needs competitors have yet to address.
- Identify emerging trends and themes within niche communities.
- Inform product and partnership development that solves true customer problems.
When combined with audience intelligence platforms like Sparktoro, traditional research regains relevance. We can validate survey findings against real activity data from 80+ million social media profiles.
Such tools enable us to meet target groups within their natural digital habitats — not attempt to divert their attention through sheer ad spend. This helps forge authentic relationships that fulfill wants, enhance lives and fuel referrals.
In the end, customer devotion stems from feeling understood. Blending data-driven and human-centered insights allows us to grasp nuanced needs as people rather than personas. We build trust by demonstrating we comprehend customers’ realities and craft genuine solutions accordingly.
Greetings! I’m Jack, founder of Scythos – where I’ve helped over 50 brands transform into unforgettable identities and stunning digital presences. As a brand strategist and creative consultant, I have over a decade of experience taking brands from wallflowers to the centre of attention.
Looking to get your branding noticed and your business thriving? Reach out anytime to brainstorm creative strategies for making your brand impossible to ignore. I love collaborating with passionate entrepreneurs to conceptualize innovative ways to connect with their audiences.
Whether you need help with a logo, website, content or entire rebrand – let’s chat! I’m always eager to share my ideas, creative concepts and expertise to help brands reach the next level. Together, we can make sure your business gets seen and heard. Follow along on social or send me a message to get the conversation started!