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How Marketing Research Can Improve Your Marketing Design

Why Use Market Research in Marketing Design

September 14, 2021
Danica Popovic


Design is one of the most important aspects of a good marketing strategy, so here’s how to use marketing research to help you create designs that convert prospects into customers.

Market research and good design go hand in hand, since conducting market research can help you make decisions about the look and feel of everything you design for your business.

Of course, while you can rely on research for ad hoc business decisions, it’s much better to incorporate these findings into your strategic planning. Since design is one of the key assets of an effective marketing strategy,

So let’s take a closer look at the reasons why you need to do market research before creating a marketing design strategy.

Reason 1: Knowing your target audience

Let’s start with the big one. If you know who you’re marketing to, chances are your efforts will be much more successful. Your marketing strategy should include concrete marketing personas or personalizations of your ideal customers.

Market research methods such as interviews or focus groups can decrease your trial and error period when it comes to design. Of course, while it’s important to understand what your target market likes, it’s much more important to understand what they need.

In that respect, different research methods can be helpful, such as:

  • Interviews: they allow you to understand the users’ feelings and needs, beyond just asking them to choose a preference.
  • Survey: usually much simpler and easier to conduct than an interview, they usually provide quantifiable data; they’re good to use at a later stage, once you have a choice between different options;
  • Focus groups: similar to interviews, but they involve a group of people with similar demographics and interests, so they can be more reliable than interviews for a specific market segment.
  • Experiments and field trials: these test out actual products in demo or trial versions, or samples for physical products.
  • Observation tests: this method is highly effective for understanding customers beyond what they say about your product, to how they actually interact with it; it can have different forms, such as eye-tracking observation, usability testing or in-home/store observation.

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Reason 2: Identifying new opportunities for marketing

One of the biggest benefits of market research is that it allows you to make informed decisions and plan strategically.

For example, a SaaS business might not see a lot of sense in advertising offline. After all, most of your business presumably comes from Internet users looking for services online.

And yet, doing something different can be a great way to boost brand awareness and stand out.

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A famous example is Spotify’s Wrapped campaign (later called A Year in Music), which included very funny billboards that presented their users’ unique listening habits. As a music streaming service, many people use Spotify outside their home (e.g. on their daily commute) so it made a lot of sense to place these billboards in places like the subway or bus stations.

Next, it further promoted one of Spotify’s key value propositions: personalization. The platform offers users personalized playlists and suggestions based on their listening habits, so this was just another way to show how much the company cares about users’ individual experiences. And the prospect of being featured on a billboard like this is pretty exciting, right?

spotify wrapped billboard.jpg Medium

Another way the campaign sparked users’ interest was the connection it created between the musicians and their fans. Alongside every users’ personalized listening data, they created the same for musicians, who shared these flattering stats on their social media, helping the platform get even more buzz.

spotify wrapped maroon 5.png Twitter

Reason 3: Making a unique offer

Researching your competitors is a necessary step in the market research process. If you understand their strengths and weaknesses, then you will also be able to create a unique value proposition and communicate it through marketing design.

One of the largest and most well known companies that uses market research is Apple. Since superb design and advanced features are key value propositions of their products, it’s also necessary for their marketing campaigns to reflect this.

These series of ads that compare iPhones to their competitors (implicity, Android phones) are a perfect example of how to achieve this through effective design. This one effortlessly shows the superior portrait mode which was introduced with the new camera of iPhone 8.

apple vs android ad 2.png Cult of Mac

Or this one that boasts a superior app store

apple vs android ad 1.png Cnet

But this approach has been a part of Apple’s marketing strategy for decades. Their key value propositions (based on market research of course), which are** minimalism and superior design,** have always made their ads memorable and unique.

apple chic not geek ad.png Business Insider

Reason 4: Tracking campaign results

The key to a successful marketing campaign is monitoring and iteration. Doing research early on can save you time and effort down the road with making sure your marketing efforts are optimized at all times.

For example, if you’ve noticed your social media campaign isn’t performing as well as you’ve hoped, you can use marketing research to refine your targeting: perhaps you’ve only included demographic data, but excluded relevant interests and experiences that make people drawn to your product or service.

You can also use marketing research to create a sophisticated lead qualification system, so that you’re making sales pitches to the people most likely to purchase from you.

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Danica Popovic

September 14, 2021

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.