by John Eberhard

Many companies have been experiencing a reduction in leads and sales since the financial downturn in 2008. This is largely because the public’s attitudes about buying things has changed dramatically as a result of that financial downturn.

So if you are trying to market to your target public with the same message you were using before 2008, it is most likely not going to be working as well.

In this situation it is vital, not to accept a period of “lowered expectations,” but to survey your target public and find out what their current attitudes and “buttons” are. You need to find out what they need and want, and what benefits they think they would get from your product or service. Market research surveys are the answer.

Armed with the correct survey data, you don’t need to lower your expectations. Your business can prosper even in a down economy. And you can compete more effectively in your marketplace.

I’m going to talk about some of the different types of surveys that could be done on your target public.

Target Public Surveys: If you do not have a clear idea of exactly what type of public will buy your product or service (and a surprising number of companies don’t), a “which public” survey can be done. This type of survey identifies characteristics, often demographic information like age, gender, income, or attitudes and interests, that sets your target public apart from the general public. Once you find this out, you can often find ways of targeting this public more effectively and more economically with promotion.

Buttons/Buying Attitudes Surveys: Your target public can be surveyed to find out what their current attitudes are on buying your products or services. Typically this includes finding out what benefits they feel they would receive from buying your product or service, and often will include surveying to find out what problem they feel they could solve by buying your product or service.

Positioning Survey: How your company or product is positioned can be very important in how it is perceived in the mind of the prospect. A positioning survey is done to find the best way to position the product or company.

Customer Satisfaction Survey: What do your customers think of your company? How satisfied are they with your product and service? The answer may surprise you, and it’s important to find out.

Competitor Research: This research centers on your successful competitors, including their marketing message, what promotional media they are using, what kind of information they have on their web site, and what they are doing on social media.

Several of these types of surveys can be conducted more inexpensively by email (rather than by phone), if an email list can be acquired specifically of your type of target public.

In summary, if you have experienced a decrease in leads or sales in the past few years, don’t accept it. You can do something about it, by surveying your target public.