How to Do Your Own Market Research

By Anna McDermott

Nancy Marshall interviews experts across all fronts in communication, marketing and public relations on The PR Maven® Podcast. Her guests offer great advice for business owners, entrepreneurs and those just starting out in their careers. She interviewed Susan Baier, whose company, Audience Audit, develops custom attitudinal segmentation research for smart marketing agencies and their clients in a wide range of industries. That is a fancy term for in-depth market research about the types of customers you have and while you may not be able to hire Susan to conduct her amazing research on your behalf, it doesn’t mean you can’t conduct some of your own.

Susan Baier, Audience Audit Inc.

Nancy said a problem that small business owners often face is projecting themselves onto their customers – imagining that what you want, your customer wants. Susan followed up by saying “Think about defining the people you want to serve by the problems they want to solve and why they haven’t solved them already.” She mentioned that Jay Baer, author of Hug Your Haters, gave some great advice to a Facebook follower about their small business. He said to talk to ten customers, each for an hour.

If you pick ten random customers and spend some time asking them questions, you will get a much better picture of the various types of clients or customers you have and how best to serve their needs and market to them. Ask them to sit down for a coffee at a local café and see if you can do some market research on your own.

Here are some sample questions you can tailor to your business:

What is the most important aspect in choosing my business: cost, location, or something else?

How important is location for you?

If you could change one thing about my business, what would it be?

What is one thing you never want to change?

Does my product do all that you need it to?

Do you prefer face-to-face interactions or would using an app be better?

Does being family owned and operated make a difference to you?

You undoubtably have questions that you would love to know the answers to that you could ask, as well. After analyzing the results, you should have a pretty clear picture of two or three different types of customers you have and what is important to them. Do you have a solution to their problems? Do you know ways you can target advertising or marketing to them? Using this information can help you strengthen your brand in a way to appeal to your audience and better serve your customers, as well.

The PR Maven® Podcast is presented by Marshall Communications, creator of The Marshall Plan® strategic process. The Marshall Plan is a fully customized document using our 65 proprietary steps and leads to a playbook for your success. If you think your business or organization would be a candidate for a Marshall Plan, you can take our Marshall Plan quiz to find out. Visit

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