The Personal Side of Data – And How to Find It

Recently we talked about creating better content by looking at data from another perspective, but how can we find information that gives us those personal insights? Below you’ll find 7 ways to approach research (and data) differently.

  1. Look in the places you don’t initially expect: Find the places where people speak plainly and honestly about their wants and needs. With forums for every niche you can imagine, Reddit is a fountain of useful information for marketers. Look for the most specific and relevant subreddits you can find and see what people are saying. Tumblr, as controversial as it can be, also offers similar, useful insights if your topic falls into an artistic category or a category with a large fandom.
  2. Find out what problems people are having: Look for the things people complain about – they’re passionate about these problems and anything that offers a solution will be welcome. And if your brand can solve a problem in the vertical? Even better! You can find this type of information on social media, review sites, and from talking to people in your day-to-day life.
  3. Listen to the conversation: The best way to know what people want is to read what they say. There is a myriad of tools out there that allow you to create a query and track conversations on any given topic across the vast expanse of the internet. Find out what people are saying, how they feel, and where your brand or product stands. Listening to the conversation doesn’t just educate you – it can help you spot problems with your brand or product before they escalate while also helping inform innovations.
  4. Ask a better question: If you’re conducting focus groups or surveys, don’t just ask the obvious questions. If you’re too blatant about what you want to know, participants may tweak their answers or you may miss out on valuable insights. If you want to know about how people purchase technology for the holidays, also find out what struggles they have with buying gifts or what frustrates them about technology in general. Ask what they wish existed and who the hardest person to buy for is. Go a bit more abstract and open-ended with your questions to find out what really resonates with people.
  5. Look for the patterns and find out where they break: Research isn’t just about the words people are saying, it’s also about the trends that develop in the conversation. People often fall into routines and patterns of behavior, and conversations are typically cyclical. If there’s suddenly a sharp change in topic, tone, demographic, or anything else, dig into why. There’s an insight to be found there, and that insight could be the one that changes the game for you.
  6. Analyze the competition: Don’t just look at what the competition is doing, look at what people are saying about it. How are they similar to your brand or product? How are they different? What are their missed opportunities? What frustrates people about them? Find the holes in their story and make sure you fill them in yours.
  7. Look at the bigger picture: Nothing exists in a vacuum, and internet conversations are no exception. Make sure you apply context to everything you read and dive into. What’s happening in the cultural zeitgeist? What’s trending outside of your industry? Are people mistrustful of the something right now? What celebrities, new events, and types of entertainment are owning the conversation? Everything has context and everything matters.

Analyzing data and collecting research may be time-consuming, but the more detailed your picture of your target audience is, the more likely you are to succeed. And don’t worry, our team can help you do all of these things.

Finally, don’t forget what I said last time – good marketing looks at the data; great marketing remembers the people behind it.