Market research is not something limited to big companies with dedicated research departments. The Internet allows businesses to gather a wealth of information about their audience and industry.
Advertising research takes the guesswork out of creating a marketing strategy or deciding the components of your particular online marketing mix. Entering the world of web commerce without conducting any sort of marketing research means you will be at a disadvantaged position against your competitors.
Competitive intelligence deals mostly with what your competitors are doing. By analysing your competitor's current marketing processes and strategies, you can learn a lot about what works and what does not for your industry, without spending money testing it yourself.
Marketing an ecommerce business
It is difficult to find information about how effective the Internet is for your competitors. However, you can guess by the amount of money they spend advertising, and where do they spend it. If your competitor's ads are always on some particular websites, they are probably worth considering as part of your marketing programs. This can also help you avoid marketing placements which would make you compete with very strong competitors. Product prices
The Internet is full of price comparison websites, and you can get a ballpark value for almost anything with just a few clicks on a search engine. This will allow you to time your offers and discounts so they don't compete with a stronger competitor with a lower price. SEO and social media
SEO and social media are great sources of free business promotion, if you get them right. By looking at the keywords, your strongly positioned competitors are targeting you can decide where to focus your SEO strategy, or which networks is worth having a presence on. You can also research things such as what websites is your competition using for back-linking.
The online medium offers many possibilities of gathering customer intelligence to improve your products, from polls to reviews and social media interaction.
With A/B testing you show two or more slightly different versions of your website to different groups of users, selected randomly. This way you can test which version is better. This is often applied during the marketing process to decide on the most effective ad copy, marketing concepts or even product pictures and font styles. Product development
One of the best things of having an online presence is the level of interaction with your customers it affords. You can ask them what they think about your new product or what improvements they'd like to see on the next version, and they will tell you. Sometimes they will tell you even without you asking them!