The foundation of a workable and effective marketing strategy is the type and quality of data you consider in making an analysis, evaluation, and conclusion about your target market, competition, and value proposition.
As a startup or a growing business, you should gather demographic and psychographic data about your target market, and data about current and potential competitors. From this body of information, you can derive ideas that can be helpful in establishing your competitive advantage.
According to Techopedia, demographic data are “data that is statistically socio-economic in nature such as population, race, income, education and employment, which represent specific geographic locations and are often associated with time.”
These data are usually used by marketers in crafting their strategies for B2C markets. In developing a consumer product – market fit, marketers study gender, age, ethnic, income, education, and other consumer data.
If you are dealing with the B2B markets, you will gather a different set of data. These may include industry sector or sub-sector, nature of the business, type of organization, number of years in business, annual sales volume, number of employees, the location of the office, geographic area of operation, brand, product, major customers, and other relevant data you need for your study. You can get these data directly from the companies (company website and their other publications or you can interview company officers) and from secondary sources like government reports, industry publications, or paid research reports/services.
Reference.com cites three main groups of psychographic studies:
- By social class – classifying people into groups based on the occupation of their chief income earner – from Class A to Class E;
- By lifestyle class – categorizing people based on their values, opinions, interests, and beliefs although these categorizations change constantly;
- By behavioral segmentation – grouping people by knowledge, use, responses, and attitudes to a product.
Marketers study psychographic data together with demographic data to get a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of their target market segments.
These are information about current and potential competitors that you gather to create competitors’ individual profiles and competitive matrix. These will show the strengths and weaknesses of competitors relative to each other and to your company. Usually, I include the following data:
- Name of competitors, with addresses of their main and branch offices and other facilities
- Supply chain
- Product/Service offered
- Product/Service features and claimed benefits
- Marketing strategies and tactics for product innovation/development, pricing, promotion, and distribution
- Marketing communication channels/media
- Customer support
- Customer feedback
- CSR projects, if any
Analysis and evaluation of these data will enable you to fend off potential threats and/or capitalize on unique opportunities to create, fortify, or boost your competitive advantage.
You can gather competitive data from competitors’ website, blog, social media post, advertisement, marketing and corporate publications, and other media they use to communicate with the public.
Impact on business strategies
Demographic, psychographic, and competitive data are the building blocks of a solid, workable, and effective marketing strategy as well as corporate strategy.
While the importance of these data cannot be overemphasized, many startups and entrepreneurs fail to gather and study enough of these. The depth and breadth of these data that you have in itself constitute a competitive advantage. These can give you an edge over the competition and prevent costly surprises from happening down the road. You can always seek professional help in researching and using these data.