Employee Advocacy Helps in Increasing Brand Reach

Over the past few months, more people and publishers have shifted their focus to employee advocacy. Even online trading platforms such as Nasdaq are informing companies why employee advocacy matters. You might think of employee advocacy as a trend but is as old as the concept of social media marketing. Companies have realized that empowering employees to engage on social networking platforms is crucial to their success. Employee advocacy leans towards the aspect of social marketing. Beyond marketing, employee advocacy influences other aspects of the business as well. For example, a robust employee advocacy program can promote the growth of the back-end components of a company. Below are five ways advocacy builds brand reach.

ENABLE MEANINGFUL INTERACTION

Marketers often put faith in their social media marketing strategies because they trust the ideas, recommendations, and thoughts of their followers and peers. That’s what makes a social media marketing strategy so powerful. A brand message shared by employees is likely to reach more customers than when shared via the official brand social marketing platform. Beyond brand promotion, social networks are a great way to increase customer engagement. Social media platforms such as Facebook facilitates closer to face-to-face interaction through video links. Employees will probably perfect the art of customer engagement if allowed to harness the power of social media. Moreover, employees can use the same character that shines through in their social networking strategies to improve engagement with prospects. In fact, engaging employees on Twitter or Facebook is closer to one-on-one interaction with potential customers.

BUILD BRAND LOYALTY

Putting faith in your employees will empower them to become responsible and act on behalf of your brand. It’s crucial to give them an opportunity to engage with customers online. Employees feel valued when you allow them to share resources and third-party content on social media networks. Workers feel more connected to the company’s initiatives when given the trust and purpose of the brand. As employees become accountable for their social media engagement, they become more dedicated to your brand and efforts. Of course, this is a great way to drive your company’s productivity. Highly engaged employees are likely to increase your sales. Employees often feel enthusiastic and connected to a brand when allowed to share work-related content on social media. Customers value employee posts more than official social ad. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook have created a new world of advocacy where brands can connect with tech-savvy workers.

Employees are among the top and most trusted brand ambassadors. In fact, employees are the key marketing assets that brands should tap to boost their social reach. Content shared by employees receives more attention than posts and tweets shared via official brand channel. As such, brands can take their social brand reach to a higher level using employee advocacy tools. You can empower employees to share brand content across their social networking platforms. That enables your engaged employees to create an online identity and reach out to more potential clients. That’s an excellent way to position them as thought leaders and encourage them to build their web presence. You can use an advocacy program to make your employees more trusted brand ambassadors.

REINFORCE THE VALUE OF YOUR COMPANY

Employees will need to incorporate your company’s value as they step up to become your brand ambassador. That’s a great way to make everyone aware of the value of your brand. Employee advocacy programs bring all the company’s leaders and employees to a centralized location. That facilitates internal sharing of the company’s values and goals. Employees no longer have to flip emails or look for information in handbooks to find company policies. Instead, employees have everything on a shareable platform. It’s also easier to contact leaders and communicate with everyone throughout the organization. As such, it’s crucial to involve everyone in the organization in employee advocacy. That helps build a unified company and keep everyone aware of what customers want. It’s also an excellent way to encourage employees to share content on behalf of the company.

BRING COMPANY GOALS TOGETHER

Sales and marketing departments can often miscommunicate. That can probably frustrate employees and have an adverse impact on the health of the company. You might be losing close to 10% of revenue every year due to misaligned communication between your marketing and sales technologies. However, you can bring different departments together through an employee advocacy program. That helps promote collaboration and ensure everyone is on the same page. Closer interaction often helps your social media strategy to thrive. Consequently, communication between employees and customers will improve considerably. One of the ways to improve workplace communication is to loop all aspects of your company including processes and departments. Organizations with a seamless connection are three times more likely to outperform their peers.

ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY

You must make your employees creative enough to deliver useful content and influential posts. Employees should be able to create attractive content and compelling articles and columns to find a niche in the ever-competitive marketplace. Allowing employees to voice their concerns encourages them to become thought leaders in their area of expertise. That not only creates an opportunity for employees to develop their career and knowledge but builds your brand’s online presence. Ultimately, that creates growth opportunities for everyone involved. An employee usually feels more connected and valued when you create career development opportunities and nurture their talents. More talents will want to join the company when they see how knowledgeable your employees are and active popularizing their brand.

The concept of employee advocacy has become crucial for marketing teams to implement over the past few months. Employees in tech-savvy firms are using social media to share content and engage customers online. In fact, employee advocacy has span beyond marketing to include other business aspects such as customer engagement. Employee advocacy helps take sales, HR, and employee engagement to a higher level. Top brands are investing a lot of resources and time on employee advocacy programs. Recognizable brands are looking for ways to build a thoroughly engaged workforce and increase results across the entire business.

 

HOW TO OVERCOME DIFFERENT BUSINESS HAZARDS

Electrical hazards are dangerous to you and your property. Knowing common electric hazards and how to fix them will keep everything safe and sound.

Not Using Extension Cords Properly

An extension cord can make life easier. However, not using one properly can cause problems.

Be sure to select extension cords with a UL rating. Make sure you use a cord appropriate for what you are plugging into it and where you are using it. For example, if you need a cord for running power tools outside, you want a cord that is made for outdoor use and that can handle the start up amperage of the tools.

Never run an extension cord under a rug or carpet. The cord can become worn and wires may become exposed, increasing the risk of an electrical fire. Never use a cord that has exposed wires. Throw it away and buy a new one.

If you are in constant need of an extension cord in one spot, have an electrical contractor install additional outlets.

Using the Wrong Wattage Bulbs

Lamps and light fixtures are built to accommodate light bulbs up to a certain wattage. If you use a light bulb with a higher wattage, it can overload the lamp’s wiring. This poses the potential of an electrical fire. Always use bulbs of the recommended wattage or below.

The good news is that modern LED bulbs use considerably less wattage than the old-style incandescent bulbs. With these modern bulbs, you can get brighter light without the hazard of overloading the fixture’s wiring.

Outdated Wiring

Homes more than 30 years old could have outdated wiring, which can become a major electrical hazard. It is important to have dated wiring inspected by an electrical contractor. He may recommend making some changes to lower the hazard risk.

If your home dates back to the early part of the 1900s, you could still have knob and tube wiring somewhere in your home. This should be removed and replaced as soon as possible.

If your home was built before the mid-1970s, you could have aluminum wiring, which is another hazardous form of wiring. As aluminum wire ages, it can become soft, brittle and covered in oxidation. This degradation poses a high level of risk for fire. All aluminum wiring should be removed and replaced.

Overloaded Circuit

The electrical circuits in your home are designed to carry a certain amount of amperage. When you have too many high-amperage devices on a single circuit, you could end up with an overloaded circuit which can cause overheating and fires.

How can you tell if a circuit is overloaded? You may have lights flickering for no apparent reason. Wall plates may be warm or discolored. The circuit breaker trips frequently. The receptacles make a buzzing or crackle noise.

If you have any of these signs, you need to do two things. First, unplug everything on the circuit immediately and shut off the circuit breaker. Second, call a licensed electrical contractor to check the circuit’s safety. Overloading a circuit can damage the wiring, the breaker, and the outlets.

Water Hazards

“It should be common knowledge that water and electricity don’t mix. However, people receive potentially deadly shocks all the time because they forget this basic principle”, said Ryan Bealmear, President of Teague Electric.

Never touch any electrical appliance or fixture that is touching water. It can kill you. Call a licensed electrical contractor to handle the situation.

Keep common household appliances away from water sources. This includes hair dryers, lamps, radiators, TVs, radios, and toasters.

These common electric hazards pose a danger to you and your family. Be aware of them and stop them from occurring. If you find the hazard present, take steps to keep everyone safe.

The Need of Growth Managers for Startups

It’s a no-brainer that a disrupting idea or a category-defining product can not change the world until it reaches in front of the right audience.

While many start-ups and traditional businesses still place marketing in other/miscellaneous column of the balance sheet, they fail to account for the paradigm shift happening in the world. On average, an Indian is spending over 3.5 hours on apps every day, out of which 70 per cent accounts for social networks and entertainment.

At the same time, tech-savvy businesses have learned about the pulse of the generation and are spending billions of dollars on online marketing channels and digital transformation.

Hiring A Growth Manager

Hiring a growth manager rather than a digital marketer is best-suited to early stage start-ups who need massive growth in a short period of time on smaller budgets.

Andrew Chen introduced the term to a wider audience in an article, titled Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing, in which he wrote growth hackers “are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘how do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and open graph”.

How Growth Manager will Scale Your Business

Here are all the reasons why early stage start-ups should hire a growth manager.

Deriving product-market fit: A growth marketer helps in identifying early adopters of your product, putting your product in front of the right set of audience who will pay for the product/service. For the growth marketer, it’s not just about putting it in front of as many random people possible who might or might not pay. By gathering continuous feedback and using multiple iterations and significant revisions of the product, the aim of the growth hacker is to attain the stage where the product becomes a ‘must-have’. DropBox hacked its initial growth by providing additional storage to early adopters who referred friends; the ones who would refer for extra storage were the ones really looking for a product like theirs.

Rapidly testing persuasive copy, campaigns, viral strategies: Growth hacking is all about experimentation rather than a formula-based approach. Your growth hacker should be a master of writing persuasive copy. Running multiple simultaneous tests on the sales or ad-copy, running multiple campaigns at once to arrive at the best-performing ones is the job of your growth hacker. This will justify spending only on the best copy and the best campaigns.

Optimizing landing pages and campaigns: Your growth hacker is a UI/UX rockstar who will design highly engaging and converting landing pages. This is established by the ability to run multivariate A/B tests to optimise copy, images, email capture pop-ups, call-to-action, APIs and plug-ins. A white label SEO service company, The HOTH, tweaked their landing page to gain 844% increase in opt-in leads by optimising the value proposition and eliminating all unnecessary elements.

Udemy changed its course page design from a clunky three-column design to putting the headline, subheadline and promo video front and center, with a much more obvious CTA button to make the value proposition seemingly clear, which increased the click-through rate by 246%.

Qualified lead generation: A growth marketer will define the marketing funnel specific to your business by designing lead magnets that convert. Differentiating huge traffic from quality leads is the factor which helps lowering CPL (cost-per-lead). A growth marketer will be able to drive enormous traffic and generate qualified leads through a multi-channel strategy by integration of earned, owned, paid and shared media, in a way that optimizes costs.

AirBnB was able to drive major initial traffic by redirecting craigslist vacation rental traffic to their own site through a few Web hacks and setting up automated emails to visitors already looking for vacation rentals. The traffic and thereby booking conversion exploded when they ‘optimised’ their content by offering free photography services to listings.

Driving increased conversion rates: Traffic and leads become nothing but vanity metrics for your business, if they do not convert into a sale. A growth hacker will be able to nurture leads through email marketing or social, providing continuous value through case studies, webinars or even free consultation. A growth hacker is a conversion ninja who is able to use ‘retargeting’ to convert leads like a pro.

Marketing automation: Even the best funnels cannot explode growth at scale without marketing automation. A growth hacker will be able to design and implement viral loops which acquire leads through lead magnets, nurture them through conversational automated sequences with an end goal of making quality conversion with the prospect likely to retain.

Product design-marketing integration: The best growth marketers will design the marketing viral loop entwined with the very fabric of the product DNA. The product’s potential growth and the marketing funnel is built into the product’s features itself rather than building an infrastructure to do a lot of marketing. Growth marketers are expert in building product features that work as a marketing tool instead of ‘buying’ a customer.

Twitter’s ‘suggested users to follow’ feature is a quintessential example where the feature itself pushes the user to engage and hence retain (through data analysis, Twitter found out that a user is more likely to tweet and hence engage if she crosses a tipping point of following nine users).

You will see television advertisements and brand endorsements of Pepsi, Nike or Cadbury but a growth hacker will make you wonder, “Who does the marketing for Facebook, or Twitter or Airbnb?”

Good Days for Indian Startups

The Bengaluru-based research arm of a medical devices company based in Maryland, US, has developed, under the leadership of an Indian inventor Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar, a whole-body, magnetic resonance-based therapeutic medical device that beneficially changes the way tissues grow and die, particularly in tumours, and it has been designated as a breakthrough device by the US Food and Drug Administration. The status will accelerate the process of granting clearance for trials and pre-marketing approvals.

This is not a development within the Indian startup ecosystem, true, but it is, nevertheless, a big morale booster for all Indian startups working on R&D-based innovation, different from the me-too Indian avatars of successful companies abroad. The defence ministry’s move to fund 250 startups to find solutions for defence requirements is another boost for startups.

The whole Silicon Valley ecosystem began with the US defence department’s attempt to create solutions for its assorted problems/requirements by funding small companies formed by the professors and research students/graduates of Stanford University. Defence had the funds and clearly defined problems in need of solutions. Folks at the university had the brainpower and the hunger to solve them and create wealth for themselves in the process. Angel investing and venture capital came along in due course to scale up this process of funding startups to deliver products and services that scale up. The rest, as they say, has been the future.

There is every reason to believe that this process of seeding innovation and building businesses that thrive by delivering viable solutions to the problems and requirements identified by Defence is replicable and will create both indigenous defence kit and a new breed of hitech companies that generate jobs, intellectual property and wealth.

The process has to be managed ethically and professionally. Taking on board veterans of India’s IT industry to manage the scheme is one way to prevent the scheme from degenerating into a game of patronage.

 

The Growth of Coworking Industry in India

India had over 720 coworking centres as of last year, according to DataLabs By Inc42

The cumulative coworking space leased from 2017 till Q1 2019 has reached 6.9 Mn sq ft

Coworking spaces in India are slowly attracting the attention of big-name startups as well.

Coworking spaces have changed the traditional way of working. With beanbags, cafes and libraries, the shared spaces are jazzed up to attract millennials and match up with the startup culture.

Along with offering flexibility of location and timing and a fun atmosphere to employees, these spaces allow enterprises to lock in costs for future projects and enjoy the flexibility of occupancy in tenure and scale. In India, the industry is gaining strong foothold at a fast pace.

The Growth Of Coworking Industry In India

which tracked the developments in the ecosystem last year, India had over 300 coworking spaces with over 720 centres and a total area of 15 Mn sq ft. After being adopted in Tier 1 cities, the trend is now spreading its wings to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as well.
Besides the likes of WeWork, Innov8, 91springboard and Awfis, other notable players in the Indian market include GoWork, OYO Workspaces, BHIVE Workspace, Cowrks, VorqSpace, Base Station, SproutBox, myHQ, AltF CoWorking, GoHive, Yessworks, Ideashacks and others. With so many players, the competition has skyrocketed over the years.

According to JLL’s ‘Co-Working Reshaping Indian Workplaces’ report, the cumulative coworking space leased from 2017 till Q1 2019 has reached 6.9 Mn sq ft. Further, it said that the coworking share in office leasing among the top seven Tier 1 cities of India has gone up from 5% in 2017, to 8% in 2018 and 12% by Q1 2019. This indicates the growing size of the Indian coworking industry.

So what are the key highlights of the Indian coworking ecosystem from the point of view of growth and market size?

  1. Second Largest Market After China: 

More than 1.18 Mn people work in around 35,000 coworking spaces globally. According to reports, India alone had approximately 1000 coworking locations as of September 2019. “Currently, India is also the second largest market for the coworking industry after China. The share of coworking spaces in the total office leasing sector increased from 5% to 12% in 2019 and I believe this trend will have an upward trajectory,” Sanjay Choudhary, CEO and founder of Incuspaze.

  1. Expansion To New Tier 2, 3 Cities: 

After being adopted in tier 1 cities, the trend of coworking spaces is now spreading to tier 2 and tier 3 cities as well. “Statistically, Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru have the most co-working spaces; owing to the growing number of startups and advancements, both technically and economically, in the respective cities.

Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune follow close with a changing culture of early adopters looking to innovate with flexible spaces,” Mishu Ahluwalia, founder and CEO, GoHive inputs.  “With the increase in leasing in coworking spaces over the last quarter, the model is an asset for many developers and investors,” Ahluwalia added.

  1. Occupancy Growth:

 Coworking spaces in the country sprawl over an approximate area of 6.9 Mn sq feet. As per Colliers International report, flexible work space operators crossed 7 Mn sq feet of leasing during 2018 which accounts for 14% of the entire leased commercial space during the year. According to myHQ, the Indian market has the potential to offer 12-16 Mn seats in coworking spaces to startups, SMEs and other businesses.

  1. High Demand From Enterprises:

 Besides startups, bigger enterprises are also realising the value of coworking. MNCs and established businesses are also tilting towards coworking spaces because of multiple reasons. A major contributor to this inclination is the access to expertly managed office spaces that enables large enterprises to save money, along with giving them the flexibility of working in terms of location and time.

“Having a well-managed office space indirectly contributes to the growth of the overall organisation, as this allows the senior management to focus on the core activities of the business without the hassle of overlooking the day to day operations of running the office space,” said Choudhary. Large enterprises are one of the fastest-growing categories at WeWork India constituting 52% of the member base.

  1. Preferred By Modern Workers: 

Since coworking spaces thrive on the concept of flexibility, they offer the same to their employees. “We try to keep a positive impact on employee productivity as we foster a workplace setting defined by trust and empowerment. Our goal has always been to create an enriching work culture that remains unchanged despite an evolving, fast paced business,” CWeO of WeWork India Karan Virwani.

  1. Room For Experimentation:

Most of these places thrive on providing unparalleled services and amenities it offers its members. They enable collaboration, engagement and networking between members with new ideas. Many coworking spaces experiment with new features to stay relevant. For instance, Chennai-based Wsquare is a women-only coworking space. Additionally, the management also organises a marketplace once a month to motivate women entrepreneurs to showcase their products or ideas.

The team works towards managing multiple aspects of the workspace for the enterprises, which enables them to put greater focus on other business matters. Vorq Space founder Akshit Mehta, “Coworking spaces are becoming more affordable and flexible for startups and are providing the perfect environment for them to flourish. With the multitude of services and community driven ecosystem at affordable pricing and such flexibility, coworking spaces have given the serviced industry a whole new approach.”

  1. Future Positive: 

Coworking space providers are expecting to lease around 18% of the total workspace in India by 2020. There are numerous providers — including international startups — and most of them focus on startups as the primary audience. SMEs and large enterprises are also following suit, allowing for flexibility and efficient time management for their teams.

Coworking spaces seem to be a promising sector for budding entrepreneurs. Not only are global players like WeWork in great demand today, but other smaller international players are also making their way to the Indian market to tap into the great demand.

With coworking places going from strength to strength, it’s only a matter of time before this becomes one of the biggest sectors of the Indian startup ecosystem, especially as more and more startups come to the market.

How to Do Market Research

Here are a few steps to guide you through the process of how to do market research:

Identify a portion of that persona to engage.

Now that you know who your buyer personas are, you’ll need to find a representative sample of your target customers to understand their actual characteristics, challenges, and buying habits.

These should be folks who recently made a purchase (or purposefully decided not to make one), and you can meet with them in a number of ways:

  • In-person via a focus group
  • Administering an online survey
  • Individual phone interviews

We’ve developed a few guidelines and tips that’ll help you get the right participants for your research. Let’s walk through them.

Choosing Which Buyers to Survey

When choosing whom you want to engage to conduct market research, start with the characteristics that apply to your buyer persona. This will vary for every organization, but here are some additional guidelines that will apply to just about any scenario:

  • Shoot for 10 participants per buyer persona.We recommend focusing on one persona, but if you feel it’s necessary to research multiple personas, be sure to recruit a separate sample group for each one.
  • Select people who have recently interacted with you. You may want to focus on folks that have completed an evaluation within the past six months — or up to a year if you have a longer sales cycle or niche market. You’ll be asking very detailed questions, so it’s important that their experience is fresh.
  • Aim for a mix of participants. You want to recruit people who have purchased your product, folks who purchased a competitor’s product and a few who decided not to purchase anything at all. While your own customers will be the easiest to find and recruit, sourcing information from others will help you develop a balanced view.

 

Prepare your research questions.

The best way to make sure you get the most out of your conversations is to be prepared. You should always create a discussion guide — whether it’s for a focus group, online survey, or a phone interview — to make sure you cover all of the top-of-mind questions and use your time wisely.

Your discussion guide should be in an outline format, with a time allotment and open-ended questions allotted for each section.

Summarize your findings.

Feeling overwhelmed by the notes you took? We suggest looking for common themes that will help you tell a story and create a list of action items.

To make the process easier, try using your favorite presentation software to make a report, as it will make it easy to add in quotes, diagrams, or call clips. Feel free to add your own flair, but the following outline should help you craft a clear summary:

  • Your goals and why you conducted this study.
  • Who you talked to. A table works well so you can break groups down by persona and customer/prospect.
  • Executive Summary.What were the most interesting things you learned? What do you plan to do about it?
  • Describe the common triggers that lead someone to enter into an evaluation. Note: Quotes can be very powerful.
  • Provide the main themes you uncovered, as well as the detailed sources buyers use when conducting their evaluation.
  • Paint the picture of how a decision is really made by including the people at the center of influence and any product features or information that can make or break a deal.
  • Action Plan.Your analysis probably uncovered a few campaigns you can run to get your brand in front of buyers earlier and/or more effectively. Provide your list of priorities, a timeline, and the impact it will have on your business.

Conducting market research can be a very eye-opening experience. Even if you think you know your buyers pretty well, completing the study will likely uncover new channels and messaging tips to help improve your interactions.

Define your buyer persona.

Before you dive into how customers in your industry make buying decisions, you must first understand who they are. This is the beginning of your primary market research — where buyer personas come in handy.

Buyer personas — sometimes referred to as marketing personas — are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you visualize your audience, streamline your communications, and inform your strategy. Some key characteristics you should be keen on including in your buyer persona are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Job title(s)
  • Job titles
  • Family size
  • Income
  • Major challenges

The idea is ultimately to use this persona as a guideline for when you reach and learn about actual customers in your industry (you’ll do this in the steps below).

To get started with creating your personas, check out these free templates, as well as this helpful tool. These resources are designed to help you organize your audience segments, collect the right information, select the right format, and so on.

You may find that your business lends itself to more than one persona — that’s fine! You just need to be sure that you’re being thoughtful about the specific persona you are optimizing for when planning content and campaigns.

Engage your market research participants.

Market research firms have panels of people they can pull from when they want to conduct a study. The trouble is, most individual marketers don’t have that luxury — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the time you’ll spend recruiting exclusively for your study will often lead to better participants.

Here’s a simple recruiting process to guide your efforts:

  • Pull a list of customers who made a recent purchase.As we mentioned before, this is usually the easiest set of buyers to recruit. If you’re using a CRM system, you can run a report of deals that closed within the past six months and filter it for the characteristics you’re looking for. Otherwise, you can work with your sales team to get a list of appropriate accounts from them.
  • Pull a list of customers who were in an active evaluation, but didn’t make a purchase.You should get a mix of buyers who either purchased from a competitor or decided not to make a purchase. Again, you can get this list from your CRM or from whatever system your Sales team uses to track deals.
  • Call for participants on social media.Try reaching out to the folks that follow you on social media, but decided not to buy from you. There’s a chance that some of them would be willing to talk to you and tell you why they ultimately decided not to buy your product.
  • Leverage your own network.Get the word out to your coworkers, former colleagues, and LinkedIn connections that you’re conducting a study. Even if your direct connections don’t qualify, some of them will likely have a coworker, friend, or family member who does.
  • Choose an incentive.Time is precious, so you’ll need to think about how you will motivate someone to spend 30-45 minutes on you and your study. On a tight budget? You can reward participants for free by giving them exclusive access to content. Another option? Send a simple handwritten ‘thank you’ note once the study is complete.

List your primary competitors.

Understanding your competitors begins your secondary market research. But keep in mind competition isn’t always as simple as Company X versus Company Y.

Sometimes, a division of a company might compete with your main product or service, even though that company’s brand might put more effort in another area. Apple is known for its laptops and mobile devices. From a content standpoint, you might compete with a blog, YouTube channel, or similar publication for inbound website visitors — even though their products don’t overlap with yours at all. A toothpaste developer, for example, might compete with magazines like Health.com or Prevention on certain blog topics related to nutrition, even though these magazines don’t actually sell oral care products.

Identifying Industry Competitors

To identify competitors whose products or services overlap with yours, determine which industry or industries you’re pursuing. Start high-level, using terms like education, construction, media & entertainment, food service, healthcare, retail, financial services, telecommunications, agriculture, etc.

The list goes on, but find an industry term that you identify with, and use it to create a list of companies that also belong to this industry. You can build your list the following ways:

  • Review your industry quadrant on G2 Crowd.In certain industries, this is your best first step in secondary market research. G2 Crowd aggregates user ratings and social data to create “quadrants,” where you can see companies plotted as contenders, leaders, niche, and high performers in their respective industries. G2 Crowd specializes in digital content, IT services, HR, ecommerce, and related business services.
  • Download a market report.Companies like Forrester and Gartner offer both free and gated market forecasts every year on the vendors who are leading their industry. On Forrester’s website, for example, you can select “Latest Research” from the navigation bar and browse Forrester’s latest material using a variety of criteria to narrow your search. These reports are good assets to have saved on your computer.
  • Search using social media. Believe it or not, social networks make great company directories if you use the search bar correctly. On LinkedIn, for example, select the search bar and enter the name of the industry you’re pursuing. Then, under “More,” select “Companies” to narrow your results to just the businesses that include this or a similar industry term on their LinkedIn profile.

Identifying Content Competitors

Search engines are your best friends in this area of secondary market research. To find the online publications with which you compete, take the overarching industry term you identified in the section above, and come up with a handful of more specific industry terms your company identifies with.

A catering business, for example, might generally be a “food service” company, but also consider itself a vendor in “event catering,” “cake catering,” “baked goods,” and more.

Once you have this list, do the following:

  • Google it. Don’t underestimate the value in seeing which websites come up when you run a search on Google for the industry terms that describe your company. You might find a mix of product developers, blogs, magazines, and more.
  • Compare your search results against your buyer persona. Remember the buyer persona you created during the primary research stage, earlier in this article? Use it to examine how likely a publication you found through Google could steal website traffic from you. If the content the website publishes seems like the stuff your buyer persona would want to see, it’s a potential competitor, and should be added to your list of competitors.

After a series of similar Google searches for the industry terms you identify with, look for repetition in the website domains that have come up. Examine the first two or three results pages for each search you conducted. These websites are clearly respected for the content they create in your industry, and should be watched carefully as you build your own library of videos, reports, web pages, and blog posts.

Purpose of market research

Market, in simple words refers to that place where there is exchange of goods and services between two different parties namely, the buyer and seller. This market is so vast that it becomes a necessity for a buyer to identify its target audience.

The purpose of this market research is:

  1. To identify the target audience, because if the target audience is not set by the buyer it becomes difficult for the buyers to reach its break even point and its sales.
  2. To know the current market position, analyse and make necessary preparations for the near future to face any kind of risk.
  3. To analyse the various kinds of risk which can come in the business because of seasonal, technological, economical, political or legal factors.
  4. Last but not the least, to interpret if the company is brand loyal to its customers and does it provide service at that point of time or not.
  5. The purpose of marketing research is to make marketing better. It’s the same as with any other research:
  • Health research wants to improve health care
  • Chemical research wants to invent better chemicals
  • Food research wants to establish better nutrition
  • Marketing research wants to improve marketing

There are many things that marketers could improve:

  • Reach people more precisely where they are receptive to your advertising
  • Communicate facts and arguments that have stronger influence on their opinions
  • Convey feelings that resonate better with them
  • Spread content that is more relevant to them

Marketing research helps them by finding out what people are interested in, which information they need to make good decisions, which emotions they like to feel, etc.

There are many methods for conducting marketing research. The most common approaches are:

  1. Online surveys
  2. Qualitative research
  3. Collecting and analysing data from digital customer journeys like website visits and webshop purchases.

Reasons why marketing research is important

Lower Business Risks 

Around half of businesses with employees don’t survive past the fifth year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The way to make sure that your business survives for longer is to ensure that you’ve got a steady stream of sales and customers. To do that, you need market research.

Regular market research will be your way to check in with your current customers and potential customers to ensure that you’re still meeting their needs. Here’s how you can apply this:

Test new designs and products before launching. Before you go all-in on a dramatic change for your business, you can test it on a smaller subset of your audience to see if the change would be welcome.

  • Find out why customers don’t come back.Ideally, your small business should have recurring customers. If they don’t come back, you can conduct a survey of previous customers or set up a focus group to find out why you’re not making any repeat sales.
  • Get insights on problem areas. If your most popular product sees a big drop in sales for three consecutive months, you need to find out how to fix it before it ruins your profits completely. Survey your most frequent customers about the product and find out where the problem lies. It could be anything from a decline in the product quality or a glitch on your online store. You’ll never know unless you ask.

Know Where to Advertise

One of the problems that small business owners face is a limited budget. Because of this, your marketing budget should be optimized to give you the best returns possible. Your market research can help ensure that you’re reaching your intended audience in the channels where they’re most likely to see your message.

These are some of the budgetary tasks that your market research can help with:

  • Buying ads on social media. If your market research shows that your target audience spends most of their time on Instagram and almost never use Twitter, you’ll know to direct most of your social media ad budget to Instagram and forget about Twitter.
  • Placing flyers and posters.Knowing the physical spaces where your customer spends their time will tell you where you can best place your advertising. For example, university students are likely to be on campus, so placing ads for that market means that you can try bulletin boards on campus or outside local establishments that their crowd tends to frequent.
  • Targeting ads.Online ads such as social media ads and pay-per-click ads can often be targeted with precision. This means that you can target based not just on the usual demographic data, but also based on online behaviors, life stage, and interests. If you truly know your customers, you’ll be able to maximize the potential for targeting.

Set Better Goals for Your Business

When business owners set goals for their business, it’s typically related to growth in sales or customers. But without market research, you won’t be able to know if your goal is achievable and how to achieve it in the first place.

You might say that you want to double sales by the end of the next quarter. With market research, you’ll be able to determine the specific directions you want to grow your customer base.

Easily Spot Business Opportunities

After you’ve done your market research, it’ll be clear to you who you want to reach out to (your target customers), where you can reach them (your marketing channels), and what they’re interested in. Once you’ve defined these, you’ll be able to easily spot business opportunities.

  • Form partnerships with other businesses. Learning about who your customers are, such as their demographics, can help you find other small businesses that serve them. You can approach these businesses for joint promotions that’ll be mutually beneficial.
  • Create profitable order upgrades. Knowing the other products and services that your customers tend to buy can help you come up with add-ons, product bundles, and upsells that increase the average value of each order.
  • Find new locations to sell to.Knowing the geographical areas where most of your target customers live will allow you to create compelling targeted campaigns that suit the needs and culture of that area.

Create Relevant Promotional Materials

If you’ve ever wondered what text or images to put on your fliers, website, or social media accounts, with thorough market research, you’ll know exactly what to do. Since target customers have already expressed all their wants, needs, and frustrations with you, you’ll know exactly what to address and how to address it when you start creating your marketing materials.

Outsell Competitors

The business that knows their customers more tends to win more. If you can beat your competitors at finding out your customers’ needs and you aim to fulfill those needs, you’ve got a better chance of standing out from the competition. Here are some ways you can use market research to outsell competitors:

  • Target dissatisfied customers. Asking target customers about their frustrations with your competitors’ products or reading their product reviews can help you improve your own products and market them to an audience ready to switch brands.
  • Find an underserved customer segment. Your market research might reveal that there’s a segment of the market that your competition has neglected. This will give you a new customer segment to reach out to.
  • Identify unaddressed customer needs. During your market research, you might uncover some customer pain points or desires that you don’t see addressed in your competitors’ marketing materials. Try including them in your own marketing and see if the results show an increase in sales.

Decision-Making Becomes Simple

The need for and importance of marketing research frequently comes up when making tough business decisions. Instead of having arbitrary criteria for the decisions you make as a business owner, you can always go back to your market research report.

While not all decisions should be solved by market research, many of them can be, such as:

  • where to spend your advertising or marketing budget
  • whether there’s a demand for a new product you want to make
  • if you should open a storefront in a new location
  • which products to discontinue and which ones to merely improve
  • how to price all your offers

There’s a real need for market research because it provides you with solid facts. Through market research, you’ll make more informed decisions rather than resting the fate of your business on guesswork.

Definition of Networking

Networking refers to the total process of creating and using computer networks, with respect to hardware, protocols and software, including wired and wireless technology. It involves the application of theories from different technological fields, like IT, computer science and computer/electrical engineering.

A communication network is a group of things that are connected together using some form of talking or other communication to transfer information or data. The pattern by which things are connected is called a network topology. A television network, for example, connects television stations. Computer networks are numerous.

Standard operating procedures (SOP) in networking require selecting materials, like cabling and networking hardware, and establishing required telecommunication protocols, hardware and software.

The need for enhanced telecommunications has led to the advancement of multiple networking hardware technologies, like hubs, switches and routers. It has also spurred the invention of more creative networking mechanisms that use technologies and protocols, primarily in the mobile space.