Many firms feel their sales teams can increase their overall success rate with market research. To be sure, knowing as much as possible about the playing field can certainly increase your chances of greater success in the marketplace. But too often, education services firms don’t know how market research can help them, because they don’t know the right questions to ask.
That doesn’t mean they don’t know what questions to include on a questionnaire, or what to ask members of a focus group. It means that many firms don’t have a solid idea of what they want to learn by doing market research. If you’re marketing educational services, and you want to embark on a market research program in order to better know how to form a marketing plan, it’s important to know — as precisely as possible — what questions you’d like that market research to answer. Fortunately, there are professionals who make a living marketing educational services — professionals who can help you decide what you want to know.
Any of those professionals will tell you that the primary target of any education market research effort is the customer. What does your customer want? What does he think of your product? What does he think of the packaging? Does he want more features? A better price? Better deals for returning customers? Or does he want something more specific? Would someone become a customer if you did something different?
Thus, finding the problem you want answered is paramount, and it’s a matter of determining what the customer wants, and what he would do under a certain set of circumstances. Learning this may mean interviewing managers and employees, or asking sales staff if there are any specific difficulties they face in selling to teachers, administrators and professors. Find out if there’s a pattern of customer wants, needs or dissatisfaction. Find out from your project managers if they’re at a crossroads on any important decisions.
But pinpointing the problem also involves doing some research, and this is where a team of seasoned professionals who make their careers out of marketing educational services can help you.
How can they do that? There’s very little that’s new under the sun, and you can bet that any problem you’re having in education marketing has probably been faced by someone else in the past. And if your team of marketing professionals hasn’t seen it before, they know how to perform the research to find someone who has — and how they handled it. They do this by researching secondary sources like published industry reports, trade association newsletters and periodicals, information compiled by business intelligence firms, and more (including the Web, newspapers and magazines).
The experts at MarketingWorks have been marketing educational services for years. If you’d like some help pinpointing the issues you’d like your market research to address, contact us today. Or take a look at our extensive menu of services to see what MarketingWorks can do for you.