Peterborough firms urged not to be blinkered by market research

Louise Barrett of Media Matters.
Louise Barrett of Media Matters.
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The amount of time we spend online has doubled since 2011, according to Ofcom’s annual communications market report.

Yet, the rising rate at which we use the Internet to transact, communicate and connect is nothing new to marketers; most businesses have ventured into the world of digital marketing.

So what are we to make of Ofcom’s latest report? Is it really of any use to help guide your marketing?

Market reports, like Ofcom’s, are important to help us understand how our target audiences are using different platforms but they aren’t the ‘be all and end all’. For example, if you are targeting over 55s it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that you must be using Facebook: the Ofcom report suggests 60 per cent of this audience is on the social media platform.

However, simply creating a Facebook page isn’t enough. Create a plan for using the platform: what content will you share? Have you considered the fact that Facebook’s algorithms now mean less organic posts from business pages are appearing in people’s newsfeeds?

As a result, will you invest advertising budget?

All of these factors need to be considered; by only looking at the latest market research reports and user statistics you could be blinkered from the bigger picture. Again, the Ofcom report highlighted that 78 per cent of the UK population now has a smartphone. You would be wise to think about how your website performs and if your content is easily digested via mobile.

Is your email marketing optimised for mobile? Is wording in images on social media legible on mobile? Are your blog posts easy to read on the go? Once again, make sure you take a moment to consider your approach. Although mobile is important, it may not be the only device you should focus on; take a look at your website analytics. Google Analytics can quickly tell you what device the majority of your audience visit your website via: desktop, mobile or tablet. Tailor your approach accordingly but always consider your search engine marketing too – how your website performs on mobile is critical for search. I would urge you to take a deeper look at the Ofcom report (available via Ofcom.org.uk in an interactive format). There may be some nuggets of information that get you thinking about a new channel to reach your audience. But that’s just it; use reports to trigger wider research and always plan, and measure, your marketing activity. If you’re unsure whether your approach is right for your audience, speak to a marketing expert.