Professional Marketing Research Data – At Your Fingertips, For FREE
One of the most powerful marketing research tools available to businesses of all sizes is often overlooked and routinely underutilized. This suite of tools provides incredible insights into:
- How potential customers perceive of your overall brand.
- How that overall brand perception might differ throughout the country, or even for a single store.
- How customers compare your brand to the competition.
- Exactly what customer value about your brand and in which ways you fail to live up to their expectations.
- How customer opinions and impressions of your brand change over time, overall and by region.
- How customers engage with your content differently during extraordinary circumstances (i.e., everything from Christmas-eve shopping to hurricanes).
- How advertising campaigns impact engagement and even foot-traffic for both entire cities and individual stores.
- What brand and store imagery is most effective and engaging customers.
- How systemic changes (e.g., reservation system, policies, training) rolled out to locations are being received by customers.
And the best part about this research tool is that all of the data collection is given to each and every company completely free of charge.
Have you already guessed at the name of this powerful but under-used resource……..?
The Resources is… Google My Business
Yes, businesses are actively using Google My Business (GMB) as a marketing tool to collect and process reviews, present hours and menus, answer questions and post specials. These are all vital functions to engage with customers to retain current customers and gain new business. The growth of the GMB platform is a testament to how well Google is adapting to a mobile-first world where customer and community engagement is at the forefront. It is the research value to inform and possibly transform a business, however, that can ultimately be the real value of the platform.
Take a step back and think about all the data. Google has collected and makes available up to 10 years of detailed customer feedback. To put that into perspective, one LocalClarity client has 100,000 reviews during that period (while this is certainly above average, it is not extraordinary for national businesses). This represents a 3,000,000 word data set representing the voice of the customer detailing every aspect of their interactions – and opinions – of this company.
The growth of the Google LocalGuides program in just the last year means that going forward over 1,000,000 words per year are being added to the data set for this one business. Consider the potential value of this data to inform and direct your business strategy (i.e., the samples listed above) if these insights could only be index by location, region, sentiment, and review rating. No need to imagine, this is already available (see below).
Not Just Review Data
Review data is just one part. How clients and potential clients engage with your brand in the consideration phase (searching and selecting) is also made available in incredible detail. Metrics for search and maps presentation connect to phone calls, driving directions, website visits, and even how customers engage in the photos.
All you need to do is to aggregate and index the data provided. The performance of one location presented in the GMB dashboard is interesting from a performance measurement standard, but this isolated data is not prescriptive for how to compete and improve. Aggregated and comparative data, on the other hand, can identify the exact ways in which customers are driving the success, for example, of the Northeast Division compared to the poorly performing Southwest Division. These “actionable insights” are often the key to company success.
Affordable Data Collection
The data collection process adheres to many of the requirements of professional market researchers. The data is consistent, independent, geographically diverse, and contains both structured (review stars) and free-form (review comments) elements. The survey volume is increasing rapidly with the growth of LocalGuides and the popularity of reviews in general, and over the last 3-4 years, the data increasingly represents the entire demographic spread of the companies customer base – no matter the age or socioeconomic factors.
Aggregated, Geographical, or By Location
While aggregated data provides powerful insights, sometimes the very best approach is to compare and contrast regions or individual locations. By looking at Google driven phone call spikes in Texas and then in Florida in 2017, retailers gain an understanding of exactly how customers engaged with their brand during the hurricanes — and what resources will be necessary the next time. By looking at review scores in metropolitan areas versus rural, companies can determine if there are different drivers of satisfaction. By looking at driving directions data, brands can identify if they can increase their store density without undue cannibalization.
Free Trial to Explore Your Data
I recommend that every company take a serious look at the free marketing research contained within their Google My Business data. If you would like a bit of assistance in the process, please let us know. LocalClarity offers a 30-day free trial. Included in this trial is the ability to aggregate the data into just the right combinations that make sense for your business entity. You can then download the details for even more refined analysis.
Enterprises can take advantage of the “Start Informed” onboarding process. You can download the details of the report from the Enterprise Edition page.