4 Marketing Research Techniques That Give You An Unfair Advantage

So if all great marketing is customer-centered then it makes sense for us to really understand as much as we can about our best customers. Enter marketing research.

If we know what makes our very best customers tick… then we can identify and speak to those particular traits or challenges in our marketing which should attract even more awesome customers.

We do this by filling out a buyer persona (also known as a client avatar).

Our personas include information like:

  • demographics
  • goals and values
  • challenges and frustrations
  • etc.

The internal checklist that we use for our private clients has 62 questions that we ask to give us the best possible view of the client’s perfect customer.But the question often comes up…

Where do I get this data? I don’t know all of this.

That’s actually a great question because the chances are… you aren’t going to know all of this or maybe even some of this so that’s why we’ve created this post on Buyer Persona research techniques.

Below are 4 techniques that you can use the next time you update your buyer persona(s).

Buyer Persona Research Technique #1: You Are This Person

This one is probably the easiest of all…

So if you’re a 45-year-old married woman with 2 kids in high school, 2 dogs and a handful of other small animals and that’s your you target market…


You can answer the questions yourself. You know intimately the pains, fears, struggles and frustrations that your market has because you have them too.

If this is the case I would recommend looking for at least a little validation but my guess is … if this is you, you probably have friends in the area that match those criteria as well. #amIright

Pull a friend or two aside just to get a few different perspectives. This can be done by inviting a friend or two over for a get together. Grab a few beers or crack open a bottle of wine and they’ll be telling you way more than you probably want to know by the end of the night.

So research technique #1 – you are that person. Answer the questions, get a few different opinions to validate and you’re good.

Buyer Persona Research Technique #2: These Are Your Current Clients

If you love your current clients or even a subset of them, use them as your frame of reference when you’re working on your buyer personas. The best bet here, just like above, is to use multiple people when creating the avatar.

If you do it based on one person, the challenge that you come up with is that one person could be an anomaly. What we want is we want to have a larger data set.

The more people that you can use the lower the margin for error is.

Let’s say you have 10 clients that you love and if you could find 10 more just like that you’d be a happy camper.

If 8 are female and two are male – go with the odds – I’d call it a female. If most are in the 30-45 year-old range but you have a few 55’ers in there – that’s ok but for your persona – I’d keep it at 30-45 right – we want to stick with the majority.

Does that make sense?

Technique #2 – These are your clients. (or a subset of them). Use a large enough sample size to minimize the effects of anomalies or outliers.

Buyer Persona Research Technique #3 – Interview Somebody

If you don’t have anybody in your current client base that matches the criteria for your perfect customer – Find somebody that does match the criteria and interview them.

QUICK NOTE: If you’re interviewing somebody where you don’t have a pre-existing relationship – there’s a limit on what you can ask them.

You’re probably not going to probe too deeply into their financials, their sexuality, their fears or any other topic that are sensitive to that person but remember – we just want to get in the ballpark so if we focus on non-sensitive demographics like pains, frustrations, beliefs, as our source of info.

That will still get us an awesome amount of data.

Like all the rest, try to get more than one person to minimize the effects of anomalies or outliers.

Last but definitely not least…

Buyer Persona Research Technique #4: Guess

I know I’m the last person that you would expect to hear that from since I always preach data, data, data… but you know what – sometimes the data isn’t there.

It’s not like we’re putting on a blindfold and throwing darts at a wall, we’re talking educated guesses.

And if we assume that our guesses will get us in the ballpark, we just know that we’re going to have to update our buyer personas a little quicker than everybody else because this is obviously … the least accurate of all the methods.

So there you have it. 4 buyer persona research techniques that will help you gain powerful insights into your very best customers and give you the ultimate unfair advantage over your competition.

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me when was the last time you updated your buyer personas?

One thought on “4 Marketing Research Techniques That Give You An Unfair Advantage

  1. So where do we find folks that match these traits? Most of my clients come from online small-business matchups. Have no website, and I’m too small. Just would like a steady client base, and am a SP.

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