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The Right Time to Conduct Audience Research

Sara Tetreault

Brand Strategy Director, Forum One

You know you need to hear from your audiences about what they care about, but when is the right time to do it?

If this is the first time you are embarking upon this task, it is definitely time for you to conduct audience research. If you haven’t talked to your target audience in over a year, then yes, it’s the right time to talk to your audiences. But what about big events or shifts in your organization’s life? Here are a few key moments that might necessitate hearing from your audiences.

1. You are changing direction.

Reacting to a changing market is common in the cause-driven world. If your organization is thinking about how to pivot, even if slightly on your strategy, audience research is going to give you the insight you need to strategically position yourself for success. By understanding your key audiences, you can better tailor your organizational goals with the needs and wants of the market.

2. You are creating a new or updated brand.

Perhaps it’s time to update your existing brand or maybe you are creating a new one. Audience research can help you understand what people value about your organization and identify the risks that you are up against by staying the same or changing. Understanding your audiences’ emotions and actions around particular words, colors, and concepts will help you craft a brand that is worthy of note.

3. You’re rethinking your digital presence.

This is a really big one. If you have had an inkling of a thought about your digital properties — this could be anything from redesigning your website to creating a new direction for your social media — you should find out what your users want. Taking the time to update your digital presence is no small feat, by understanding what is going to cut through the noise and make your content easier to use, understand, and take action on, you will save time and resources.

4. You’ve got a hunch.

Sometimes, nothing major at all needs to happen. You may be wondering how you can optimize a particular set of content you’ve had on your website for a while or perhaps you have an idea of something you could do to better serve your audiences. Audience research will help you validate these ideas and make updates that optimize your resources.

For all of these above situations, we would recommend building a way to measure how well you have met your audience’s needs through a variety of metrics and a plan for how to change your strategy or get more information if you are not successful in your approach. Choosing what type of information you will collect, what questions to ask, and how to find useful nuggets in your data are also important parts of conducting research. Guess what? We’ve got you covered! Check out our Related Ideas for more on how to gain insights on your audiences.

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Written By

Sara Tetreault

Brand Strategy Director, Forum One