Crafting a Winning Customer Research Strategy


Craft a Winning Customer Research Strategy for Your Business

We are thrilled to bring Rachael Woods to the podcast. She joined our last round of group coaching, and she specializes in bringing her clients the best data-driven marketing strategies. My nerdy SEO self was thinking, “Heck yes, bring on the data!” 

In this episode, we talk about the importance of a customer research strategy and how it can impact where you spend time marketing your business. As always, we promise to remove the jargon and give you some simple strategies to get started. Let’s dig in together and start thinking differently about our 2024 marketing strategy. 

What you’ll hear in this episode

  • Tell us about you and your business— how did it all come together?
  • In episode 88, we talked about choosing your marketing channel. Before we choose how we want to “market” or “where”, what should we be doing first?
  • Why is a customer research strategy often an overlooked aspect in many marketing strategies? How can this change your marketing approach?
  • Given the vast amount of data available, how do you advise businesses to filter what’s relevant and avoid analysis paralysis?

Getting Started with Customer Research and Buyer Personas

We know customer research and creating buyer personas can be something people don’t like to do. However, a customer research strategy is crucial to the success of your business. It helps you understand the needs, preferences, and behaviors of your target audience. Customer research can inspire new ideas and innovations, driving growth and ensuring the long-term sustainability of your business.

So, let’s chat about how you can get started with customer research and building buyer personas.

Ask open-ended questions.

We just use Google Forms to get feedback from our customers. We want to know how their experience was working with us and our systems. The key is asking open-ended questions. We don’t want to spoon-feed them answers or limit their responses if they have feedback to share. We don’t ask a lot of questions, but the ones we do ask, we get a ton of information from.

Use their language.

Asking open-ended questions also gives you insight into how they talk about your brand and services. Maybe you’ve been talking about your services one way, but your actual customers are describing it differently in a way that makes sense to them. You can totally use that language in your marketing going forward. Sometimes we’re so ingrained in our businesses that we don’t realize we’re using jargon people don’t understand. Use the same language they do to talk about your brand and services.

Talk to people who have used the service you’re selling.

They don’t even need to have bought from you. The goal is to understand their pain points and what drove them to search for a solution. You can learn:

  • Why they used this service
  • What they liked about it
  • What drew them in
  • What did they find beneficial

Talk to the people who would be your target audience. Keep in mind that this isn’t the time to sell; you’re only trying to learn from them so you can better market your business to others like them.

Leverage your CRM.

If you have a CRM system, you probably have a few people in there you could learn from. Your CRM contains detailed records of customer interactions, including feedback, inquiries, and service issues. Analyzing this data can reveal trends and patterns in buying behavior, preferences, and customer lifecycle stages. This information is super helpful for understanding customer needs and preferences.

Identify high-level demographics.

The basics of creating a buyer persona are understanding demographics. Think about things like:

  • Age range
  • Income level
  • Location (local vs national)
  • Gender

This can be supportive of other data, too. If you’re looking at a specific demographic, you can find studies that tell you where they’re likely to be online. You can then target your social media efforts to that platform and have a better chance of reaching your target audience.

Customer research is something all business owners need to do, even established businesses. Buying behaviors can change constantly, so keeping an eye on how your customers behave is important to your business’ success. 

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Meet Rachael from Woods MarCom

Rachael Woods loves data almost as much as she loves coffee. Rachael is a marketing strategy expert with 20 years of experience building marketing infrastructure for small and medium-sized businesses and organizations. Her boutique marketing agency, Woods MarCom, specializes in data-driven marketing strategy and innovative digital marketing tactics. Subscribe to the Marketing Mix, a weekly email packed with actionable tips, tools, and hot takes, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Crafting a Winning Customer Research Strategy

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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective or to inquire about working with our team, head over to 

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