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Using Market Research To Develop Brand Loyalty

This is Part 9 of 17 on writing Market Research Plans.

  1. Market Research 101
  2. Why Develop a Market Research Plan? Where's the benefit?
  3. The 3 Key Ingredients in Every Market Research Plan
  4. Market Research For Small Business Owners
  5. Remember Pink iMacs?
  6. What Jose Mourinho Taught Me About Market Research
  7. Kickstart your Market Research
  8. Rocket Science, duh!
  9. Using Market Research To Develop Brand Loyalty
  10. The Mystery of the Seven Sided Market Research Plan
  11. Stage 1 - Why?
  12. Stage 2 Why Some Customers Are More Important Than Others
  13. Stage 3 - How To  Find The Information You Need
  14. Stage 4 How To Collect Data
  15. Stage 5 Analyze Data
  16. Stage 6 Generate Report Findings
  17. Stage 7 Choose Best Strategies

How to Develop Brand Loyalty & Increase Long-term Sales

What’s better than a customer buying your product once?

Market Research Excel Template

Market Research – Competitor Analysis Worksheet

The holy grail for most companies is to persuade them to buy again, and then again, and then again, and…

Instead of finding new customers, sell more products to your current customers.

Most marketing experts believe that the fastest way to generate more sales is to:

  1. Identify your best customers
  2. Understand their preferences
  3. Examine their buying habits
  4. Define their emotional triggers
  5. Revise your marketing plan to convert softcore buyers into hardcore fans

Repeat business is always more cost effective than finding new customers with all their associated costs and overheads.

Brand Loyalty Influence on Customer Spending

So, how do you persuade customers to buy more than they already have? Or more than they need?

First, let’s define what is brand loyalty:

‘Brand loyalty is a customers commitment to repurchase or continue using a product.’

An example?

You can see this when customers make repeat purchases and also when in other ways, such as promoting the product through word of mouth.

Brand loyalty is more than repurchasing.

Customers may repurchase a product for other reasons:

  • Situational constraints (also known as vendor lock-in)
  • Lack of viable alternatives
  • Convenience

In marketing terms, this is known as “spurious loyalty”. Once the constraints are lifted, other alternatives arise or things become more convenience, then the customer will move elsewhere.

You can see this when cable or telco companies keep customers locked into horrible deals. It’s only when a rival enters the market do they finally change their rates and offer better value.

Brand Loyalty? Give Me an Example

A good example is Apple.

Its intense fan-base evangelize most every product release, making repeat purchases and endorsing the product to their friends, families and other social channels.

True brand loyalty exists when customers have a genuine positive attitude towards the product which is then seen through repeat buys.

This type of loyalty is a great asset to the firm:

  • Customers may pay higher prices (see the high cost of the iPad)
  • Cost less to serve (Apple fanboys often have deep technical knowledge of the product)
  • Bring in new customers (by showing off the new features to friends and bigging up the brand)

Four Types of Brand Loyalty

In marketing terms there are four patterns of behavior:

  1. Hardcore Loyals – who always buy the brand and usually detest the competition. See Apple v Microsoft.
  2. Softcore Loyals – loyal to two or three brands.
  3. Shifting Loyalty – move from one brand to another.
  4. Switchers – with no loyalty (possibly ‘deal-prone’, constantly looking for bargains).

How to Name Your Brand

There are several ways to do this. Here are some guidelines regarding the ideal traits of a good brand name.

Make sure the name:

  • Attracts attention.
  • Easy to pronounce.
  • Easy to remember.
  • Easy to recognize.
  • Easy to translate.
  • Protected under Trademark law.
  • Suggests product benefits.
  • Highlights your product’s position relative to the competition.
  • Stands out among a group of other brands.

How to Develop Brand Loyalty

Before you can start any of the above, you need to find out what customers (and maybe prospective) think of your current brand.

Once you have this information, you can develop different marketing tactics to increase brand awareness and address some of the issues and concerns highlighted in the market research studies.

To understand what your customers think of your brand, use a Brand Loyalty template to survey your customers.

Use this template to develop your own survey based on the type of product or service your company offers. You can use it to gauge the loyalty consumers have to a specific brand. For example, if you’re selling personal computers, then ask them:

  • What type of computers they use?
  • How many computers they have at home and in the office?
  • What brands do they prefer?
  • What is the killer feature for each brand?
  • How important is cost? For example, on a scale of 1-5.
  • When do they plan to make their next purchase.

In the survey template, ask your customers a combination of open and closed questions.

Open questions allow the person to discuss things with less constraints than Yes/No type questions.

‘How would you describe the product to your friends?’

This lets the person discuss what they think and feel about the product. These type of questions often uncover things you had not thought of when marketing your products.

Closed questions are useful when you want to gather so-called hard data. For instance, how many PCs do you have? Do you prefer Netbooks or Desktops? Where did you see our product first?

Creating Brand Loyalty Surveys

The key to successful surveys is to work backwards and ask yourself:

  • What do I want to really know about my brand?
  • What do I want to know about my competitors?
  • What gaps exist in what we know about our customers?

Once you have clarified what you need to capture, modify your Brand Loyalty survey to reflect this.

The goal is that once you have prioritized what you need to capture, structure the survey accordingly. Adjust your survey so that the information is easy to sharewith your Marketing colleagues.

Finally, remember to balance the survey with Open and Closed questions.

While it’s important to gather the hard data, especially if you’re following up on a previous marketing campaign, use the Open questions as an opportunity to let the customer speak for themselves.

Next Steps

Once you have completed the survey, gather the data and start examining it.

  • Remove any anomalies that may have crept in.
  • Look out for instances when the interviewer may have influenced the subjects, for example, by placing ‘words in their mouth’.
  • Share this data with the Marketing Team.
  • See what new data has arisen that needs to be fed into the Marketing Plan.
  • Depending on the feedback, adjust your Marketing Plan or parts of it that need to be updated, for example, Ad campaigns.

Over to you.

What do you think is the best way to gather information about your brand? Do you find surveys work best or would you recommend phone calls, interviews, or focus groups?

Market Research Template Pack

This template pack includes:

  • Market Plan Template (16 pages) Use this template to capture 1. Why You Need Research, 2. Who You Wan to Target, 3. How to Plan 4. Collect Data, 5. Analyze Data, 6. Report Findings, and 7. Make Decisions.
  • Market Plan Brief Template (6 pages) Use this document to brief Consultants on your Market Research requirements.
  • 10 Free Templates including Brand Loyalty Survey, Competitor Analysis, Demographic Comparison, Demographic Profile, Industry Analysis Checklist, Market Planning Checklist, Cost Analysis, Market Research Spreadsheet, Market Survey, and a Project Plan.

Instant Download in MS Word

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Table of Contents

The Market Research Plan (MS Word, 16 pages) contains the following chapters. The other checklists, questionnaires, surveys and templates are listed below. 

1 Executive Summary
1.1 Goals
1.2 Points Of Contact

2 Market Research Plan
2.1 Stage 1 – Why You Need a Market Research Plan?
2.2 Stage 2 – Who are your Customers?
2.3 Stage 3 - How Are Your Going To Get The Information?
2.4 Stage 4 – Collect Data
2.4.1 Train Your Staff
2.4.2 Make it Sharable
2.4.3 Avoid Corrupt Data
2.4.4 Design Carefully
2.5 Stage 5 – Analyze Data
2.6 Stage 6 – Generate Report Findings
2.6.1 Descriptive Data Analysis
2.6.2 Inferential Data Analysis
2.7 Stage 7 – Choose Best Strategies

3 Market Plan Budget

Why Use a Market Research Plan?

As a small business owner, you're looking for ways understand:

  • Who are your current customers and potential customers?
  • What do I really know about them? Where do they live? Do they prefer to shop online or offline?
  • What do they want to buy?
  • What is their average income? What’s the disposable income?
  • What type of products do they have (Skoda), like to have (slightly bigger Car), and aspire to having (BMW)?
  • How much are they willing to pay for my products?
  • Can they find my products where they go shopping? If not, why?
  • What do they think of my business? Do they think we’re reliable, trustworthy, good value?
  • How does my business compare with my competitors?

Moving Targets

Marketing Research deals with moving targets. Last year you couldn’t give away Tablet PCs. Then Apple launched its iPad. Suddenly everyone wants one.

Marketing research looks at what makes people choose to buy one product over another. What makes them suddenly switch brands? What makes them recommend one product over another?

To do this you need to gather facts, examine opinions and organize them in a structure manner. This lets you drill down and see what makes people want to buy - not just what you want to sell them.

5 Key Areas in Market Research

You can use these twelve templates (10 Microsoft Word and 2 Excel spreadsheets) to outline the specific goals for your Market Research Plan and then feed these results into your Business Plans, Marketing Plans, and product development strategies.

This Market Research Plan will help you examine five areas:

  1. Assess the Competition - Can you compete against the incumbent? How many competitors are there in the current marketplace? Could you partner with other companies and deliver a superior product offering?
  2. Identify your Target Market – gather information about the age, location and number of people who’ll be interested in the product. The more you know about your customers, the more you can tailor your product to their needs, spending habits and in relation to emerging trend.
  3. Identify the Right Price – how much will the product cost? Will you sell it as part of a bundle? Do you offer discounts? How about international customers? Will the price be the same in the US as in Japan? And if customers find out, what next?
  4. Define the Best Sales channels - What’s best approach to selling the products? Over the web, in the high street, through partners, direct mail?
  5. Determine the Number of Customers - How many people are looking for this product? How confident are you that this figure is correct? Will this number increase or decrease over the next three years?

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when launching a product. Interviewing, running surveys and polls are different ways to get inside the head of your customers (or prospective customers) and see what they think.

Remember, market research is not an exact science.

What works in one area, may not work in another. Likewise, you may need to run different surveys or workshop until you begin to see specific trends emerging, for example, the price may be too high for customers in different regions or the user interface may confuse customers and cause them to leave the site.

The over-arching goal is to learn more about your customers and how their spending habits, preferences and knowledge of your brand will impact your company's Sales and Marketing strategy.

7 Stages of Successful Market Research

You can then use these forms, checklists, surveys, and questionnaires to complete the seven stages in the Market Research process:

  1. Stage 1 – Why You Need a Market Research Plan?
  2. Stage 2 – Who are your Target Customers?
  3. Stage 3 - How To Get The Information You Need?
  4. Stage 4 – How Do You Collect Data

    How to Train Your Staff
    How to Make it Sharable
    How to Avoid Corrupt Data
    How to Design Questionnaires, Surveys and Polls
  5. Stage 5 – Analyze Data
  6. Stage 6 – Generate Report Findings

    Descriptive Data Analysis
    Inferential Data Analysis
  7. Stage 7 – Choose Best Strategies

Market Research Budget

You can also use the budget section and Project Plan (MS Excel template) to capture the costs associated with the Market Plan. This helps you identify the budget amount allocated by category (e.g., milestone or cost categories).


Here are screenshots of the templates you can download by clicking the Click Here to Purchase image above.

Market Plan Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Project Plan

Project Plan

Market Research Template, Stage 3

Market Research Template, Stage 3

Market Plan Budget

Market Plan Budget

Market Research, Excel Template

Market Research, Excel Template

Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis

Screenshot of How To Write Work Instructions

Demographic Analysis Worksheet

Brand Loyalty Survey

Brand Loyalty Survey


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What's included in this template pack?

Brand Loyalty Survey - MS Word Word template
Competitor Analysis - MS Word Word template
Demographic Comparison - MS Word Word template
Demographic Profile - MS Excel MS Excel Template
Industry Analysis Checklist - MS Word Word template
Market Planning Checklist - MS Word Word template
Market Research Brief 6 pgs - MS Word Word template
Market Research Cost Analysis - MS Word Word template
Market Research Plan Template 16 pgs - MS Word Word template
Market Research Spreadsheet - MS Excel MS Excel Template
Market Survey - MS Word Word template
Project Plan - MS Word Word template

Screenshot of Market Research Template

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