If you can’t afford an expensive market research company

How do you find out what people understand? Or what’s important to them?

I get this question from time to time in a training, when we talk about how to adapt your communication to your audience.

To do that, you need to know roughly three things about your audience:

  • what topics they care about
  • what their goals are
  • what they already know about your topic

But do you know exactly who’s in the room when you speak at a conference? Do you know what jargon you can use for a master student? Do you know what prejudices a customer has about your service?

By no means always, I would say.

And it’s not always easy to figure out these things.

The big market research companies – like Nielsen and Kantar – spend days or weeks on audience research.

As a knowledge worker, you usually don’t have the budget to hire such an agency.

But there’s one simple thing you can always do.

Drinking coffee with your intended audience. Or send an email. Or call.

And ask questions.

Drinking coffee is always better than making assumptions about your audience. Or communicating without adapting to your audience.

It sounds simple, but not many people do this. I don’t always either.

So, note to self: more coffee!