Market & Keyword Research
Research conducted quickly & accurately is perhaps my deepest and most frequently used skill. It is how I have survived for years as a consultant & been able to rapidly acclimate to new working environments with actionable contributions. It is present and highly important is all of my past, present, and future work.
I began my career researching whole industries and macroeconomic trends for financial advisory firms and hedge funds. Over time, my focus shifted to include competitive research and other market specifics to combine tactical execution to strategic planning. Below are a few ways I typically begin market research in the absence of reports generated by 3rd party research firms or a significant research budget.
Google Trend Analysis
Google Trends (free) and Amazon's Alexa.com (Subscription Based) are two excellent tools for seeing broad trends in online searches, and behavior. Above you can see several search terms about a particular industry and the volume of searches hitting each term over the past 12 months.
This kind of tool provides an excellent benchmark for how popular a business topic, potential product, or even competitor's brand might be. For understanding scale, you can add a large brand such as Nike to see the kind of volume your intended search term displays comparatively.
There are a number of excellent and reasonably priced tools that capture competitive marketing data. One of my favorite tools is SEM rush because of how easy it is to build reports on paid and organic searches for your businesses, its products and similar information for you competitors. It can even be used to kick off competitive research as it shows which companies are capturing traffic looking for your products or services. Other fantastic tools include:
I've made much of my career being able to quickly leverage these tools to get a read on where to focus marketing efforts, how to reduce Cost Per Acquisition, and what what competitive threats to be prepared for.
Google Ads users have access to Google's Keyword Planner tool that allows you to load all of your competitive keywords into a test ad group. You can then set a few sensitivities such as a conversion rate assumption, and campaign duration. In turn, Google provides you with a potential impression and click volume, cost per click estimates, and even cost per acquisition estimates. It is a great free tool for quickly setting up keyword plans that can later be optimized at the campaign and ad group levels.