There are three ways to exit a room: banging your head against the wall, the window, and the door. While the door is the easiest way out, people tend to choose to bang their heads or jump out windows. Market research is much like this, staffing firms tend to choose the window or the wall rather than just walking through the door. An example of this is expanding your locations. Are you currently thinking about expanding into new markets? Do you like some new markets better than others? Rather than an emotional response of opening up in a city you like, look at it in a logical and data driven way. Using a heat map helps expand your market research and pinpoint where your existing business can grow.

Prospect or current client?
We all go into opening new markets with the concept of hiring the right people and that they prospect to try and build business. But as we all know, cold prospecting is one of the hardest ways to build your business portfolio. Existing clients are the absolute best way to open new offices, and most staffing firms are simply not aware of where their existing clients have other business locations. Go to where the contacts are.

This may seem oversimplified and you might say that you know where else your clients have business. But, the truth is in the data. It is time to find that data and drive these decisions.

Assembling the data
You have existing clients. They have higher needs beyond your current knowledge. The first step is to sit down with your clients and find out where else they have a hub of hiring. For example, a technology staffing firm working with a client in Boston may know that the client is in ten different markets, but they don’t know that only two of them are technology hubs. Make a mission of getting this information out of every single client.

Creating the heat map
Now that you have this data, add the information to a map of the United States. Use the map to place their technology hubs in the appropriate markets. When you’re done, you should be able to clearly see where there are concentrations of existing client technology hubs. Some cities may look more appealing than others, and the map points that out to you.

A heat map is a visual representation that shows “hot” sections that attract the most business and “cold” sections that show where market spots are few or nonexistent. Typically, they are used to show the percentage of people interacting with parts of a webpage. The most used parts are shown bright red, while lesser viewed spots are green and yellow. NOTE: The image shown below is a hypothetical example of how it can be used to monitor where your business is collecting.

market research

*Hypothetical data*
As you can see on the map, all of these companies (lined on the side) are in Boston, making it red. Three of these companies have hubs in Dallas, TX, also making it appear red on the heat map. Other company logos are scattered here and there. Those highlighted green have some markets and those highlighted yellow have very few.

When looking at a heat map, you want to see all red. Those are the spots you want to expand in. When doing your market research, create a heat map of your own to get the most accurate and trusting data. Keep in mind that you already have agreements with these clients as well as referenceable client managers to get you into the new markets. Make market research a priority in order to make better decisions.
market research
About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations.