Got $1 To Spend On Marketing? How About Research?

Posted on September 26, 2018 by cPR

It’s always a fun question to ask marketing communication professionals, CEOs and even everyday Joe’s a simple question: If you had $1 to spend on a communications program to promote a product or service, how would you spend it?

ResearchWhile most of the answers revolve around an advertisement, social media and public relations, many don’t say what I would say:  RESEARCH. As the old Ameriprise ad with Dennis Hopper said, “You can’t start a journey without knowing where you are going. You need a plan.”  And that plan begins with research.

While you make a lot of assumptions without research to create a communication’s plan, the risk of failure is much higher as you spend a lot of money with concepts, messages and offers that may or may not appeal to your potential customer. Why risk it when a little research can minimize the risk?

So, why is research so important?

  • Research allows you to find a need that your target audience is struggling to solve
  • It tests and clarifies your assumptions, messages, images and concepts before spending the big buck
  • It guides you to opportunities for you and your clients that you didn’t see before you asked for input
  • It allows you to evaluate the competition to see their message, approach and offer to allow you to step out of the “sea of sameness” to offer a unique approach
  • It helps you form your strategy, monitor its progress and evaluate its performance

Research done well finds those strategic insights more than the tactical insights and information gained from basic hunches or guesses even from the best experienced professional. It lays the groundwork for your next campaign and prepares you for that big boardroom presentation. As such, it should be an integral part of your communications strategy and something that you should refer to every day.

In fact, research is so important, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) uses it as one of four major criteria in evaluating entries in public relations most prestigious award competitions: The Silver Anvil.

Research isn’t hard to do or cost a lot.

  • If you want more customers just like your best one… ask your best customers to take a survey and use those answers to craft messages that entice new customers just like them to trust you!
  • If you don’t have a good database to survey from, use an outside source like SurveyMonkey to assist in data collection from a group that meets your exact customer specifications
  • Review social media to see what people are saying about you, your competition and the market as a whole
  • Talk with reporters you know over lunch to discuss what they’re seeing in the market… maybe they see something you don’t from their perspective high above the clutter

While it may be time-consuming, dedicating resources to thorough research is essential. With just a few simple, inexpensive research strategies, it’s possible to get all the information necessary to create a successful communications campaign.