A Little Research Can Bring Big Marketing Gains
Jessica Ritzo, Insights in Marketing LLC
With the glut of marketing campaigns in today's era of constant consumer connectivity, it's easy to get lost in a sea of information. However, conducting marketing research often enables marketers to not only navigate and break through the clutter, but also to make smart, profitable choices when communicating key messages.
Here are five best practices for using market research to maximize campaign success.
1. Take the time to know your audience:
The most important part of running a great email marketing or direct mail campaign is to know your audience at a deeper level. Demographics are great, but they don't tell you what tone to take with your audience or the key messages and benefits they seek. Take the time to do your research (whether qualitative, quantitative, or both) to really understand the people receiving the communication, since they will, in an instant, decide whether to read or delete your message. Leverage research to uncover their habits, their interests, their social circles, their language, and their motivators, as well as when, how, and why they digest and share information. Doing this research up front will substantially improve your key messaging and lead to elevated campaign results (open rate, CTR, etc.).
2. Leverage online research tools to test your campaigns:
Technology-based research platforms such as online bulletin boards or focus groups provide tremendous flexibility for testing quick-turnaround email or mail campaigns. Online research methodologies offer many benefits, including speedy recruiting, ease of accessibility, and easy stimuli sharing. In addition, online research can be extended for a longer period of time (think days, weeks, or even months) with participants responding at their convenience, allowing you to evaluate more content while preventing participant fatigue. Also, leveraging online platforms lets you reconnect with the same group of respondents for continued feedback as campaigns evolve—with the added bonus of not needing to travel or spend time out of the office.
3. Leverage both group and one-on-one research formats:
Online qualitative research is a great tool because it enables the use of multiple formats within a single project, including one-on-one discussions for individual feedback and group discussions for collaboration and co-creation. Be sure to leverage both types of formats to receive the most comprehensive and action-inspiring feedback to your campaigns.
4. Engage, refine, and repeat:
Don't assume the first round of consumer feedback says it all. Engage with consumers to understand their wants, needs, and gaps, and then design initial concepts based on this feedback…but don't stop there. Put the initial designs back in front of consumers as “working drafts” in need of their input for further refinement. Make them feel part of the design team and design process. Refine designs based on additional feedback. And, if timing and budget allow, consider one final round of evaluation to confirm whether the team got it right.
5. Continue to test and measure during campaign execution:
Use split testing to continue to test your options during campaign execution. For example, email marketing campaigns are the perfect opportunity to conduct comparison testing. Create two versions of the same email newsletter and send out to a select number of your subscribers. Note how each group responds and then further tweak your email campaign to produce fewer bounces and more opens.
To make sure your campaign doesn't get lost in the clutter, strategically employ research techniques to reduce campaign risk, choose messaging that resonates, and achieve the campaign results your brand needs.
Jessica Ritzo is head of online qualitative at Insights in Marketing LLC.