Trying to decide how to develop your marketing strategy? The first step is simple. Start with research. You can trust your instinct, but it is important to verify it with data.
Why research is important
We live in an ever-changing environment where organizations lose track of the attitudes, perceptions, needs and buying behaviors of their customers. Likewise, organizations can cast their own opinions and judgments on what a customer wants and risk missing the mark.
Research removes internal bias and replaces presumptions and opinions with informed information from the target audience. In addition, the research process provides fresh insights that the creative team can use to develop clever messaging, and the media team can use to make sure that message is placed in the right place at the right time, in order for businesses to meet their objectives.
Sometimes, your instinct is right and the insights uncovered in research simply validate internal understanding. This is not wasted time and resources – validation is critical to building a deep relationship with your customers.
Collecting the data
Now, how do we collect research to be useful in a marketing strategy? Research itself can take many forms. At The Martin Group, we tend to focus on secondary research, in-depth interviews (IDIs) and surveys.
Secondary Research is the practice of reviewing existing data from syndicated databases or articles. We use this type of research to better understand a market or category as well as to assess the competitive environment.
In-Depth Interviews are a way to get deep and rich insights from people who are already in a client’s target audience. These are fluid conversations that follow a guide and use a “peel the onion” approach to uncover the root of why a person feels, acts or responds to a brand in a certain way. IDIs are a “qualitative” research tool that provides directional insights, which should not be confused with “quantitative” research.
Quantitative Research is the use of a survey instrument to gather the sentiments of a large population. Quantitative research allows organizations to make significant investment decisions in matters of performance and areas of importance.
SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) Analysis is informed by secondary, qualitative and quantitative research, and the results of a SWOT analysis provide the foundation for your brand position, brand promise, brand personality and essence.
Research can take many forms. It can be quick and directional, or, in the world of big data, it can be vast. In any case, using research as a compass for your marketing strategy can only help you get to know your customers better and ultimately best serve their needs.
Research leads to action. We’ve had the privilege of providing our services—and results—to a number of organizations. See how we can help you.