The Secret Marketer on over-researching

I picked a bad week to arrange meetings in central London. Traffic chaos ensued as the schools went back, the rain kept falling and the Pope came to town.

Still, it was all worth the effort. Weather and Papal palaver aside, this was the kind of week that reminds me why I work in marketing. Two key agency milestone meetings and two brilliant sessions with some truly outstanding work on the table. My faith in the power of creative input has been undeniably rewarded.

Agencies are such a joy when they get it right and I think it is important to tell them when you are happy. When you land on something really special, my experience has taught me to make hay while the sun shines. Sometimes you just know when you have nailed it and that is how I am feeling right now. My gut tells me we are onto a winner and I have no desire to ask the audience what they think via unnecessary research. Instead, I want my team to invest all their energies in getting this great work out there with a real bang.

“We measure a lot of things in marketing, but how strict are we in measuring the percentage of our total marketing budget that actually gets out to the consumer?”

I once worked for a marketing director who insisted on researching everything, so much so that the consumer got to see very little of what we did.

We would spend so long naval gazing and fine-tuning through never-ending rounds of research that we always ran out of time or money to actually activate anything. This drove me crazy. If truth be told, this guy and I were not a marriage made in heaven and his complete lack of appetite for intuition and risk-taking ultimately drove me to leave that company. Looking back, my resignation letter was about the only thing he asked me not to research or to rewrite during my entire tenure with that company.

We measure a lot of things in marketing, but how strict are we in measuring the percentage of our total marketing budget that actually gets out to the consumer? This is a simple metric but one that I have always found to be massively useful. Is there anybody out there spending more on naval gazing than marketing your brand?

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