Research can help marketers avoid throwing money in the wrong direction

Asking the right questions for the right reasons can help marketers not waste their time and money. 

Mindi Chahal

I was recently discussing this with research company fast.MAP which regularly tracks the gap between what consumers are doing and what marketers believe they are doing, the results of which will be published in Marketing Week next week (26 September). 

The managing director of fast.MAP, David Cole, believes that “marketers would far rather feel they have spent a few pounds, even if it’s thrown in the wrong direction, than sit back and do a bit of research so when they do throw the money it’s going in the right direction. There are impatient marketers out there who are making bad decisions.” 

I agree with this sentiment to the extent that research can in many cases help marketers spend their budget more wisely but there is an additional point to be made here.  

It should not be done for the sake of it or be steered to suit a certain agenda otherwise conducting research can also be a waste of time and money. It can instead be used, if appropriate, as a valuable tool integrated in the entire process of launching a new campaign, product or service. 

Look at Carphone Warehouse for example. The brand has launched a £10m ‘Each and Every Customer Counts’ campaign which will see every member of its in-store staff carry a tablet computer to implement a programme designed to help customers choose the right tariff, network and phone.

Customers answer a series of questions on the tablet which results in personalised suggestions. The reasons behind the campaign were based on findings from a major piece of research completed by Carphone Warehouse on its customers and staff to find out what the brand is doing right and wrong. 

The retailer hopefully won’t be alone in basing entire campaigns on pieces of customer research in the future. Where spend is tight it is worth allowing a part of that to ensure it’s right for the brands’ audience.    

For example, there is no point concentrating on a campaign that aims to get a two-way conversation with the audience if they don’t want to talk to you in the first place. As many as 43 per cent of senior marketers ‘definitely agree’ that people want to have a conversation with a brand but only 15 per cent of consumers concur, a statistic revealed in research shown exclusively to Marketing Week, conducted by content marketing agency Seven.

This might seem like over-egging the need for analysis at the expense of creativity but the two can be aligned by giving marketers an idea of what the audience is looking for, when and where in order to ensure the creativity is seen by the right people.   

If you have created successful campaigns using research The Data Strategy Awards are now open for you to get recognised for that work. Click here for details on how to enter. 

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