Use research to identify mistakes

Research can be used to inform strategy, test consumer reactions to products, services and campaigns and help marketers understand and segment audiences, but more importantly it can expose where marketers are going wrong. 

Mindi Chahal

For example, research by Saatchi & Saatchi published today by Marketing Week reveals that marketers are failing to connect with mums by portraying them as one group in their marketing campaigns. The study also shows that nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of UK mothers do not relate to the representation of mums seen in advertising.

Separate research by online video technology company Ebuzzing and analytics provider Affectiva has also analysed the viral video success of the top 40 UK and US videos of 2013, demonstrating what they do right and – more importantly – wrong.

Although the videos achieved the objective of emotional engagement with viewers – as determined using Affectiva’s Affdex engagement score, which takes into account facial expressions elicited by a video – the study also finds that content alone is not enough to ensure that a video goes viral. 

The study analysed Evian’s Baby & Me video campaign, which was positioned across a network of blogs and publishers to generate viral impact and achieved 73 million YouTube views and 130 million online views in total across all platforms.   

Compare this to Doritos Super Bowl adverts, which had high Affdex scores up to 87.3, however the ads were not promoted beyond the website and received a relatively modest 3.1 million online views. Also Old Spice’s ‘Mom Song’, which registered a score of 93 and received around 10 million views.

The latter videos did well to create the desired emotional responses, but the mistake highlighted in this insight is that the distribution was overlooked for some of the campaigns.  

Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson also gives an example the dangers of targeting as many customers as possible, despite having market segmentation insight. Ritson’s closing remarks are for marketers to “stop celebrating what you have done in recent years and start focusing on all the things you didn’t”. 

Marketers should know what an audience thinks of the brand, its products and services, but it should also use research to analyse problem areas. 

In the Saatchi & Saatchi research on mums, brands assumed that this group want to be targeted as mums, but the insight shows that in many cases this is a mistake and does not resonate.

For viral videos, while the objective of eliciting an emotional response was achieved, further insight shows that the distribution of the video is also a factor in the campaign’s success.  

Analysing what doesn’t work is just as important as researching whether a campaign does work. The former could mean eliminating mistakes from future marketing activity. 

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