One of the most common requests Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) receives from clients is related to marketing or advertising campaigns. They are unhappy with the results of their current campaign, don’t know the return of their advertising (ROI), or they want to head in a different direction.
It’s surprising the number of marketing campaigns that are run, which were never tested before launch (especially with small and mid-size companies where budget may be an issue). From a budgetary standpoint, forgoing market research and the additional cost makes sense on the surface. But it only makes sense if the advertising is a success once launched.
What is the true cost to your business if the campaign fails? The cost of a market research project is probably less than the media costs alone for a typical ad campaign. So the costs of just running a bad campaign is something tangible that you could measure, along with all the unknown opportunity costs of the business you don’t get because the ads are ineffective. The business will have to weigh this decision on its own, but it is a dilemma that a lot of decision-makers struggle with:
As a market research company in Syracuse, NY, we may be a little biased, but we would certainly recommend the first option as opposed to the latter. But hey, we enjoy having jobs. In situations where you do believe the additional cost of market research and greater chance of success outweighs the other option, here are five quick steps to help you improve advertising using market research:
1. Obtain a benchmark – this is a critical piece to any advertising or marketing testing. You need to know where your campaign stands as is before any changes are made. This is considered our control data. It’s very important to obtain benchmark data so you have a starting point of comparison. For more information on benchmark studies in market research, click here.
2. Run your campaign and see how the dial moved – this is basically the identical study, which was conducted for the benchmark but after your business has run its advertising in-market. At this point you can see what worked, what didn’t, and if it was successful or not. The advanced analytics of all of this is being able to tie brand equity and advertising awareness to metrics in sales, which can be a very involved model. But ultimately, the goal is to understand how a 10 percent increase in awareness of your brand impacts the bottom-line. Want more on brand metrics? We got something for you.
3. Determine if you need to rework the campaign or make minor tweaks –here is where a good market research firm consults with your business and advertising agency (if you have one) and makes data-based recommendations for the advertising. Perhaps you’ll find out that although your advertising campaign increased awareness of your services by 17 percent, it also generated a more negative impression of your company. Now you have a chance to make changes and…
4. Test those changes – before just launching your ads, market research provides a great opportunity to see how your campaign resonates with your target audience. This is traditionally done through qualitative research to explore thoughts and perceptions of your audience. You can test tweaks to your campaign through focus groups or in-depth interviews (IDIs), which will provide your business with invaluable insight to improve advertising. It’s probably something that a few of these campaigns failed to do. Reading that post might make the market research vs. no market research dilemma a bit easier to answer, unless you’re into toothpaste flavored dinner entrees.
5. Keep tracking – one of the most important aspects of good advertising campaigns. Even after market research is completed to refine and perfect the marketing, your business cannot sit tight. Businesses need to continually monitor results and see how the dial is moving in relation to brand equity, competitor advertising, and awareness. Again, this step is modeled after the benchmark survey to measure change.
Using these five market research steps to improve advertising won’t guarantee your campaign will grow revenue by 500 percent, but it will certainly ensure your business has put its best foot forward to be successful. If you are interested in exploring how to improve advertising, contact our Business Development Director, Sandy Baker at 315-635-9802 or email her at SandyB@RMSresults.com.