Effective Marketing Strategy Part One: Research
If case you missed our last blog post, we’re starting a series about how to build an effective and successful strategic marketing plan. Click here to read why this should be in every company’s marketing arsenal.
The first, and most often ignored, component of a successful marketing plan is the research.
Before you even begin to build out your plan, you need to conduct research. Why? Because you need to know the current state of the industry, your company, your employees and your products and/or services.
Research confirms or eliminates suspicions and assumptions and almost always uncovers additional unknown tension points or business challenges. Knowing this information helps define problems to build effective solutions and tactics to tackle those challenges, building a better business.
For instance, a company may assume that their high employee turnover is because of lower wages, when in reality the research shows it’s because employees want a better workplace environment and more growth and training opportunities.
Additional benefits of conducting this initial research include:
- Identifying key phrases, word or attributes to use in marketing messaging
- Identifying employees or customers that could be brand “Captains” – those that would share positive testimonials and insights
- Builds community and respect with your customers and employees – they will appreciate you seeking their opinions and input on your business
- Will be the first building block of your strategic marketing plan
Now that we’ve covered why it’s important, we need to discuss “who” should be conducting this research. Who is broken into two categories:
- Who is conducting the research?
- Who are we asking to be part of the research?
Let’s quickly review each.
Who should conduct research?
All research should be conducted by an objective third-party individual or company to ensure honest and non-biased data is collected. People will be more honest with someone they do not know and who does not have any direct influence on their position or what they say.
Who should participate in the research?
This depends on what your challenges and goals are, but you should consider the following audiences:
- Past, current and potential new customers (potential being someone you think would be your “ideal” customer)
- Current employees – this includes everyone from production, sales, marketing, etc. all the way on up to management and leadership teams
- If you have contacts available, past employees should also be considered
So we’ve covered the why and who. What about when?
In regards to timing, there’s no good or bad time to conduct research, but it should be an on-going marketing tactic. Whether you’re creating your annual marketing plan, launching a new product or service, or just want customer feedback, it’s important to keep open communication and ask for insights from those that build your success alongside you.
Lastly, but most importantly, what are you going to ask? Think about what you are trying to accomplish and make a list of relevant questions. When we conduct research through various methods we use the questions as a guide; however, the real “truth” often comes out during open dialogue. This “truth” is the difference between a so-so interview and an interview that will help you drive your business forward. As an experienced marketing company, we understand this research process and know how to get the real “truth”.
Ready to learn more? Contact us to find out how to implement effective and successful research to grow your business and make sure to follow our blog for the next post in this series!