The Importance of Research

Written by: Andrew Ulstad, Account Executive

Any plan in PR, marketing, or advertising is doomed to fail if you do not first put in the time and work to do research. A great place to start is with your target audience. Find out what the target audience likes and, perhaps more importantly, what they do not like. Do a case study to see what has historically worked in your geographic area. See what the community thinks about your client or product before you start a project. Take the time do dissect previous marketing efforts on behalf of your client.

Data talks, people. The best way to create a successful campaign is to let the ideas stem from your research. As a hypothetical example, say your client is a professional-grade drumming instructor who wants to bring in more customers. He or she is considering adding another target demographic: retirees. People who are not well-versed in PR would dismiss this right away and explain that “nobody” in that target audience will be interested in learning to drum.

However, those of us who are more interested in facts will think about it. Could retirees be a viable market for a drumming instructor? Well, let’s see what we can find out about them.

So, your team goes out and does your research. You survey the surrounding community of retirees, host focus groups, and try to find out just what it would take for this outlandish target audience to work.

After analyzing that research, you find that approximately 65 percent of the retirees from the surrounding area would consider taking up drumming if their doctor recommended it. Do a little more research, and you will see that playing the drums can help with their cardio, and music in general can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

In this hypothetical situation, the data supports a target audience that many people would have instantly dismissed. While target changes in the PR world are not generally this extreme, sometimes thinking outside of the box gets your client the best result.

Bottom line: if all of your research says you should go one way with a campaign, you have a pretty easy decision to make.


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