Market Research Makes The Difference
As you know, not all advertising and outreach campaigns are successful. Failure represents opportunity cost and a major expense. Failed efforts harm your brand, while costing market share and support. Most of these costly failures are a result of poor strategic planning and a desire to cut corners and costs. In the world of brand management, speed can kill.
To avoid these catastrophic marketing failures, we offer some insight into a proven process that can make your marketing plans much more cost-effective. Effective creative and copywriting is dependent on strategic planning and market research. Without it, you’re shooting in the dark.
Strategic Planning: Do you have a marketing plan? Is it current? Without a strategic plan, it is easy to get lost in the marketing process. Be sure to break objectives down by revenue source and break the strategies down by market segment. Target each segment with the messages and themes that are most cost-effective.
Market Research: How long has it been since you have conducted market research among prospects, customers and lost customers? Understanding your market is a critical success factor. What are the key market segments? Who is the prime prospect within each segment? What problems can you solve for this person? What messages are the most important to each market segment? What mediums are offer the best reach and frequency? Our goal is to understand the market, the prime prospect and the prime prospect’s problems.
Message Map: Make a list of the key points that each market segment needs to hear in order to be informed and influenced. Who needs to hear what? Market segmentation and personalization is a critical success factor. Our goal is to capture attention, interest, desire and action. In some industries, they key is to build relationships and build databases before closing the sale. In other industries, the goal is to complete the sale, call this number, visit our website, etc. The sales cycle dictates the call to action. A message map will help you match each market segment to the best messages and the best mediums to reach them.
Copywriting Tips: Before going too far, be sure to consider the mediums at hand. Some will be short, such as billboards. Other mediums will be more in depth, including print ads and websites. Know the media and its audience and pitch accordingly.
Don’t let creative drive the message. The message should drive creative.
Don’t try to say everything in each ad, speech, etc. Think campaign not one-shots. Don’t overlook the power of testimonials from customers, members, legislators and other stakeholders. Don’t forget the power of statistics and visuals that support your points. In the world of advertising and stakeholder communications, the right picture is worth more than a 1,000 words. Don’t include humor unless it reenforces your brand and/or your key message. Humor can be a distraction if not used properly and humor wears thin and grows old after the first impression.
Remember, people are rarely seeking out your information, so you are being intrusive. You must be polite, aggressive and brief. You must offer benefits as quickly as possible, not just features. You must stop prospects immediately and gain their interest before you can make your pitch. If you fail to capture a prospect’s attention, you have lost the opportunity.
When you are able to stop a reader, viewer or listener, your copy must build interest and desire. Now you can talk about features, advantages and benefits. You can build up to your call to action. In the digital age, be sure to refer everyone to your website and social media accounts for more information.
When possible, set up testing systems so that you can test the effectiveness of variables within your advertisements. These A-B tests will help refine your communications for maximum impact.
Of course, you must adhere to your organization’s brand management as you develop each new campaign. Everything that the organization says and does, impacts its brand. Make sure that you are positioning your company as the leader, the voice of reason and the solution of choice. Survey your current customers and your prospective ones to make sure that your messages are on target. Refine. Repeat. Reap.