“TRUST US WE’RE THE EXPERTS”
Stop us if you’ve heard that line before. When it comes to the advertising and marketing industry, it may seem like a lot of smoke and mirrors. Business owners, or clients as we refer to, come to agencies with the hopes of increasing their presence and ultimately attracting more customers. Their current advertising is either not working, or non-existent. The natural reaction is to hire a company or firm that specializes in advertising. After all if the ad agency wants to stay in business they have to create good ads, right?
So the agency meets with the client and presents their recommended strategy. Some agencies have a particular focus: It may be website design, digital ads, social media management, or any of the other forms available. Some provide an entire campaign which includes several different strategies. Regardless of the strategic plan it is in the agencies best interest to ensure their plan works. An effective advertising strategy makes the client happy. A happy client tells their friends they’re happy, which helps to generate more business for the agency. So what does the agency have to do to ensure their strategy is effective?
The answer is market research. Market research includes many different facets, but it boils down to either qualitative research (feelings and emotions) or quantitative research (represented by numerical data). Both are important in order to better understand why customers make certain purchasing habits. Without research any ad campaign, no matter how awesome it may seem, stands a 50/50 chance at best of being effective. Without research it truly is a guessing game.
Any agency worth their salt will conduct qualitative research before quantitative. This is because quantitative research is usually comprised of surveys, where participants will answer relevant questions expressed in numeric values. But in order to have relevant questions, you need to know which questions to ask first, right? Qualitative research, such as focus groups and in-depth interviews give advertisers first-hand knowledge of consumers’ thoughts and feelings. By conducting several focus groups or in-depth interviews, advertisers can then identify patterns. If a particular topic, such as leg room on airplanes is brought up in several different focus groups, then advertisers know that leg room is important to traveling consumers. Through this recognition they can phrase the question to say:
“On a scale of 1 – 5, 1 being not at all and 5 being very, how important is leg room while traveling?”
When a business chooses to trust their success to another company, they need to be sure they’re in the right hands. Someone smiling and saying “Trust me” is great, but when they have the data to back it up you know you’re really in good hands.