Research may not be the sexiest part of marketing, but without it, you might as well be sending bubbles into the ether.
There are different phases of research, depending on where you are in your relationship with your marketing partner.
At the beginning, a new client should be the beneficiary of research on not just the business they run but also trends in their industry. When the marketing professional and the client work well as a team, the marketing professionals “get” their client’s business. They understand the day to day struggles, they understand the issues that impede growth, they understand the challenges and opportunities. Excellent marketers can present information about a large scope of business issues, including current business communication issues with the office, how the office or business is perceived in the community and how much room there is in the market for growth.
After establishing a strong relationship, the marketing professionals still have research to do. Industries are never static, whether it is the practice of law, medicine, dentistry, real estate, publishing, retail, or communications. Research with a well-established client means interpreting the data regarding social media reach, it means understanding the various niches of television, radio and internet advertising, and it means continually staying on top of new challenges and opportunities. As an example, understanding the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act affects the writing and the social media that we do for medical, dental and legal clients, and it also informs our understanding of the challenges of running small businesses.
Project specific research is often a part of marketing services. For example, if a client wants to purchase an ad in an industry magazine, it is the marketing professionals’ job to figure out the best way to spend money in that endeavor through interpreting who the audience will be, what advertisements seem to “grab” the most significant industry players and even what look works best for that publication.
One of the great aspects of doing work in marketing is that there is always more to learn: more to learn about our clients, their products, their successes, their challenges and how best to formulate a cohesive marketing plan.